This guide will help you to find the best hardware Bitcoin or crypto wallet for YOU!
There’s no “one size fits all” hardware wallet. Wallets come on different platforms with different features.
If you want the best possible, keep reading.
What is a Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Wallet?
A Bitcoin/cryptocurrency wallet is the first step to using Bitcoin or crypto.
A “wallet” is basically the equivalent of a bank account. It allows you to receive bitcoins and other coins, store them, and then send them to others.
You can think of a wallet as your personal interface to the Bitcoin network, similar to how your online bank account is an interface to the regular monetary system.
Wallets contain private keys; secret codes that allow you to spend your coins.
In reality, it’s not coins that need to be stored and secured, but the private keys that give you access to them.
A crypto or Bitcoin wallet is simply an app, website, or device that manages private keys for you.Ledger Live makes it easy to send and receive Bitcoins to your Ledger Nano X
This guide will show you how to create a wallet and pick the best one.
Types of Bitcoin Wallets
There are a few different types of Bitcoin wallets used today, and each of them come with their own tradeoffs between security and convenience:
We’ll cover this in full detail in chapter two (up next), but put simply there are wallets for holding your everyday spending money (hot wallets) and there are wallets for your long term savings (cold wallets). There are even several types of both hot and cold wallets.
An Exchange is Not a Wallet
Again, we will cover this is more detail in Chapter five below, but its worth stating here as well that your Bitcoin “bank” or exchange accounts that do hold Bitcoin are NOT wallets.
Coinbase app does not let you hold you own keys, therefore it is not a wallet.
If that is confusing, don’t worry – it will all make sense by the time we are done here.
This is not to say that bitcoin banks are inherently bad.
It is simply important to remember that whoever controls the private keys controls the bitcoin attached to those keys. A misunderstanding of this point has led to hundreds of millions of US dollars being lost in the past, so it’s important to understand this key difference in how Bitcoin private keys can be stored.
For now, just know that private keys are what you need to protect if you want to keep your bitcoin safe from hackers, user error, and other possible issues.
ypes of Bitcoin & Crypto Wallets
Now let’s discuss the types of wallets and why you might want to use one kind over another.
By the end of this chapter, you should have a good idea of which wallet is right for you.
The Ledger Nano S is one example of a hardware wallet.
A hardware wallet is a physical electronic device, built for the sole purpose of securing crypto coins.
The core innovation is that the hardware wallet must be connected to your computer, phone, or tablet before coins may be spent.
The two most popular and best Bitcoin and cryptocurrency hardware wallets are:
Hardware wallets are a good choice if you’re serious about security, convenience, and reliable Bitcoin & crypto storage.
Hardware wallets keep private keys separate from vulnerable, internet-connected devices.
Your all-important private keys are maintained in a secure offline environment on the hardware wallet, fully protected even should the device be plugged into a malware-infected computer.Malware should be no match for your hardware wallet.
As bitcoins and cryptocurrencies are digital, cyber-criminals could, potentially, target your computer’s “software wallet” and steal them by accessing your private key.
Generating and storing private keys offline using a hardware wallet ensures that hackers have no way to reach your coins.
Hackers would have to steal the hardware wallet itself, but even then, it can be protected with a PIN code.
Don’t worry about your hardware wallet getting stolen, lost or damaged either; so long as you create a secret backup code, you can always retrieve your coins.
Think of a hardware wallet like your own underground steel vault. If you own a significant amount of bitcoin or crypto, you should strongly consider getting one!
Why are hardware wallets good?
- Easiest way to securely store bitcoins and other coins
- Easy to backup and secure
- Less margin for error; setup is easy even for less technical users
- Multiple hardware wallets can be used together for extra security
Why are hardware wallets bad?
- They’re not free!
- They can be challenging for new users to understand
Hot wallets are wallets that run on internet connected devices like a computer, mobile phone, or tablet.
Private keys are secret codes. Because hot wallets generate your private keys on an internet connected device, these private keys can’t be considered 100% secure.
Think of a hot wallet like your wallet today: you use it to store some cash, but not your life savings. Hot wallets are great if you make frequent payments, but not a good choice for the secure storage of bitcoins.
Why are hot wallets good?
- Easiest way to store small amounts of bitcoin and crypto
- Convenient; spending and receiving payments is easy and fast
- Some hot wallets allow access to funds across multiple devices
Why are hot wallets bad?
- Not safe for the secure storage of large amounts of bitcoins and crypto
- You might forget about the application being installed on your phone
Which Wallet is Best for You?
Investing or saving? Then a hardware wallet will keep your coins safe.
Otherwise, a software wallet will send and receive bitcoins & crypto just fine. Best of all, software wallets are free.Blockstream Green is one of the most secure mobile wallets out there.
Each wallet has pros and cons, and different wallets are built to solve different problems.
Some wallets may be geared towards security, while some wallets may be more focused on ease-of-use.
Your specific needs should determine the wallet you use, as there is no “best bitcoin wallet”.
Below, we’ve listed wallets you can buy or download. We suggest using the wallets listed or doing research before buying or downloading any wallet.
Each day, new Bitcoin scam wallets are added to the Google Play Store and Apple app store that are designed to steal peoples’ bitcoins.
We only list wallets that have published and open-sourced their code.