If you’re new to cryptocurrency, you’re likely working to understand the fundamentals of this remarkable technological revolution. As you likely already know, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin act like digital money but, unlike “fiat currencies” like the US Dollar, are not issued by a centralized power like the United States government. Unlike fiat currency, cryptocurrency is immaterial, existing within large pieces of software called blockchains.
However, just because a coin is digital doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be stored.rev Keeping cryptocurrency safe is one of the most important aspects of owning coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum. That’s where cryptocurrency wallets come into play. We’ll talk a bit more about what cryptocurrency wallets are, then get right into describing the best cryptocurrency wallets for a variety of investor and user needs.
If you want to get right into the list of best crypto wallets, just skip ahead.
What Are Cryptocurrency Wallets?
You can’t keep cryptocurrency in a piggy bank, but you can safely store crypto in digital wallets. To understand what a digital crypto wallet is, let’s first talk about how coins are stored on the blockchain.
A blockchain, among other things, is a complex way of storing data. Cryptocurrencies are digital assets which exist in certain supplies. They are bought and sold, and the blockchain keeps track of who owns what. In fact, the coins never leave the blockchain. The blockchain simply acts as record-keeper, making sure that a person (and no one else) who owns a certain amount of Bitcoin (or whatever) always has access to their coins.
Digital cryptocurrency wallets are pieces of software that safely store the “Private Keys” associated with a person’s cryptocurrency. Private keys are secret codes assigned to represent the ownership of certain coins. If you buy Bitcoin and store it in Exodus Wallet, you have a Private Key. This private key could be used to recover your coins, just in case the computer your wallet is on broke or was stolen. You don’t own your coins if you don’t own your keys.
When a cryptocurrency wallet has your Private Key, it allows you to see and use the cryptocurrency you own, even though those coins still “live” on the blockchain. The coins themselves are never stored in the wallet.
Cryptocurrency Wallet Safety
So you might imagine that it’s very important for cryptocurrency wallets to keep your private keys safe. There have been many cases of bad wallet code that results in loss of user funds. Other wallets are simply hard to use, and result in user error more often than wallets that are well-designed. The wallets we’ve highlighted below are all secure and easy to use.
3 Different Kinds of Cryptocurrency Wallets
It’s important to point out that there are actually 3 different kinds of cryptocurrency wallets, which we’ll explain: 1) Software wallets (hot and cold), 2) Hardware Wallets, and 3) Paper Wallets.
- Software Cryptocurrency Wallets (Hot and Cold) –
When most people talk about “crypto wallets”, they’re usually talking about software platforms which are stored on your computer or mobile device. Software wallets like Exodus wallet or Jaxx wallet store a bunch of different kinds of coins. They store coins long term, they receive coins when someone pays you, they keep your coins safe from theft, they facilitate payments, and some even allow you to make trades within the wallet.
A “Hot” wallet is a software wallet on a device connected to the internet. It’s considered somewhat vulnerable, because a knowledgeable hacker could theoretically get into your computer and, if they can find your Private Key (something that’s increasingly possible in modern hacking, often due to user error), they could steal your coins. This isn’t usually a problem for the average person, but it is an important consideration.
A “Cold” wallet is a software wallet that’s stored on a device not connected to the internet. Some people use dedicated laptops, others use devices as simple as USB sticks, which simply hold the software wallet and make it available when connected to a device. No matter what, no one could “hack” a cold wallet because they’re not connected to the web.
In some cases (MyEtherWallet, Blockchain.info), a software wallet can be accessed through a site on the internet. It’s basically the same, except this software is not stored on your device. Of course, every web wallet of this sort is a “hot” wallet.
- Hardware Wallets – Hardware cryptocurrency wallets are dedicated physical products which store private keys associated with your coins, and are almost never connected to the internet. Examples include the Ledger Nano S and Trezor hardware wallets. Many people who own a great deal of cryptocurrency (and more than they could afford to lose) buy hardware wallets because they are generally considered more secure than and software wallet could be, especially when it lives on an internet-connected device.
- Paper Wallets – A so-called “paper” cryptocurrency wallet is simply the private keys associated with your coins, written down or printed on a piece of paper. Paper can’t be hacked. Paper can’t be leaked online. A piece of paper in your drawer is likely much more safe than the same information stored in your email. Most wallets allow users to “export private keys”. If you then record these codes and store them safely in physical locations, this is just about the safest way to own crypto. Storing paper wallets in two different locations, where even if one is destroyed the other survives, is commonly agreed upon to be the safest method.
