7 of The "Best"Bitcoin Wallet(s) [Recently Updated Guide]
Looking for a Bitcoin Wallet this is the guide for you!
Bitcoin has taken the world by storm. Created by the anonymous programmer Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin has shown us a very viable alternative to government-controlled fiat currency. The core philosophy behind its creation is that you are in full control of your own money. You don’t need to:
- Store your money in a bank.
- Go through a bank to send your money to someone else.
Via public and private keys, you are your own bank, and you can send your money to anyone you want, provided they have their own Bitcoin address. Since you are in control of your own money, you need to store them securely as well. A cryptocurrency wallet is a software program that stores private and public keys and interacts with various blockchains to enable users to send, receive, and store digital currency and monitor their balance. If you want to use Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, you will need to have a digital wallet.
In this article, we are going to be reviewing the seven best Bitcoin wallets of 2019. In this list, we will be dealing with a mix of hardware, desktop, mobile, and paper wallets. If you want a more in-depth explanation of these different wallet types, then check out the guide here.
#1 Bitcoin Wallet: Ledger Nano S
Ledger Nano S is a widely-used hardware wallet developed by the French company ledger. A hardware wallet is a type of cryptocurrency wallet where you can store your private keys in a secure physical device. The cryptocurrencies stores in the wallet are stored offline, so they can’t be hacked. If you are not that well-versed in coding and technical details, the hardware wallet is a great way to store the majority of your cryptos.
In terms of hardware, the Ledger Wallet Nano is a compact USB device based on a smart card. It is roughly the size of a small flash drive, measuring 39 x 13 x 4mm (1.53 x 0.51 x 0.16in) and weighing in at just 5.9g.
Ledger Nano S Package
Ledger Nano S comes in a neat little package which contains the following:
- Ledger Nano S
- 1 micro-USB cable
- Lanyard for wearing the device around the neck
- One keychain and a keyring
- Recovery sheet for writing down the seed keyword.
Activating Ledger Nano S
To activate the Nano S, you need to connect it to the computer via the USB cable. When you choose the option to create a new wallet, you will need to confirm the PIN code. It is important that you remember the PIN code because you will need to remember it each time you connect your Nano S.
When you had opened the package, you’d find a piece of paper that looks like this:
These 24 words will be your private key. You will need to write down your words in the same order that they are given to you. In case you ever forget your pin, in order to recover your wallet, they will ask you questions like:
“Enter the 17th word in your recovery sheet.”
Ledger Nano S Supported Coins
As per Ledger’s website, the Nano S natively supports 1184 coins. These include most of the major coins like:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bcash (BCH)
- Binance Coin (BNB)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Ethereum Classic
- Ripple (XRP)
- Tether (USDT)
- Tron (TRX)
Ledger Nano S Pros and Cons
- The setup is pretty simple and straightforward.
- Ledger Nano S is capable of running third-party apps and currently, as per the site, there are 18 installable apps.
- Ledger Nano S supports a vast variety of coins.
- Integrates with a large number of software wallets.
- It is a very affordable hardware wallet ($59), giving a very high-value proposition.
- The entire recovery process can be done from the device only without even connecting it to a computer.
- Features Ledgers secure chip technology.
- Pretty inconspicuous looking since it resembles a simple pen-drive. Plus, it is pretty lightweight, so can be easily carried around.
- Not open-source hardware.
- The recovery sheet can be stolen or replicated if enough care isn’t taken.
#2 Bitcoin Wallet: Trezor One
Trezor is a Prague-based company and they have built one of the most accessible and convenient hardware wallets ever. It is insanely simple to use and the sleek design means that you can carry it around with your very comfortable. Trezor is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. To use it, you can plug in the USB drive to your laptop and connect to your chosen interface.
Working with Trezor
So, after connecting with your chosen interface, you will notice this in your laptop:
You will have to enter the PIN which will be randomly generated by your wallet every single time and will be displayed on the screen of your wallet like this:
The number will randomly generate for every single transaction. This gives an added layer of security to your cryptocurrency. In case, you have some keylogger in your computer recording your activities for malicious purposes they won’t be able to get access to your wallet because the pin will keep changing.
After you have put in your PIN, you will have to put your passphrase which is known to you and only you. When you are done, you will gain complete access to your wallet and you can send/receive funds as and when you please. If you are sending someone money, your Trezor will ask for your confirmation by showing this message on its screen:
You can cancel or deny the transaction.
