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Here Are the Best Bitcoin Wallets for 2018

With the popularity surge that the crypto domain has seen in the past year, it is not unusual to meet casual investors who have purchased a small amount of BTC. Most of these individuals leave their holdings in an online wallet that is hosted by an exchange, thereby leaving their funds susceptible to hacking.

The hacking of the Mt. Gox exchange is a recent example that springs to mind immediately. In that particular incident, hackers stole over 850,000 Bitcoin, worth nearly half a billion dollars even back then.

Thus, when dealing with larger sums of money, it is best to make use of a private wallet which not only gives you more command over your funds, but also provides more financial flexibility.

However, when choosing a cryptocurrency wallet, investors are faced with many questions such as:

  • How do these wallets work?
  • Is an online wallet better than an offline one?
  • Should I choose a hard, soft or paper wallet?

What to look for in a cryptocurrency wallet

Today, with the blockchain at the forefront of digital innovation, we have a host of options when it comes to selecting cryptocurrency wallets. However, depending upon our needs and requirements, we can choose between various storage solutions that differ in terms of security options, accessibility, etc. Some of the key areas to consider when choosing a wallet include:

  • Platform Compatibility: there are Bitcoin wallets that can be operated on Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows devices. Thus, it is important to choose one that you can make use of most easily.
  • Security Options: this is the most important aspect to consider. Many modern wallets offer customers a wide array of advanced encryption tools that allow for varying degrees of monetary safety.
  • Price: depending on the amount of crypto one possesses, one can choose between various free and paid wallets. Both have their advantages, but paid ones usually come loaded with additional security features.

Wallet types

(i) Hot Wallet: these are wallets that are always connected to the internet in one way or another. They are installed on mobile phones, downloaded on computers, or hosted by third-party websites. Hot wallets are most commonly used by online exchanges, and they are also the most susceptible to external intrusion.

(ii) Paper Wallet: these wallets do not require users to be connected to the internet. When utilized, hackers cannot gain access to one’s private keys, thereby allowing for a high overall level of security.

(iii) Cold Wallet: these wallets come most commonly in the form of hardware units that are designed to store one’s private keys. They allow for the easy exchange of various alt-currencies, and can be used by simply plugging them into a computer. Hardware wallets provide a high level of security, and are able to store currencies safely even if one’s computer is infected with malware.

The top Bitcoin wallets of 2018

7. Electrum

Electrum was one of the first Bitcoin-exclusive wallets to hit the market a couple of years back.

It is compatible with standard desktop computers as well as Android devices. From a functional standpoint, Electrum delivers on various fronts including:

  • Highly stable platform
  • Speed of transactions
  • Good security options
  • Compatible with Ledger and Trezor wallets

6. Exodus

Exodus is a free software wallet that has become extremely popular among Bitcoin holders within the past year.

It comes with a built-in crypto exchange that allows for seamless trading of all alt-currencies from one location. However, Exodus is currently only available as a desktop wallet.

5. Jaxx

Jaxx is a Bitcoin software wallet that was made particularly for use on smartphones. It allows for amazing crypto mobility, without any of the risks attached to regular hot wallets.

In terms of its usability, Jaxx is compatible with iOS, Android, and desktop computers. It provides users with incredible control over their private keys, and it also allows for quick QR transactions to be executed with the touch of a button.

Other impressive features that this wallet boasts include:

  • Shapeshift integration
  • Good smartphone compatibility

4. Trezor

Trezor is a hardware wallet that is ideal for storing large amounts of Bitcoin. It incorporates high-quality security features along with all of the benefits that are commonly provided by web-hosted wallets.

In terms of its usability, Trezor has an intuitive UI that can be used by novice and expert users alike. It also supports a wide range of altcoins and is compatible with other external wallets as well.

3. Mycelium

Mycelium is a mobile wallet that comes packed with a plethora of advanced privacy and security features. While its interface can take some time to get used to, it is undoubtedly one of the safest wallet options on the market today.

