Should I put my bitcoin in a wallet? Beginner's guide

A Bitcoin wallet is a digital wallet used to send and receive bitcoins. To learn how to store Bitcoin using various wallets, see this guide.

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What is a Bitcoin wallet?

Buying, selling, and trading Bitcoin is now easier than ever (BTC). After you've obtained BTC, the following step is to make sure it's kept in a secure location. Maybe you're wondering where you can keep your Bitcoin.

BTC is a type of digital currency that is kept in an electronic wallet and accessed with a private key. You don't have to do this right away, though. A wallet program automatically signs outbound transactions and generates wallet addresses for you using a private key.

A Bitcoin wallet is a digital wallet that may be used to send and receive bitcoins. Having a physical wallet is akin to this. What is the purpose of a Bitcoin wallet, then? The wallet retains the cryptographic information needed to access Bitcoin addresses and send transactions, rather than retaining physical money. Some Bitcoin wallets support the storage of other coins.

The private key, not the coins, is stored on the device that houses your Bitcoin wallet. Your funds are kept on the Bitcoin blockchain, and you'll need your private key to allow transfers to someone else's wallet.

Several types of Bitcoin wallets exist to meet various needs, and they differ in terms of security, convenience, accessibility, and other factors. So, how do you go about selecting a Bitcoin wallet?

When it comes to selecting the finest Bitcoin wallet for you, there are two important things to follow. To get the best crypto wallet for you, you must first select what type of crypto wallet you require and then compare individual wallets.

Full-node wallets, for example, cater to decentralization and support the BTC network, and Bitcoin mobile wallets, depending on the wallet you use, have built-in cryptocurrency exchanges and easy quick response (QR) code scanners, among other features.

It's critical that the wallet you select is compatible with the currencies you're keeping and meets your specific security and usability requirements. This article will instruct users on how to obtain and use Bitcoin wallets, as well as how to properly store Bitcoin.

How does a Bitcoin wallet work?

Cryptographic key pairs are used to transfer and receive Bitcoin. A key pair consists of a private key and a corresponding public key. Bitcoin transactions necessitate the use of private keys, which must be kept secret. Receiving Bitcoin necessitates the use of public keys, which can be distributed to anybody. By deriving a private key from them, public keys are created.

When you create a Bitcoin wallet, a seed is created. Seeds are displayed in the form of a series of words using mnemonic phrases. This seed will be used to generate all of the Bitcoin keys you'll need to send and receive bitcoin.

This concept is known as the Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) framework, and it is the industry standard for creating and managing Bitcoin keys. When you want to accept Bitcoin, most wallets will generate new public keys for you automatically.

The issue of reusing a public key or an address is no longer a concern. If you use the same public key every time you receive Bitcoin, anyone can easily track your entire payment history. Treating keys as one-time-use tokens dramatically improves a user's privacy. A user can always restore their wallet if they know their recovery seed, which is often a 12- or 24-word list that was created when the wallet was created.

So, how much does it cost to get a Bitcoin wallet? Using a Bitcoin wallet is free if you're merely storing Bitcoin in the wallet. However, depending on what you're attempting to do, the owner of the exchange or device that contains your wallet will charge you varying fees.

A wallet can range in price from nothing to $200 or more. If you use a wallet as part of an exchange, you'll almost certainly pay a fixed charge of a few dollars or a % of the overall transaction value.

Types of Bitcoin wallets

Mobile wallets

A mobile crypto wallet is a vital tool for those who use Bitcoin to pay for items in stores or perform face-to-face exchanges on a daily basis. It runs as a smartphone app, keeping the private keys and allows you to pay, trade, and store crypto with your phone.

Furthermore, some apps make use of the smartphone's near-field communication, or NFC, function, which allows users to just tap their phone against a terminal without providing any information.

Mobile wallets use simplified payment verification techniques since they only work with limited portions of the blockchain and rely on trustworthy nodes in the Bitcoin network to guarantee that they have the proper data.

The drawback is that these trusted nodes manage the coins and transactions, contradicting Bitcoin's trustless ideology. Nonetheless, due to the restricted system resources on mobile phones, these wallets are required, although this is a potential drawback of having instant access to monies.

Mobile wallets are also vulnerable to malware and hacking as a result of being a simple on-the-go alternative for Bitcoin storage. If someone merely acquires access to your mobile device, especially if two-factor authentication is not activated, you may lose control of your wallet.

Two-factor authentication (also known as 2FA) is an extra layer of security that requires you to provide a code in addition to your username and password to log in. A 2FA code is different from a password in that it is sent to your email or phone via SMS to help authenticate that it is you who is trying to log in. Because it is invulnerable to SIM swap attacks and email hacks, using an authenticator app like Google Authenticator, FreeOTP, or Authy is a more secure 2FA option.

