Ethereum’s reputation precedes it – the Ethereum blockchain and cryptocurrency is a worldwide sensation. The first blockchain protocol to turn smart contracts into a phenomenon, the current blockchain industry would be unrecognizable without Ethereum. Most popular cryptocurrencies started out on the Ethereum blockchain, and the Ethereum Currency (ETH) is the 2nd most valuable digital currency in the world.
To leave how to safely store the Ethereum you save and spend, we’ll give you a complete guide about how to find and use the best Ethereum wallets 2018.
What is an Ethereum Wallet?
Ethereum is a digital currency. This means that pieces of computer code represent digital coins – coins which can’t be copied or replicated in any way. When you own Ethereum “Coins”, you are the only person in the world who can own them. Because these coins are basically made of code, you’ve got to have a piece of software to interact with them. Saving, spending, and transferring Ethereum is all performed using “digital wallets” – an analogous term used to convey the purpose of the Ethereum wallet by comparing it to a real world object.
There are tons of different Ethereum wallets. Some are pure software, others don’t use any digital tools at all, while others are a combination of hardware and software. We’ll help you understand the lay of the land in the Ethereum wallets 2018 review to follow.
How to Choose an Ethereum Wallet
Like we said, there are many different kinds of wallets. Here we’ll give you a breakdown of some of your best options. You’ll choose one or more of these options based on your personal cryptocurrency needs.
Different Types of Wallets
What is a Hot Wallet?
Hot Wallets are digital wallets that are attached to the internet. Any piece of software that’s hooked up to the internet is somewhat vulnerable. For decades there has been an arms race between software designers and hackers, the one forever trying to outdo the other. Most Ethereum hot wallets are pretty secure, but there’s always a chance that someone could find a way to steal your coins. For this reason, hot wallets are never recommended for long term storage of large balances – as you might do as an investor. If you’re a regular trader or spender of Ethereum, a hot wallet will be a great way to have constant access to your coins for quick transfer. Hot Wallets are definitely more about convenience than security, but they are the perfect option when you simply need to use your coins.
What is a Cold Wallet?
A cold wallet is a cryptocurrency storage solution that is not connected with the internet. Cold wallets are a great way to store cryptocurrency without the threat of it being stolen. One way to accomplish this is to take a software wallet that would normally be stored on a internet-connected computer, and simply install it on a computer that has never been connected to the internet. It takes a couple of steps to move Ethereum from a cold wallet to a hot wallet, so that you can use the coins, but this slight inconvenience is the price we pay for security, and investors all around the world know that this is worth it.
The Infinito Wallet can be used this way on a mobile device.
What is a Hardware Wallet?
Hardware wallets are physical objects that store cryptocurrencies. The Ledger Nano S, for example, is basically a USB stick with a computer screen. The advantage is that hardware wallets are cold wallets – they just sit in your room not attached to the internet. When you do want to access your coins, hardware wallets are attached to your device via a USB cable. Hardware wallets can replace passwords to give you access to wallets and crypto platforms on your device, using a simple PIN on the device itself to trigger the other software to open. Hardware wallets are considered the most secure way to store cryptocurrencies.
Ethereum Hardware Wallets are reviewed near the bottom of the linked article.
What is a Paper Wallet?
A paper wallet is simply a piece of paper with Ethereum coin codes written or printed on it. When you buy Ethereum, there are codes associated with the ownership of the coins you receive. Anyone with these codes can transfer, spend, or sell these coins. Digital wallets are a way to store these keys, but some people worry that since these software solutions are connected to the internet, that they might be stolen. Printing or writing down the codes brings them into the physical world, where they can’t be stolen by hackers. Of course, paper can be lost, stolen, burned, damaged by water, eaten by cats, etc. The paper wallet is only as secure as you are competent at safely storing paper. But if you can handle the responsibility, there is no safer way to store your coins. Only recommended for long term storage, as it takes a few minutes to regain access to your coins in a practical way.
Single and Multi-currency Wallet
Every Ethereum wallet can store either 1) only Ethereum, or 2) Ethereum and any number of other digital currencies. Single currency wallets are usually used when people actively use their coins on the Ethereum blockchain, or when they regularly spend or trade. Multicurrency wallets are typically used by people who own many types of digital currencies, and who enjoy the convenience of having all of these currencies in one place. The best multicurrency wallets store hundreds of cryptocurrencies.
Ethereum Wallets for Desktop & Mobile
There are dozens of Ethereum wallets, some of which are made for desktop and others for mobile devices. Desktop wallets have the advantage that they are unlikely to be lost with the device they’re stored upon (theft, being dropped in the toilet, etc.). They’re also very natural for people who regularly trade on complex crytpocurrency brokerage platforms that work best on desktop. However, desktop wallets don’t allow you to spend in physical locations, or have any location freedom at all, really. Mobile wallets are perfect for people on the move, or who regularly spend their Ethereum in the real world. Most cryptocurrency enthusiasts use both for various purposes. As you can have as many Ethereum wallets as you please (they’re almost all free), you don’t need to go all the way for one or the other.
