Before you start cryptocurrency trading on an exchange or purchase it from a broker it is necessary to know about digital wallets for storing cryptos securely. The most common issue faced is discovering the right digital wallet. This article will serve as a quick guide for selection.
What is a cryptocurrency wallet?
A cryptocurrency wallet is a place where the encrypted passwords (private and public keys) of the coins are stored. In simpler terms, it is a secure digital wallet used to store, send and receive digital currency. And it works exactly the same way as your physical wallet works. The only difference is the cryptocurrency wallets are entirely digitized into coding and used to store anything from cryptocurrency to information. Some of the wallets store only a specific coin, whereas some can store more than one.
What are the elements of a digital wallet?
The two most important elements of these wallets are private keys and a public addresses. The access to the user’s wallet is given by the private key and thus, if it falls in the wrong hands, it’s likely that the funds in the wallet may disappear forever. Whereas the public address is given to the other traders on the network for receiving funds.
Types of wallets
There are five different of digital wallets available- online, mobile, desktop, hardware and paper.
Mobile wallet - A wallet that runs through a smartphone app. All you need to do is download the app and create an account. Mobile wallets are very handy, as they can be used anywhere. The only risk associated is losing your assets if your phone breaks down or encounters a security breach.
Online wallet - A web-based wallet is an online wallet. They run on the cloud. This type of wallet requires just an internet connection and can be accessed by multiple devices. The online wallet should always be given an extra layer of protection as they are very easy to be compromised.
Desktop wallet - These wallets are downloaded to a PC or laptop and are accessible after installation. They are very safe as compared to online wallets. However, if your laptop or computer is affected by the virus, hacked or external damage, there is a chance to lose all your funds.
Hardware wallet - Hardware wallets are considered as the safest, yet more expensive. Because they store private keys on the USB drive. They facilitate transactions online, but they provide storage offline which enhances the security of the private keys.
Paper wallet - Paper wallets are the safest to store assets as compared to all the available wallets. A paper wallet is a physical duplicate of your created public and private keys or mnemonic seed or it can even refer to a printed sheet of paper. You can send assets by exchanging the cash to wallet's public address and you withdraw or send by entering your private keys or by scanning the QR code on the paper wallet.
Multi-signature wallet - Multi-signature refers requiring of more than one key to authorize the transaction. This technology adds up an extra-layer to all the digital assets stored. Let’s understand with an example. If you have configured your multi-sig wallet for 4-of-6 authorized. So, to make a valid transaction, 4 out of 6 authorizer’s signs will be required.
Digital wallet security
When it comes to security, it is necessary to understand the following aspects:
Hot wallets are connected to the internet. They use private keys on behalf of users. These are all online and desktop wallets. Hot wallets are more prone to hacking, possible regulation or other technical vulnerabilities.
The cold wallet refers to a wallet that is not connected to the internet. These are all hardware and paper wallet. When you use cold wallet all your assets are offline. Generally, they are more secure. However, it is always advisable not to store all your cryptocurrencies in the single hot or cold wallet.
Tip- Always store the long term fund in cold storage and the ready to use in the hot wallet. It’s your coins; your way. The final decision is always yours. Just select wisely!!!