Best Cryptocurrency Wallets

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We can both agree that finding the right cryptocurrency wallet can be confusing.

But, don’t worry: we’ve gone through all of the wallets and listed the best choices.

Today we’re going to make it easy to decide which wallet is best for you. Read on!

Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallets

Hardware wallets are small devices that are plugged into your computer or phone. The hardware wallet generates your private keys securely in an offline environment. The innovation is that many wallets generate private keys on internet connected devices like computers or mobile phones.

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By generating your private keys on an offline device, your keys are out of the reach of hackers.

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Overall, hardware wallets are the safest type of wallet, with many security features built-in as well as support for many different types of cryptocurrencies. If you have significant crypto holdings that you want to store securely, you should strongly consider getting a hardware wallet.

Ledger Nano S

The Ledger Nano S is probably the most popular cryptocurrency hardware wallet at the time of writing. It costs about $95 and is sold by Ledger, a Bitcoin security company based in France.

The Nano S supports Litecoin, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zcash, ERC20 tokens, Ripple, Dash and many other altcoins. Ledger is the most universal cryptocurrency hardware wallet–meaning it supports the most coins–so if you need to store a lot of coins the Ledger Nano S is a good choice.

The device creates your private keys in its secure chip and stores your keys offline away from the internet.

The Nano S has a screen so it helps you verify and confirm all outgoing transactions, which provides additional security.

You can check out our Ledger Nano S review for more info.

TREZOR

trezor cryptocurrency hardware wallet

TREZOR is very similar to the Nano S, but is sold by Satoshi Labs. TREZOR was actually the first hardware wallet to have a screen, which provides extra security.

TREZOR supports Litecoin, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Dogecoin, Dash, ERC20 tokens and many other altcoins. The device creates store your cryptocurrency in its secure chip away from the internet.

TREZOR will cost you $99 and ships from Europe.

Cryptocurrency Software Wallets

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Software wallets encompass a variety of different wallets, but in general they are wallets that are downloaded or accessed digitally. These wallets include online/web wallets, desktop wallets, and mobile wallets.

Each type of software wallet has varying levels of security and accessibility, however, generally hardware wallets tend to be the safer but pricier option.

Due to the variety in software wallets, we will cover each type individually in more detail below.

Hot and Cold Storage

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Before continuing, it is important to note the difference between hot and cold storage.

Hot storage refers to any type of wallet that is connected to the internet, while cold storage is any type of wallet that does not have internet connection.

Hot storage is very convenient and accessible, however, it is much less secure than cold storage. Any time a wallet is connected to the internet, it has the potential to be hacked. Cold storage remedies this problem at the expense of convenience.

Some software wallets can be hot or cold storage. If you download a desktop wallet on an internet-connected computer, it is hot storage. If you download the same wallet onto a device then disconnect from the internet, it becomes cold storage. Hardware wallets are always cold storage, with the convenience of a hot wallet.

Mobile Cryptocurrency Wallets

Mobile cryptocurrency wallets are software wallets that are downloaded onto your mobile device in the form of an app. The app stores your cryptocurrency. These wallets are simple and easy to use, and work well for people who pay for transactions using cryptocurrency.

Mobile wallets are safer than online wallets, but are still vulnerable to hacks.

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Coinomi Mobile Wallet

Coinomi is another multi-cryptocurrency wallet that is available for iOS and Android.

Coinomi supports currencies such as:

Coinomi is also integrated with ShapeShift and Changelly, another cryptocurrency exchange website.

Coinomi also offers One-Time Backup. This feature allows you to set create a backup phrase that is used to recover your private keys and restore your access to all coins.

Jaxx Mobile Wallet

Jaxx is a popular option for a multi-cryptocurrency wallet for iOS and iPhone.

Jaxx supports a number of cryptocurrencies, including:

The wallet is integrated with ShapeShift, so you can actually exchange coins from within the wallet.

Jaxx is also available for Android.