Mycelium’s code is open source, and it’s of particular use for people looking for a high level of anonymity in their crypto dealings.

2. Armory

Armory has established itself as a favorite among advanced Bitcoin users. The app offers a wide array of safety and privacy features that are not commonly found in wallets today.

It also comes loaded with many encryption and cold-storage options that provide users with good financial flexibility.

1. Ledger

While quite similar to Trezor in its design and features, Ledger is a cold wallet that has been made for customers who are looking for an increased level of security.

Ledger is a hardware unit that needs to be connected to a PC in order for transactions to be executed. Ledger is extremely user-friendly and provides a high level of privacy.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to crypto safety, one can never be too careful. All of the wallets described above contain features to satisfy the needs of advanced and novice users alike. However, before choosing a wallet, it is of the utmost importance that users do a bit of research on their own, as it involves their own hard-earned money. 

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Here Are the Best Ethereum Wallets for 2018

When starting out with cryptocurrency, it is essential for users to set up a crypto wallet that both is secure and allows for financial flexibility (ease of exchange, streamlined transfers, and so forth). Today, there are wallets that can be hosted online, procured in the form of a hardware entity, or accessed on a computer. However, most users have been found to make use of wallets that are hosted by the exchange that they tend to most often use.

With the recent surge of interest in the crypto domain, it is now recommended that investors store their alt-currency holdings in a personal wallet. This is primarily due to the fact that hosted wallets are susceptible to a number of issues related to security and privacy that can be taken advantage of.

What to look for in a cryptocurrency wallet

A cryptocurrency wallet, in its most basic sense, comes loaded with two key components — a private and a public key. The private key is used for personal access to the wallet as well as for authorizing transactions, whereas the public key is the address that is given out when receiving money from a third party.

With so many options available these days, there are certain keys to think about when choosing a wallet. The core criteria to consider include:

  • Accessibility: some currency owners like to be able to access their holdings from remote locations. Thus, when choosing a crypto wallet, it is important to ask oneself the question, “How important is accessibility for me?”
  • Security: this should be one’s primary concern when choosing a wallet. One should do a bit of research and find out whether a particular wallet is a “hot” hosted wallet or a “cold” wallet that can be accessed even without an internet connection.
  • Pricing: while there are many free options out there, the paid ones usually provide extra features. Thus, one should weigh his or her options and discover the benefits and drawbacks of each.
  • Usability: for novice investors, it is best to choose a wallet that offers a highly intuitive UI.

(Infographic courtesy CryptoNews Australia)

Hot versus Cold Wallets

  1. Hot Wallets: these are the most common crypto wallets used today. They are primarily utilized by online exchanges such as Coinbase and Bittrex, but their safety features are inferior to those of both cold and hardware wallets. It should be understood that hot wallets are primarily suitable for storing small sums of money.
  2. Cold/Software Wallets: while still providing all of the core features of hot wallets, software wallets provide users with a host of added security features. They also provide more accessibility and can be used with a wide range of digital devices such as PCs and mobile phones.
  3. External Wallets: these are hardware units that allow for access to currency even when offline. It is the most secure option of the three, and provides users with a storage solution that is free of all hacking-related issues.

The Top Ethereum Wallets of 2018

(i) MyEtherWallet: quite unlike regular web wallets, MyEtherWallet has been designed to provide its users with full control of their ETH private keys on their machines themselves.

Here are its core features:

  • Completely open source.
  • Does not make use of any third party servers.
  • Makes use of smart contracts for all transactions.
  • Easy currency exchange.
  • Compatibile with other commonly used software wallets.

(ii) Ledger Nano S: this hardware wallet serves as the gold standard of affordable, secure ETH storage solutions today. Not only is it reasonably priced, but the Ledger Nano S also comes packed with an array of online/offline features that make it extremely secure.

            

It can be easily connected to one’s computer via USB, and makes use of an OLED display that allows users to double check all transactions. Lastly, it is completely immune to malware and secures one’s private keys from all third-party miscreants.