Trezor Supported Coins
As per Trezor’s website, they support 1064coins. These include the following:
- Ripple (only Model T)
- Bitcoin Cash
- Ethereum Classic
Trezor Pros and Cons
- Extremely simple to use.
- Very sleek design.
- It can be used on all devices provided the platforms are compatible (Windows, Mac OS X or Linux).
- Never exposes your private key.
- Randomly generated pin code keeps the device safe and secure.
- Costs $99 which is a bit steep.
- Trezor One doesn’t support Ripple (XRP).
- Not as inconspicuous-looking as Ledger Nano.
#3 Bitcoin Wallet: MyCelium Bitcoin Wallet
Formed in 2008 by a group of hardware engineers, MyCelium has become one of the best-known Bitcoin mobile wallets out there. Mycelium has both Android and iPhone versions available. MyCelium hopes to make Bitcoin transactions as frictionless and functional as possible.
The system is extremely secure and offers five types of accounts – HD (Hierarchical Deterministic), Bit ID (open protocol), Single Address Accounts, “Watch Only” Accounts, and Hardware (for offline devices) Accounts. Along with that, it also has a myriad of features such as – encrypted PDF backups and cold storage, with an integrated QR-code scanner, secure chat service, and a local trading marketplace.
Having said that, it should also be noted that this is not the best wallet for beginners. If you are an advanced user searching for a great Bitcoin mobile digital wallet, then MyCelium will be perfect for you.
When you open the app, you will be asked whether you want to get a new wallet or restore an old one. You will also see a QR code, send, and receive buttons accompanied by the current exchange rate and some other critical pieces of information:
When you hit the “accounts” tab, you can immediately back up the private key automatically generated for the wallet. This is an important feature that makes sure you take steps to secure funds if your phone is lost.
When you click on the Business tab, you will see their business partners – Ledger, Trezor, Purse, and SaferVPN.
You can also seamlessly switch between Bitcoin to regular fiat currencies like USD and Euros with ease.
Crucial features of MyCelium
Let’s look at some of the essential features of MyCelium:
- It is free to use apart from the transaction cost for miners. Mycelium’s miner fees range from 0.08 mBTC/kb for low priority transactions to 1 mBTC/kb for the highest priority, where 1 mBTC equals 0.00100000 BTC.
- You get 100% control over your private keys. They will be inside your device as long as you export them.
- There is no need to download the entire Bitcoin blockchain.
- Mycelium manages multiple accounts and never reuse addresses (BIP32, BIP44). It offers support for BIP38 keys.
- Secures your wallet with a PIN.
- The Local Trader feature helps you find other people to trade Bitcoins with.
Pros and Cons of MyCelium
- It offers excellent privacy and high security.
- It has a lot of interesting features.
- It is open-source software.
- Integrates with a wide variety of services such as Ledger and Trezor.
- Free to use.
- It doesn’t have a web or desktop interface.
- It is not beginner-friendly.
#4 Electrum Wallet
Electrum is one of the oldest Bitcoin wallets in the market. Thomas Voegtlin created it way back in November 2011 and various developers have since modified it. Since Electrum is a client-based wallet, you can download the software and run it from your computer. Unlike most other desktop bitcoin wallets, there is no need for you to run your entire blockchain. Electrum can be run on Windows, Linux, or MacOS.
While Electrum is primarily a desktop client, it has released an Android wallet in March 2016. The android client has a 3.3 rating on the Google Play store and the majority of the ratings are either 5 stars or a 1 star.
Having said that, Electrum is still one of the most popular wallet solutions for desktop users out there.
- Electrum ensures speedy transactions and keeps waiting time low via server usage.
- The private keys of the users are not sent to the servers, they are instead encrypted, giving you full control and ownership over your private keys.
- Electrum offers cold storage to store up your Bitcoin. The online desktop hot wallet version is used to finish transactions and making payments.
- It can integrate with existing hardware solutions, including KeepKey, Trezor, and Ledger Nano.
- The wallet ensures complete verification of all the transactions in your wallet history.
- Electrum has incredible security and prevents theft and fund loss.
- The open-source code of the wallet is written in Python, which is widely used by developers so developing is easy.
- The single wallet can be executed on multiple desktops with automatic synchronization.
- The user-interface can be a little difficult for beginners.
Pros and Cons of Electrum
- The platform is popular and is one of the oldest Bitcoin wallets in the market.
- The set up is pretty straightforward and the wallet is pretty fast.
- The wallet also has very good privacy features and keeps your Bitcoins secure.
- Integration with hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor is available.
