Best Cryptocurrency Wallets 2018.
June 2018 Update.
Cryptocurrency wallets are where you store your bitcoin, ethereum, and other coins. They interact with code stored on a blockchain. There is more than one blockchain.
Why Is There So Many Different Wallets?
There is a range of wallets available. Some are free and others can be expensive. If you have a few hundred dollars of crypto it’s worth investing around $60 to $120 to keep it safe. It could be worth a lot more in the future.
The security of wallets also varies depending on if you use a mobile, desktop, or hardware one. Your choice will depend on how much crypto you have and what you do with it.
If you do frequent trades then you may need an online wallet with easy access. If you tend to hodl, then keeping your crypto offline in cold storage is a better choice. Most people tend to use more than one wallet so they can do both. Not all wallets can store every coin, so you may need several if you own altcoins.
For even more security there are multi-signature wallets. These need several people to sign to gain access. You could have a multi-signature wallet that needs two out of four owners to sign. Otherwise no one can gain access. That way two people could lose their keys and the wallet would still be accessible.
No single wallet works for every solution. You have to choose the one that best suits your needs. Everyone who contributes to the TBS website has several types of wallet. The more you get into crypto, the more wallets you will most likely need.
A hot wallet is a wallet that connects to the internet.
The first wallet you experience may well be on an exchange. Most people start with Coinbase. They have a vault feature that is their version of cold storage. Coinbase does have insurance but it will not cover a hack. It will cover thefts by employees or negligence on their part.
Leaving your crypto on Coinbase or any other exchange means they control the keys. If it gets hacked you could lose all the currency you have stored on there.
No matter how friendly or high-tech looking a crypto exchange website is. They are all high-risk and are not a good place for long-term crypto storage.
An exchange wallet is convenient and accessible with any browser. Some of them have their own Apps. Each one will tell you how tight their security is and throw numbers at you about security protocol. Never believe them.
Anything online is open to hacking. Check out what happened to the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange in Japan.
We recommend that you never use your phone to trade crypto. If you do, make sure you secure it first.
These are software programs installed on your computer. There are offline desktop wallets but they are still hot wallets. If your computer is on the internet, so is everything stored on it.
They are easy to use and some have mobile Apps. A desktop wallet is susceptible to hacks. Anytime you go online for a crypto trade you should make sure your computer is secure. Keep the amount of time you connect your wallet to the internet as short as possible.
A cold wallet is offline and more secure than a hot wallet.
A hardware-based cold wallet does still connect to the internet. It uses a computer to update firmware and account balances.
The transactions are usually short. The chances of hacking are lower but it can still happen.
These devices run on their own software and are less vulnerable to malware. They are also tougher to hack than a computer or phone.
The hardware device stores your private and public keys. Your private key is never accessed by any computer attached to it.
You do need to have the actual device to transfer any crypto stored on it. Funding the wallet is possible even if you only have the public key and not the actual device in your hands.
Anyone can send crypto to the public key. The blockchain will still record the transaction. The device will update next time it accesses the blockchain. This may save a few trips if you are buying crypto and you store the wallet at a different location.
If you did reveal your private key, a thief could steal your crypto and would not need the actual device.
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When you set the hardware wallet up, it generates a pin number. It also generates seed words that you need to keep safe. If you lose the device or it gets destroyed, you can restore your crypto using the seed words.
It’s important to never let anyone else see the seed words. They could take them and use them to steal your crypto. You should always have at least three backup copies of your seed words. You need to encrypt all the backups so no one can get to them.
Any digital media or drive can get destroyed by extreme temperatures or abuse. One way of making your seed words safer is to save them in an almost indestructible backup device. The Steely is one such product. You use steel letter tiles to save your seed words. The Steely is tough and it would take something huge to destroy it. You could put it in a safe location knowing that if you lost all your backups, you could still recover your crypto.
Safe Deposit Box
Our best advice is to keep your hardware wallet in a safe deposit box at a bank. If not, in a fireproof/waterproof safe at home if you prefer that. Never keep it on your person, they are too easy to lose.
Learn how to do that here.
If you did keep it at home and someone stole it, they would not be able to get to your crypto without the pin. Never keep the pin, seed words, and wallet stored together.
The downside of a hardware wallet is they are not the most intuitive things to deal with. We have all had to talk down friends on the phone who wanted to abandon their shiny new wallet.
Before looking to buy a hardware wallet, read this.
One of us bought a Ledger Nano S from Amazon. Big mistake. Only buy your hardware wallet direct from manufacturers Ledger or Trezor. A person on Reddit didn’t follow this advice and had their crypto stolen.
We are happy to report that our colleague did not lose any crypto.
You should not use your wallet at work or in an office where you could get distracted. Never leave your wallet unattended with other people around. The wallets do time-out and lock but someone may get into it before then and steal your crypto.