(iii) Jaxx: another familiar name amongst crypto enthusiasts, Jaxx is a free multi-asset wallet that supports over sixty different alt-currencies. Not only is its UI intuitive and customer-friendly, but it also comes loaded with many quality security features.

For example, Jaxx makes use of seed keys, thereby enabling users to access and restore their funds whenever required. Additionally, the Jaxx development team is extremely responsive and resolves customers’ doubts and concerns immediately. Lastly, it supports Shapeshift functionality, thus making crypto trading even more accesible to users. 

(iv) Trezor: this was one of the first hardware wallets to hit the market back in 2016. It is fully compatible with Ethereum, and can be used on a variety of platforms such as Windows, Linux, Mac and Android.

            

Trezor makes use of an authentication system that allows users to access their ETH only after the correct password has been entered. It stores all Ether offline, and is quite affordable (starts at US$99).

(v) Exodus: this is a well-designed desktop wallet that offers its users an array of security features as well as an intuitive interface. It is absolutely free for everyone to use, and presents relevant currency information in a highly simplified and easy-to-understand fashion.

Exodus has been designed to support seven different cryptos, and also comes with the ShapeShift module built into its code.

(vi) Mist: it is marketed online as being the “Official Ethereum Wallet”.

While it takes a little bit of time to set up, once it’s ready for use, Mist incorporates standard security protocols such as private and public keys. It also requires users to remember their password at all times, as it is the only way to gain access to the wallet.

(vii) Ledger Blue: this feature-laden hardware wallet is the cream of the crop when it comes to external wallets. It has been described by various media outlets as being the most secure crypto storage solution on the market today.

             

 

Ledger Blue is designed to be malware-proof, and it makes use of a unique “dual chip architecture” that includes cryptographically enhanced firmware modules. However, to get all these features, users will have to dish out a cool $300-$350.

(viii) MetaMask: this is one of the most popular ETH wallets out there. It makes use of a browser-like structure to access the Ethereum Network. However, what sets MetaMask apart from its contemporaries is the fact that it allows for streamlined access to a host of dApps within the ETH network.

In Closing

While there may be no perfect security solution to safeguard one’s crypto assets, the wallets listed above have been recommended after careful consideration of their security features. While it may be fine to keep small amounts of crypto in hot wallets, when dealing with large sums of money, it is best to make use of a software or hardware wallet.

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Ledger Nano Hardware Wallet Review and Unboxing

We recently got our hands on the newly release Ledger Nano Hardware Wallet. It is a hardware wallet designed to securely store your bitcoin private keys offline with a paper backup. By storing your private keys offline on a piece of hardware you eliminate the possibility of malware stealing your bitcoins. The wallet is so secure, that even if your machine is compromised, the provided security card renders the attack useless. For a cheap price of $50 the Ledger Nano makes a great gift for any bitcoin enthusiast and makes a great alternative to the Trezor which is priced at $99 or the Keep Key wallet which is priced at $239. Check out this video showing the unboxing of the Ledger Nano Duo Edition:

How to get setup:

Step 1: Plug in the Ledger Nano wallet into the usb port of your computer

Step 2: If you don’t have the Chrome browser download an install Chrome

Step 3: Go to http://my.ledgerwallet.com and install the Ledger Wallet App

ledger-wallet-install

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Step 4: Follow the instructions to configure your new Ledger Wallet

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When setting up your pincode you can either use the automatically generated pin, or use a manual pin (make sure it is not your birth year or your last 4 credit card numbers)

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Confirm your newly created PIN code

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Write down the recovery phrase shown in each of the 24 boxes onto the corresponding 24 boxes on your recovery sheet.

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Confirm your recovery phrase by entering recovery words associated with the randomly chosen numbers from the recovery phrase provided earlier, this is to make sure you copied down the recovery phrase in the correct order.

