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crypto wallets

crypto rule #1 - keep your private keys safe

wallets

storage for the long hodl vs quick access to your crypto

Here you'll learn what a cryptocurrency wallet is, how it works and some of the options you can get out there on the market. I'll explain why it's not only important to choose one with the best level of security but also best for what you plan to do with your crypto. I'll also share my experiences with the wallets I've used and hopefully by the time you get to the bottom of this page, you'll have all the information you need to choose the right one for you!

Please note; The Crypto Cosmos does not provide financial advice. Cryptocurrency can be highly volatile and buying, selling and trading digital assets can lead to financial loss. We recommend you do your own research before choosing to buy, sell or trade cryptocurrency or purchase any cryptocurrency goods or services. If you are ever in doubt about any investment decision, you should seek independent financial advice. You can view our disclosure statement here.

Before we get into wallets themselves, it's important to understand the underlying security protocols that protects your crypto investment, and why it's important to take security seriously. So on that note, let's touch on keys & cryptography...

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what are your public and private

keys and how to keep them safe.

 When you purchase cryptocurrency on an exchange, (let's use Ethereum for example), you will immediately see that your Ethereum wallet now contains whatever amount of ETH you've just purchased. Although you haven't actually purchased physical ETH tokens that you can see or hold in your hands, you have purchased them in their digital form and yes, they have real value!

If you stumble across any words or phrases used throughout my website that you don't understand, you can probably find out what they mean by heading over to my Encryptopedia page. It's an always expanding A-Z glossary of common crypto jargon and technical terminology.

 

Most people initially believe that your digital ETH tokens are now stored inside your wallet, but contrary to that belief, they're not. Instead, your ETH wallet merely contains the data required to interact with the Ethereum blockchain which contains the code that is necessary to send and receive ETH via blockchain transactions to get a specified amount of Ethereum to the destination it is sent to.

 

When blockchain transactions are executed, the transfer itself is completed securely using a form of cryptography, known as Asymmetric Encryption. Your ETH wallet has an alpha-numeric destination address that is native to all tokens on the Ethereum network, and nobody else in the cosmos has that same alpha-numeric ETH address as you do.

Here's an example of what an ETH destination address looks like:

0xb34ccC7E1A5edfE0cbcdC859Fe833dbe313775f2

That is my actual ETH address. Feel free to send me some! 😉

Your wallet's destination address is what is referred to as your public key. Public because even if the entire worldwide population  knew it, your crypto is quite safe and can't be moved by anyone but you. In fact, anyone that you share your public address with, can now transfer you any amount of the corresponding tokens that are receivable at that address!

 

For example, that wallet accepts all tokens that are built on the Ethereum network, known as ERC20 tokens. ERC stands for Ethereum Request for Comment and 20 is the proposal identifier. This is the common standard for creating all tokens on the Ethereum Network and any ERC20 tokens can be transferred to that address provided the exchange accepts incoming ETH transactions.

Other ERC20 tokens include Crypto.com (CRO), Uniswap Protocol (UNI) and XY Oracle (XYO). These are all amazing projects to put in your watch-list!

For every public key contained inside a wallet, its evil twin also co-exists. It is known as a private key and I say 'evil twin' because if anyone were to know it, you can kiss your digital investment goodbye. The private key is what your wallet requires to be able to send your tokens to another destination, regardless of whether that wallet is hot or cold, (more on that shortly). Private keys are usually in the form of a secret 'alpha-numeric' key, similar to the public key or could also be a combination of a specific set of words known as a passphrase which is usually a random group of 12 or 24 words.

 

If anyone were to somehow access your private keys, they could access your wallet and transfer your crypto to any address, from anywhere, at anytime! More often than not...you will never see those funds ever again! You absolutely MUST keep your private keys safe, this cannot be stressed highly enough!

 

Here's a line I read somewhere and it has stuck with me...

 

"If you don't control your private keys, you don't own your crypto!"

