1. How to choose a bitcoin wallet?
To start working with bitcoin, you will need a so-called wallet. Without it, you will not be able to make transactions, i.e. to send and receive cryptocurrency. The first step you must take is to find out what exactly you are going to use bitcoin for and then choose one of wallets from that list.
2. What kinds of wallets are available?
Bitcoin clients are available for almost all popular operating systems: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, iOS, Windows Phone and compatible with them. You can choose between several types: for PC (desktop), mobile, online wallets, hardware. It should also be noted that a number of wallets are multiplatform, that is, available on different OS and can be synchronized.
3. Bitcoin wallets for PC
You should consider installing special software on your PC or laptop if you plan to work with more or less significant amounts of money, and the question of security and safety of your funds is extremely important for you.
There are two types of bitcoin clients for PC: “thick” (heavy) and “thin” (light). The first requires downloading the entire blockchain, which will then be stored on your computer, taking up significant hard drive space. A light client accesses the blockchain through third-party services and therefore does not require it to be downloaded and stored.
The most famous of the “heavy” wallets is Bitcoin Core, the original client written based on the development of bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. It is considered the official client of the bitcoin network and therefore has a high level of security, privacy and stability. Also widely known is the Armory wallet, which runs on top of Bitcoin Core, extending its functionality.
Among the “light” clients is Electrum, designed to make working with the network as fast and easy as possible for users. The latter also has separate versions for such cryptocurrencies as Litecoin and DASH.
4. Mobile bitcoin wallets
These are designed to be installed on iOS and Android smartphones. Mobile wallets are primarily aimed at users who spend most of their time not at a desktop computer. Offering access to bitcoins anytime, anywhere, they are also ideal for paying for goods and services in stores or restaurants.
The most popular clients, including Jaxx, Electrum, Bread, Edge, Blocktrail and others, typically offer the ability to pay with QR codes or contactless NFC technology.
5. Online Wallets
Online wallets are considered a good way for novice users to learn how bitcoin works. They do not require any software downloads, and one can log into such a wallet from any device anywhere with internet access. Such wallets provide a standard set of functions: sending and receiving funds, address books, notifications, etc.
Despite the obvious at first glance advantages over desktop or mobile versions, the main disadvantage of online wallets is the safety of your funds, because a third party is responsible for it. If the service is hacked, you may well lose all your coins.
6. Hardware Wallets
Hardware wallets (HD-wallets) are a separate kind of bitcoin wallet. Basically, they are separate external devices that are connected to your computer or mobile gadget via USB or radio signal. Such a wallet can also be completely self-contained. HD wallets offer a number of advantages over traditional wallets – not only are they easy to manage, but they provide a new level of security.
However, this type of bitcoin storage is not as convenient for everyday use, so hardware wallets are more suitable for investors who own large amounts of cryptocurrency.
Some of today’s best-known HD wallet models include Trezor, Ledger Nano S, and KeepKey.