Ethereum (ETH) is currently the third largest cryptocurrency in the world. Ethereum holders need for a secure place to store Ether. So we’re going to talk about Ethereum wallets.
There are generally four different wallet types:
- Hardware wallets: These wallets are physical wallets that have your private keys encrypted into them. These are the most secure type. Hardware wallets allow you to keep your cryptocurrencies in “cold” storage—offline–so your coins are inaccessible to Internet hackers.
- Online wallets: These wallets exist online. Duh. While they are still considered extremely secure, the fact that they are connected to the Internet exposes you to a small amount of risk. You can use these wallets on a variety of devices.
- Desktop wallets: These wallets are downloaded and installed on your computer (PC or laptop). Once installed, only that specific computer can access the wallet.
- Paper wallets: These wallets are pieces of paper with your private keys on them. These are extremely risky because if you lose this piece of paper, the chance of accessing your coins in the future is extremely slim. Additionally, most paper wallet generation sites are actually phishing sites preying on novice crypto traders. Paper wallets for Ethereum are particularly inadvisable since there is a substantial lack of good options.
When looking for a secure cryptocurrency wallet, keep an eye out for the following features:
- Private keys: You want to have a private key that only you possess. This is essentially the keys to accessing your coins, and security here is non-negotiable.
- Development community: Since Ethereum wallets are relatively new, reputation is huge. Look for an active development community that has a promising future.
- Simple user interface: Look for something that is easy to use. You also want to ensure that your wallet is compatible with different operating systems.
- Security and backup: Minimize your exposure to human error. Don’t be the person who makes the news for losing a million dollars in crypto by displacing their hardware wallet and forgetting to backup your information.
Best Ethereum wallets:
Trezor is a hardware wallet, meaning it holds your private keys offline. Originally invented for Bitcoin, users can now store Ethereum on TREZOR using the MyEtherWallet web interface.
The Ledger Nano S is one of the highest rated hardware wallets. It has a very user friendly interface and comes with a small OLED screen that makes controlling your transactions simple. Users can set a 4-digit pin on the physical wallet itself, which is an additional security element.
Exodus is a desktop wallet and is the world’s first desktop wallet that can hold multiple cryptocurrencies. While most crypto wallets are limited to just Bitcoin and Ethereum, Exodus makes it possible to hold a much more diverse portfolio.
Coinbase, a web wallet, is the simplest and easiest to use compared to other options on this list. You can buy Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Litecoin with fiat currency, and keep your cryptocurrencies secure.
MyEtherWallet is an open-source web wallet that is different from Coinbase and other traditional web wallets in that you have full control of your private key on your computer. This means you can generate new wallets and store your ether without having to do it on MyEtherWallet servers. This also means you are fully responsible for safely backing up your wallet.
Jaxx is a software wallet that supports many of the leading cryptocurrency coins including Ethereum. Designed with the end-user in mind, the wallet is simple to use and has an intuitive interface that even a beginner holder should have no problem figuring out.
Mist is a hybrid desktop wallet with a web interface and is the official wallet listed on the Ethereum Project website. With mist, you have complete anonymity. You can download and use the wallet without having to provide any personal information or identification. You also have complete control over your private keys which are held on whichever device you use to download the wallet.
MetaMask is a browser extension that allows you to run Ethereum dApps directly in your browser without having to run a full Ethereum node. More than just a wallet, you can also interact with dApps and smart contracts on MetaMask.
Let’s go over a few closing words of advice because they could end up saving you a ton of time (and coins) in the future.
- ALWAYS back-up your wallets. Many of the above wallets present the option to use a mnemonic or seed phrase just in case something happens to your wallet. This is pretty standard, but be sure to check if it’s not explicitly stated. It’s silly to lose all your coins because you lost your phone or fried your hard drive.
- Add extra security. Simple extra security measures such as 2 Factor Authentication through Google Authentication could save you from being hacked in the future. Keep in mind that text message verification isn’t as secure a method since phones can be cloned.
- Keep your software updated. This is why it’s important to look for an active development community for whatever wallet you choose. These communities are dedicated to not only making wallets more robust and user-friendly, but they also prioritize security. Take advantage of this. Make sure your software is up to date.