Before we get into different ways you can protect your investment, here's a quick video on Asymmetric Encryption which as this guys channel suggests, gives you a simple explanation of how it works. If you're even slightly tech minded, it's an enjoyable watch! If I'm honest, I simply didn't get public and private keys until I saw this.

 

Video courtesy of Savjee via YouTube channel ~ Simply Explained.

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What are the different types of crypto wallets and which best suits your style of investing?

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Congratulations, you've purchased your moon bag! Now that you're a proud crypto investor, you're probably thinking the hard part is over because you chose an awesome blockchain project to invest in. You can now kick back and relax without any worries and just wait to make your millions, right?

 

Nope! Now you need to make a far more important decision regarding how to keep your digital investment safe.

So young Padawan, which wallet should you entrust to defend your digital ticket to the moon against imperial tyranny?

 

I could give you one option here and say "BUY THIS NOW, it's totally amazing", but honestly, me telling you what to choose to secure your money would be a completely biased opinion based on my own risk appetite and investment strategy. I don't know what your strategy is or how quickly you want to be able to access your crypto.  So rather than tell you what to buy, I'd rather provide you the info to help you make your own decision. How does that sound?

Wallets can be broken down into three different types; Software, Hardware and Paper wallets. We're about to dive into what each type of wallet is shortly.

 

The best way to decide what will work best for you, is to know what options are out there, how all those options work and which offer the level of security you need. As I've already mentioned, that will depend on your strategy. Do you plan to HODL (hold) in the hope of realizing a long term gain or are you a day trader seeking regular short term profits requiring quick access to your crypto so you don't have to miss that mouth watering trade opportunity that just presented itself?!

 

Perhaps your strategy is like mine and requires the need for both?

As I mentioned, you will need to do your own research here and reading reviews is a great place to start. Let's now dive in to some options and what strategies they're best suited to. At the bottom, I'll tell you which I use based on my strategy where I've covered both long term storage and quick access to my crypto for when I need it.

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wallets

let's review some of the best out there

Here I'll provide you with some wallets that are available on the market. I'll give you a summary of my experience with them, what type of wallet they are and what investment strategy I think they're best suited to. They aren't listed in any particular order, just my favorites and I'll rate them out of 10. Remember, this is only a guide and should NOT be considered as financial advice. You should always make your own decisions when choosing you wallet because only you know how you're going to use it. DYOR!

Some of the links to 3rd party wallets on this page are Affiliate Links. If you purchase or download a wallet via one of my affiliate links, either I or in some cases WE get a small monetary kick back from it. I don't have anything to hide so wherever this is applicable, I will tell you what affiliates get for them. 

 

You probably want to know this anyway because it's not difficult to get set up as an affiliate in most cases and once you have access to your own affiliate links, you'll be giving them to your family, friends and colleagues to get them on board the crypto train as well (MASS ADOPTION BABY). You're welcome!

which wallet is right for you?

here's a list of some highly secure options to look into.

Hardware Wallets

Hardware wallets are physical, electronic devices that resemble USB flash drives and mobile phones. They use a random number generator (RNG) to create public and private keys. The keys are stored in the device itself and you do not require an internet connection to access them. These are cold storage wallets which are considered to be one of the most secure ways to protect your crypto as their security functionality is completely offline, keeping your keys out of reach from opportunistic hackers. Here are some of the best hardware wallets your money can buy.

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Ledger Nano S

The Ledger Nano S is Ledger's flagship cryptocurrency wallet. Ledger has a name synonymous with crypto security. It is easily the most popular cold storage brand name. The Nano S itself allows you to install between 3 to 6 applications at a time and is compatible with 27 coins and up to 1,500 from your smart phone or computer. It is pretty OG as far as hardware wallets go and therefore doesn't come with many technological advancements. I've never had a Nano S but I have friends that have do and have shown me enough to see how they works. I would be quite happy to own one.

Type: Hardware / Cold storage.

Suitability: The Long HODL.