Cryptocurrency Wallets for Desktop

Desktop wallets are software wallets that are downloaded and installed onto your computer. These wallets store your private keys on your hard drive. This makes them safer than web wallets. However, if your computer is connected to the internet, your wallet is still vulnerable to attacks.

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Using a desktop wallet allows for greater security than a web wallet, and a number of different features. If you plan to store large amounts of currency on a desktop wallet, you should certainly place it in cold storage.

Exodus Wallet - Desktop Wallet

exodus ltc

Exodus is another popular multi-cryptocurrency wallet or universal cryptocurrency wallet, meaning it supports many coins. Like other desktop wallets, your private keys are stored on your computer.

Exodus is also integrated with ShapeShift, so you can swap your coins within your wallet.

Exodus supports the following cryptocurrencies:

Exodus is not entirely open source, however, so it is not as trustworthy as a fully open source wallet.

Jaxx Desktop Wallet

Jaxx, the iOS and Android wallet we mentioned above, is also available for desktop. Jaxx is not open source, but the code is viewable on their website.

The desktop version supports the same currencies previously listed, and also has ShapeShift integrated. Jaxx stores your private keys on your computer.

Online Cryptocurrency Wallets

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Online wallets, or web wallets, are wallets that are accessed through your web browser. These wallets store your private keys in the cloud. Exchange wallets such as Coinbase are a type of web wallet.

Web wallets allow you to quickly access your coins from any internet connected device. However, because a company holds your private keys, you have no control over your wallet. These companies could take use your private keys to steal your currency, or their servers could be hacked.

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We highly advise against web wallets, as they are by far the least secure type of wallet. Do not store a large amount of currency in web wallets, and do not use them for long term storage.

MyEtherWallet - Online Ether and ERC20 Wallet

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MyEtherWallet (MEW) is an open source wallet that was launched in 2015. This software wallet is one of the most popular options for users looking to store Ethereum and other ERC20 tokens.

Notably, MyEtherWallet cannot store Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, or other related currencies. It is solely for Ethereum based coins.

MyEtherWallet generates private keys locally, so they are not stored on MEW servers. This increases security and puts control of the wallet into your hands.

Wallet Reviews and Guides

The next section will go over some popular cryptocurrency wallets.

MyEtherWallet (MEW) Guide

Creating a MEW wallet is a relatively simple process. The first step is to visit the MyEtherWallet homepage. Be sure the website domain is exactly correct to avoid spoofing websites. You should also bookmark the website to prevent this problem in the future.

On the home page, enter a password, then select the “Create New Wallet” button. MyEtherWallet will then generate a “KeyStore” file in UTC/JSON format. This is your password protected private key.

Select the “Download KeyStore File (UTC/JSON)” button, then click “I understand. Continue.”

The KeyStore file will be downloaded, and you will be able to view your private key on the next screen. You should save the KeyStore file to an offline hard drive, or a flash drive that you do not use online.

After clicking “Save your Address”, you will be prompted to unlock your wallet to see your public wallet address. In the selection screen, choose “KeyStore / JSON File”.

Select the KeyStore file that you previously saved, then enter the password you used to create your wallet initially.

The benefit of using a KeyStore file is that you don’t have input your entire private key, just the password that encrypts the file. However, this process is not entirely safe, as you are giving your private key file to a website.

A safer alternative is running MyEtherWallet offline.

This is a bit more complicated, but may be worth it for the extra security. First, download. Click on “etherwallet-vX.X.X.X.zip” to download, then move the file to a flash drive.

Plug the USB stick into a computer with no internet access and extract all the files from the drive to the computer. Within the MyEtherWallet folder, select index.html to open the wallet.

This will open MyEtherWallet in your browser. You will be warned that you can’t connect to the network, but that is normal. When using the wallet in this manner, you won’t be able to view your Ether or other token balances, but they can still be viewed with Etherscan.