Do all your transactions on your own at home, with no one else around. Take the wallet and put it back in cold storage as soon as you have finished.
Which Is The Best Type Of Wallet?
Most likely you will need several wallets if you have a range of cryptos.
A hardware wallet is our top choice for long-term storage. You could even have a second hardware wallet with a smaller amount for trading if you want to take an extra step.
Paper wallets are a good option if you take the time to make them more robust.
A hot wallet is less secure but a good choice if you want to trade more often. You can use a desktop wallet on a computer that is only used for your crypto dealings. Once you have done what you need to do, that computer goes offline. It only goes back online again when you need to buy, sell, or move crypto around.
Best Cryptocurrency Wallets 2018
* Remember. These are some of the wallets we have tried and tested ourselves. They are not the only good wallets available. As new or better options come along we will update. You do not need ten wallets, it will be too confusing. These recommendations will keep your crypto safe if you follow our advice.
Ledger Nano S
If you are someone who invests in crypto and holds it, a hardware wallet is the most secure way to do it. Buy one or more hardware wallets and keep them in cold storage. You need several backups of the seed words and pin on encrypted USB drives or on a Steely. Store them at several secure locations.
This is about as safe as it gets for a regular investor.
The Nano S interface can be an issue to get around but there are some great tutorials on the Ledger website.
The Nano has Chrome-based software called a Ledger manager. You can connect your device to the software to update it. It also allows you to add ‘Companion Apps‘ for the currencies you want to store. There are wallet interface browser extensions for bitcoin, ethereum, and a few others.
The Nano only allows four or five crypto wallets at a time.
You can interface the ethereum blockchain using websites like MyEtherwallet.com. There you can transfer and store ethereum ERC-20 tokens onto the nano. They won’t show up as one of the main wallets on the interface. They will be visible on the ethereum address you stored them on.
This expands the scope of the wallet to many more coin types than the ones they have specific wallets for.
- The joint best solution we have used for storing crypto.
- If you own more than a few hundred dollars of crypto, it’s worth buying at least one.
- It can be unintuitive for new users.
- They are often on back order.
Made by SatoshiLabs who also brought us the cryptocurrency map Coinmap.
Trezor Model T is a second generation cryptocurrency device. It has upgraded security and a faster CPU compared to the Trezor One.
It features a 240 X 240-pixel touchscreen only interface instead of buttons.
The Model T uses on-device authentication. On first use, it generates a unique, 12-word long recovery seed and provides two cards to write it down on.
Included is a magnetic device dock so you can have Model T exactly where you want it for easy access.
Supports ERC-20 Tokens as well as the bigger coins like Bitcoin and ethereum
There is now a USB-C connector instead of a mini-USB on the older model. The cord is twice as long as on the original model, something users complained about.
There’s a microSD card slot on the side for data encryption and offline transactions.
It has new redesigned firmware called Trezor Core that enhances future feature development. This includes updates for the Trezor One and easy integration for new coins.
Shipped without the firmware for safety. You have to connect to the website and flash the device. SatoshiLabs have to have signed the firmware before it will run. If the firmware is not genuine the device will warn you.
There is a non-tamper holographic seal on the device when you buy it. If someone removed the seal before it got to you it would leave noticeable marks. This provides another level of security to make sure no one has tampered with it.
The numbers on the keyboard shift each time you use them. This prevents anyone from copying your keystrokes.
- On par with the Ledger Nano S.
- The price may put some people off.
- Easier to use with the new interface.
- They can be tough to get as they are the latest wallet available.
What Is The Best Hardware Wallet?
Trezor have been around longer but the Ledger Nano S is currently a cheaper device that does the same thing.
The model T is a step up for Trezor and has a nice touchscreen. We give them both an equal recommendation. Both devices are often on back order so it may come down to who has their product available and ready to ship.
Many crypto hodlers own Trezor and Ledger products.
Either device will do the job and keep your crypto safe.
We first started using Exodus for registering EOS.
It’s a desktop wallet that has a friendly user interface.
The Exodus website has many tutorials and videos that make using Exodus easy, even for a beginner.
There is a backup and restore process using a 12-word seed. The wizard walks you through the process during the wallet setup. You secure the seed backup with a password.
Trading coins is possible using the built-in exchange powered by Shapeshift.
You generate and encrypt your wallet private keys on your computer. You are the only person who has access to them. Your keys or personal information are never stored by Exodus on their servers.
Exodus is available for Windows (64-bit), Mac OS and Linux.
Learn how to install Exodus here.
- The interface is clean and easy to use.
- Trading on the exchange is expensive.
- Their customer service is good.
- Unless you install Exodus on a computer used only for your crypto, it is accessible to hackers. Every time you are online. It is as safe as your computer is.
- You should only use Exodus to store small amounts of crypto.
They give you a 12-word recovery phrase but your details are online and at risk of a hack. Blockchain cannot access your wallet or resend or change your password if you lose it.
