Congratulations! You have decided to try out Bitcoin and are now ready to face a brand new world of online payments. To get you started, you are going to need a Bitcoin wallet.
A Bitcoin wallet is any device or software that will facilitate all your transactions, whether it is to send money or accept payments. There are different kinds of wallets so it would be best to choose one that will ultimately match your lifestyle. There are wallets available for your browser, mobile phone, tablet or desktop, and there are also wallets that come in the form of cards and USBs.
It is important to remember that your Bitcoin wallet does not hold actual bitcoins. Instead, it holds two very important keys: your public key and your private key.
Your public key is the ID used for you to receive bitcoins. And your private key is what you use to purchase things with bitcoins.
Here are some of the most popular Bitcoin wallets around: (Source)
This is hands-down one of the most secure Bitcoin wallets known today. It does not ask for access to your private key and it also implements client-side AES encryption, which heightens protection from the server side. The company also constantly updates and improves its features, which is why they’ve gained a trustworthy reputation among thousands of Bitcoin users.
Are you willing to pay a relatively small fee for added security features to your wallet? This is how Xapo got the attention of big time Bitcoin investors as they have added ultra-safe features and deposit insurance to their Bitcoin-keeping service. It has also integrated debit card payments into the wallet, which allows users to spend Bitcoins anywhere that accepts major credit cards.
If you want to be able to access your Bitcoins from the web, from your mobile or from desktop clients, GreenAddress is the app for you. This newcomer is also very straightforward and easy to use, and it even adds a 2-of-2 signature feature for an added layer of security.
Hive comes with an instant messaging style interface and it can also be accessed from any gadget via the app.
Although this wallet is not available on mobile, it has become a favorite for desktop and laptop users because of its enhanced security features and its ability to maintain your wallet even when you are offline.
The Localtrader feature of this wallet uses the location settings of your phone so you can easily track other users or stores in your area that are accepting Bitcoin payments or are looking to buy or exchange bitcoins.
Although this is still in its beta stage, early users have given it a high rating most especially because of its built-in feature that allows users to buy and sell bitcoins without any fees.
This Chrome extension is currently the easiest and most seamless way to incorporate Bitcoin into your online shopping routine.
Lastly, this wallet created by firm believers in cryptography works to make your Bitcoin transactions as anonymous and private as possible. This wallet is currently in the alpha stages of development and is being crowdfunded for support.
Whatever wallet your choose for your needs, be sure to constantly stay tuned to updates to the software your wallet is using to get maximum efficiency and security at all times. And if you’re feeling extra experimental, why not try more than one wallet to be able to compare the experience yourself? Best of luck to your Bitcoin journey!