Note: MyEtherWallet was recently the target of an elaborate hack.

Exodus Wallet Setup Guide

In order to set up an Exodus wallet, first visit the Exodus website. Select the “Download” button, then choose your operating system.

Run the file that downloads and install the wallet. In order to fully set up your Exodus wallet, you have to deposit some cryptocurrency.

Select the “Wallet” tab on the left side of the screen. Select the cryptocurrency you wish to deposit, then click “Receive”. Your deposit address will be displayed and you can select the copy button.

Open the exchange or wallet you are sending the cryptocurrency from and paste the deposit address. After sending the cryptocurrency, you should be able to see it arrive in the Exodus wallet.

Once it arrives, select the “Backup” tab. Create a password and continue. Exodus will then reveal your 12 word recovery phrase that you can use to recover your cryptocurrencies. Write this phrase down and store it away safely.

Next, create a backup link by entering your email address. You can follow this email link then enter your password to regain access to your Exodus wallet.

With these fail-safes in place, your wallet is all set up.

Jaxx Desktop Wallet Guide

Jaxx, the iOS and Android wallet we mentioned above, is also available for desktop. Jaxx is not open source, but the code is viewable on their website.

The desktop version supports the same currencies previously listed, and also has ShapeShift integrated. Jaxx stores your private keys on your computer.

To set up a Jaxx wallet for desktop, first go to their website, then select the downloads tab. Select the desktop version.

Once the wallet is downloaded and installed, the first screen you will see is the release notes. Select “continue” then agree to the terms of service. In the next screen, select “Create New Wallet”, then continue. Then, select the custom option, as this allows you to set up security features and other preferences.

You can then select which cryptocurrency wallet(s) you would like to create. You must select at least one, but you can add or remove more at any time later on. You will then be asked to select the a fiat currency. The value of your coins will be listed in this currency.

Jaxx will then ask if you’d like to create a wallet back up now. Select yes, and it will generate a 12 word backup phrase. Like the other backups, be sure to write it down and store it in a safe place.

You’ll then be required to type your backup phrase into the Jaxx wallet to ensure you did not just skip through that step.

Finally, you can set up a 4-digit security which will allow you to access your wallet regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section will aim to answer some of the most common questions related to cryptocurrency wallets.

Note on Hardware Wallets

Note that to use a cryptocurrency hardware wallet you need a software wallet to interact with the device.

All of the hardware wallets have default software wallets made by the company. However, you can also install separate software wallet to use the hardware wallet with an altcoin.

A basic example is that TREZOR’s own wallet supports Bitcoin, but you can also use Electrum to use your TREZOR with Bitcoin.

One may want to do this because Electrum has some unique features that TREZOR’s wallet doesn’t have, like spending from specific outputs or “freezing” certain addresses so they can’t be spent from.

Another important reason for installing other software wallets is to hold other non-supported tokens. For example, the default Nano Ledger S software wallet can hold Ethereum, but it cannot hold other ERC20 tokens.

In order to hold ERC20 tokens on the Ledger Nano S, you have to install a 3rd-party software wallet, such as MyEtherWallet (MEW). After installing MEW, you will be able to store ERC20 tokens on your Ledger Nano S.

Several hundred ERC20 tokens exist, so downloading a software wallet can massively increase your hardware wallet’s functionality.

Which wallet is best for me?

The cryptocurrency wallet that is best for you will depend on what you’re using cryptocurrency for.

If you just need a wallet for some small, infrequent payments then using one of the Android, iPhone or desktop wallets mentioned above would be fine.

If you are investing in cryptocurrency and need secure storage for your funds, then a hardware wallet like Ledger or TREZOR will better fit your needs.

What about paper wallets?

Paper wallets are a cheap way to create secure storage for crypto. The main issue is it’s very confusing and hard to do right. This is why we don’t cover it in this post. If you want to use a paper wallet, please do your own digging on Google.

How do I add funds to my wallet?