It's best to only put as much Bitcoin into your mobile wallet as you'll need, and keep your larger Bitcoin holdings in separate hardware or a paper wallet.

There are numerous Bitcoin wallet apps available for Android and iOS devices. They're light wallets that don't download the complete blockchain to your phone or tablet, but nonetheless scan it to determine your balance. Be aware of frauds and fake wallet apps, as there are plenty out there looking to steal your personal information.

Web wallets (exchange wallets) 

Web wallets (a type of Bitcoin hot wallet) keep track of your private keys on a server that is always online and under the control of a third party. Varied providers have different capabilities, like the ability to link to mobile and desktop wallets and reproduce your addresses across all of your devices.

E-wallets, like mobile wallets, allow users to access their savings from any internet-connected device while on the road. The website's operators can obtain access to your private keys, giving them complete control over your funds.

Most e-wallets rely on exchanges, and there have been reports of exchanges going bankrupt and taking their users' money. Hackers commonly target exchange wallets since they are only accessible through a web browser.

Exchange wallets can provide some protection against funds loss in specific instances. Insurance or backup money, for example, could be used to compensate users if the exchange is compromised.

Because users frequently use the same email addresses and passwords across several services, the frequency of leaked passwords and emails makes this an extremely serious security problem. Keep in mind that half of your login credentials are your email address.

Desktop wallets

Desktop wallets are downloaded and installed on your computer, with the private keys being stored on your hard drive or solid-state drive (SSD). They are more secure than online and mobile wallets by definition, as they do not rely on third parties for data and are more difficult to steal.

Because they are still connected to the internet, they are fundamentally insecure. Desktop wallets, on the other hand, are an excellent option for those who trade little amounts of Bitcoin from their desktops.

There are a variety of desktop wallets available, each with its own set of features. Some are concerned with security, while others are concerned with anonymity, ease, decentralization, and other factors. Full node wallets are those that download the entire blockchain to your PC. Hundreds of gigabytes of hard space and a fast internet connection are required. They do, however, provide granular control over your transactions that most wallets do not. The following are just a few of the advantages of using such a wallet:

  • Replace-by-fee checkbox: If you wish to speed up your transaction, you can increase the transaction charge later.
  • The transaction cost and speed control are displayed in an intuitive drop-down menu.
  • Transactions are broadcast directly to the memory pool without passing through a third-party node provider, which improves performance.
  • API and CLI: Full node wallets' command-line interface (CLI) offers a wide range of controls not available in light wallet apps. App developers can use the application user interface (API) to integrate Bitcoin-related functionalities into their apps. This can also be used to create a wallet application.

Hardware wallets

A Bitcoin hardware wallet is a one-of-a-kind Bitcoin wallet that keeps private keys on a secure physical device. It is thought to be the safest way to keep any amount of Bitcoin. Hardware wallets may be used safely and interactively, unlike paper wallets, which must be imported into software at some point. They are impervious to computer infections because the monies saved cannot be transferred in plaintext out of the device, and their software is usually open source.

Most hardware wallets contain screens that can be used to verify and show important wallet details, adding another layer of protection. A screen, for example, can generate a recovery phrase and validate the amount and location of the payment you want to make. So long as you get an authentic product from a reputable and capable manufacturer, your money will be safe and secure.

Never buy a hardware wallet on a secondhand marketplace. Fake hardware wallets are on the market, and they will steal funds from your Bitcoin account. Always buy hardware wallets from the manufacturer's website and make sure you're on their official page. Check the URL in the address bar of your browser to make sure it's correct.

Paper wallets

A paper wallet is a tangible document that has a public address for accepting Bitcoin and a private key for spending or transferring Bitcoin held at that address. Paper wallets are frequently printed with QR codes so that you can scan them and upload the keys to a software wallet or a wallet app to complete a transaction fast.

Services that allow users to generate a random Bitcoin wallet address with its private key can be used to construct a paper wallet. The generated keys can then be printed using services that offer tamper-resistant designs or even holographic labels.

The fundamental advantage of a paper wallet is that the keys are stored offline, making it highly resistant to and entirely immune to hacking assaults, such as keyloggers and malware that tracks keystrokes. When constructing a wallet, however, some measures must be taken. You must be certain that no one is watching you make your wallet or seeing where you keep it.

It is advised that you use a clean operating system, such as Ubuntu, running from a USB flash drive or DVD, to eliminate the chance of spyware monitoring your activity. The website code should be able to run offline once the paper wallet is set up, allowing the user to unplug from the internet before creating the keys.

