Bitcoin is everywhere this year, and more and more people are getting interested in mining, trading, or using Bitcoin. Even though the legal status of Bitcoin is complicated in some countries, in many places Bitcoin is a viable alternative to fiat cash for a variety of purposes. If you’re getting started using Bitcoin, then the first thing you need to sort out is somewhere to store your Bitcoin. For this, you use what is called a Bitcoin wallet. This ‘wallet’ can be hardware or software based, and is basically a security system which allows you and only you to access your Bitcoin. There are a variety of styles of Bitcoin wallet available, and many options for specific wallets within each category.
Today, we’ll walk through some issues related to using Bitcoin safely, and cover our recommendations for the best Bitcoin wallets for 2018.
Best Bitcoin Wallets To Keep Your Bitcoin Safe In 2018
The are a ton of different ways to store your Bitcoins, from online wallets to hardware or software wallets to paper wallets. Now we’ll show you some of the most popular options from each of these categories to store your Bitcoins safely while also letting you access them when you need to. Whichever method you choose, be sure to keep your wallet safe to protect your valuable Bitcoin.
1. Trezor Hardware Wallet
For the highest level of security that doesn’t leave you relying on someone else’s website or keeping your Bitcoins on a particular hard drive, you can use a hardware wallet like the ones from Trezor. These generally look like small USB sticks (aka thumb drives or dongles) and plug into your computer to give you access to your Bitcoin. They are portable and easy to carry around with you so you can access the wallet whenever you need. In addition, they are much less vulnerable to hacking than other Bitcoin storage methods, so they provide excellent security. The wallets cost around $100 and are excellent for serious Bitcoin users and investors. Just note that to access your hardware wallet you will need to make note of a key – a long string of letters and numbers that lets you access the wallet. Be sure to write this key down somewhere very secure as if you lose it, you won’t be able to access your wallet any more.
2. Ledger Nano Hardware Wallet
Another popular hardware Wallet is the Ledger Nano. One reason that it is so popular is that is has the security advantages of a hardware wallet, but is one of the cheapest hardware options out there at around $65. It can be used to store other cryptocurrencies as well as Bitcoin, like Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Dash, and more. This is a great secure solution for serious cryptocurrency users who want a safe way to store large amounts of different currencies. Like other hardware wallets, you need to be careful to take note of your recovery phrase, as without this you could totally lose access to your Bitcoins.
3. Electrum Software Wallet
Electrum is one of the most popular software wallets out there. The software is available for both desktop machines and mobile devices running Android, which makes it convenient for those who want quick access to their wallets using their phone or computer. The software is easy to use and has a clear interface, so unlike some other software wallets Electrum is suitable for newer Bitcoin users as well as advanced users. Most crucially, the software also has good security with two factor authentication and support for hardware wallets and cold storage. Like the Trezor, to access your wallet you’ll need your private key, so you’ll have to make sure that you have this written down somewhere safe and private.
4. Blockchain.info Online Wallet
If you’re just starting out with Bitcoin and you’re looking for a simple option that lets you store small amounts of Bitcoin, you can use an online wallet. This means that your Bitcoin are stored by a website and made available for your use. The advantage of this method is that it is extremely easy to set up and use, and there are often options to trade your Bitcoins for fiat currencies such as the US Dollar. The disadvantage is that you are relying on a third party to protect and support your Bitcoin. Many people still remember when the early Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange was hacked and people’s accounts were emptied of millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoins. For this reason, we recommend that online wallets are only used for small amounts of Bitcoin that you could afford to lose, and that you only use them when you are getting started with Bitcoin. The blockchain.info wallet has an easy to use interface and key security features like two factor authentication, and you can easily convert Bitcoin from the wallet into Ether or Bitcoin Cash.
5. Exodus Software Wallet
If you trade or mine in multiple cryptocurrencies, then you should look into the Exodus software wallet. This desktop wallet for Windows, Mac, or Linux can store your Ethereum and Litecoin as well as Bitcoin, plus other currencies too. Best of all, it has a ShapeShift function which lets you easily trade from one currency to another, so it’s perfect if you’re managing a variety of different currencies. The security features are generally good, however, two factor authentication is not available and this would be a good addition to promote security. A helpful feature of the software is the live charts and trackers which help you to keep track of the ups and downs of the various currencies that you are working with.
6. Coinbase Online “Wallet”
One of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges is Coinbase. It lets you trade many different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ether, in a very user friendly format. You can also store your Bitcoin on the site for convenience, which many users who are starting out with Bitcoin choose to do. There are security issues with keeping your Bitcoin online, however, so you should proceed with caution and only store small amounts of Bitcoin on Coinbase that you need to have quick access to for trading. Coinbase has introduced more security options recently, like the Vault storage option and two factor authentication.
7. BitcoinPaperWallet Paper Wallet
One option you might not have considered is a paper wallet. This is a literal piece of paper with a QR code or other code printed on it which you can scan or enter to access the Bitcoin inside the wallet. This means that the wallet is very easy to store, and easy to physically hand to another person in order to transfer your Bitcoin to them. The advantage of this method is that it is intuitive to people who are used to fiat currency, and that the Bitcoin are not kept on a third party server as they would be with an online wallet. The disadvantage is that the paper wallet is vulnerable to water damage, fire, or even being accidentally thrown away. BitcoinPaperWallet is a popular choice for paper wallets as it is free to use, although there is an optional premium version with better security features like holograms and tamper checks.
