For a loud section of the Bitcoin community, properly storing the crypto is the whole game.
With little interest in spending, “hodlers” occupy themselves with accumulating more BTC and keeping what they have.
While the strict “hodl forever” strategy is unbefitting to many, there are some lessons to learn from those who successfully store their cryptocurrency over long periods.
Cryptocurrency, like most technology, allows you a range of options for properly storing it.
If you’re crazy and don’t care about your money, you can put it all on a mobile wallet. That’s all it takes. Storing Bitcoin isn’t much more complicated than that. Simply install a mobile wallet and receive some coin.
That method can be insecure for a number of obvious reasons. Hopefully you’ve already decided against it, at least for serious amounts.
“Security” is a relative term. What some consider secure enough, others will consider poor security. As a Bitcoiner, you’ve become your own bank.
If you were going to store your crypto on a mobile wallet, you’re just as safe to store it on an exchange like Coinbase. At least with Coinbase, you have some legal recourse if your funds ever go missing. You won’t have that with any given mobile wallet solution.
Your first and best option for long-term Bitcoin storage is definitely a hardware wallet. There are a lot of options to choose from, if you search “Bitcoin hardware wallet.” Many are off-brand or just unknown.
A few brands have emerged that many people trust, including Ledger, Trezor, and BC Vault.
Simply using a hardware wallet won’t fully secure you, however. You’ll need to follow the steps involved with a given wallet to ensure you’re as secure as you can be. With BC Vault, for example, you have the option to have as many as four forms of authentication for each wallet on the device.
Assuming you don’t consider it worthwhile to invest in a hardware wallet, another option is a paper wallet.
A paper wallet is essentially an offline crypto address that’s generated, to which you control the private key. You can generate one at Bitaddress.org, for example, which provides you a conveniently printable document.
The document can act much like cash, if you want it to. For units like USD Coin, it could very well be an alternative form of cash.
Your last option for storing crypto is perhaps the least reliable, but more secure than simply putting potentially millions in assets on an unknown mobile application.
What you can do is get a Raspberry Pi or a computer you don’t use for anything else, preferably one without WiFi, and put it online just long enough to download the wallet software you’d like to use and any security updates for your operating system. Then you can decide to only use that computer for crypto transactions.
This is more secure than many ways of storing Bitcoin, but definitely not the best option, as many things can go wrong.
In all cases, you should retain back-ups in whatever ways you’re sure can’t be compromised, and keep good care of your passwords and other sensitive data.