September 21, 2021

Best Crypto Wallet

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Crypto wallets are widely considered the safest place to keep your cryptocurrency. But which crypto wallet is best for you?

Best Cryptocurrency Wallets
  1. Ledger Nano X (Cold)
  2. Trezor Model T (Cold)
  3. Ledger Nano S (Cold)
  4. Exodus (Hot)
  5. Electrum (Hot)
  6. Mycelium (Hot)
  7. Coinbase Wallet (Hot)
  8. Trust Wallet (Hot)

Now that you bought some crypto, where are you going to store it?

While some people keep it on the exchange where they bought it, there are many other options. You might use a cold wallet or even put it in an interest-earning account.

Below, review your options for storing crypto and how they differ.

What is a Crypto Wallet?

In the broadest terms, a crypto wallet is a way to store your cryptocurrency and keep it safe.

How do these wallets work? It helps to understand the nature of crypto. Here's what we mean:

  1. First, crypto isn't physical. You can't just stuff it in a real wallet, or your pants pocket, or under your bed. That means you also can't keep it in a bank vault. Like crypto itself, the solution for storing crypto must be digital.

  2. Second, crypto "storage" doesn't involve storing crypto. What your wallet actually stores are called public and private keys. These are used to validate transactions on the blockchain. You see, crypto isn't actually stored anywhere.

The blockchain (or blockchains, since there are more than one) is a public ledger of every cryptocurrency transaction ever made.

The keys stored on your wallet allow you to interface with the blockchain, to access your crypto, to send or receive it, and to check your balance.

When someone "sends" you Bitcoin, what they're doing is making a record on the Blockchain that those coins now belong to your wallet, represented as a unique address.

Your balance will increase, and theirs will decrease proportionately.

What are public and private keys?
Every wallet has a set of public and private keys. The public key is what you use to receive crypto transfers. It's the way of identifying your account on the network, and can be searched on the ledger. The private key is what you use to sign transactions, and proves you own the corresponding public key. As the name suggests, you should keep it private. Never share it under any circumstances. As a popular saying goes among the crypto community: Not your keys, not your coins.

Types of Cryptocurrency Wallets

Depending on the type of technology used, cryptocurrency wallets are typically divided into three types: Cold, hot, and paper wallets.

Each has its own distinct characteristics and knowing how they differ will help you pick the best wallet for your needs.

Hot Wallets:
A hot cryptocurrency wallet is actually a software program used to store your cryptocurrency. There are desktop and mobile versions, and many are offered as part of or in partnership with cryptocurrency exchanges (like the Coinbase Wallet or the Trust Wallet promoted by Binance).

Importantly, hot wallets store cryptocurrency online. And while the companies that run them employ a wide range of security measures to keep them safe, the truth is they are vulnerable to being hacked by malicious actors.

While you do sacrifice some security with hot wallets, you might feel they make up for it in terms of convenience, as it's typically easier to access and use your crypto from a hot wallet than a cold one.

Cold Wallets:
Cold wallets offer increased security by taking your information offline. Offline storage and cold storage are two terms used interchangeably in crypto.

Many well-known exchanges promote the fact that they keep 97% or more of their crypto in cold storage at any given time, which should give you an indication as to how secure it is.

Cold wallets typically come in the form of small, USB-like devices that can fit in your pocket. In most cases, when you want to make a transaction, you'll connect your cold wallet to your PC or mobile device, and enter a pin or password.

Once that's done, you'll be able to send and receive crypto as you wish.

The $5 Wrench Attack:
Just as it's not generally considered a good idea to wave about a fistful of $100 bills, if you happen to own a large amount of crypto, it's best not to brag about it or post it publicly.

Conventional wisdom among the crypto community is that no matter how fancy the encryption on your wallet is, or how secure your private keys, it won't mean a thing to a determined thief with a $5 wrench. In this case, the best defense is not letting people know you own crypto in the first place.

