As you would need a wallet for your cash and credit card, you must also know where your crypto will be stored.

If you are buying digital currency through a trading site or exchange, you might be able to leave the “keys to your coins” within the account. That’s only one type of storage. However, you can also transfer them to your personal top crypto wallet. This may be software connected via the Internet (hot wallet), or an offline device (cold store).

Here’s everything you need to know about cryptocurrency wallets. And how to choose which storage option works best for you.

What is a Cryptocurrency-Wallet?

A Crypto wallet can be used to store digital currency, just as a regular wallet does.

“All you need to transact cryptocurrency is your wallet address (also known as your public keys) and your private key,” Nicole DeCicco says. CryptoConsultz is a consulting company for individuals and businesses interested in blockchain technology and crypto.

A public key can be compared to your bank account number. It can be shared with institutions and other individuals so they can send money to or take money from you account. These people view your public key as a wallet address. A hashed version, or a compressed version, of your public key is what they use.

Private keys are similar to your bank password or the pin for your debit card. DeCicco said, “You wouldn’t want that to me as that would allow me to access your account.”

Because crypto is a pure digital currency, it doesn’t reside in your wallet. The wallet instead stores information about you public and private keys which correspond to your ownership of the crypto. You can use these keys to send and receive crypto while keeping your private secret encrypted.

Types of Crypto Wallets

Depending on what purpose you intend to use your crypto, there are many options for crypto storage. An offline cold storage wallet may be more suitable for long-term Bitcoin investors. An online hot wallet is more suitable for those who are involved in active crypto transactions.

Hardware Wallet

These devices, also called cold storage or cold wallets, store your keys offline on an unconnected device. Many popular cold wallet devices are similar to USB drives. Paper wallets can be used for cold storage. This is because you can print out information about your public or private keys onto a sheet.

Many crypto enthusiasts consider cold storage the best way to protect your digital assets. Because they are offline, hardware wallets can be the most difficult type to hack. There are still risks.

One, hardware wallets are easily lost or misplaced. How many times has a USB stick with only documents on it been lost? It is not only inconvenient. It can be very costly to lose the key to your investments, which are irrecoverable once they are gone.

Hacking is still possible. DeCicco recommends that you purchase a device from the manufacturer directly, and not buying it secondhand. A third-party vendor could cause the device to be tampered with and sold to a hacker.

Software Wallet

They are sometimes called hot wallets. You can think of a hot wallet as a billfold that you keep in your pocket. A software wallet is like an online bank account.

DeCicco explains that these funds are often linked to an exchange, they’re user-friendly and have opened up the market to a wider audience. However, there are risks in keeping your funds online.

You can have hot wallets in many different ways. There are many options for accessing hot wallets. You can download software to your computer, use an app on your smartphone, or through the crypto exchange where you bought your coins. You may be more at risk of hackers if you use cold storage, as these options connect your public and private keys to the Internet.

Featured image source: freepik.com

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