Single and Multi-Currency Wallets
It’s also important to distinguish between single- and multi-currency wallets. A software wallet like Bitcoin Core only stores Bitcoin. On the other hand, a multi-currency wallet like Exodus wallet stores dozens of different kinds of cryptocurrencies. One isn’t bad and the other good – they simply offer different kinds of service to different kinds of user/investors. We’ll cover both kinds of wallets below, and always distinguish which is which.
The Best Cryptocurrency Wallets
Now that we’ve talked about exactly what cryptocurrency wallets are and how they work, we’ll share some of our favorites with you. All of these crypto wallets are well-known and used by thousands, which proves their safety and usefulness as much as any other factor. There is no “one wallet to rule them all”, but some or all of these wallets can serve you well in your cryptocurrency investment journey.
Infinito Wallet is one of our favourite projects in the crypto space at the moment. It’s a universal wallet that can hold lots of different types of coins than many other wallets.
It allows users to store various coins that include the top tier that you would expect, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, ETC, EOS, Dash, Litecoin, GAS, Dogecoin, etc.. Whilst also accepting both ETH ERC20 Tokens, NEO NEP-5 and EOS, which include some of the up and coming stars in the crypto world (Tron, VeChain, OmiseGo, to name a few) as well as relatively unknown coins (Red Pulse and TheKEY).
It’s interface is easy to use and the fact that it has a fully functional mobile app makes this wallet very approachable for the conveyor belt of newbies coming to the cryptocurrency market looking for a wallet to store their coins.
For more information, read our comprehensive review of Infinito Wallet.
(multi-currency software “hot” wallet for crypto)
Jaxx wallet is a top-tier multi-currency crypto wallet used by people all around the world for several years. Jaxx wallet is free to use and goes well beyond the normal Bitcoin and Ethereum support. At present, Jaxx wallet can hold several dozen cryptocurrencies, including popular blockchain tokens like Dash, SALT, Qtum, DigixDao, and many more.
Jaxx wallet has a simple interface that’s easy to use, even if you don’t have much experience with crypto wallets. Jaxx makes it easy to send and receive cryptocurrencies of various types, and the wallet even allows you to trade supported currencies using ShapeShift exchange integration.
This last point is significant, because normally the only way to trade one cryptocurrency for another would be to send it to a centralized exchange like Binance, a process that’s time-consuming and somewhat risky. Keeping your coins safe in your wallet for the duration of the trade is a great feature that keeps people coming back to Jaxx.
There is an excellent Jaxx app for iOS and Android, with all of the same perks and benefits of the Jaxx desktop platform. Jaxx’s code is available for users and experts to audit, just to make sure that it’s secure. Jaxx has undergone a great deal of scrutiny this way, and still proves itself to be a reliable crypto storage solution, even though it was introduced all the way back in 2014 (a very long time in crypto-years).
(multi-currency software “hot” wallet for crypto)
Exodus wallet is also a multi-currency wallet. It’s a desktop only platform known for excellent design, intuitive functionality, and attractive aesthetics. In the opinion of this author, there is no crypto wallet easier to understand and use, especially for new investors.
Exodus wallet supports several dozen currencies, including a growing list of Ethereum-based (ERC20) tokens. These include high-market-cap projects like OmiseGo, Icon, Litecoin, Golem, and many more. With the exception of the ERC20 assets, all Exodus-supported tokens can be exchanged within the wallet, using built-in ShapeShift exchange integration.
Exodus has an excellent portfolio visualization window, where you can see all of your coins on a single page, with a simple pie chart breaking down how much of your portfolio is representing by each coin holding.
Exodus wallet also have good customer support and a vocal developer base. Community questions are answered promptly, and numerous bugs and glitches have been reported to Exodus, with quick fixes soon to follow. Security-wise, Exodus wallet holds your keys for you, as many users simply don’t want to deal with the hassle. However, these keys can also be exported for users who want to make sure they’re not in danger of losing their funds in some accident.
(online “hot” wallet for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum)
Blochchain.info is more than just a wallet – it’s a wealth of data about the Bitcoin blockchain, and a great place to learn about or simply keep up with blockchain technology in general. It also happens to be a very solid digital wallet for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum.