Furthermore, you must realize that you are printing sensitive personal information on a piece of paper. To protect the piece of paper, some precautions should be followed. For example, to avoid water damage and normal wear and tear, keep it in a sealed plastic bag and store it in a dry, secure location. Some people prefer to laminate the document and keep it in a safe deposit box.

How to set up a Bitcoin wallet?

Install a free software wallet client or app to create a Bitcoin software wallet. Download desktop software wallets from their websites, for example, then install them according to the on-screen instructions.

To set up your Bitcoin web wallet, you can also create a Coinbase account. If you don't want to give your BTC wallet to a third party, acquire a hardware wallet from the company that makes it. Because each wallet is different, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions while setting it up.

Physical Bitcoin vs banks

Physical Bitcoin

The value of physical Bitcoin coins is usually preloaded with a specific amount of BTC, with the idea that it cannot be spent as long as the private key is kept concealed. A tamper-evident seal is generally used to do this.

Bitbill was the first of its kind, and it was designed like a credit card, while most of the others were spherical medals. In 2011, Mike Cadwell, a cryptocurrency enthusiast known as "Casascius," constructed the first Casascius physical Bitcoin.

Private keys were hidden under a peelable hologram that left a tamper-evident mark when removed. When the coin was redeemed, it lost its digital value. Since then, several other coin makers have emerged, and some companies now provide preloaded cards with a predetermined quantity of cryptocurrency.

Due to the inherent constraints of physical cash, actual Bitcoin is currently primarily used as a collector's item. One of Bitcoin's primary value propositions is that it allows for smooth transfers anywhere in the globe, which is impossible with actual currencies.


Many banks prohibit Bitcoin-related activity, such as wire payments to cryptocurrency exchanges, among others. Banks typically claim money laundering as a rationale for refusing to provide this service, despite having a financial interest to do so to maintain their business model. Because Bitcoin is supposed to diminish or eliminate the need for custodians like banks, this is the case.

In recent years, traditional financial organizations, such as banks, have expressed interest in not just building their own cryptocurrencies, but also in providing custody services for current cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Banks are also being allowed to provide bitcoin custody services by regulators.

Bitcoin's blockchain maintains currencies and wallet information securely, therefore banking for cryptocurrency may be unnecessary. Bitcoin also allows users to execute international transactions without the requirement for bank approval or minimum balance fees. Despite this, banks have been attempting to remain relevant as Bitcoin develops in popularity.

Bitcoin can also be held in custody by regulated cryptocurrency institutions. They provide bank-type security features including account monitoring and can intervene if questionable behavior is identified. These services also allow you to sell your cryptocurrencies and withdraw your funds into a traditional bank account.

These services are beneficial, especially if you are not planning to hold cryptocurrencies for a long time. Their resemblance to banks does not end there; they have the ability to freeze your account or confiscate your funds. Even while the overall experience from crypto native banks is more decentralized than those in the traditional banking system, you would be subject to withdrawal limits, Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures, and surveillance. Furthermore, just a few of these banks operate in a completely regulated environment.

Bitcoin wallets and security

The following are the various security issues linked with Bitcoin wallets:

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Protecting your Bitcoin from thieves

Now comes the crucial question: Is the Bitcoin wallet secure? Yes is the most obvious answer. However, it is entirely dependent on the user's security strategy. Because cryptocurrencies are valuable targets for hackers, users must be aware of the following crucial points:

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How to cash out your Bitcoin wallet?

You can't convert Bitcoin to cash at any time, but you can sell your BTC for the fiat money of your choice anonymously on the blockchain. A cryptocurrency exchange may handle the transaction and find a buyer for you, allowing you to quickly convert the value of your Bitcoin to cash.

The limits and timescales for transferring your fiat currency to your bank account differ by wallet, however most transactions may be completed within one to three days of the Bitcoin sale.

What is the best way to store Bitcoin?

There are a variety of ways to store Bitcoin, however the ideal method is dependent on your privacy. A USB drive wallet is great for inexperienced investors who want to keep their Bitcoin or cryptocurrency safe from theft.

You can also use the Open browser to download the Ethereum Mist Wallet from MetaMask's website and store BTC there. Select "Use ETH wallet" after selecting "Log in with Metamask." You can then access your BTC under "ETH Wallets."

Trezor and Ledger wallets (Bitcoin cold wallets) support Bitcoin and store it on genuine USB-like devices. If you want to enable third parties to keep your private keys, Binance and Coinbase wallets are alternatives to the above-mentioned options.

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