You’ll have to first buy cryptocurrency on an exchange and then transfer the coins from the exchange to your wallet. This is the only way to fund your wallet.

Some wallets allow you to buy bitcoins from within the wallet, but there is yet to be a wallet that allows you to buy a coin other than Bitcoin.

Is Coinbase a good wallet?

Coinbase is an exchange and should not be used as a wallet. Coinbase is definitely a trusted place to buy bitcoins, but once you do so move your Bitcoin, Litecoin or Ether off the site into one of the wallets discussed in this post.

How do I get a cryptocurrency address?

Your wallet will automatically generate addresses for you. Each crypto has slightly different formats for the addresses.

Bitcoin addresses start with a 1 or 3 and look something like this:

Ethereum addresses start with a 0 and usually look something like this:

Litecoin addresses start with an L and usually look something like this:

How do I open a cryptocurrency account?

There is no such thing as a cryptocurrency account.

You can have a wallet, which stores your coins.

You can create an account on a cryptocurrency exchange, but this is not a default cryptocurrency account in the same way that you have a bank account.

Any common mistakes to be careful of?

The biggest mistake we see people make is to store money on exchanges. Then the exchange gets hacked or exit scams and people lose their money.

DO NOT STORE YOUR MONEY ON AN EXCHANGE!

Cryptocurrency Security Advice

This section will give you some tips on how to secure your cryptocurrency in many ways, whether your on an exchange or wallet.

The migration of value into the digital realm brings with it new challenges in terms of best security practices. As with any unit of value, there is always someone, somewhere that seeks to extract this value for their own ends, whether it be through coercion, social manipulation or brute force.

This guide is intended to provide a broad overview of the best practices for securing your crypto assets. While most of these steps are not mandatory, following them will greatly increase your financial security and peace of mind in the crypto world.

Passwords — Complexity & Re-Use

Starting from the ground up, password complexity and re-use are two major pain points that many average users do not consider adequately. As you can see by this list, average password complexity still leaves a lot to be desired. The less complex your password is, the more susceptible to hack your account is. If you use the same passwords, or even slight variations of the same passwords across multiple accounts, your chances of compromise are greatly increased.

So what can you do? Fortunately the fix for this is relatively easy. Use randomly generated 14 character+ passwords and never re-use the same password. If this seems daunting to you, consider leveraging a password manager such as LastPass or Dashlane that will assist in password generation and storage.

You can find out if any accounts associated with you have ever been compromised here as well as using this tool to test just how strong variations of your passwords may be (*do not use your real password on here, only similarly structured variations).

Dedicated Email Accounts

Almost every online service/exchange requires some type of email account association during the activation process. If you are like most people, you will probably use your default email that you’ve had for years, and perhaps add a bit more complex password for the account itself for good measure.

In most cases however, all a hacker needs is access to your emails in order to reset account passwords that may be tied to it. It’s as simple as navigating to the website/exchange and clicking the ‘forgot password’ link to begin the process. So, if you are like most people and have an email address that has been active for years, with a weak login password, your chances of being hacked are much higher.

For the above reasons, do yourself a favor and create a new/dedicated email address for use with your crypto accounts. Services like ProtonMail and Tutanota are free and offer end to end encryption without sacrificing usability (mobile app availability etc.). If you decide to stick with Gmail, consider activating the Advanced Protection Program that Google offers.

Two-Factor Authentication

We typically recommend setting up two-factor authentication (2FA) for any and every account that offers it, even if the service is not crypto related. All 2FA does is require a second means of confirmation that you are who you say you are when logging into accounts. Most typically this is in the form of something you know (password) and something you own (SMS code sent to phone).