 

Pros: 

  1. Simple setup.

  2. Secure, offline protection.

  3. Compact design.

 

Cons:

  1. Difficult to navigate.

  2. Only has two small buttons.

Affiliate Program: Yes. Purchases via Ledger affiliate links earn 10% of the sale price and is paid in Bitcoin (BTC).

Price: $59 USD 

Crypto Cosmos Rating: 9.2/10

Ledger Nano X

The Ledger Nano X is Ledger's latest and greatest cryptocurrency wallet. It is a highly secure and reliable piece of technology and although the user interface will take some getting used to if you've new to the crypto world, it is far more user friendly to navigate than the Nano S. The Nano X can store up to 100 crypto apps at one time and is compatible with over 1,500 currencies in a list that keeps on growing. It has Bluetooth connectivity to use with the mobile app while keeping your private keys completely offline on the device itself. The X series is a huge improvement on its predecessor. There is a reason why Ledger has sold tonnes of these...great name, great reputation and it does exactly what you want it to, secure your digital assets if HODLing is your thing.

Type: Hardware / Cold storage.

Suitability: The Long HODL.

Pros: 

  1. Mobile Bluetooth compatibility.

  2. Supports 1,500+ currencies.

  3. Competitive price point.

  4. Backed Ledger's reputation.

Cons: 

  1. Twice as heavy as the Nano S.

  2. Steep learning curve.

  3. Battery not replaceable.

Affiliate Program: Yes. Just like the Nano S, Purchases via Ledger affiliate links earn  10% of the sale price and is paid in Bitcoin.

Price: $119 USD

Crypto Cosmos Rating: 9.4/10

Trezor Model T

The Trezor Model T is labelled a 'next-get' hardware wallet. It allows users to securely store their digital assets as well as the ability to encrypt their passwords and their other digital keys. It supports over 1,000 cryptocurrencies and has a 240 x 240 pixel LCD touchscreen display. They have an expert support team available around the clock and although I've never owned one myself, I've seen it in action and this wallet has a massive fan base that speak very highly of it. It does come with a premium compared with its competition but from what I read, many tend to think the price is well worth it.

Type: Hardware / Cold Storage.

Suitability: The Long HODL.

Pros: 

  1. Easy to set up and use.

  2. Supports over 1,000 cryptocurrencies.

  3. Compatible with other wallets.

  4. Has 5 star rated customer support.

 

Cons: 

  1. Higher price than its competition.

  2. Difficult to type on its touchscreen.

Affiliate Program: Yes. Buying through the  affiliate link pays between 10 and 15% of the net sale value in either cash or Bitcoin.

Price: $169.99 USD

Crypto Cosmos Rating: 9.0/10

Ellipal Titan

The Ellipal Titan is next level as far as the term 'hard'ware wallet goes. The tech inside this wallet is caged inside a tamper proof metal case and it is completely isolated from any online technology. The private keys you store on this device will simply never touch the internet which definitely meets my expectation of "Cold Storage". Titan has the ability to import accounts from other wallets and all transactions are confirmed manually and signed off with offline QR codes using the inbuilt camera. All that + a four inch touch screen to view your portfolio on! Crypto wallet meets smartphone...wow!

Type: Hardware / Cold Storage.

Suitability: The Long HODL.

Pros: 

  1. Private keys never exposed to internet.

  2. Tamper-proof metal case.

  3. Simple transfer via the app.

  4. Inbuilt camera to scan QR codes.

 

Cons: 

  1. Higher price than its competition.

  2. No desktop compatibility.

Affiliate Program: Yes. Easy sign up process and if purchased via an affiliate  link, the affiliate gets 20% of the sale price paid in their choice of either USDT or USD.

