If you ever wondered how to safely store your crypto, keep on reading this article. You can buy and sell cryptocurrencies using a crypto exchange. Once you have bought cryptos, the next crucial step is storing them safely. This crypto wallets guide talks about the meaning of crypto wallets, their types, and keeping your cryptos secure using crypto wallets.
Cryptos don't exist in any physical form like fiat currencies (a $1 or $10 bill). The ownership of your cryptocurrencies is recorded in the blockchain. But, to exercise your ownership (to make transactions or send cryptos to others) over these cryptos you need something like a bank account with credentials. Crypto wallets act as bank accounts for your cryptos.
- 1. Public and Private Keys
- 2. What’s a Crypto Wallet?
- 3. Hot vs. Cold Crypto Wallets
- 4. Types of Hot Wallets
- 5. Types of Cold Wallets
- 6. Top 3 Hot Wallets in 2023
- 7. Top 3 Cold Wallets in 2023
- 8. Custodial v. Non-Custodial Wallets
- 9. How to Choose a Crypto Wallet?
- 10. Best Practices Regarding Using Crypto Wallets
- 11. How to Safely Store Your Crypto - FAQ
1. Public and Private Keys
You need an email ID to receive emails from senders across the world. However, having an email ID is not enough to be able to read those emails or send new emails to others. You need to have the passwords and other authentication details.
Cryptocurrencies use an encryption system called Public Key Encryption (PKE). So, crypto transactions involve a private and a public key. A public key is an address on the blockchain. Anyone can send cryptos to that address. So, it’s like your email ID.
Private keys are like your email’s password and other login credentials. A private key is a sequence of letters and numbers. You need this private key for crypto to use your cryptos, make cryptocurrency payments, and send cryptos to others. Together, public and private keys work like a combination of lock and key.
You can share your public key, like your email ID, with others. They need to have your crypto public key, like your bank account number, to send you cryptos. However, you need cryptocurrency private keys to access those cryptos, use them or send them to others. So, a crypto private key works like your ATM pin or log-in credentials for your Internet banking services. While your cryptos exist on the blockchain, you need a private keys such as Bitcoin private key to access those. If you would like to learn more about Bitcoin, read our free Bitcoin beginner's guide.
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So, while there is no problem sharing your crypto public keys, you must protect your cryptocurrency private keys. If someone gets access to both your public and private crypto keys, they can steal your cryptos. And, once stolen it’s nearly impossible to recover your cryptos. Also, if you lose your private keys, you will lose access to crypto assets.
So, how do you protect your private keys? The answer is simple, and it lies in safe crypto wallets. Keep reading this article to learn more, and do not forget to check out further information about the available bitcoin trading bonus offers. These bonuses can provide you with that extra edge you need to excel in the fast-paced world of Bitcoin trading.
2. What’s a Crypto Wallet?
You need a physical wallet to keep currency notes and coins. Similarly, a crypto wallet allows you to store your cryptos. Now, since cryptocurrencies don't exist in physical forms, crypto wallets don't hold your cryptos physically. Rather, a good crypto wallet is like a vault that keeps your private keys safe. You can use a crypto wallet to store your private keys for crypto and access them whenever required.
Best crypto wallets allow you to hold and use your cryptos and complete crypto transactions. So, crypto wallets are essential for you to participate in the crypto economy. Wallets for cryptocurrency come in different forms depending on their convenience and level of safety. People often call their crypto wallets Bitcoin wallet, Ethereum wallet, XRP wallet, or Solana wallet depending on their crypto holdings. Our team of experts at JohnnyBitcoin also invite you to check out one of our favourite crypto wallets at Metamask, which you can find at https://metamask.io/.
3. Hot vs. Cold Crypto Wallets
Based on accessibility, crypto wallets have two broad categories - hot wallets and cold wallets. Hot crypto wallets are connected to the Internet using your mobile or computer. Therefore, we can call hot wallets ‘online wallets’. For example, the Coinbase wallet is a hot wallet as the wallet is connected to the Internet. Hot wallets for crypto can be in different forms like a mobile crypto wallet, a desktop crypto wallet, or even as a browser extension wallet for cryptocurrency.
Cold crypto wallets are offline wallets as they store cryptos in a hardware device like a thumb drive. For example, Ledger Nano X crypto wallet is a cold wallet as it is a piece of hardware rather than an online application.