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Click the finish button to finalize your Ledger Nano’s configurations and create the wallet

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Wait for the process to finish

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Once the configuration finishes, you will be presented with a final screen telling you that the creation is complete and to unplug then plug the Ledger wallet in order to start using it.

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After you unplug and plug the Ledger Nano, navigate once again to my.ledgerwallet.com. When the app opens, enter your previously set pin in order to unlock the wallet

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That is it! When you unlock your wallet your will be presented with an intuitive GUI similar to that of Electrum or Bitcoin Core.

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The difference is a much higher security because of the physical security card. Your average bitcoin wallet uses a simple password to sign the transaction and send the coins. A MITM (man in the middle) attack can hijack that password or even worse, a piece of malware such as a keylogger on your machine can log the password and steal all your coins. The physical security card provides an 2FA security feature which is unbreakable by any piece of malware on your computer or any other online based attack.

Also, don’t forget to check out this article for a list of comparisons of the most popular bitcoin wallets and a chart ranking them:

http://themerkle.com/charts/bitcoin-wallet-comparison-chart-reviews/

If you liked this article please follow us on twitter eBits to get the latest updates on the hottest products, startups, and the most insightful technical analysis on select cryptocurrencies.

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Jaxx Wallet Review

It has been a long time coming, but Ethereum users can finally carry their ETH with them wherever they go. A new mobile wallet solution for both Bitcoin and Ethereum has been released, called Jaxx. At the time of publication, only an Android version was made available, although the developers have announced versions for iOS, desktop, and browsers as well.

Developed by the Kryptokit team, Jaxx will serve as the world’s first mobile wallet for Ethereum users around the world, as long as they own an Android mobile device. Tablets are not officially supported just yet, although the development roadmap indicates an updated app will be released on February 19.Other mobile operating systems, including iOS and Blackberry, will be supported in the following weeks. Clients for desktop users will roll out in the next week or so as well.

Similarly to how other mobile wallets work, Jaxx makes use of a mnemonic seed to backup your wallet or transfer it to a different device. When first installing the Jaxx app, Ethereum support might not be visible for users, as they will need to unlock it through an easter egg. Just tapping the refresh button twice and the Jaxx logo a few times will reveal the easter egg and turn Jaxx into a multi-crypto mobile wallet solution.

What makes Jaxx interesting is how everything can be done on one screen, rather than tapping through several menus. Receiving funds can be done by tapping the “Receive” button, entering the amount, and the QR code will be generated automatically. Scanning someone else’s QR code is very straightforward too, as there is a camera icon in between the Receive and Send tabs.

Once additional versions of the Jaxx wallet roll out, users will be able to pair their Ethereum and Bitcoin wallet across a variety of devices.Furthermore, the Jaxx wallet is very user-friendly when it comes to switching between ETH and BTC, and users can denominate their balance in a preferred fiat currency value as well.

On the topic of security, Kryptokit CEO Anthony Di Iorio commented the following:

“We are instituting a global messaging system that will enable passwords to be synced and other messages to be signed across devices using our PGP integration. For now, we didn’t want to institute device-specific passwords. Please keep in mind this is beta so only use small amounts and put a pin on your phone for added protection if you wish.”

Overall, the layout looks immaculate and responsive, with no errors or forced closing to report on our end just yet. It is important to keep in mind this mobile wallet is still in very early beta stages, and users might encounter bugs along the way. Moreover, users are advised not to store large quantities of funds in the Jaxx wallet just yet, although the company is not touching user funds by any means. The Jaxx private key is stored locally on the device and are never communicated to any company server.

Under the hood, some fixes will need to be made in the coming weeks, though. Some users have reported issues when trying to copy the generated wallet addresses, and sending funds does not always allow users to include a decimal, depending on their device. Additionally, the wallet is not open source [yet] as no decision has been made regarding the formal licensing of Jaxx. Battery drain could be an issue as well on certain devices, although this is not the case for all Android users.

Website: http://Jaxx.io

Android Download: Google Play Store

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