Price: $169 USD

$159 with $10 discount via my Link

Crypto Cosmos Rating: 9.5/10 

software wallets

Software wallets consist of web, desktop and mobile wallets. From  reading that, you can probably work out how you'll use them. Almost all software wallets require an internet connection and are therefore referred to as "Hot Wallets". The exchange you purchased your hypothetical Ethereum on, in the scenario I used earlier is a web wallet. One of the major concerns for investors using these wallets for storing crypto long term, is that some exchanges hold and manage your private keys, taking the control away from you. Many people will tell you that keeping your crypto on an exchange is too risky but there are security measures that you can put in place for added security (in almost all cases). These include PIN numbers, email verification and two-factor authentication (2FA) that are required to be used every time you trade and withdraw and execute other functions that require a higher level of security. The better the exchange, the better their security features are for customers.

 

The only thing we can't secure against, is when exchanges pack up and exit scam us. It's happened before, it'll happen again. Look up Bitconnect. Don't get me wrong, that's not designed to scare you out of crypto by the way, just wanting to further reinforce the importance of security and having a strategy in place. (If you keep reading, you'll learn a bit about mine).

 

I get right into web wallets on my Exchanges page so let's not double up. Here are some pretty awesome desktop and mobile wallets coming up, one of which I use daily.

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Trust Wallet

Trust Wallet App is an all-in-one mobile wallet built on the Ethereum network. Developed by Binance, there is a reason why over 5M people use it and that's because it pretty much does everything! Trust Wallet allows users to buy, store, swap, stake and earn Crypto and allows you to view live prices. It has an inbuilt dApp browser so you can instantly connect your wallet to a number of dApps such as Uniswap and DeFi Swap. If you're into Ethereum, other ERC20 tokens or DeFi, then this is the mobile wallet for you! In conjunction with some others, I use this app every single day!

Type: Mobile Wallet / Exchange.

Suitability: Quick access to your funds.

Pros: 

  1. One stop shop wallet.

  2. 100% FREE download.

  3. Features a decentralized exchange.

  4. Ability to interact with dApps.

 

Cons: 

  1. No two-factor authentication.

  2. Latest version dropped the browser.

Affiliate Program: Yes. Inviting new users earns affiliates native Trust Wallet (TWT) tokens sent straight to your wallet once the new user trades $50 worth of crypto.

Price: Free Android & iOS Download.

Crypto Cosmos Rating: 9.8/10 

Atomic Wallet

Atomic Wallet offers a number of benefits to users. It supports over 300 crypto tokens and is easy to use. This desktop wallet flawlessly integrates with two exchanges to enable buying and selling and best of all, it's completely open source. The wallet is designed to enable what are known as atomic swaps and on top of all the tokens supported, you can also store your ERC20 tokens as well. The physical wallet itself is a PC application that you download on to your computer and your private keys and other data are stored on your PC in their encrypted form.

Type: Desktop / Mobile wallet.

Suitability: Quick access to your funds.

Pros: 

  1. Powerful and user friendly.

  2. Supports atomic swaps.

  3. Support for a variety of tokens.

 

Cons: 

  1. User is solely responsible for security.

  2. No hardware wallet integration.

Affiliate Program: I believe they have one but I've never signed up.

Price: Free PC download.

Crypto Cosmos Rating: 8.8/10 

Exodus Wallet

Exodus is another desktop wallet that is also available for mobile. It boasts an awesome user interface and was clearly designed by professionals with attention to detail in mind. It is one of the most aesthetically pleasing desktop applications in the crypto space. Exodus doesn't require any user registration and the company does not store and of your data on their database. Unlike Atomic, Exodus is not completely open source BUT it is probably the most user friendly wallet for beginners to use and while all wallets take a small commission for swaps and transfers etc, Exodus is probably on the higher side as there is no fee management protocol in place.

Type: Desktop / mobile wallet.

Suitability: Quick access to your funds.

Pros: 

  1. Users retain their private keys.

  2. Allows crypto to crypto exchange.

  3. Beautiful user interface.

  4. Simple to use for beginners.

 

Cons: 

  1. High transaction fees.

  2. Doesn't offer two-factor authentication.

  3. Has some security flaws.

Affiliate Program: Like Atomic, I'm sure they have one but I've never signed up.

