There are numerous ways to store your crypto assets. Different types of wallets include hardware, web, desktop, mobile, and browser extensions. The following article dives into each category’s most user-friendly wallets for beginners.
Digital assets, like cryptocurrencies, offer an alternative to banks. However, it also means you are held liable for your own losses. For this reason, a slew of companies have set out to create their own version of a safe digital wallet. Different types of wallets include hardware, web, desktop, mobile, and browser extensions. The following article discusses each category briefly, and the most user-friendly wallet for beginners within each.
A hardware wallet is a secure device that stores a user’s private keys and can be disconnected from the internet. Being offline, it is also known as a “cold wallet.” By securing crypto on a physical device, it is considered the safest option for protecting crypto assets.
So, which hardware wallet is best for beginners? There are several options on the market, such as the Ledger Nano S, the Ledger Nano X, the Trezor One, and KeepKey. Each have their own benefits. However, the one that stands out for the easiest usability is the Trezor T.
- An improved version of Trezor One.
- The device sports a touchscreen.
- Holds 1,064 coins, including Ripple (XRP), Cardano (ADA), Monero (XMR), and Tezos (XTZ), which are not available with Trezor One.
- It is compatible with computers running Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
- It generates a random pin code from the device every time you unlock and connect it to the internet.
- If the wallet is lost, it can be recovered by a 24-word seed and pass phrase.
By far the most user-friendly, it does come at a cost. Being one of the most expensive hardware wallets, it’s priced at $159, which is almost double the price of Trezor One and other options on the market.
A web wallet stores the private key on a server which is online and controlled by a third party. Since the user doesn’t have direct knowledge of this key, it’s easier to use but less secure. Therefore, you need to trust the third party company which could be vulnerable to hacks.
However when looking at each web wallet, the safest bet is going with the company that has the best track record. Coinbase, for example, has never been hacked and is considered very user-friendly.
- With Coinbase it is simple to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies. The ability to connect your bank account allows you to buy crypto using dollars or euros in the wallet.
- The wallet holds up to 28 different cryptocurrencies
- A lot of time went into the user interface, making it super friendly for anyone to use.
Mt. Gox was once a dominant web wallet platform, but saw half a billion of its funds stolen. It’s safe to say, Coinbase has learned from Mt. Gox and has updated and improved its security. It is important to be cautious with storing your Crypto on Coinbase. It is recommended if you are not actively buying or trading and instead holding, to move it onto a hardware wallet.
Desktop wallets can be downloaded and installed on a computer. Private keys are stored on the device’s hard drive, so it is more secure than mobile wallets, but less secure than hardware wallets.
Wallets connected to the internet in some way are known as “hot wallets.” It is not recommended to store any significant amount of digital assets on these wallets for longer periods of time. Instead, hot wallets are more useful for buying and selling rather than long-term storage, which is much safer on hardware wallets.
There are a number of desktop wallets including Electrum, Bitcoin Core, Copay, and Armory. However, the best desktop wallet for beginners is Exodus.
- Compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux
- The interface is super easy to use for newbies
- It support 110 cryptocurrencies for trading
- It does not require any registration of your identity
- The company does not have access to the private key
Unlike Coinbase, Exodus is meant only for the trading and holding of cryptocurrency. You can not buy crypto with dollars or euros, however, and this makes it difficult for beginners wanting to buy crypto. Nevertheless, its interface is easy to use and can get you started right away with ease.
Mobile wallets are downloadable apps for smartphones. These wallets are especially convenient for making payments at stores with crypto Point of Sale (POS) systems, where you can pay in crypto by mobile device.
- Available for both Android and IOS, Coinami only takes minutes to set up the wallet
- Although also available on desktop, the mobile interface is simple and beginner-friendly
- Supports 181 cryptocurrencies
- No fees for sending crypto
- Built-in simple crypto exchange
- Allows to purchase crypto using a debit card by using the 3rd party service Simplex
Ultimately, mobile wallets are only as secure as the device they are stored on. If the user were to fall victim to any malware or password-stealing trojans and phishing schemes, the private keys to the wallet (and all of the funds in them) are at risk of being stolen.
A browser extension wallet is a plugin more popularly used with Chromium and supported in Chrome, Firefox, and Brave browser. The wallets are located within the browser, and users are able to unlock it via a password and can back it up with a seed phase.
Although some blockchain companies such as Aerternity’s Waellet have their own browser extensions, the most widely known wallets are Metamask, which supports Ethereum tokens, and Badger, which supports Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
Browser extensions are more popular with the use of Web 3.0. Due to Ethereum leading the way for the majority of Dapps on the market, Metamask has become the most useful wallet browser extension tool.
- Setup the wallet in 5 minutes
- One-step signature to become a user on Web 3 dapp and earn or spend crypto on the dapp’s platform
- Allows for easy transaction to other wallets, and supports all Ethereum tokens on the market
One downside to Metamask, however, is that users are not able to trade or buy crypto using Metamask. The extension is primarily used for receiving and sending payments, including its web 3 interactions. For beginners who want to interact with Web 3 dapps, Metamask is the recommended desktop browser extension, especially considering most Dapps allow users to utilize Metamask to sign up.
It is safe to say that crypto wallets are still in their infancy. Improvements with security and usability are expected to continue as the market matures. For the time being, the wallets mentioned here should help beginners get into the space.
Remember to make sure to use “hot wallets” for online activity, buying and selling crypto. Hardware wallets, on the other hand, should be used for long-term storage. For connecting to Web 3 dapps, Metamask is leading the way and is fairly easy to use. Although Web wallets are considered even easier to use, they are the least secure, being from a third party.
Ultimately, these wallet options turn users into their own banks. While they give users independence, they also assume all the risk. As such, users should do everything they can to secure their funds in a reliable digital wallet.