Considering that you’re a loyal follower of our blog – at least we like to think that you are – we suspect that you have some Bitcoin to your name. Previously, we’ve explained how you can make sure that your Bitcoin remains safe and secure. In our guide we took a brief look at why choosing the right wallet is important, so we felt it was about time that we listed the wallets that the our team stands by.
You are going to find a wealth of wallet options out there – cold wallets, online wallets, in-built exchange wallets, and more – so it can represent a bit of a minefield at times. For our money – and yours – you won’t go too far wrong by using any of the following as a way to store your Bitcoin.
Ledger Nano S
If you’re serious about Bitcoin storage and aren’t afraid to part with a bit of cash to maintain total security – the Ledger Nano S is what you should be looking at. We always recommend that anyone with a large amount of BTC (or any other crypto for that matter) have a cold wallet storage option. The Ledger Nano S is currently the cheapest multi-currency hardware wallet option (if there is such a thing) at $65 – but it proves to the best all round option too.
Developed by a French start-up, the Ledger Nano S is a USB device that carries out cryptographic procedure checks for integrity of the instrument when powered on. When active, it uses an OLED screen and two side buttons to confirm any transactions. Through a PIN code and a 24-word recovery phrase, the device carries an impressive number of features – on top of being “cold” – which makes it arguably the perfect blend of security and flexibility. It should be noted that the Ledger Nano S also carries support for BTC, ETH, ETC, XRP, LTC, DOGE, ZEC, DASH, XMR, and STRAT.
The harsh reality is that of all Bitcoin wallet options out there, exchanges are by default the least secure. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t secure, it just means that the seamless flexibility provided when it comes to moving funds around are has a few drawbacks. Of all exchange-based wallets out there, we would probably rank Coinbase at the top of the pile. While it has faced some security issues in the past, it’s seemingly learned from both its own mistakes and the mistakes made by the likes of Mt. Gox. Now Coinbase ranks as one of the biggest exchanges in the world and rightfully so given its sheer popularity.
We wouldn’t advise anyone to store a moderate to large amount of Bitcoin solely via an exchange – as the risks are just too high. However, Coinbase provides ease of use, a “Vault” storage option, and two-factor authentication (2FA), which should keep your cryptocurrency out of the hands of others.
Straight to your smartphone or tablet, Electrum might be considered a Bitcoin wallet “alternative”, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming pretty popular. Amongst the Bitcoin community it has received glowing reviews, with it certainly being one of the most well-respected wallet apps around. Since it launched back in 2011, the Android app has earned an army of followers for a number of key reasons.
Created with usability in mind, it blends together a smooth interface with safety and reliability. Unlike most other wallet apps, every user is granted direct access to his or her private key – with Electrum not actually knowing what that is. The reality is that most online wallets and exchanges don’t allow you total control over your private key, which can make transactions slightly riskier. In these instances, you are putting complete trust in servers and little else, so it’s not a surprise to see that many want to seek out an alternative. Electrum also supports 2FA, along with various hardware and cold storage techniques as well.
Coinomi and MyCelium are worthy competitors to GreenBits, but both lose out due to changes they’ve made in how they function – with Coinomi alarmingly no longer being open source. GreenBits in its own right isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly a strong performer. Delivering a true cross-platform experience, you can freely use it on any device that runs Chrome, with it even having its very own GreenAddress Chrome extension. If a store, company, or person supports GreenBits, you can send funds without needing to wait on Blockchain confirmation, which certainly nullifies one of the most frustrating aspects of actually spending Bitcoin.
GreenBits also proves to be pretty security conscious as well, during setup all users will be given a 24-word code. This allows you to restore your wallet elsewhere, should you break or lose your Android device. This is on top of PIN and 2FA support, which should work to keep your GreenBits account under wraps.
If money is no object and you want an all singing, all dancing way to store your cryptocurrency, look no further than KeepKey. It’s the most expensive mass-produced hardware wallet on the market, coming in at $129 – almost double the price of the Ledger Nano S we mentioned above. However, you do get a bit more for your money. For starters, the device comes with a sleek looking 3.12″ OLED screen, with its visual display being a nice additional feature. As far as we know, KeepKey is also only one wallet allowing you to use your own firmware, for those that are interested in that kind of thing.
Like any hardware wallet, it features impressive security specs, many of which are “bank grade”. Unlike the Ledger Nano S, KeepKey is protected by a hologram sticker, which does go some way to explain the increased cost. Packed with PINs and codes aplenty, you really do get the feeling that KeepKey presents a vault-like experience, which is certainly going to please the security conscious among you. It’s certainly expensive, but if you have the funds, the KeepKey is probably a wallet worth looking at.
Keep your Bitcoin secure!
Never – and we really do mean never – take your Bitcoin wallet choice lightly. There have been too many cases of people “hodling” funds in places where security is lacking. If you want our advice, explore the wallet methods we’ve mentioned above, as they’ll like give you the security and spending flexibility you’re looking for.