What Are The Best Bitcoin Wallets of 2019?
Choosing the best Bitcoin wallet is a daunting task even for people experienced in crypto. The technology is always evolving, new wallets keep entering the market and nobody wants to make the wrong decision with something as important as the bitcoin wallet. After all, it will be holding your precious coins.
Luckily, CoinSchedule has done all the hard work for you, and here we present the best bitcoin wallets for every type of user, chosen by our editors in consultation with crypto experts from around the world.
If you just want us to tell you which Bitcoin wallet is the best for you, read on!
Table of Contents
Types of Crypto Wallets
Different types of bitcoin wallets serve different purposes and each one has their own pros and cons. The best Bitcoin wallet for you will depend on your personal circumstances.
Hardware wallets are those that require a physical device to operate. It’s like a USB stick or external hard-drive.
Most of them will have a PIN code or password that has to be typed on the device itself for extra protection, so these devices will usually also have some sort of keyboard so that you can type your password.
Hardware wallets are generally considered the safest types of wallets because of the fact that they require a PIN or password to be typed by the user (and this is enforced by a special chip inside the wallet that cannot be manipulated).
The requirement for typing a PIN/password means that even if a hacker were to gain access to your computer or mobile phone, they would still not be able to transfer coins out of your wallet because they are not physically present to type the PIN/password in the hardware wallet’s keyboard.
Several blockchain projects including some of the biggest ICOs that raised millions of dollars worth of funds choose to store their coins in hardware wallets, so this goes to show the level of trust that crypto experts have on these little devices.
Desktop wallets are the original wallets. When Bitcoin was first launched back in 2009, it came with a desktop wallet called Bitcoin-Qt. In fact, many called Bitcoin-Qt ‘Satoshi Wallet’ because it was originally developed by Satoshi Nakamoto, the Bitcoin creator.
Over time, many other desktop wallets have been launched. Historically, desktop wallets would have to maintain a copy of the entire blockchain on the user’s hard drive and since the Bitcoin blockchain is now over 200 GB in size, this rapidly becomes a problem not only in terms of disk space used but also the time needed to download the entire blockchain.
Newer desktop wallets, however, use a clever strategy to get around this issue, by maintaining a trusted list of servers that maintain the blockchain online and connecting to them securely, so the user doesn’t need to.
A very popular choice with many crypto enthusiasts, online wallets (also referred to as cloud wallets) work like websites, where users need to register themselves and data is stored on a 3rd party database.
The data is stored in such a way that makes it secure and immune to hacking attempts. The best online wallets ensure safety by storing data for each user’s wallet on their databases in a highly encrypted format, that can only be unencrypted by the user’s own password.
The user’s password is not stored by the wallet provider. This extra layer of protection where the wallet provider doesn’t have the user’s password necessary to decrypt their wallet makes online wallets secure, but at the same time, if the user forgets their password, there is no way to recover it.
Wallets made for smartphones such as iPhones and Android are a great option for many, since worldwide more people own phones than computers.
Whatsmore, since mobile wallets are generally more difficult to hack than computers and they are most of the time in their owner’s pockets, mobile wallets are considered a good and safe option to use to store your Bitcoins.
One concern with mobile wallets, particularly for Android users is the legitimacy of the App. It’s imperative that users make sure that they are downloading the correct mobile wallet App, as there have been many cases in the past of hackers launching fake Bitcoin mobile wallets in the play store and then stealing their user’s money.
Always check a rating site such as CoinSchedule before trying a mobile wallet, to make sure it’s been reviewed and rated by other users before.
Technically, exchange wallets are not proper Bitcoin wallets, but we are listing them here so we can explain the reason why this is.
Many users find it easier to just leave their coins in an exchange. The exchanges will normally use either a desktop wallet or a hardware wallet to store the coins for you. They will make sure it’s always the latest version and they will take care of claiming coins from forks and just generally ensure everything is operational.
The problem with exchange wallets though is that throughout Bitcoin’s history, several exchanges have been hacked. If you leave your coins in an exchange, the coins belong to the exchange and not to you. If a hacker steals the coins from the exchange, you have lost your coins. If the owners of the exchange decided to run away with your coins, they can.
It may seem farfetched, but indeed this has happened a number of times before, and unlike a bank account, once your coins are gone, they are gone – there is no way to recover them.
This is why crypto experts always recommend users to store their own coins rather than leave in an exchange. Ultimately, while your coins can also be stolen from your wallet, you are responsible for your own security and as long as you follow the best practices, you will be safe.