Blockchain.info has been around since 2011, an absolute eternity in cryptocurrency. Since then it has extended its reach to several million users, and has introduced an option to purchase Bitcoin straight from the wallet interface. In the coming months, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash-buying options are supposed to be introduced as well.
Blockchain.info is an online wallet, so it’s inherently “hot”, as well as vulnerable to problems if improperly used. A number of users have reported loss of funds, and though this has raised the occasional outcry about problems with Blockchain.info, the more likely story is that many of these users lost their funds through accident or carelessness. Blockchain.info does not have very responsive customer service, however, which has compounded the frustration for some.
All of this may be beside the point as, for most people, Blockchain.info is a reliable wallet solution. Even so, we’d recommend that you not store your primary Bitcoin balance in blockchain.info, but instead just keep in it coins you are planning to soon trade or spend. For your long term holdings, there are a number of safer storage solutions.
Bitcoin Core Wallet
(Bitcoin blockchain node that also stores Bitcoin currency)
When you use Bitcoin Core to store your Bitcoin, you have more than a simple wallet on your hands. You’re also running a simple node, through which certain Bitcoin network traffic will be routed. Think of it as your way of giving back to Bitcoin, even if it’s just a little spare computational power or network bandwidth.
Bitcoin Coin is a great way to learn about the complexities of Bitcoin. Its primitive exterior speaks to its origins – back from the days of Satoshi Nakamoto him/her/them/it-self/selves. The aesthetics have not been upgraded significantly from these now-retro roots, but what lies beneath the hood has increased in size and sophistication over the years.
If you’re simply wanting a simple interface with which to keep track of your Bitcoin, other newer wallets are a better choice. But if you want not to simply spend Bitcoin but be a part of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Core is your go-to.
Ledger Nano S
(multi-currency hardware wallet, cold wallet)
Ledger Nano S is a hardware wallet solution for storing multiple cryptocurrencies. In appearance, it’s basically a USB stick with a screen. In function it’s a bit more complex. Coins are stored by downloading dedicated apps (the NEO Ledger App or the Ethereum Ledger App, for example). These apps allow users to store their keys on the Nano device itself, a pretty much painless process that even beginners can handle.
Hardware wallets like the Ledger Nano S may be the most convenient way to achieve solid long term storage security. Savvy users can accomplish the same level of security without paying the $80 or so for a new Nano S, but the Ledger has a sleekness and user-friendliness that we’ve come to associate with products from Apple. It’s a great experience to be able to open your crypto wallets with a button click on your Nano, rather than typing in long keys and passwords to your main device.
That said, the Ledger Nano S has not been without its hiccups. The Ledger Manager app is well known to be buggy and inconsistent in performance. The Ledger cannot maneuver seamlessly between desktop and browser without changing an internal setting each time. Furthermore, a recent vulnerability was discovered, prompting Ledger to release a hasty patch that caused many users to panic. Things seem to have settled down, and this writer’s Nano S works just fine, but it freaked some out.
In general, the Ledger Nano S does what it says on the tin without causing the user any headaches. But it’s not a seamless hardware solution yet, which one might expect from any nascent technology. We’re glad, though, that it only keeps improving, and expect good things to come.
(web wallet for Ethereum and ERC20 assets, hot wallet)
MyEtherWallet is an online wallet solution for Ethereum and all of the cryptocurrencies released on the Ethereum blockchain. At present, well more than a hundred ERC20 tokens are supported within MEW, all of which can be sent to a single user address. This is a great convenience, as maintaining individual wallets for a dozen or more coins can be a harrowing experience for even the most experienced traders.
MEW is a bit clunky to look at, but once you’ve used it for a day or two you’ll understand its unique charm. MEW isn’t entirely idiot-proof, as users are still required to set their own fees for transactions. Choose too low a price and your transaction might arrive days late. On the whole, though, this is a great way to use Ethereum and its related crypto, within a single interface, with added support for every new coin that’s introduced through Ethereum.
This list of awesome cryptocurrency wallets is by no means complete. If you don’t see your favorite, let us know and we’ll consider adding it. We’ll also be adding new wallets on our own as time and interest permits. We hope that one or more of these wallets can help you out a great deal in your cryptocurrency use and investment. We don’t think crypto is going anywhere anytime soon, so digital cryptocurrency wallets like these are only going to become more relevant!