There is a security center that takes you through the different levels. It starts with verifying your email address at level 1.
We have noticed claims online that Blockchain is not safe and that people have lost their crypto. Even if some of the claims are true, the details are not known. It could have been through user error.
There are complaints about their customer service. We did some searches and their team seems to be active in answering complaints on the App sites.
Blockchain recommends you set up your wallet with 2FA. We do as well.
If you can’t do that they can send an SMS text to your phone. We do not recommend that.
Even so, we recommend you do not use a phone App for any crypto transactions.
- Some improvements are happening with the Blockchain wallet.
- The ability to buy and sell is huge. With their large user base, they could give Coinbase a run for their crypto. Estimates say they have more than double the users.
- The main issue is that Blockchain is a hot wallet. When there is a third party involved, the security risk is much higher.
- We applaud the steps Blockchain are taking.
- Blockchain is Okay to use but there are security risks.
My Ether Wallet (MEW)
MEW has a lot of options for viewing, sending, and receiving ethereum and ERC-20 tokens. You can also generate your own wallet.
New users note: You cannot use it for bitcoin transactions.
We like the fact that they store nothing, and you are in control of your keys and securing your crypto.
There is a risk that you may lose your UTC/JSON backup file or password. A multiple backup strategy will ensure this does not happen.
The safest way to use MEW is with a hardware wallet such as a Nano S or Trezor.
You can interact with smart contracts.
There are a lot of phishing sites and fake MEW sites.
You can use Metamask to make it more secure.
We have a great tutorial here on how to use MyEtherWallet.
MEW is the next step up. Once you start investing in altcoins, you will feel comfortable with crypto transactions. Using MEW shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
We have to mention MyCrypto.
The two people responsible for MyEtherWallet, Taylor Monahan and Kosala Hemachandra split.
Taylor Monahan then started MyCrypto wallet.
The interface has a familiar look and feel to MEW. Since the beta release, there are some new features that set it apart.
Anyone who has used MEW will find using MyCrypto easy.
It has the same features like creating a wallet and sending and receiving coins. It also supports ERC-20 coins.
You can use MetaMask to swap coins using the integrated Shapeshift exchange.
MEW has been around much longer and we have used it a lot. MyCrypto has now gone live and it feels smooth to use and works the same way.
It has some nice touches like the Gas price slider and the ability to scan for any tokens you have. It loads them for you. One click shows the token values compared to fiat currency.
A feature called Shepherd will retry your failed transactions. You don’t have to do it manually anymore. There’s a view transaction history feature that displays your recent transactions. So there’s no need to expose your private keys to use it.
Requesting payments is easier with the use of QR codes. They do this by implementing EIP-681. A format for payment requests that uses a URL.
They have a Mobile Parity Signer. This is an offline mobile APP for Android and iOS. It stores your keys but never connects to the internet. This gives the user watch only accounts while keeping their keys safe. It is on a mobile phone, so this is something we will monitor.
There are now tougher security measures based on a Cure53 Audit.
- MyCrypto feels nicer to use than MyEtherWallet.
- It only went live on 05/15/2018 and we haven’t had time to punish the site. So far it seems great.
- We need to see if there are security issues and what the mass-user experience is like.
- If MyCrypto is as good as our first impressions we all agreed that we would choose it over MEW.
- It’s still too new to give it more stars.
Since our original review, we are now recommending MyCrypto OR MyEtherWallet. MyCrypto has impressed us so far and is on par with MEW.
Keeping Up To Date
We will update once we use and test other wallets. These are a solid start for any new crypto trader to begin with and will cover most of your needs.
Most newcomers keep their crypto on the exchange they buy them from. Find the best ones here.
This is Okay for small amounts.
If you can’t afford to lose it, don’t leave it on any exchange.
Which Wallet Should You Choose?
1. Ledger Nano S
A secure wallet we have used a lot. We understand that no one is going to buy a hardware wallet on the first day but you should get one as soon as you can.
Another equally safe choice when you are ready to buy a hardware wallet. Trezor have been around since 2013. A long time in the crypto world. This will protect your money as well as anything else on the market. Try and buy the Model T if you can afford it.
If you want to move your coins off the exchanges but do not want to buy a Nano S or Trezor use Exodus. Good if you only have a few of the bigger coins. Support for bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and other coins such as OmiseGo and Decred. Store small amounts only.
5. Paper Wallet
We urge you to read our extensive paper wallet tutorials starting with this one.
If you follow our articles, a paper wallet is a secure way to keep your crypto in cold storage.
All You Need
These wallets are a solid start for anyone getting into crypto. As things develop and companies release new products we will update our recommendations.
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Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. TBS does receive a fee if you buy something from the vendors.
* This article is for entertainment purposes only. You should not consider it advice. Please consult a wallet expert before using one.