For many newcomers, cryptocurrency trade is easier than the handling of their digital assets. There are various ways to store your tokens and each of them has its pros and cons. In this article we will try to outline each of them, leaving it up to you to decide what’s best for you.
It may be quite confusing for newbies to go straight for a single wallet, as the internet is flooded with controversial opinions. This only adds to the otherwise stressful world of crypto finance. Just think about it for a second, one really has to have balls to survive here – the market is extremely volatile, there is uncertainty regarding the regulation of the sector, every single day there are hacker’s attacks, and somehow we have to navigate our way through the ocean waves.
When it comes to storing cryptocurrencies, there are several methods to consider – what type of wallet should you choose, how secure it is, how can you level up its security. Some of the options are far easier to use, while others require more caution and dedication. The same goes for their protection – it may vary from very weak to super strong. So, without further ado, let’s kick off this guide.
Storing your tokens in an exchange
Perhaps, keeping your cryptocurrency coins in an exchange is the most convenient way to store them. We believe so because the only thing you have to do is open an account in an exchange, purchase the digital assets you like and keep them in your account. It is that simple. Of course, you can always relocate your coins to another wallet or add new tokens in a nick of time.
This method is great especially if you are a quick trader. Let’s say that you monitor certain tokens and you want to sell them or purchase more of them when their value reaches a certain price. You are virtually able to sell off hundreds of them right on the spot because they are already on your wallet within the exchange. This is a major advantage. In contrast, if you use different wallets you have to first relocate your coins to your account in the exchange and then sell them. This consumes time and you might miss the moment.
Unfortunately, exchanges have their drawbacks as well. Since not all of them have the resources to protect their databases, exchanges are prone to hackers’ attacks. This year, Coinrail, BitGrail, Coinsecure, Bithumb, and Coincheck collectively lost over $640 million worth of cryptocurrencies due to hacks.
That being said, leaving your wallets in a centralized exchange is a bit of a gamble. We know it sounds lucrative to use in-house wallets but please for the sake of your financial balance do not leave large sums in them.
Usually, when you buy tokens via an exchange, the system automatically creates a wallet for you. Regardless of the cryptocurrency you’ve just purchased, in-house wallets can store it. This is not the case with crypto-specific wallets. We are not discussing the security of different exchanges here because we have seen even the industry giants taking a blow. However, we have to note that decentralized exchanges are much more secure compared to their centralized counterparts.
I don’t know why but every time someone mentions the phrase “desktop wallet” I come to think of Ripple (Rippex) Desktop Wallet. Perhaps because it takes less than 10 minutes to set it up and perhaps because it looks like an official wallet. Unfortunately, the service was disabled at the beginning of April. So, in other words, don’t go for Rippex as it has no support.
You understand it is impossible to cover all desktop wallets in this article just because some wallets store only one cryptocurrency. Still, if you are new to the crypto world and need some help regarding Bitcoin wallets, here are some top-notch examples:
Exodus has been around for almost two years now. It is gaining traction for two particular reasons – it is user-friendly and it is easy to navigate. These two features are crucial to newcomers. What we also like about it is that you can store over 85 altcoins in it. This is super convenient as you don’t have to install multiple wallets on your PC or laptop.
The downside is that it is not open-source. When it comes to cryptocurrencies you have to be careful about that. The space is not regulated and if the company behind Exodus decides to screw you up, nothing will stop it. The developers can just insert a malicious code and then stage a hacker’s attack. Boom! All tokens gone. For your own safety, refrain from storing large sums in it.
Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Well, if you like fancy looks, you are definitely going to hate Electrum. It is ugly as…Windows 95, I guess. Anyways, it is a little bit complex and you got to have some experience in the crypto world to navigate your way through it. Despite that, it is one of the most trusted open-source desktop wallets out there. Since many independent developers regularly review its code, it is virtually impossible for the bad actors to sneak a malicious script in it. However, as any other wallet that stores information on your computer, it is not to be trusted for more than a couple of bucks. Plus, it was targeted by hackers earlier this year.
Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Green Address insists that its watch-only mode is safe yet, something you would enjoy. Via username and passwords, it allows you to check your balance and review transaction even in public networks. The idea is that you don’t need to input your private keys to do that. Green Address supports multisig and 2FA (two-factor authentication), which is never a bad idea.
The problem with desktop wallets, in general, is their access to the internet. Unless you don’t have a desktop wallet installed on a separate computer you only connect to the internet when you trade, then hackers can compromise your device. It is a piece of cake for the experienced cybercriminals to sneak into ordinary people’s laptops. Once they do that, they can easily drain your wallet.
In many cases, renowned desktop wallets have trustworthy (to a certain extent) mobile versions as well. If you are to go for a wallet strictly designed for mobile devices then you might want to try Freewallet, Airbitz, Jaxx, and Infinito Wallet. Most of them run both on iOS and Android.
Now before you head for a mobile wallet consider this. Mobile devices offer even less security compared to PCs and laptops. There are several reasons for that. First of all, your wallet might not be compromised itself but other apps could be. If you download an app infected with a malware then you can say goodbye to your cryptocurrencies. Besides, what happens when you drop your smartphone in the underground? We all know the answer.
A hardware wallet could be any device that is not connected to the internet. Virtually a hard drive could be used as a cold storage, too. The problem is, not every cold storage makes for an ultra-secure cryptocurrency wallet. On the other hand, there are hardware wallets that are specifically built to keep your tokens safe.
Cold wallets do not just store your funds offline. They offer way more than just being a convenient hard drive. They have additional security layers such as PIN, passwords, and recovery seeds. Cold wallets take crypto security to a whole new level because you have to approve manually each and every transaction by pushing a physical button. You don’t press the button on the device and the transaction is never settled. Plus, even if you lose your device, there is a way to recover your funds. Check how here.
Trezor was one of the first hardware wallets on the market. And we have to say it is still one of the community favorites. And you know the crypto community has high standards. In short, it works in temperatures from way below zero to tropical heats. Learn more about Trezor.
The company behind these extraordinary wallets emerged in 2014 and during its short lifespan, it proved over and over again that it takes crypto and blockchain security very seriously. Both Ledger Nano S and Ledger Blue are out of this world. More detailed info, here.
KeepKey may not be as popular as Ledger and Trezor but it is just as badass. In fact, what we really like about it is its metal body. And be metal we mean real solid metal. It integrates just perfect with other crypto applications such as Electrum and MultiBit HD as well as with its own KeepKey Chrome app. See more.
If you really really really want to add even more to your cryptocurrency security, then you might like Crypto Key Stack. It is a stainless steel cold storage that is virtually indestructible. A full guide on how to use it properly is available right here.