16 June 2020

What Is a Wallet, and How Do I Get One?

If you want to own cryptocurrency, then a crypto wallet is essential. Just like you use a physical wallet to store your credit cards and cash, cryptocurrency wallets are used to store your crypto.

Features of a Wallet

Whether you have a Bitcoin wallet or one for another cryptocurrency, it will have the same general features. Wallets are software programs used to store public and private keys. They interact with the blockchain to allow you to send and receive cryptocurrency, as well as monitor your balance.

How Crypto Wallets Work

Although the comparison with a physical wallet to hold cash is a good starting point forunderstanding cryptocurrency wallets, there are some key differences. Most notably, digital wallets do not actually store the cryptocurrency for you. This is because crypto does not exist in just one location; the blockchain contains the relevant information, including transactions.

Instead of storing your digital currency, cryptocurrency wallets store your private and public keys. They also provide an interface with the blockchain that lets you view your balance and send funds. To send cryptocurrency, you need to have both the public and the private keys. To receive cryptocurrency, you just need the public key.

Types of Wallets

Before you get a wallet, you should also understand that there are a few different types to choose from.

Desktop wallets are software that you download onto your computer. You can only access them from that computer in the future. These are among the most secure wallets, although any computer hacking can cause you to lose all your funds.

You can access online wallets from anywhere that has an internet connection sincethey run in the cloud. They offer convenient access but are among the least secure. This is particularly true because your private keys are stored online and the third-party offering the wallet is responsible for security.

Mobile wallets tend to be smaller, simpler versions of desktop wallets. They run on your phone, which makes them highly portable. You can also download wallet apps to your phone to access an online wallet.

Hardware wallets store your keys on a device, such as a USB. Because of their offline storage, they are highly secure. When you want to use one, you just plug it into your computer.

Paper wallets are incredibly secure, although losing the paper would lose all of your funds. Paper wallets are typically printouts with your public and private keys. The term can also describe software used to generate the keys you print.

How to Get a Wallet

Getting a wallet is incredibly simple. Start by choosing the type of wallet you want. Then, find a reputable developer that is known for security and customer support. From there, you can typically download or create a wallet in a few clicks, which the relevant website or download file will guide you through. This will frequently only take minutes.If you want a hardware wallet, you will have to buy it and wait for it to arrive at your house. Then, you can follow the simple instructions to set it up.

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Edmund McCormack
Tech industry veteran and blockchain technology investor. Simplifying cryptocurrency for almost a decade.

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