Paper Wallets:
While we won't recommend any here, paper wallets can be a fairly secure option. A paper wallet can refer to either a physical copy of your public and private keys, or software used to generate keys to be printed.

You can receive funds to your paper wallet by using the public key, just as you would with any other wallet, and spend or withdraw them by transferring them to a software wallet, in a process sometimes referred to as "sweeping."

While not technically a "wallet", these crypto savings accounts are another good option for your crypto. Here are our favorites:
  1. BlockFi - Best Overall
  2. Nexo - Best for Daily Interest
  3. Celsius Network - Highest Rates
  4. Coinbase - Best for Crypto Beginners
  5. Gemini - Best Security

The 8 Best Crypto Wallets

Now that you know how wallets work, let's take a look at some of the highest-rated options out there. We'll start with the cold wallets, as they're generally more secure.

1. Ledger Nano X

Type: Cold
Cost to Purchase: $119
Connected Exchange: Yes
Compatible Hardware: Yes

The Nano X, one of the premier hardware wallets offered by Ledger, lets users connect to mobile and desktop devices through USB or Bluetooth.

It also has a large screen for ease of use.

This wallet is known for its capacity. It can install 100 apps at the same time, and supports over 1,800 coins including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and more.

It's small enough to easily fit in your pocket at about the size of an average USB drive. It connects via an included USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable.

It pairs with the Ledger Live app, which you can access through your phone or computer for easy access to your crypto, up-to-date prices, and management of your assets.

Ledger Live lets you buy crypto, quickly exchange for other cryptocurrencies, and even offers staking options.

It's compatible with Windows 8+, macOS 10.10+, and Linux, as well as iOS 9+ or Android 7+ on mobile.

2. Trezor Model T

Type: Cold
Cost to Purchase: $190
Connected Exchange: Yes
Compatible Hardware: Yes

The Trezor Model T is a hardware wallet with a full-color touchscreen display that allows you to do a lot on your device, including directly entering your PIN and passphrase through a beginner-friendly interface.

The Model T supports over 1,200 coins, and comes with an added password manager with encrypted storage on the cloud. Its security features are audited by independent researchers, and they have customer support ready to help if you have any questions. It also comes with a micro SD card.

It connects to the Trezor Suite on your computer or phone via USB-C, where you can check your balances, track market rates, and send or receive crypto. It's easy to get started in as little as 10 minutes, but also supports advanced features for expert users.

For peace of mind, Trezor offers an offline backup so you can recover your coins even if you should lose your device.

3. Ledger Nano S

Type: Cold
Cost to Purchase: $59
Connected Exchange: Yes
Compatible Hardware: Yes

The Ledger Nano S is Ledger's more affordable option, coming in at less than half the price of the Nano X and a third the price of Trezor's Model T.

Compared to the Nano X, this model is quite a bit more limited, but may offer the support necessary for the average crypto investor.

It's capable of installing up to 3 applications, depending on size, and supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, and Stellar, among a variety of other coins.

Like all Ledger products, it connects to Ledger Live, a useful app that enables users to track their crypto, manage their balance, features an exchange where they can buy and trade coins, and has staking options for those looking to grow their assets.

It connects via an included USB Type Micro-B cable, and is compatible with Windows 8+, macOS 10.10+, Linux, and with Android 7+ smartphones. You'll require an OTG kit to connect your Nano S to your desktop or smartphone.

Below, let's take a look at the top hot wallets available.

4. Exodus

Type: Hot
Cost to Purchase: Free
Connected Exchange: Yes
Compatible Hardware: Yes

Exodus offers a way to manage your cryptocurrency at home or on-the-go through their mobile and desktop wallet apps. They're beginner-friendly and easy to use, and offer simple solutions for storing and trading currency.

Exodus supports biometric login with face or fingerprint scanning, and their wallets currently work with over 140 different coins.

You can use either an address or QR code to send and receive crypto. To prevent you from sending your coins to the wrong person, Exodus checks addresses for errors every time.