While SMS is still the most common form of 2FA offered by online services, it is unfortunately the least secure. The following general use 2FA methods are ranked from most secure to least:

  1. FIDO U2F  — This is a physical device that plugs into a USB port and requires a physical button touch to generate a unique 2FA access code. It is preferable because a hacker would need to have the device in their physical possession in order to access your account. Most hacks occur remotely which makes this our top 2FA choice (albeit not a panacea ).
  2. Google Authenticator — An app that resides on your mobile device and cycles through one-time use access tokens. If you go this route, be sure to save your backup code that is provided at initial setup. If you don’t have this and your phone is lost or broken then you have no way to get these code settings back.
  3. Authy  — Similar to Google Authenticator but potentially less secure as you can re-access the codes from an alternate mobile device if your main one is lost or broken (this feature can be disabled but is active by default). While this may seem more ideal, what is more convenient for you is also more convenient for those who may be trying to hack you.
  4. SMS — Codes send to your cell phone through text message. Better than no 2FA at all, but susceptible to social engineering SIM attacks. Interestingly, SMS 2FA security holes did not come to light until the popularity of Bitcoin began to grow.

Secure Crypto Storage

If you don’t hold the private keys, you don’t own your money!

This category is how most people have been compromised and lost money in crypto. How? Primarily, by treating an exchange (Coinbase, Binance, Bittrex, Poloniex etc.) as a wallet to store their crypto assets in.

Mt. Gox, Bitfinex, BitGrail and Coincheck are just four out of a handful of crypto exchanges that have been hacked in the past 5 years, with the cumulative amount stolen exceeding $1 billion USD. While some users of these exchanges have been ameliorated to an extent, many are still suffering from the partial or even total loss of crypto funds that they held on these exchanges at the time of the hacks.

Our advice is to hold crypto on hardware or paper wallets that you alone control. If you wish to trade on exchanges, only do so with funds that you are potentially willing to forfeit entirely should either the exchange or your individual account become compromised.

A few of our recommended hardware wallet manufacturers are Ledger, Trezor, and Keepkey. You can find our more detailed wallet reviews here . As with all hardware/software, please ensure that your device firmware is kept up to date, as patches are pushed out continuously to address security concerns.

Mobile Crypto Wallets

Mobile app wallets such as Mycelium, Breadwallet, Samourai, Cryptonator, etc. should be treated similarly to how you may treat your physical wallet/purse.

You only carry small amounts of discretionary spending funds in these wallets as they are more susceptible to loss or theft. Again, what is more convenient for you is more convenient for a malicious actor as well. Your phone is also susceptible to malware and should not be considered sufficiently safe for storing large amounts of funds.

Phishing Attacks

If you have crypto then you are an ideal target for phishing scams. Facebook and Twitter are just two of many avenues that hackers scour for potential victims. It has become common to see fake crypto exchange emails or ICO fundraising confirmations circulating such as the example below.

Phishing email impersonating Blockchain.info. Note send address & logo irregularity.

It is best to NEVER open suspicious attachments or provide credentials through email and to always closely inspect the logo, wording and send address of any emails received that pertain to financial accounts or that request sensitive information.

When in doubt, navigate to the legitimate exchange or web service that the email supposedly originated from and contact their support team to inquire on the validity of what you received before taking further action.

Clean Hardware

This brings us to the general best practices portion of this guide. Malware is everywhere on the internet and regardless of your attention to detail, sooner or later you are likely to fall victim to some type of malicious software. As such, it is best to have active antivirus subscriptions on your devices and to run periodic scans. I personally like to run Malwarebytes and Roguekiller on my PC once each week and have background scans on my phone that run each automatically. Generally speaking Windows is the least secure OS, primarily due to the fact that it is the oldest and most pervasive OS in use today. Many security conscious techies tend to prefer Linux or iOS for this reason.

Summary

Security on the web is akin to game of whack-a-mole and your level of security will likely scale accordingly with the amount of sensitive data (or crypto assets) that you are protecting.

While there is no such thing as an ‘unhackable’ system, there are valuable steps that you can take to drastically reduce your likelihood of compromise.

Always remember to:

Good luck and stay safe!