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You’re here for the best and most secure Bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallets you can use, but before we dive into that, here’s a quick reminder of the various different wallet types:
A hot wallet has a direct connection to the internet and is usually online. Online web wallet
Similar to a hot wallet, only accessible via the internet. Desktop wallet
Desktop wallets (also known as software wallets) install to your computer and allow offline management. Mobile wallet
Mobile wallets install to your smartphone, are often a hot wallet, and allow mobile management. Hardware wallet
Hardware wallets are portable physical devices with strong encryption. Cold wallet
A completely offline wallet that only receives cryptocurrency.
You will need to store your cryptocurrency in one of these wallet types. Are some safer than others? Well, yes. An offline cold wallet is more secure than an online hot wallet, but they also serve different purposes (long-term storage vs. quick transaction access).
One thing to bear in mind is that online web wallets are inherently unsafe. You never have access to the private encryption keys while relying on the honesty (and security) of the online service. The Mt. Gox hack is an example of when things don’t work out.
When looking for a wallet, consider these four characteristics:
Security: How secure is the wallet, what is its reputation?
Cost: Is it free?
User Experience: Is it easy to use? Does it make using cryptocurrency a simple experience?
Support: Does it support all the cryptocurrencies you want to store, and not just Bitcoin?
With these features in mind, here are some of the best Bitcoin wallets around.
Electrum is one of the oldest wallets available to Bitcoin users. You create your wallet private encryption key using a seed containing 12 to 24 words. This gives your private key a strength between 128-bits and 256-bits, making it extremely difficult to crack.
A seed phrase is also a recovery tool; forget your password and the seed phrase is the only thing that will bring your wallet (and its contents) back. Furthermore, your private key encryption type is AES-256-CBC. In simple terms, it is very strong.
Also, Electrum has multi-signature support, support for two-factor authentication (2FA), decentralized servers (meaning no downtime), as well as support for offline cold storage and USB drive installation.
Supported cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, and over 50 others.
Jaxx is another popular secure Bitcoin wallet. Part of Jaxx’s popularity stems from the vast range of cryptocurrency token support found in a single software wallet, allowing users to manage large portfolios from a single location.
But it isn’t just that. Jaxx uses a 12-word seed to create your wallets’ private encryption keys, giving them a strength of 128-bits.
As well as this, Jaxx doesn’t store any user information, private wallet data, or funds on centralized servers, storing all information on your system.
Mycelium is one of the best Bitcoin wallets for Android, period. It even won the “Best Mobile App” award from Blockchain.info in 2014, while the app constantly receives excellent Google Play Store reviews.
Mycelium receives such plaudits for a few reasons. One, it is open source, meaning you can check its source code for bugs and vulnerabilities.
Second, it features a long list of security features vital to protecting your cryptocurrency on a smartphone. These include cold storage functions, PINs, control over your private encryption keys (enabling wallet backup and key deletion/restoration), and multiple account management.
Furthermore, Mycelium uses a master-seed method, whereby all of your wallets relate to your initial seed, meaning you only have to backup once to restore all of your wallets. However, while you can set the app to require a PIN on opening, it doesn’t feature 2FA or multi-signature support.
There is an iOS app, but it is no longer under development; there are reports of users losing their wallets. The Android app sees regular updates.
Where Mycelium is feature-packed, GreenBits takes a minimalist approach to user interface. But that doesn’t mean it skimps on the security; if anything, it is more secure than Mycelium and many of the other mobile bitcoin wallets on the market.
GreenBits uses a 24-word seed to give your wallet private encryption keys 256-bits of strength. In addition, GreenBits uses 2FA, has multi-signature support, and supports recovery transactions in the event anything goes wrong.
Furthermore, you have full control over network fees, meaning you can set them as low as you like. Add in wallet cycling (to stop snooping) and the ability to use Tor as a proxy and GreenBits is a secure cryptocurrency wallet with a privacy focus.
The GreenBits app remains secure using a PIN. You will create this PIN when you first start the app. Afterward, you’ll receive a PIN prompt each time the app starts. If you enter the PIN wrong three times, the app deletes your encryption key, meaning the only recovery is your 24-word mnemonic. Without that, there is no hope—so make sure to copy it to a safe location.
The company operating one of the most significant bitcoin blockchain checking and analysis platforms also runs one of the most secure bitcoin wallets, too. The aptly named Blockchain Wallet is safe, easy to use, and supports a vast range of fiat currencies.
The Blockchain wallet uses a 12-word backup phrase to protect your wallet, acting as a backup to ensure access to your funds. Likewise, encryption takes place on your device, meaning your wallet’s private encryption keys never leave your possession and only you have access to the wallet. This also means you can take backups as and when you require, while Blockchain creates server-side backups using strong encryption.
Other security features include 2FA, PIN protection, paper wallet imports, as well as submitting the wallet code for regular security audits.
Supported cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, ERC-20 tokens, and many others.
Trezor is a hardware wallet. It operates as a type of secure cold storage. You transfer your Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to the device using the Trezor interface, accessible from macOS, Windows, Linux, and Android. The interface is easy to use, listing your coins and recent transactions.
For security, the Trezor uses a 12-to-24-word seed for protection and recovery, along with a user-defined PIN. Furthermore, it is possible to add an encrypted passphrase to your Trezor for another layer of security, or even setup hidden wallets containing the majority of your Bitcoin fortune (alas, you still leave yourself open to a $5 wrench attack).
Supported cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, ERC-20 tokens, and several others.
Our final secure Bitcoin wallet is another hardware wallet, the Ledger Nano S. Like the Trezor, it acts as a sort of cold storage, allowing you to transfer Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to the device using another computer.
As with many of the other wallets on this list, the Ledger Nano S uses an offline 24-word recovery phrase (including a handy piece of paper to write it all down on in the box). Once you confirm your recovery phrase, you’ll create a secure PIN.
The Ledger Nano S remains safe from malware on other devices you connect to by way of cryptographically secure dual microchips; the Ledger Nano S is its own secure environment.
One slight downside is the lack of passphrase support, but overall, the Ledger Nano S is a very secure hardware wallet.
Keep Your Cryptocurrency Secure!
It goes without saying, but please, keep your Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies secure. One of the single most important security tips regards your recovery phrases. If you have your recovery phrase written down, in a secure place, you at least stand a chance of recovering from a forgotten password or misplaced/deleted wallet.
Otherwise, remember to double- and triple-check that the wallet you’re sending to actually accepts the cryptocurrency! A lot of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have disappeared due to misunderstood wallet support. It’s one of the most common cryptocurrency mistakes people make.