As the global economy struggles to recover from the shock treatment delivered by the pandemic, cryptocurrencies seem to be strengthening their resolve to scale new heights. In the past few days, against the backdrop of US Dollar’s not so stellar performance on the forex market, analysts are expecting Bitcoin to gain more value.
The changing economic scenario is expected to encourage more people to adopt cryptocurrencies, which also means that there is going to be an influx of new members into the Bitcoin community and a lot of them would be looking for ways to handle the new asset class in their portfolio. Any crypto-related transaction will require a wallet and creating a cryptocurrency wallet is the first and almost unavoidable step one needs to take in order to own Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.
There are so many Bitcoin wallets out there, which one to consider? It is not going to be an easy decision as there are different kinds of wallets, each with their own advantages, disadvantages, and associated complexities. Here are few crypto wallets that may suit the requirements and assure the safety of funds, as long as one doesn’t get too careless.
Bitcoin Core Wallet
Bitcoin Core wallet is the very first cryptocurrency wallet, that is part of the Bitcoin blockchain. It is also the most secure and feature-rich wallet that incorporates all the functionalities supported by Bitcoin. The wallet is part of the Bitcoin client and contains a full node that is responsible for validating and relaying transactions over the Bitcoin network. The Bitcoin Core wallet is open-source software and offers the highest level of privacy as users can generate addresses, connect over any secure network of their liking, and also set whatever fees they want for each transaction. When it comes to safety, the Bitcoin Core wallet is installed on the user’s computer and as long as the computer itself or the private key is not compromised, there is no way anyone can hack into it.
However, Bitcoin Core comes with one huge drawback, literally. Downloading and using Bitcoin Core wallet means downloading an entire Bitcoin node with transaction records etc., dating back to the day Bitcoin was launched, which makes it a ridiculously HUGE software that is close to 200GB in size.
Unless you are an enthusiast, a developer, or someone who wants to see how Bitcoin Core wallet works, using the Bitcoin Core wallet could become a hassle.
Electrum is another popular Bitcoin wallet that has been around for close to a decade. Available since 2011, the Electrum Bitcoin wallet is available for all devices and it was one of the most widely used wallet applications before other alternatives cropped up. There are many people who still swear by the Electrum wallets.
Electrum wallets have undergone various iterations so far, keeping up with the developments in the cryptocurrency industry to provide high levels of security to its users at all times. The wallet is a lot easier to use than the Bitcoin Core wallet and allows users to create wallets with additional security features like two-factor authentication, multi-sig wallet, etc. Apart from creating and using a fresh wallet, Electrum also allows users to import other Bitcoin blockchain wallets by entering the respective wallet’s seed or master key. It can also be used to manage hardware wallets.
Like the Bitcoin Core wallet, the Electrum wallet allows users to stay in control of their funds and private keys. The private keys from the Electrum wallet can also be exported and used on other supported wallets to access funds. Electrum application is available for Windows, Linux, OSX, and Android, but doesn’t support iOS and browser client.
Ledger Nano X
While the previous two wallets are software-based applications, Ledger Nano X is a popular hardware wallet device that supports Bitcoin and a lot of other cryptocurrencies. Hardware wallets are devices that are exclusively built to secure cryptocurrencies and Ledger Nano X is one of the latest products with an easy to use interface and can be managed by connecting it to mobile or desktop application. The Ledger Nano X hardware wallet uses a custom OS and comes with an in-built secure chip that stores the private key. Further, access to the device itself is restricted by a PIN, which the user is required to set before putting it to use. During the setup phase, users are also required to note down and confirm the seed phrase displayed on the device. The seed phase can be used later on another device to recover the funds in case the hardware wallet is lost.
Hardware wallets are the most secure option currently available for crypto users to store their Bitcoin or altcoins. They are akin to storing the coins in cold storage. However, these devices have to be purchased and are worth the small investment when it comes to safeguarding the crypto assets. The Ledger Nano X device costs upwards of $100.
A relatively new entrant to the cryptosphere, Bitamp offers an online blockchain wallet that is easy to use and can be accessed directly from the browser. The open-source client-side Bitcoin wallet can be created in no time by just clicking on a button and copying the generated seed phrase. Once the wallet is created, it can be used like just any other wallet to send, receive, and store bitcoins. The platform doesn’t impose any limit on the number of wallets one can create, and all wallet operations are conducted locally on the user’s browser itself.
The privacy-centric, convenient browser wallet doesn’t access or store any information like wallet seeds, private keys, IP addresses, or browser details to ensure all transactions remain as anonymous as possible. Users can just close the browser once the transaction is completed to prevent others from accessing it. If they want to access the wallet again, they will have to open Bitamp website and enter the copied seed phrase for the particular wallet they want to open. The Bitamp wallet works flawlessly on VPN and TOR network, and it also has its own official TOR address on which users can access their wallet without worrying about someone tracking their activities. The Bitamp seed is also compatible with other wallets including Electrum and Ledger Nano X, to ensure that users always stay in control of their funds.
The Bitamp wallet is tailored for everyone, but it is especially useful for those who make a lot of bitcoin transactions, as they can create different wallets for each transaction for added privacy. However, care should be taken to copy and store the seed phrase in a secure place before conducting transactions as that is the only way to access the wallet.
The Bitamp wallet is completely free, and the code is available on GitHub for verification.
These four wallets are all different from each other in many ways, and yet do a good job at protecting users’ bitcoins. There are plenty of other options available as well, and a lot of them are free to use. Users can do their research, test the features offered by different wallets and then decide upon the one they feel works the best for them.