Price: Free PC Download.

Crypto Cosmos Rating: 8.9/10 

Celsius Network

Celsius Network is a great way to store your crypto whilst earning interest on your holdings. Celsius, like a few others out there pay attractive interest rates and if you're not a risk

taker in a trading sense, then this is a great way to make your money work for you. Many people think that platforms such as this are "scams" because they don't understand how they make money. What they fail to understand however, is that they lend coins to hedge funds, exchanges and institutional traders at an average of 9% interest which counteracts their interest payments and turn a solid profit for them. Enjoy a return on whatever you have with no minimum deposit and get an annual return of 4% - 10%, depending on token! I will continue to use Celsius as a part of my overall investment strategy (as long as their rates remain as attractive as they are).

Type: Mobile wallet.

Suitability: Quick access to your funds.

Pros: 

  1. Earn passive income on your crypto.

  2. No lock-in terms or credit checks.

  3. Stacks of security features.

  4. No minimum deposits or fees!

 

Cons: 

  1. Centralized wallet.

  2. You don't own your keys.

Affiliate Program: Yes. Inviting new users earns affiliates native Trust Wallet (TWT) tokens sent straight to your wallet.

Price: Free Android & iOS Download.

Crypto Cosmos Rating: 9.6/10 

paper wallets

Paper wallets are literally that, pieces of paper that have your token destination address and private keys printed on them. They're printed in the form of QR Codes and the codes can be scanned to execute transactions. Some paper wallet sites even allow you to download their code to generate and print your keys while offline. This process makes them highly secure and very hack resistant and can be an excellent alternative to cold storage.

There's not really that much to paper wallets for me to go into any length about them, they are what they are and although there are a number of websites allow you to create your own, the concept is very much the same no matter where you look.

 

Simple & Secure, just how we like it! Here are some websites you can generate your paper wallet...

Bitaddress.org

Walletgenerator.net

Bitcoinpaperwallet.org

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conclusion

what strategy is going to work best for you?

I've laid out some options for each type of wallet that you can get. Of each type, I'm sure there are probably hundreds of options that are useful to someone out there but I've tried to focus on providing you with options are widely accepted as highly reputable or market leading in their category.

So which is it, software, hardware or paper? Is it a mixture of both?

My strategy is pretty simple. I have crypto stored across multiple wallets ranging from one that I hold and earn interest on, to one that I use to trade on and another that I use access DeFi protocols on for the purpose of farming tokens. I spread my crypto out for a few reasons. I also store some in a web wallet where I've staked an amount of crypto to get access to a prepaid Visa Debit card that gives me some pretty sweet perks. I touch on that on my Exchanges page if you haven't been there already.

Out of the above options, I currently use Trust Wallet (to access DeFi protocols) and Celsius Network (to earn some interest). In the past I have used cold storage (Ledger Nano S) but that was when I was new to this game and scared about someone hacking my account and stealing my money. I trust myself nowadays to keep track of my keys and I have my crypto spread out enough that if one wallet happened to get compromised, it wouldn't hurt too bad. I also use a few web wallets such as CoinSpot.com, Btirue.com and Crypto.com for either buying, selling, trading and various other reasons which I also go into a lot more on my Exchanges page.

Overall, I want and need quick access to my crypto, so most of the time I keep about 85% to 90% of it online. (That's the risk I'm willing to take for the reward I want). If I were to change my strategy up and store more of it offline, I'd probably buy myself an Ellipal Titan as a cold storage option.

Overall, I hope you've read this guide to wallets and understand more about them now than before you visited. If there are any terms that are unclear, or you don't quite know what they mean yet, you can visit my Encryptopedia page which covers common crypto slang and technical terms. 

 

Thanks for stopping by. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email or send me a direct message on Twitter. Details are on the Contact Us page! 

 

If you've found this page informative, please share it with your friends. Cheers!

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