We won’t include brain wallets in our analysis here, but since we are mentioning all types of Bitcoin wallets, it is worth mentioning brain wallets for the sake of completeness.
The way that Bitcoin keys work is that one can use a ‘seed’ to generate the keys. This seed is usually a collection of words, but it can also be anything else you want. So you could, for example, come up with a sentence and use that to generate your Bitcoin keys.
The only catch is that if you use obvious words or a seed that is too short, you risk getting your coins stolen. Hackers are constantly generating private keys from commonly used words (or seeds) just to see if there are any Bitcoins there.
The advantage of a brain wallet though is that the seed doesn’t need to be written anywhere so they are as safe as it gets. Even if you get burglars into your house, who could potentially find your Bitcoin backups, if you use a brain wallet, then they won’t find anything.
This is not for the average user though, because if you forget your brain wallet seed, you lose all your coins with no hope of ever getting them back!
Comparison of the Different Types of Wallets
To sum it up, if we look at the different types of wallets we can see some patterns emerging. Generally speaking, the types of wallets look like the table below (the purpose of this table is to help you understand the pros/cons of the different types of wallets from a high-level perspective):
|Criteria||Hardware Wallets||Desktop Wallets||Online Wallets||Brain Wallets||Mobile Wallets|
|Ease of Use||Medium||High||High||Low||High|
Which Bitcoin Wallet Should I use?
Choosing The Best Bitcoin Wallets
Our editors, all of whom have been in crypto for at least 5 years sat down to discuss what are the best Bitcoin wallets for each different type of user, and this is what they came up with.
1. Best Bitcoin Wallet for Beginners: Rubix.io
Rubix Wallet is the easiest way for beginners to get into crypto. It has an intuitive user-interface (UI) and can be directly accessed from your web browser without having to download a program. There’s also an option to download the app on your phone.
The Rubix wallet is non-custodial, meaning the company does not control your keys and you don’t have to worry about your funds being stolen.
The unique advantage of this wallet is that it supports atomic swaps and can be integrated with Rubix’s other platforms including:
- Rubix Relay, an encrypted messaging platform, allowing users to communicate and conduct trades using crypto.
- Rubix Social, a social networking platform that respects user privacy and enables users to earn money.
- Rubix Pay, a payment processor that allows merchants to accept crypto.
So whether you’re new or a seasoned crypto trader, these platforms are something to pay attention to.
2. Best Bitcoin Wallet for Safe Storage: Ledger Nano S
When it comes to safe storage, the Ledger Nano is the safest. The fact that it is a hardware wallet makes it impossible for a remote hacker to access your funds because of the chip inside the Ledger Nano S that requires someone to physically type a password in order for it to sign transactions.
If you are dealing with larger amounts of Bitcoin (where larger here means 5% of your net worth or more), the Ledger Nano S is our recommended wallet.
Make sure you buy your Ledger Nano from the official store online. You will receive the Ledger Nano S in a box that looks like an iPhone box and also the USB cable required to connect it to a computer. All you need to do then is to plug it and follow the on-screen instructions to set your Ledger Nano S and start using it. Every time you want to send a transaction you will need to connect the Ledger Nano S to a computer, so keep that in mind.
If you ever lose your Ledger Nano S, or if it becomes damaged you can recover all of your coins using a set of backup words that you configure during the setup procedure.
One positive thing about the Ledger Nano S is that it supports multiple coins, including less popular ones such as Waves and Ark.
So if it’s safe storage you are after, there is no better solution than the Ledger Nano S.
3. Best Desktop Wallet for Windows, Mac and Linux: Electrum
Electrum is one of those products that people just trust because it’s been around for so long and it has endured the test of time. It is fully open source which is a big plus in this world of cryptocurrencies where a rogue code could steal all your funds. The software is actively being developed and they are always on top of the latest security updates.
The software is offered in versions for Windows, Mac and Linux so this adds comfort in the fact that if you ever decide to migrate to another computing platform, you can keep the same wallet.
The only caveat with Electrum is that the user interface is not as polished as some of the other products out there. However, this could also be seen as a plus because it makes the UI very clean and concise. There are not many buttons to click and therefore even new users might feel safer with Electrum because the odds of accidentally doing something wrong are slim.
4. Best Mobile Wallet App for iPhones & Androids: Jaxx
The reason why many people choose Jaxx is that it’s a cross-platform mobile wallet that works both in Android as well as iPhone, and it supports several coins. This means that for many people, this is the only wallet you need for all your cryptocurrencies.
