If you already know and want to see Bitcoin.com’s list of recommended wallets, click here. There are different types to suit different needs and we want to list the best options for anyone interested in Bitcoin.
Like the name suggests, a Bitcoin wallet is an application that stores send and receives bitcoins. You can think of it like you would a leather wallet full of physical cash, and basically, that’s all you need to use Bitcoin.
The most common wallets are smartphone-based and use the device’s camera to scan QR codes to save the user from needing to copy/paste long Bitcoin addresses. Other people have desktop versions or use browser-based wallets. To the end user, the interface is similar, though the way they function and handle private keys (the ‘key’ which allow you to spend your bitcoins) and user privacy can be very different.
Some apps have features that add value to your Bitcoin-using experience, like location-based Bitcoin business guides, links to exchanges to trade in and out of fiat currencies, more secure vault storage, or the ability to hold digital tokens other than just Bitcoin, such as any number of the many altcoins on offer.
Some wallets have central servers, meaning users have to create accounts with a login name (usually an email address) and password. These are less private and (if login info and keys are not secured properly) may be vulnerable to hackers. On the upside, when a centralized wallet is used if a user forgets their password it’s usually recoverable.
Other wallets store all information and private keys on the device itself, some of which generate wallet keys from a single “seed” phrase of about 12 words. If a user remembers the seed phrase, then the wallet can be restored elsewhere if the device is lost or broken. On the downside, if you forget that seed phrase the wallet can’t be recovered.
Apart from smartphone/desktop apps, you can also buy specialized hardware devices like Trezor and ledger to keep your keys completely offline, or even print a wallet on paper to keep them as safe from hackers as possible. These are the best options for users holding large amounts of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin users now have a wide selection of wallets to choose from and features have improved vastly over the past couple of years. But with more choice comes the need for more caution: fraudulent Bitcoin wallets have begun to appear that mimic the look of popular wallets, but are actually malware that steals bitcoins. Be very careful the wallet you’re installing is the real one, and see our guide for popular wallets that have proved trustworthy.