Since hot wallets for cryptocurrency are connected to the Internet, you can easily access them. However, if they are convenient, hot wallets have higher security risks. Comparatively cold wallets are less convenient but much safer.
|Parameter||Hot Wallets||Cold Wallets||Winner|
|Cost||Generally free or involves very low cost.||You need to buy an expensive storage device that can cost $50 to $250.||Hot wallets|
|Convenience||Easy to use as they are connected online.||Relatively inconvenient. You need to connect the device to the Internet every time you want to use your cryptos.||Hot wallets|
|Security||Relatively less secure as they can be potentially hacked to steal your cryptos.||Much more secure as the hardware devices stay offline. One needs to have physical possession of your wallet to steal cryptos.||Cold wallets|
|Examples||Mobile wallets or desktop wallets.||Hardware wallets and paper wallets.||-|
As you can see, both options have their advantages and disadvantages. It is important to know them to be able to choose the right option, or combination, for your own use. One of our favourite places to trade and store crypto safely is KuCoin, discover more about the brand and our Kucoin referral code by reading the article.
4. Types of Hot WalletsCrypto hot wallets can be of different types depending on how you access the crypto wallet of your choice. Here we listed, and described the most important types:
4.1 Mobile Wallets
These hot wallets for cryptocurrency are accessed through applications on smartphones. They are extremely convenient as you can use them on the go. However, these crypto wallets have certain security vulnerabilities. Some examples of mobile wallets are MetMask, Rainbow, and Trust Wallet.
4.2 Desktop-based wallets
These crypto wallets are installed on your computer desktop. These cryptocurrency wallets are also convenient as they provide better accessibility compared to cold wallets. Bitcoin Core crypto wallet, Electrum crypto wallet, and Exodus crypto wallet are some examples of desktop wallets.
4.3 Web-based wallets or browser wallets
These hot wallets for cryptocurrencies can be accessed through web browsers. Web-based crypto wallets are the least secure as they are subject to various types of phishing attacks. So, ideally, you should store only a small amount of cryptos in these wallets. Trust Wallet for crypto and cryptocurrency MetaMask wallet are available as cryptocurrency browser wallets too. If you are still confused, do not stress! JohnnyBitcoin has published a fantastic guide to cryptocurrency which you can read for free.
5. Types of Cold Wallets
Cold crypto wallets or offline wallets come in two different types. Here, we present you with a brief explanation of what they are and what they can offer.
5.1 Hardware wallet
Hardware crypto wallet are the most common type of cold wallet for cryptocurrency. These are one of the top crypto wallets, and they keep your private keys safe and secure in a hardware device like a crypto flash drive. You can connect this device to your computer while making a crypto transaction or transferring cryptos to your hot wallets. The Ledger Nano X and Trezor Model T are some examples of hardware wallets.
5.2 Paper Wallet
A paper wallet for cryptocurrency is nothing but a physical piece of paper on which you can write down your private keys for crypto. Paper wallets pose certain security risks as papers can be easily lost or damaged.
6. Top 3 Hot Wallets in 2023
There are numerous hot wallets in the market provided by crypto exchanges and other crypto and financial firms. These are our top 3:
6.1 Coinbase Wallet
- Best-in-industry wallet security
- Supports hundreds and thousands of tokens and dApps
- You can access cryptos, NFTs, and decentralized apps (dApps)
- Self-custody wallet (more on this shortly) giving you complete control over your cryptos
- Backed by Coinbase Exchange, the second largest crypto exchange in the world
6.2 Trust Wallet
- More than 60 million users
- Available as a mobile wallet, desktop wallet a browser extension
- Works on both Android and iOS devices
- Easy to use in 3 simple steps
- Offers staking to earn additional interest income
- Supports cryptos, NFTs and dApps
6.3 MetaMask Wallet
- Preferred by over 30 million global users
- Available as a mobile app and a browser extension
- A self-custodial wallet gives you full control over your crypto assets
- Best suited for the Ethereum blockchain, which is the main platform behind dApps, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and NFTs.
All those hot wallets can offer a great user experience, being at the same time a great option for beginners. We strongly advise not to forget about those three options when picking a hot wallet of your choice. For more information about the top-rated crypto exchanges on the market, check out our article.
7. Top 3 Cold Wallets in 2023
Cold wallets are excellent crypto storage options for you if you prioritize security over convenience. Here are our topic picks among the different cold wallets available in the market:
7.1 Trezor Model T Cold Wallet
- Most advanced and secure hardware wallet for storing cryptos
- Securely connects to your device using USB-C
- Supports 1000+ cryptos assets
- Designed for both new and expert users
- Offers advanced security features to mask identity, enhance recovery security and protect your private keys
- Price: $219
7.2 Ledger Nano X Cold Wallet
- Easy to connect using a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or desktop
- Can store up to 100 different crypto assets
- Provides multiple layers of security including a secure element chip and a PIN code
- Compatible with different operating systems like Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android
- The Ledger Live app provides support for over 5000 cryptos and guides you to set up the wallet
- Comes with a sleek and secure design
- Price: $149
7.3 SafePal S1 Cold Wallet
- One of the cheapest options in the hardware wallet space
- First hardware wallet supported by Binance Labs
- Fully decentralized - offering 100% ownership of your crypto assets
- Includes multiple layers of security sensors
- Designed with an Anti-tampering self-destruct mechanism
- Extremely lightweight and easy to carry
- Price: $49.99
As you can see, there are some great options when it comes to choosing the right cold wallet for your needs. The difference in price is reflected in the array of features, therefore, everyone should be able to pick the right option for themselves.
