The 7 Best Bitcoin Wallets of 2019
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Bitcoin has taken the world by storm, offering a currency alternative to the government-backed currencies we all know from daily use. Proponents argue that the digital currencies are easier, safer and offer better privacy than traditional currencies. Because the value of a Bitcoin compared to the U.S. dollar and other currencies has skyrocketed over the last couple of years, it has shown up on some people’s radar as an investment opportunity as well.
Before you put a dollar into Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, it is important to understand the risks. Bitcoin could easily double in value over the next few years, but it could just as easily drop to near zero in value. Only put in what you can afford to lose because there is a chance you won’t get it back. If you understand the risks and you’re ready to move forward, any of these best Bitcoin wallets should have you covered.
Coinbase is one of the easiest ways to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies, which earns it the first spot on this list. With Coinbase, you can connect to a U.S. bank account and easily transfer dollars in or out of your dollar wallet. You can use those dollars, or transfer in new ones, to buy and sell. In addition to Bitcoin, Coinbase currently supports Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin. There are constant rumors of additional currencies like Ripple getting support from Coinbase as well.
While the big upside of Coinbase is ease of use, that is offset with some worries about security. Mt. Gox was at one point the dominant platform for Bitcoin and other currencies. That is until it was hacked and lost nearly half a billion dollars in user currency. But Coinbase did learn from Mt. Gox’s loss, and has very firm security in place and regularly updates and improves the entire user experience.
Trezor isn’t a full buying and selling platform like Coinbase. Instead, it is simply a place to store your Bitcoin. Trezor is a physical device that plugs into your computer, tablet or phone to access your coins. The Trezor wallet works with multiple currencies and works as a password manager, two-factor authentication device and other useful features.
This wallet offers some protections against lost passwords and lost devices, but you should learn from other’s sad lessons and make sure that never, ever happens. The entire point of this digital Bitcoin wallet is to keep others from stealing your Bitcoin, so you can assume the recovery process is not necessarily an easy one.
Electrum is a software wallet, which means your Bitcoin is stored in a set of files on your laptop or desktop computer. It is currently available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Android. Electrum can work with some physical wallets and has some flexibility compared to just using a hardware wallet like the Trezor.
The big benefit is that you can quickly get up and running and store your Bitcoin on your own computer. But if that computer crashes, is lost in a house fire, or ends up hacked or corrupted, you could lose your coins. The app does support a recovery process and allows you to create a physical “cold storage” with a printed or handwritten set of keys.
Blockchain is the technology that allows Bitcoin and other digital currencies to exist. Expect to hear more about Blockchain far beyond the digital currency world. Blockchain.info is similar to Coinbase in that it is an online wallet, but you can’t buy or sell directly through Blockchain, which means your Bitcoin storage is separate from your Bitcoin marketplace.
Because it isn’t a full exchange, it is considered to be more secure than a site like Coinbase, where you can bet that bad guys are constantly attempting to hack. If you are not a “computer person,” using an exchange like Coinbase is much easier. This separation adds a level of security, but also a level of complexity in your Bitcoin use.
Robinhood started as a free stock trading platform and has recently expanded to include support for options and other investments, including cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Robinhood is both a wallet and an exchange, so like Coinbase everything is in one place. Robinhood is a mobile-first platform and has not even rolled out the Web version to all stock trading customers.
But what really sets Robinhood apart is the cost: free. There are no commissions when buying or selling Bitcoin, just like stocks on the platform. Some may argue it is less secure for reasons we already discussed, but if it is secure enough for your stocks, it is secure enough for your coins.
Exodus is a software wallet like Electrum, but much more beautiful and more intuitive to use. It offers similar benefits for security but looks a lot different. The desktop only wallet turns your digital currencies, Bitcoin and many others, into a portfolio with graphs and charts. You can exchange coins through the app with ShapeShift exchange integration in addition to storage.
There is no account setup, so your currency and wallet are just for you. Be careful with that computer! Exodus includes private key encryption and other useful security tools. Thanks to the portfolio and graphic views, it is great for anyone with a background in investing who wants to jump to digital currency.
Mycelium is a mobile-only Bitcoin wallet, with Android and iPhone versions available. Mycelium is known for being a bit more complicated to use than some other Bitcoin wallets. But advanced users should be just fine navigating the experience.
There is no Web or desktop interface but as many people now use their phone as their primary computer, that may not be a reason to be scared off from trying it out. It is very secure, allows for anonymity and keeps your Bitcoin in your pocket or bag pretty much everywhere you go.