- It also has an Android application that you can use on your mobile.
- Unlike Exodus, it only offers Bitcoin services.
- The reception to the Android app is mixed.
- The interface is not easy for beginners.
#5 Bitcoin Wallet: Exodus Wallet
Exodus is a relatively new desktop wallet and in addition to its advanced features, what sets it apart from other wallets is that is very easy to use and extremely intuitive. Any beginner can complete a transaction or operate in an easy to understand step-by-step manner. Being a pure desktop wallet, it supports Windows, Mac OS, and Linux platforms and there is no mobile version available. You need to download and install the wallet into your computer directly.
Exodus wallet has a built-in shapeshift exchange which enables users to trade between Bitcoin and altcoins inside the wallet itself. The desktop wallet clearly showcases the coins you are going to get in the trade in both crypto and fiat values as well as the current spread of the transaction. Additionally, not just Shapeshift, they also have multiple exchange partners (not just ShapeShift), which means they can now offer more exchangeable assets, and the capability to source from various partners has enabled exchanging in Exodus faster and much more reliable.
Though it initially supported about 40 cryptocurrencies, the number has gone up as close to 100 now which includes most major ones such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ethereum Classic, FunFair, Gnosis, Golem, OmiseGo, Qtum etc.
The in-built exchange allows you to convert certain coins to others using a fixed exchange rate:
The coins that you can use to obtain the others are:
- Bitcoin Cash
- Bitcoin SV
- Binance Coin
- USDC Coin
The Exodus Dashboard shows you some basic information.
You will see:
- The total holdings valuation in US Dollar.
- The 24-hour change in the value of holdings.
- The highest balance.
- The age of the portfolio, as in for how long have you had this wallet.
- The best performing asset in the last 24 hours.
- The worst performing asset in the last 24 hours.
When you click on the Wallet tab, you will see the following:
- The wallet shows you how much of the available assets do you have in your portfolio.
- There is also a “Send” and “Receive” button to help you transact with cryptocurrencies.
Exodus security and other features
Being a desktop wallet, Exodus encrypts and stores all your data in your computer hard drive i.e. locally thus you are always in full control of your keys and data. The wallet offers a very simple guide when you want to back up and it does not store your keys on the server during backup.
When you need to restore the wallet, they email you a secure link that is protected by a 12-word passphrase and Exodus key to reactivate your wallet. This passphrase is very important as you will be your only way to get your wallet back in case you have forgotten your password. But if you lose your passphrase, then there is no other way to get access to your account.
Note here that though they take security very seriously, the team is yet to offer the two-factor authentication feature.
Exodus does not require a personal email and therefore, does not store it – a great feature. You may choose to use any email address or none at all. It only needs an email id once for sending the backup link. Privacy is crucial to the Exodus team and therefore, they do not store any customer personal data, not even the email address.
Exodus users also have the option to send funds to and receive funds from smart contracts. For your information, the wallet charges a transaction fee every time your payment is processed, but this goes entirely to the blockchain networks and not to the Exodus team. The wallet always favors speed and reliability over lower fees, and so the fee is adjusted as per the demand in the blockchain network. The wallet does not offer the feature to adjust this fee manually. As for some of the features, the real-time pie chart portfolio Exodus wallet provides is great for calculating and organizing your savings.
Exodus is known for its excellent support team which has been highly rated by the users. Its site has over 100 articles on various topics, explaining the features, fee structure, and how to troubleshoot in detail with 17 other general topics. The site also offers an extensive list of FAQs with videos in case you need more detailed help.
Exodus pros and cons
- The wallet has great design
- The desktop wallet is 100% free to use
- Good privacy and security
- It is engineered keeping beginners in mind therefore easy to use
- Intuitive interface with powerful charting tool at your disposal
- It supports multiple cryptocurrencies
- It has built-in trading and portfolio functions
- Offers automatic fee adjustment
- Offers great help and prompt support
- Exodus doesn’t offer any web interface or mobile app
- It has limited security features
- There is no two-factor authentication in offer either
- Not 100% open source
#6 Bitcoin Wallet: Samourai Wallet
Although a relatively new name, Samourai Wallet is a mobile Bitcoin wallet that gives major emphasis to user privacy and security. The interesting thing to note about Samourai is that it is a wallet that is perfectly in-line with the ideals with which Bitcoin was originally created – decentralization, privacy, transparency, security, and fungibility.