Ethereum Wallet Safety
We all have different reasons for buying Ethereum, but one thing is true of all Ethereum investors: If you buy Etherum you definitely want to keep it safe. Ethereum wallets aren’t a solution in themselves. You’ve also got to understand how these wallets are properly used. Any Ethereum wallet used incorrectly will have vulnerabilities. Know your options and keep your money safe!
Are There Alternatives to Opening a Wallet?
If you own Ethereum, it must be stored in a wallet. There is literally no alternative. But for people who want to invest in Ethereum, without actually owning the coins, CFD models like eToro allow you to invest without purchase. It works like this:
You deposit money into an eToro contract priced at the market value of Ethereum. You can buy as much as you want. Once you start the contract, that money is locked up. The price of Ethereum changes according to what people in the worldwide market are willing to pay for it. You can end your contract at any point. If the price of Ethereum rises and you end your contract, you’ll get your money back, plus all of the profits associated with that amount of Ethereum. Losses are counted up the same way, and subtracted from your balance. Many people who want to invest buy don’t want to worry with real coins use eToro. If you want to spend or trade Ethereum, eToro won’t work for you, but it’s a godsend for investors.
MyEtherWallet is a multicurrency hot wallet based on the internet. It’s convenient because you don’t need to download anything to use it. MEW also stores every ERC20 token (hundreds). ERC20 tokens are coins that were created using the Ethereum blockchain. They can all be received using a single account address, and sent easily using the same platform (super simple interface). MyEtherWallet is a hot wallet, but complaints about its security are very minimal.
Jaxx Wallet is a multicurrency software wallet for desktop and mobile. It is able to store a couple of dozen popular cryptocurrencies, with new options added regularly. Users just have to update the software to get more options as time goes by. Jaxx even allows simple trading of supported currencies within the platform. Jaxx wallet doesn’t have our favorite interface in the world, but this is not to say Jaxx isn’t easy to use. Jaxx wallet is certainly a favorite among cryptocurrency enthusiasts, and Ethereum is one of the digital currencies most often stored here.
Ledger Nano S
The Ledger Nano S is the world’s favorite hardware wallet. It’str small – the size of a standard jump drive – but incredibly useful for crypto users. You can store any of a couple dozen popular cryptocurrencies on the Ledger Nano S. Stored safely offline, there’s no way for hackers to steal your coins on this device. When you want to use your crypto, just plug in your Nano S to your device. This action can be used to open many secondary software wallets, from which your coins can be spent, transferred, or traded. When you buy your Ledger Nano S, you’ll get a code at setup. If you ever lose your device, all you have to do is get another one, input this code, and all of your coins will reappear.
Never buy a used Ledger Nano S, and be intensely skeptical of any vendor other than the Ledger company in France. They’re often sold out and fresh stock may require patience on your part, but knowing that your Nano S is totally secure once it arrives is more than worth it.
Exodus wallet is another trusted multicurrency wallet. Much like Jaxx wallet, Exodus holds many currencies, is free, and allows trading of supported currencies within the platform itself. We tend to think that Exodus wallet’s UI and general appearance is more pleasing and intuitive than Jaxx’s, though this is a matter of taste. Exodus, like MEW, stores all ERC20 tokens. It’s a hot wallet, so security is not complete, but more and more people are using it as an important wallet for short and long term storage. We would recommend a hardware or paper wallet if you want to store for more than a month, but for all other purposes, Exodus Wallet is pretty great.
Trezor wallet is much like the Ledger Nano S, with a slightly different appearance and range of currencies supported. It’s priced similarly and has a bevy of fans all its own. We generally like the look and feel of the Ledger better, but who’s to say that one of objectively better than the other. Check out both and make the choice that works for you. You won’t find a more secure storage solution.
We’ve barely scratched the surface of Ethereum wallets. There are many more choices, but these are some of the best. We’ve also given you a variety that will meet most of the needs of Ethereum spenders, investors, and traders alike. Use as directed, and your Ethereum wallet(s) will meet your needs for a long time to come.
Ethereum Wallet FAQ’s
- How do I buy Ethereum UK? – For the most part, you can’t buy Ethereum within a software or hardware wallet. Exchanges like Binance all use wallets for short term storage of their customers’ coins, and this gives you easy access to buying options. To learn more how to buy Ethereum before sending it to a personal wallet, check out our Ethereum Buying Guide.
- How to I avoid Ethereum wallet scams? – Make sure you download Etherum wallets only from authorized sources. Many of these wallets are copied by scammers, who use their own software to steal your coins. Ask around on forums like Reddit and Bitcointalk if you have questions.