How to choose the best bitcoin wallet


In a previous article we wrote in detail about the types of Bitcoin wallets. This time we have decided to do a little review of some popular models in order to help you to choose the best bitcoin wallet.

As you already know, Bitcoin wallets fall into 3 groups: virtual, mobile and desktop. The latter, in its turn, can be thick or thin.

Assessing different Bitcoin wallets we have considered these features:

Money control

  • Full (you are responsible for the safety of your Bitcoins, they can not be frozen or stolen if you follow the rules)
  • Shared (transactions must be confirmed by a third party). Full control can be also renewed if you have a backup of the original wallet.
  • Partial (you have an access to your coins, but they are under the control of some service, which is responsible for their safety)

Validation

  • Full (client downloads the whole block chain, it requires over 20 GB of memory)
  • Simplified (it does not take much time, but it is less secure)
  • Centralized (the validation of blocks takes place at a separate service which is responsible for the accuracy of provided information)

Transparency

  • Full (open source code, which was created with the help of a fixed algorithm, any developer can check its safety)
  • Basic (open source code, which was created with help of a non-fixed algorithm, so you can not be 100% sure of its safety)
  • Remote application (Bitcoin wallet is loaded from a remote server, its safety entirely depends on a third party)

Environment (the security of BTC wallet in terms of viruses and malware)

  • Safe (typically it refers to mobile wallets, since the smartphone applications are usually isolated)
  • Vulnerable (usually it is desktop Bitcoin wallets, because the PC is more vulnerable to viruses than a cellphone)

Privacy

  • Increased (a program does not send the information on your payments to other nodes, you can use Tor, so your payments could not be traced via your IP address)
  • Basic (it sends the information on your BTC transactions to other nodes and\or you can not use Tor)

Thick Bitcoin wallets

This type includes programs downloading the whole block chain and validating its authenticity. This is the most reliable option for storing cryptocurrency. This type of Bitcoin wallet is best for personal computers. By the way, we have already told you how to make your Bitcoin wallet bulletproof.

Bitcoin Core

  • Money control: full.
  • Validation: full.
  • Transparency: full.
  • Environment: vulnerable.
  • Privacy: increased.
  • Advantages: high-level security and anonymity of users; the program is rapidly developing and improving; it is the official Bitcoin client.
  • Disadvantages: it takes much space on your PC; it requires large amounts of RAM; no additional functions; slow running.

Armory

  • Money control: full.
  • Validation: full.
  • Transparency: basic.
  • Environment: vulnerable.
  • Privacy: increased.
  • Advantages: many additional features (encryption, backups, "cold" storage); possibility to manage multiple wallets; possibility to send messages signed with your private key (it ensures that a message came from you).
  • Disadvantages: it may seem difficult for the beginners; you need at least 2 GB of RAM; slow start if the computer was turned off before.

Thin wallets

The main difference of this type of BTC wallet is no need to download the whole block chain. The separate server deals with that, and the program with your wallet takes this information there. This significantly accelerates the program operation, but it reduces the security level, even when you hold all your keys alone. This type of bitcoin wallet is best for laptops and tablets.

MultiBit HD

  • Money control: full.
  • Validation: simplified.
  • Transparency: basic.
  • Environment: vulnerable.
  • Privacy: basic.
  • Advantages: user-friendly; it is directly synchronized with the Bitcoin network, which speeds its work up; in settings you can specify the fee rate; it is possible to use Trezor (it protects the BTC wallet from viruses, besides each transaction must be confirmed with the help of a separate gadget which belongs to you) and Tor (it provides extra anonymity).
  • Disadvantages: it is less reliable than thick BTC wallets; your Bitcoin transaction can be tracked down via your IP address.

Electrum

  • Money control: full.
  • Validation: simplified.
  • Transparency: basic.
  • Environment: vulnerable.
  • Privacy: basic.
  • Advantages: fast operation due to remote servers (you decide which server to choose); it is possible to renew BTC addresses, private keys and transactions history due to the secret seed option (a bag of random words, which is known to you only); no need to make backups of Bitcoin wallet; multisignature; it supports BIP32; you can use Trezor as well.
  • Disadvantages: it is less safe than a thick BTC wallet (especially if you do not use Tor, Trezor and multisignature).

Online Wallets

Working with such type of BTC wallet, you have an access to your funds from any computer. It is very convenient if you have frequent trips. Besides, this is the best Bitcoin wallet for regular payments for goods and services via the Internet. However, this type of BTC wallet is very vulnerable, so it is better not to use it for a long-term storage of your coins.

Coinkite

  • Money control: partial.
  • Validation: centralized.
  • Transparency: remote application.
  • Environment: vulnerable.
  • Privacy: basic.
  • Advantages: convenience; multicurrency; it works with debit cards; there is a possibility to use POS-terminals.
  • Disadvantages: security level is low enough, because the safety of the BTC wallet is almost completely dependent on a third party; an increased risk of hacking.

GreenAddress

  • Money control: shared.
  • Validation: centralized.
  • Transparency: remote application.
  • Environment: vulnerable.
  • Privacy: basic.
  • Advantages: multisignature; keys are not stored at the server at all (even in encrypted form); two-factor authentication; nLockTime transactions (it allows you to set the period of time when your Bitcoins can be transfered without GreenAddress.it signature); you can set the limit on the number of BTC transactions.
  • Disadvantages: a third party has an access to your coins.

Mobile wallets

The best advantage of this type of Bitcoin wallet is that you have an access to your coins anywhere, anytime. It is important not to get wrong: the mobile BTC wallets and mobile applications which just give you an access to your online BTC wallet, allowing to manage your coins and to scan the QR-code, are not the same things.

To get the mobile BTC wallet you just need any phone working on iOS, Android, BlackBerry or Windows. Before installation you should check what operating system is suitable for the program.

Bitcoin Wallet

  • Money control: full.
  • Validation: simplified.
  • Transparency: basic.
  • Environment: safe.
  • Privacy: basic.
  • OS: Android, BlackBerry
  • Advantages: fast payments through the QR-code scanning; it shows the amount at your account not only in BTC, but in different currencies; you are able to make payments via Bluetooth; it keeps the most frequently used addresses.
  • Disadvantages: a lower level of security (compared with desktop BTC wallets).

Airbitz

  • Money control: full.
  • Validation: centralized.
  • Transparency: basic.
  • Environment: safe.
  • Privacy: basic.
  • OS: iOS, Android
  • Advantages: automatic encryption; you can work with your BTC wallet even if there is no connection to the Airbitz server.
  • Disadvantages: service keeps an encrypted copy of your BTC wallet, so you have to use a complex password.

You have read a brief overview of the most popular models of BTC wallets. If in the article there is no model of BTC wallet you are interested in you should pay attention to the features which has been mentioned above. We hope that now it is much easier for you to choose the best Bitcoin wallet.

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