Choose your wallet and start making payments with merchants and users
Bitcoin wallets store the private keys that you need to access and spend your bitcoin funds. They come in different forms, designed for different types of device. You can even use paper storage to avoid having them on a computer at all. Of course, it is very important to secure and back up your bitcoin wallet.
Online bitcoin wallets
Web-based wallets store your private keys online. Several such online services are available, and some of them link to mobile and desktop wallets, replicating your addresses between different devices that you own.
Xapo, aims to provide the convenience of an simple bitcoin wallet with the added security of a cold-storage vault. They are free to sign up and charge very low transaction costs. Get some bits on sign up.
BlockChain, also hosts a popular web-based wallet, and Strongcoin offers what it calls a hybrid wallet, which lets you encrypt your private address keys before sending them to its servers – encryption is carried out in the browser.
If you have installed the original bitcoin client (Bitcoin Core), then you are running a wallet, but may not even know it. In addition to relaying transactions on the network, this software also enables you to create a bitcoin address for sending and receiving the virtual currency, and to store the private key for it.
There are other desktop wallets too, all with different features. MultiBit runs on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. Hive is an OS X-based wallet with some unique features, including an app store that connects directly to bitcoin services.
To get more Desktop Wallets for windows, linux, iMac and more, go to Bitcoin.org it has a vast choice of clients are available.
Desktop-based wallets are all very well, but they aren’t very useful if you are out on the street, trying to pay for something in a physical store. This is where a mobile wallet comes in handy. Running as an app on your smartphone, the wallet can store the private keys for your bitcoin addresses, and enable you to pay for things directly with your phone.
In some cases, a bitcoin wallet will even take advantage of a smartphone’s near-field communication (NFC) feature, enabling you to tap the phone against a reader and pay with bitcoins without having to enter any information at all.
Ledger USB wallet
Ledger Wallet protects your keys with a secure micro-processor certified against all types of attacks (both physical and logical). This technology has been used in the banking industry for decades (think credit card chips). Our hardware wallet will do all the Bitcoin cryptographic heavy lifting such as signing transactions inside its secure environment. You can therefore use your Bitcoins with maximum trust, even on an insecure or compromised computer. Get yourself one at ledgerwallet.com
Hardware wallets are currently very limited in number. These are dedicated devices that can hold private keys electronically and facilitate payments.
A hardware wallet is a device that stores a part of a user’s wallet securely in mostly-offline hardware. They have major advantages over other wallet types:
the key is often stored in a protected area of a microcontroller, and cannot be transferred out of the device in plaintext immune to computer viruses that steal from software wallets can be used securely and interactively, as opposed to a paper wallet which must be imported to software at some point much of the time, the software is open source, allowing a user to validate the entire operation of the device.
A paper wallet is a document that contains copies of the public and private keys that make up a wallet. Often it will have QR codes, so that you can quickly scan them and add the keys into a software wallet to make a transaction.
The benefit of a paper wallet is that the keys are not stored digitally anywhere, and are therefore not subject to cyber-attacks or hardware failures.
There are several sites offering paper bitcoin wallet services. They will generate a bitcoin address for you and create an image containing two QR codes: one is the public address that you can use to receive bitcoins; the other is the private key, which you can use to spend bitcoins stored at that address.
Create your own Digital Paper Wallets with or without encryption
Are bitcoin wallets safe?
It depends how you manage them. The private keys stored in your wallet are the only way to access the transaction data stored in a bitcoin address. If you lose them, you lose your bitcoins. So, they are only safe in so far as no one else can access them, and they don’t get lost.
Are bitcoin wallets anonymous?
This fact resulted in some companies emerging with the goal of controversially tracking suspect transactions to ‘police’ the blockchain. To counter this, ideas were developed in the bitcoin community to take anonymity further, such as merge avoidance, stealth addresses, and coin mixing.