In life, you buy something and reach for your wallet for your cash or your credit cards. In the crypto world, it is kind of the same thing only you reach for a different kind of wallet. A bitcoin wallet can be a virtual wallet, a paper wallet, a hardware wallet, and it can be difficult to choose the one you want.
For the average person, the ability to buy, sell, receive Bitcoin, accept QR codes, and perform other transactions may make crypto scary. But, once you learn the basics and figure things out, you will need a way to have security plus full control over your funds.
What is a Bitcoin Wallet?
Like a regular wallet, a Bitcoin wallet is used to store information such as a public or private key related to your funds. A regular wallet may hold cash and coins as well as cards. A bitcoin wallet typically holds data. There are several kinds of bitcoins to choose from and it is important to use the right type of wallet so that you can manage these funds correctly.
The most important considerations for choosing a bitcoin wallet are:
- Ease of use
Types of Bitcoin Wallets
A bitcoin wallet can be a physical or virtual one. You may hear terms such as “hot wallet” or “cold wallet”. These terms are another way of designating the type of wallet that you have. Always review all of the available features and weigh the pros and cons of each wallet type before committing.
These are the types of bitcoin wallets that are available:
- Mobile wallet
- Desktop wallet
- Hardware wallet
- Paper wallets
The mobile wallet is one that can be accessed on a mobile device such as a tablet or a smartphone.
- Easy to use for face to face transactions
- Readily available wherever you are
- Easy to scan codes
- Easy to access your account and funds
- Apps can be removed from the marketplace without warning
- Any damage to the device could result in a loss of funds
- Not as secure as other types of wallets
Like the name says, this is a bitcoin wallet that is used on your computer.
- May offer more control
- Some of these wallets may offer more support to users as well
- It may be inconvenient to use for some types of transactions especially those that require you to scan a QR code
- Security is a major issue as desktop-based wallets may be at higher risk for damages from viruses or malware which could lead to theft
These wallets look like a USB device in most cases.
- Considered to be among the most secure
- Best for large amounts of cryptocurrency
- It may not be the most convenient to use and may not be useful in transactions away from a computer
- Loss of the device could result in the loss of funds.
A printed document that holds codes, private key information, and other account information needed to buy, sell, or trade crypto.
- Considered to be very secure
- Easy to control access to
- Could be damaged during printing
- Paper should be treated like actual currency and should be secured in a safe or bank security deposit box.
What is the difference between a hot wallet and a cold wallet?
A bitcoin wallet is divided into hot and cold designations.
Hot wallets include web, mobile, and desktop options. They are best for:
- Ease of use
- Typically free
- Popular for on the go traders
They are not so great though when it comes to:
- Security. These wallets are often vulnerable to malware and virus attacks
Cold wallets include hardware, paper, and physical wallets. These are best for:
- Far better security
- Better for storage of larger amounts of crypto
They can be problematic though:
- Cold wallets are generally not free and may cost between $50 and $200
- They are not easy to use for some transactions
Are Bitcoin Wallets Free?
Some, like the web-based, mobile, and desktop wallets are free while the more secure, cold wallets are not free. If you are someone that needs to make fast and easy transactions and tend to use an app for nearly everything, you will want to free, “hot” wallet.
If you value security over ease or have a larger amount of crypto, it is better to sacrifice the simple for the secure and go with the hot wallet even though you will have to pay for it.
How Can I Get a Free Bitcoin Wallet?
The easiest way to do this is with a crypto wallet app. There are many that you can choose, often from the same platform that you do your trading with. Choose the wallet, install it and then follow the directions for setting up your account.
What App Gives You Free Bitcoin?
There are several apps that you get free bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by either referring friends, taking a simple course on bitcoin or by learning about the market in general. Here are some examples of this type of app:
- Coinbase There are 2 ways to earn $10 in bitcoin through Coinbase including referring friends and by simply opening an account and going through a quick lesson. If you use the Swagbucks link, you can also get $30 cashback
Tip: Sign up for Coinbase now through the free Swagbucks rewards app, get a free $30 cash bonus.
- Abra. Get $15 in bitcoin when you open an account
- Bitcoin Survey apps like Toluna and Timebucks lets you answer quick surveys and rewards you in bitcoin and bitcoin gift cards
- Need some motivation to walk more? Would getting paid help? Download the Sweatcoin app and start earning bitcoin for every step that you take.
Some credit cards are now specifically offering crypto rewards just like they do with cashback rewards. The average card offers 1.5% crypto cashback on your purchases.
Final Thoughts on Bitcoin Wallets
If you are new to the crypto world it can be a whole lot of confusing information coming at you from every direction. Learning about how to trade, what a blockchain is, and dealing with transaction fees is hard enough but then you discover that you also have to find ways to store your keys or lose your funds.
There are pros and cons to every wallet type so weigh the features carefully and decide what is best for your current needs. You can always upgrade if your situation changes.
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