Crypto Diaries #2: Crypto Wallets

Crypto Diaries #2: Crypto Wallets

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Kapitall's own Emma Merrill writes about her experience getting into the world of cryptocurrencies with our "Crypto Diaries" series. Check back regularly as she explores everything coins, blockchain, and beyond. 

 

Dear Crypto Diary,

 

Now that I’m clearly an expert on crypto wallets, I’ve decided one isn’t enough. Let’s review some other sites. Since the first Google entries for “best crypto wallets” are all suspicious ads, I decided to lean on Forbes for some less biased advice.

 

2 Different Wallet Types

 

The aforementioned article suggests the “user-controlled wallet” for those of us who are tech savvy. That’s not me but I’ll go into it for your sake. Basically, every Bitcoin is issued a personal “key” that enables you to spend it. If you use a private wallet that means you are responsible for managing those keys. It also means a little more work for you but there’s extra security in being anonymous. We’ve all heard about those massive wallet hacks in some of the big players. Or even worse, massive wallet companies that were just scams from the beginning.  

 

A downside is that you’ll have to use up memory and space on your own computer but if you’re a super nerd with enough room don’t let me stop you.

 

If you use a “hosted wallet” you and I are currently in the same boat (Coinbase is a hosted wallet). A large company protects and uses keys on our behalf. To quote Forbes writer Laura Shin, “If you want a user-friendly experience, go with a hosted wallet.”

 

Hosted Wallet Providers

 

Hands down the unbiased internet agrees Coinbase is the best wallet for Bitcoin, but what about Ledger, KeepKey, and Exodus? Of course there are many more I could look into but for now we’ll go with these three.

 

We’ll start with Ledger first. It’s a hardware wallet and if you’re wondering what the heck that means (as I was about an hour ago) here’s my expert definition. A hardware wallet is a physical often handheld device where your private keys are stored. Here’s a picture:

 

Source: Ledger

 

Basically, instead of everything being online like my Coinbase account, you have a physical device for your cryptocurrencies. Neato. I also took a look at their website and they offer free shipping, but be warned their cheapest wallet costs $99.

 

Next there’s KeepKey. In their websites own words, “KeepKey is a hardware wallet that secures bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin, dogecoin, dash and multiple erc-20 tokens.” They are virus, hacker, and malware proof because of its separate operating system. Seems kind of awesome. Personally, though, I’d be worried about losing the $99 device. Here it is:

 

Source: KeepKey

 

Lastly, there’s Exodus which definitely has the coolest website, but here’s the real hook; ShapeShift, their cryptocurrency exchange, is built into the interface. That means you can convert between every cryptocurrency all in one site. They also boast “live charts” and 24/7 support but I’ve seen that in every major wallet.

 

You have a lot of different options for your 0.00014 Bitcoin. There really isn’t one good place for everyone to put it from what I’ve seen. If you’re a super nerd who can handle the added responsibility of your own wallet, knock yourself out. If you plan on converting between Bitcoin and Litecoin all day, go with Exodus. For me, Coinbase works. I’ll be sticking with that for now.

 

Yours in investing,

Emma

 

 

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