Samourai Wallet Features
Samourai Wallet has some pretty exciting features that are worth looking into:
- Adjustable transfer fees: This is one of the most essential features of Samourai Wallet. What this does is to allow the users to increase the transaction fee so that it can get completed ahead of others.
- Private Transactions: Privacy is one of the USPs of Samourai Wallets. Every time you do a transaction, Samourai will use a new address every time to protect your metadata and keep your identity and transactions private.
- Tor & VPN Support: Samourai gives Tor and VPN support to add extra privacy. By using it, users can use an anonymous IP address that’s not tied to you or your location.
- SegWit Support: Samourai was one of the first wallets to implement SegWit. It is a necessary functionality for Lightning Network implementation.
- BIP 47 Implementation: BIP 47 is a transactional protocol feature that enables privacy with public payment addresses via the creation of a payment channel between the two wallets.
- Ricochet: This feature confuses people who spy on the blockchain and improve the privacy and fungibility of the transaction. This will help prevent transactions from being traced.
- SMS Commands: By sending SMS codes to their wallet, users can remotely interact with their wallet. Not only will this allow users to retrieve their wallets using another mobile device, but they can wipe the data clean if it is ever stolen.
- Trusted Node: By using the Trusted Node feature, you can send transactions by connecting to your own node by entering the IP address and port of the node.
Samourai Wallet Security and Privacy
Samourai Wallet gained a lot of respect because of its security and privacy features.
- The wallet has the advanced AES-256 encryption which protects it from malware and other server attacks.
- The user owns and has full control over their private keys, which isn’t transmitted to any servers or anyone.
- The wallet uses BIP 39, which uses passphrase encryption upon the moment of wallet creation. This makes your wallet safe even before it is setup.
- A 5-8 digit PIN is used to unlock your wallets. Every time you log in to your wallet, the PIN screen is randomized, which inhibits screen recording spyware.
- The wallets also have a unique “stealth mode feature.” When it is enabled, the shortcut icon disappears from your phone’s home screen, app lists, recent apps list, or launcher. You can only retrieve it after you dial your PIN into the phone pad as if you are dialing a number to call. The brilliance of this feature is that if someone comes across your phone, they won’t even be able to tell whether you are using the Samourai Wallet.
- Samourai wallet users can remain completely anonymous and implement layers of privacy protection while transacting.
Who should use Samourai Wallet?
Samourai is currently only available on Android mobile devices. It has been created only for advanced users who require anonymity and privacy. While it is true that this will be a wallet of choice for malicious elements who will need privacy to shield their nefarious activities, it is also true that people living under an oppressive regime will find this extremely useful as well. Despite Samourai being more suited for advanced users, its design and user interface is simple to use.
#7 Bitcoin Wallet: Wallet Generator
Wallet Generator is a simple and straightforward way to create your own paper wallet. Paper wallets are an offline cold storage method of saving cryptocurrency. It includes printing out your public and private keys on a piece of paper which you then store and keep in a secure place. The keys are printed in the form of QR codes which you can scan in the future for all your transactions. The reason why it is so safe is that it gives complete control to you, the user. You do not need to worry about the well-being of a piece of hardware, nor do you have to worry about hackers or any piece of malware. You just need to take care of a piece of paper.
Creating your own paper wallet
Once you are on the Wallet Generator website, follow the instructions given to download the zip file of the site from GitHub. Once that is done, switch off your wifi and hover over the random address generator.
Once you have hovered there for an appropriate amount of time (till the green bar turns completely orange), you will have successfully generated your public address. Once you do that, the corresponding private key will be created for you as well.
Now, you can simply print out the QR codes of your public address and private key. Laminate it, and keep it safely in a locker or wherever you please. Wallet Generator supports 197 coins, including Bitcoin.
We have expanded on paper wallets in great detail here.
Who should use Wallet Generator?
Anyone who wants to hold onto any amount of Bitcoin for an extended period should use Wallet Generator. It is the most secure method out there. However, liquifying the held bitcoins can be a bit of a pain, so if you are a frequent trader, then you will not find this method convenient.
Best Bitcoin Wallets 2019 Conclusion
Let’s summarize whatever we have learned so far:
- Best hardware wallet with most versatility: Ledger Nano S.
- Best Ledger Nano alternative: Trezor One.
- Best Bitcoin mobile wallet: MyCelium.
- Best Bitcoin Desktop wallet: Exodus.
- Best Bitcoin mobile wallet with privacy features Samourai Wallet.
- Best Bitcoin paper wallet maker: Wallet Generator.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the differences between these wallets:
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