Tip For Using Bitcoin Safely
Once you have your wallet set up, whether it is hardware, software, online, or paper, you can start trading and using your Bitcoin. A good piece of advice to keep yourself safe when working with cryptocurrencies is to use a VPN. It is good practice to use an encrypted connection for all your money-related transactions online to be sure that no one can intercept or interfere with your transactions. The encryption provided by a VPN will secure your transactions and reduce the chances of anyone hacking your cryptocurrency wallet. Another reason to use a VPN is to access Bitcoin exchanges in places like China where use of cryptocurrencies is restricted.
Below we’ll recommend our top VPNs for Bitcoin users.
Our Recommended VPNs For Bitcoin Users
With many VPN providers available to choose from, here are the criteria that we use to select a VPN for recommendation:
- Excellent security. The most important factor for Bitcoin users is security, so we look for essential features like strong 256-bit encryption to keep your data safe and a no logging policy to protect your privacy.
- The ability to pay using cryptocurrency. Bitcoin users may want to stay anonymous, even from their VPN provider, which isn’t possible if you have to pay for the VPN subscription using a credit card linked to your name. So we searched for VPN providers which allow you to pay for your subscription in cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin.
- Fast connection speeds. Slow internet connections are annoying and distracting, so we selected VPN providers with fast and reliable connections.
- A large numbers of servers. For the best flexibility, it’s helpful to have access to a large number of servers so that you can find a fast one in the country of your choice to connect to.
- Broad software support. You can use your VPN on your phone, computer, tablet, and more, so it’s useful to choose a VPN provider with software which supports a variety of operating systems.
When we looked at all of these factors, we chose the following VPN providers to recommend for Bitcoin users:
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPNs for power users, thanks to their excellent security, fast connection speeds, and large server network. The important security features for Bitcoin users include strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy to protect your privacy, plus extra features in the software like a kill switch to stop you from accidentally making transfers over an unsecured connection. The server network is large and has more than 1000 servers in 90 different countries, and the connections are super fast. The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, and more, plus you can use the handy browser extensions which are available for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple’s Safari browser. You can pay for your subscription using Bitcoin for best anonymity.
NordVPN is ideal for those who are are concerned about security and are looking for a VPN that has an outstanding security feature. In addition to the essential security features that you would expect, such as strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, NordVPN offers a special feature called double encryption on some of its servers. This means that your data is encrypted before it leaves your device, and this encrypted data is sent to a server as usual for a VPN. But then, at this first server the data is then encrypted again before being sent to a second server where it is decrypted and sent on its way. These two layers of encryption mean that it is essentially impossible to crack, even with the most sophisticated cracking tools. There is also a handy CyberSec security options included in the software which will remove ads and protect you from malware.
For more advanced users, there are features like DNS leak protection and the option to use Onion Over VPN. With more than 3300 servers in 59 countries, the server network is the biggest we’ve come across and the connections are fast enough for regular use. The software is available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS, plus browser extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browsers. You can pay for your subscription with Bitcoin through the BitPay system to maintain anonymity even from your VPN provider.
PureVPN is great for users who want both a high quality VPN, and a package of other security software. The VPN service from PureVPN has excellent security, with strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, and the server network is large with more than 750 servers in 140 different countries. There are also more features like DDoS protection, a kill switch, the option for a dedicated IP, and a NAT firewall. But a subscription to this service also includes a bundle of other security features. This includes anti virus and anti malware protection, plus an anti spam filter to keep your email clear. There is an app filtering option which allows you to choose which apps pass their data through the VPN and which pass data through the unencrypted connection, for excellent flexibility.
The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Android TV devices, and you can also use the browser extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browsers. In order to keep yourself anonymous, you can pay for your subscription using the CoinPayments system which lets you pay either with Bitcoin or with other cryptocurrencies like Ether, Litecoin, BitBean, CloakCoin, Dash, and LeoCoin.
Bitcoin is a topic that everyone is getting interested in these days. Whether you’re an advanced Bitcoin user or you’re just starting out with cryptocurrencies, you’ll need somewhere safe to store your Bitcoins so that you can trade and transfer them securely. There are quite a few options for Bitcoin storage, including hardware wallets, software wallets, online wallets, and paper wallets. Which of these options you should use depends upon how great a level of security you need, how willing you are to use advanced systems, how much Bitcoin you need to store, and how much you are willing to spend.
While beginner users will often opt for an online wallet as this is easiest to set up, the security offered by online wallets is not great as you are relying on a third party to hold your Bitcoin. A hardware wallet is the option of choice for advanced users, but this requires some expense and effort to set up and is impossible to recover if you lose your key. We’ve recommended some of the most popular options from each category of wallet so that you can choose the option which is right for you. And don’t forget to keep yourself safe by using a VPN when you work with your Bitcoins.
If you store Bitcoin, what kind of wallet do you use? Have you tried out any of our recommendations, and what was your experience with them like? Let us know about it in the comments below.
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