In fact, Jaxx could easily be mentioned in the multi-cryptocurrency topic below, which goes to show how versatile it is.
The setup is simple and the user interface is good enough for frequent usage.
5. Best Multi-Cryptocurrency Wallet: Exodus Wallet (Supports 100+ Cryptocurrencies)
When it comes to supporting several cryptocurrencies, the Exodus Wallet takes the lead because of its breadth of compatibility with different coins and tokens, while focusing on UI and simplicity.
Exodus is a nice looking Bitcoin Wallet with a solid engine behind the scenes. They offer both desktop and mobile versions of their Bitcoin wallet so you can access your funds even when you are on the go.
The only downside of Exodus is the fact that the code is not fully open source, so you have to trust the company. If for example, the company were to cease to operate, you would have to switch to another wallet since no one would be able to maintain the code.
That problem aside, Exodus is a popular wallet supporting at least 15 blockchains natively including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, TRON, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, EOS, OmiseGO, BNB (Binance Coin), 0x, Dash, QTUM, Ripple, Stellar, Tether and Zcash. But if you count all the different tokens that can be created on top of some of the blockchains, for example, Ethereum and TRON then we are looking at hundreds, potentially thousands of tokens that can be stored in an Exodus wallet.
6. Best Crypto Wallet for Trading: Coinbase.com
We did say above that a Bitcoin wallet hosted by an exchange is not a real Bitcoin wallet (since you don’t hold your private keys). However, when you are trading, it is necessary to have the coins in an exchange.
Some people advocate for withdrawing all your coins as soon as your trade is done, to minimize any risks of losing coins that are in exchanges, but the reality is that we have come a long way since the days of MTGox (famous hacked exchange) and some exchanges are run extremely professionally, almost like a bank.
This is indeed the case with Coinbase. If you have to leave your coins with an exchange, even if it’s for a few hours or days (while you are doing your trades), Coinbase is your safest bet. Based in the USA, they have been around since 2014 and are strictly regulated (like any financial company in the USA). They are backed by a number of prominent VCs including Tim Draper (famed Bitcoin maximalist) and the coins that they hold online, also called “hot wallet”, are fully insured.
7. Best Bitcoin Wallet According to Reddit: Ledger Nano S
We have done extensive research in Reddit, to see what their users recommend. Of course, different Reddit threads will recommend different wallets for the various types of use cases and users, but all in all, Reddit mostly agrees with what we have explained in this article. Our conclusion is that the Ledger Nano S is the most recommended wallet in Reddit because of all the above reasons.
To give you a complete overview of the Bitcoin wallets landscape, we also reached out to industry experts and asked them what their favourite Bitcoin wallet is, and why. Here is what they had to say:
Alex Buelau @alexmichaelis, founder and CEO of CoinSchedule:
I have always been an Electrum user and after you start using a certain wallet, it’s difficult to move to another one, I like the familiar interface albeit a bit clunky and I know exactly how it works so it makes me feel like my coins are safe. That being said, I am considering moving to Ledger, especially the new Ledger Nano X model which looks quite attractive.
George Borovec @GeorgeBorovec, CEO of Founder of Niffty, a simulated crypto exchange:
When it comes to my day to day needs I have been using BlueWallet on my iOS device […] and have since moved everything over from all other wallets I was using previously. I cannot say enough good things about their UX/UI and overall ease of use and all around versatility.When it comes to storing my Bitcoin and crypto offline, I still have yet to find anything better than Ledger on the hardware side.
Stefano Colovan @stefano3323, founder of Korporatio, a company developing solutions to add traditional companies management and incorporation into the blockchain:
I’ve been in the blockchain space since earlier the Ethereum genesis. Unfortunately I got the bad luck of getting hacked couple of times on wallets hosted by exchanges and therefore the only two wallets I can recommend to people are the Trezor and the Ledger. I also keep very small amounts on Coinbase and now crypto.com for daily expenses, but for security really, use a trezor or a ledger, nothing else.
Timothy Curry @ezcoinaccess, CMO of BlockchainBTM a Bitcoin ATM company:
The EDGE wallet (a mobile wallet – more info) because it is extremely user-friendly. It is a decentralized open-source project and non-custodial wallet.They will never have access to your funds or private key because you have to go through a strong multi-factor user authentication logic so you don’t lose your private key.
If you have followed this whole article, you should now be in a great position to select the best wallet for you.