8. Custodial v. Non-Custodial Wallets
Based on who has custody over your private keys, there are two broad types of crypto wallets - custodial wallets and non-custodial wallets. In a custodial wallet for crypto, a third party (for example a crypto exchange) has custody over your private keys. So, in a cryptocurrency custodial wallet, the third party can control and manage your cryptos and allow you to access them through their app or other options.
As you can see, in a crypto custodial wallet, you need to trust the third party with your private crypto keys. For example, the crypto wallet provided by crypto.com is a custodial wallet for crypto because it is controlled by the exchange. You can access this wallet to make crypto exchanges while trusting the exchange with your cryptocurrency private keys.
A non-custodial crypto wallet, on the other hand, allows you to have full control over your private keys. So, you don't need to trust any third party with your cryptos, and still transact using your cryptos at your convenience.
There are different custodial wallets types. Custodial wallets can be mobile wallets, desktop wallets, or even hardware wallets, therefore there is a great range of custodial crypto wallets to choose from.
9. How to Choose a Crypto Wallet?
Now that you need the basics of crypto wallets, you also should know how to choose a crypto wallet. In order to pick crypto wallet, we should talk about the most important factor you need to consider while choosing the best crypto wallet.
The first thing you need to consider is whether the chosen crypto wallet is compatible with your preferred crypto asset. Different crypto wallets have different levels of compatibility with various crypto assets like cryptocurrencies, tokens, and NFTs.
Since it’s nearly impossible to recover stolen cryptos, security is one of the most crucial factors to be considered for a top crypto wallet. You must check the security features like multi-factor authentication before settling for a crypto wallet.
9.3 Ease of Use
While there is a trade-off between security and ease of use, you cannot completely sacrifice the latter for the former. Convenience matters because if you are an active user or trader of cryptos, you would not want to spend significant time making a single transaction. So, our suggestion is to choose a crypto wallet that balances security and convenience.
When choosing a crypto exchange or a crypto wallet, reputation matters. You must ask questions like:
- Does your crypto wallet provider have a strong reputation for providing secure wallets?
- How is the customer feedback?
- Have there been instances of security breaches?
- Have there been instances of fraud?
- How long has the provider been in business?
None would like to have a cryptocurrency wallet that creates a big hole in their pocket. It’s not, however, advisable to go for the least costly one. This can result in a big-time compromise on security.
For example, many hot wallets are available free of cost; but, they may have low-security features. On the other hand, while hardware wallets are costlier, they provide the top security features. So, compare the cost and benefits of different crypto wallets to choose the own providing the highest value for money. If you would like to learn more specifically about how to buy Bitcoin (BTC), check out our article.
10. Best Practices Regarding Using Crypto Wallets
When it comes to cryptos, you better be safe than sorry. Here are our best tips on using crypto wallets:
- Never reveal your private keys or seed phrases to anyone under any circumstances
- It’s better to use a cold wallet for long-term crypto storage and saving
- You can avoid the risk of putting all your eggs in one basket by using multiple wallets
- If you go for a convenient hot wallet for trading, maintain a lower balance there and transfer the excess amount to a cold wallet
- Use 2 factor-authentication (2FA) for securing your crypto wallets. 2FA provides extra-layer security (like an OTP on your mobile) to your wallets
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi to access your hot wallets
- Use strong passwords using letters, numbers, and special characters
- Be careful against phishing attacks as seamsters are getting more and more creative in stealing your cryptos
These factors are very important to consider when choosing the best crypto wallet for your needs. Remember about them whenever you start to wonder how to safely store your crypto in 2023. Finally, for more on the topic of cryptocurrency, JohnnyBitcoin invites you to read our guide to investing in crypto.
11. How to Safely Store Your Crypto - FAQ
11.1 💳 What is the difference between hot wallet and cold wallet?
The main difference is that hot wallets for cryptocurrencies are connected to the Internet while crypto cold wallets allow you to store cryptos on hardware device completely offline.
11.2 🔥 What are the types of hot wallets?
Mobile crypto wallets, desktop-based wallets, and web-based wallets are the most common hot crypto wallets.
11.3 🔒 How to pick a proper crypto wallet?
When choosing the best crypto wallet for our needs, we should consider its compatibility, security, ease of use, reputation, and cost. Moreover, the security factor is of the essence when you want to find out how to safely store your crypto.