Beginner's Guide to Getting Started with Crypto Wallets
What is a Cryptocurrency Wallet?
Just as you would store your fiat currencies in physical wallets or banks, cryptocurrencies also benefit from safe and secure storage.
A cryptocurrency wallet is a place that stores your digital crypto assets and also validates your transactions on the blockchain. Crypto wallets make it easy for you to manage, trade and exchange your digital cryptocurrency assets.
There are many different types of crypto wallets out there. And while they all share the same purpose of storing your digital assets, not all wallets are designed the same. Certain wallets have been designed with accessibility in mind, making them easier for you to access and manage your assets on the go using mobile devices and computers.
Other types of wallets, such as crypto hardware wallets, emphasize more on adding extra layers of security with cutting edge encryption technology and security measures built into the wallets.
With that said, understanding the different types of crypto wallets is important in deciding which storage option is right for your purpose. We've compiled a list of our favorite crypto wallets based on the different categories of wallets.
As their name implies, crypto hardware wallets are physical devices that serve as an additional method of verification for your transactions on the blockchain. Hardware wallets are also known as cold wallets, and are considered to be one of the safest options for storing crypto.
Below are some excellent options for crypto hardware wallets:
Trezor Hardware Wallet
Trezor is one of the most respectable crypto hardware wallet manufacturers in the crypto sphere. The current line-up includes the Trezor One and Trezor Model T, both incorporating cutting edge security features such as firmware signature verification and support for BIP39 passphrases to ensure the safety of your digital crypto assets.
Additionally, Trezor has a transparency policy where they publish a list of past security issues of their devices and services. This list is publicly available on Trezor’s official website and includes a description of the issues along with their fixes.
The current line up of Trezor crypto wallets includes the Trezor One and Trezor Model T. The latter includes a touchscreen for an intuitive interface.
Both Trezor hardware wallets are available for purchase at Easy Crypto on our products page.
- Transparent security policy ensures customers are updated when a potential safety measure is compromised.
- Both Trezor devices support over 1000+ cryptocurrencies.
- Open-source software that is continuously updated by the customer support team and community.
Type of wallet
$119 - $289
Ledger Hardware Wallet
Ledger has been at the forefront of crypto hardware wallet storage since the beginning. In fact, the Ledger Nano S was the first hardware wallet ever made. Their newest model, the Ledger Nano X now comes with Bluetooth to allow users to manage their crypto assets on-the-go.
Both the Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X incorporate some of the highest security features in the crypto industry. Both are engineered with a special certified security chip that is often used on high-end security solutions.
Additionally, Ledger devices run on a custom OS and come with their own proprietary software, the Ledger Live to help you manage, exchange, and swap your crypto assets securely.
Shop the Ledger collection at Easy Crypto by visiting our products page.
- Highly secure safety measures with custom security chip and dedicated OS.
- Supports many cryptocurrencies.
- Latest model incorporates Bluetooth for increased connectivity.
- Setup process is lengthy and complex for those just starting out.
- Does not have an incorporated exchange.
Type of wallet
$139 - $239
Crypto software wallets principally share the same function as hardware wallets, but take the form of a program or application that runs on your desktop or mobile device. Software wallets are also referred to as hot wallets due to their connectivity to the internet. They offer easy access to your assets and are favored due to their user-friendly interfaces.
Below are some excellent options for software wallets to choose from:
Exodus is one of the leading software wallets to store cryptocurrencies. It is supported on iOS and Android, and could easily be the sleekest cryptocurrency wallet currently out right now.
Exodus wallet is multicurrency, easy to use, and is free to download on the Google Play Store and Apple Store.
Setting up the Exodus wallet is simple. Follow the instructions on our guide here.
- Supports a wide array of cryptocurrencies.
- Secure login process ensures that only specified, authorized devices can access the wallet.
- Streamlined user interface design makes it a breeze to use.
- Software is also available on the desktop and Mac.
- Closed-source software.
Coinomi was first founded back in 2014, and has held an impressive reputation of being the oldest multi-chain wallet available. With millions of active users, Coinomi provides native support and true ownership for more than 125 blockchains and thousands of digital coins and assets.
Additionally, Coinomi also offers cross-platform support to access your assets on both your desktop computers or mobile devices.
Follow this link for the official setup guide from Coinomi.
- Supports cross-platform between the mobile and desktop versions.
- Storage and password generation is all done on the client side, serving as a deterrent for potential hackers who attempt to steal data or funds from user’s accounts.
- Software updates are scarce, which brings the question of customer support should the situation calls for it.
While cryptocurrency wallets certainly facilitate the safe keeping of your digital assets, it's also important to keep in mind and learn how to properly maintain the security and safety of your crypto.
We've compiled below some of the fundamental safety principles of keeping your crypto safe.
Back up you wallet
Having a backup means that in the unfortunate event that you lost your original wallet, you would still be able to access your crypto assets. In this case, you’ll be able to re-acquire your access by restoring from your back up.
Each wallet will have its own backup procedures. A backup will typically consist of a "seed phrase" which is 12 to 24 words long and is unique to you and your wallet.
With that seed phrase, you will be able to re-install and recover your wallets and credentials.
See below for back up guides for the crypto wallets we've discussed above:
Properly store your seed phrase
Obviously storing your recovery phrase securely is very important. In fact, you might want to consider keeping copies in a few different places - e.g. in a safe and give two people you trust half of the phrase each. If you want to leave your cryptocurrency to someone in your will, it's a good idea for your lawyer or accountant to have a securely stored copy as well.
What you should NEVER do is store your seed phrase online. We've heard stories of people who have had their online accounts (e.g. email or Evernote) hacked and have had their seed phrases stolen. If anyone has access to your seed phrase, they have access to all your cryptocurrency wallets.
We all know that we should NEVER use the same password on more than one website and that it's best to use strong passwords with random numbers and characters.
Obviously, using a different and complex password for each site would be quite a mental feat to remember - which is where password managers come in.
A password manager is a secure way to store all of your different passwords and can help you auto-fill them into the different websites you use.
Below are some excellent options for you to consider:
- Keepass is a free option for Windows. We like Keepass because it's open-source (which means anyone can check that the code is safe). We have a guide to setting it up here.
- LastPass is a popular password manager with both free and paid options
- The Exodus team has mentioned 1Password as their application of choice. It's a premium paid service, but definitely something worth considering.
Update to the latest firmware
Another important step that is often overlooked is updating the firmware of your wallet. For those who opted for the hardware wallets, refer to the official manufacturer’s website for their proprietary firmware. And likewise, if you opted for the software wallets make sure to check that your wallet application is running the latest version of the update.