To keep your data private, there's no registration or account setup required, and they encrypt private keys and transaction data.

Exodus's mobile app syncs with the desktop version, and they offer 24/7 live support so you know you're in good hands.

5. Electrum

Type: Hot
Cost to Purchase: Free
Connected Exchange: No
Compatible Hardware: Yes

Electrum is a secure, open-source hot wallet for more advanced and tech-savvy users.

One of the older wallets around, Electrum debuted in 2011 and it hasn't changed all that much since. It only supports Bitcoin, but its customizable nature may make it appealing to some traders.

Electrum allows you to set your own transaction fees, as well as choosing what level of security you're after.

For example, you can choose to use a multi-signature wallet or add two-factor authentication, or make your seed longer with extra words. You can also decide whether you want to work with Segwit (Segregated Witness) or legacy Bitcoin.

Users can export their private keys for use with other Bitcoin clients, and Electrum supports third-party plugins that make it compatible with hardware wallets as well.

6. Mycelium

Type: Hot
Cost to Purchase: Free
Connected Exchange: Yes
Compatible Hardware: Yes

Mycelium is a reproducible software wallet for those interested in non-custodial storage of their coins. It's open-source, works in incognito mode, and claims to be untraceable.

It works with Bitcoin, Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens, and even features an in-app exchange and trading platform.

You can also take advantage of their educational database to learn more about the world of crypto. This includes tips on how to store your cryptocurrency and how to make a backup in case you lose your phone.

Mycelium allows users to set their own miner fees, depending on whether they want quick or cheap processing on their payments (you can't necessarily get both).

To protect your privacy, Mycelium doesn't require ID or other identifiers for sign up, and they support paper wallet and watch only accounts in addition to being compatible with hardware wallets from Trezor, Ledger, and KeepKey.

7. Coinbase Wallet

Type: Hot
Cost to Purchase: Free
Connected Exchange: Yes
Compatible Hardware: No

Current or future Coinbase users may be interested in the Coinbase Wallet, a safe alternative to keeping their coins on the exchange.

Despite being a Coinbase product, you don't need a Coinbase account to download and use their wallet on your mobile device. You can, however, easily transfer funds between the Coinbase exchange and your wallet.

It supports a wide range of products including ERC-20 Tokens, NFTs, and decentralized apps (DApps), and supports the ability to shop at merchants that accept crypto, and, of course, send and receive crypto as needed.

The Coinbase Wallet is noncustodial, meaning you, not Coinbase, have full control of your public and private keys.

You can switch from existing wallets like Metamask and MyEtherWallet. Your recovery phrase can be backed up via Google Drive or iCloud.

Read more: Coinbase Reivew

8. Trust Wallet

Type: Hot
Cost to Purchase: Free
Connected Exchange: Yes
Compatible Hardware: No

Trust Wallet is the hot wallet recommended by the popular exchange Binance. It supports an impressive 160k different assets and 53 blockchains.

In addition to safe storage of your crypto and stablecoins, with the Trust Wallet you can swap between different currencies, earn interest by staking, and buy more crypto directly via credit card.

It's compatible with Android and Apple devices. It also supports DApps and NFTs.

Bottom Line

When you're trading crypto, safety is a major concern, as there's often no recourse if your coins are lost or stolen. That's why it's so important to think carefully when you decide where to store your digital assets.

While there are plenty of people content to keep their coins on the exchange, those who are serious about security and ownership should consider owning a wallet of their own. Cold wallets are generally the most secure, but sacrifice convenience.

Noncustodial hot wallets offer a compromise between convenience and security greater than keeping coins on the exchange.

There's always risk involved in crypto ownership, but storing your crypto in one of these top wallets is a solid step toward keeping it safe.

Jeremy Harshman is a protector of art and writing at CreditDonkey, a crypto comparison and reviews website. Write to Jeremy Harshman at jeremy.harshman@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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Coinbase

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