How to Choose a Bitcoin or Ethereum Wallet?

11 Feb 2016

There are lots of different types of Bitcoin wallets that give you different features, better or worse security and different levels of ease of use. What this guide will do is show you how to pick the right wallet for you from our extensive list and how to select which app has the features you want - how to pick the Bitcoin wallet that fits in your pocket

The first thing to decide is how technical you want to get and whether you want to get into the nuts and bolts of bitcoin. Generally a rule of thumb is that the more technical the wallet, the higher the levels of security and the more onus on you to look after your funds. On the flip side, the more easy to use the wallet is the lower the security is and the higher the risk of third party oversight there is and generally the better availability of access options or platforms that support it. 

Choosing a platform for your Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin Wallet

You can get Bitcoin wallets that operate on your iphone, your android phone, windows phone, that operate on your desktop or that you can just log into by using your browser. Most people want to have access to their bitcoins wherever they are so generally they want to use them on their phone. This is generally called a hot wallet and is analogous to your normal everyday wallet - one that you take everywhere with you - the opposite is a cold wallet that is analogous to your bank (think a big safe in your house). You can use our selection tools to pick a wallet by how you want to access it.


bitcoin and ETH wallets comparison ranking


There are wallets that come as their own device or Hardware wallets. These have the highest levels of security as you keep your wallet offline and only use it as and when you want to make a transaction - kind of like a cheque book that can't be copied!

How to pick Security Levels for your Bitcoin, Ether or Litecoin Wallet

The basic bitcoin or ethereum client is a wallet too - but it is very complicated as you have to know special commands sometimes to make it do things - or there isn't much investment in time to make it user friendly - the other problem is that these wallets are full nodes - so they download a full copy of the blockchain to your computer - which can take up a whopping amount of space and time. Although these types of wallet that you run yourself have higher levels of security as you don't deposit funds in a central place run by a third party.


ethereum wallet example profile


If you have a wallet that runs on your phone there is a risk of hacking - although most wallet apps on mobile devices are well isolated to stop such attempts. There are phone wallets where a third party will look after your wallet and private keys for you. You can look at our colour coded system to rate wallets in terms of their security levels.

Bitcoin and Crypto Wallets and Extra Features - Vouchers and Bitcoin debit cards

Some wallets offer you a few extra features to entice you into their system such as offering exchange facilities, bitcoin prepaid debit cards and voucher discounts. 

Each exchange is a wallet although not every wallet is an exchange. For the benefit of users we have included the exchanges that wallets link to if they can trade their bitcoin from within the application they are using, whether its to buy other crypto's or to trade into fiat currency. Some exchange have a full suite of trading facilities whilst some have a just a simple trade or not often using a third party to perform the trading function for them. 

Some wallets give you the option to get your money into a debit card that you can use in everyday shops. These do come with varying fees for various uses of the card so be careful which one you choose and always read the fine print. We have ranked all the prepaid bitcoin debit cards here to give you an idea of using the card and how much you can expect to lose by having one. 

Another feature wallets give you is the ability to get special discounts at various places. Some wallet s have a whole range of discount vouchers that you can buy with bitcoin where you can get over 20% off at starbucks or on amazon purchases for example. All you need to do is open the wallet - click buy voucher, then show the discount coupon to the barista and you've got your $3 coffee for $2.4. 


Important information

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