When crypto was created, it came about as a new way to think about money. A new kind of money also needs a new method of storing it. Unlike paper money, you can’t get a “bitcoin note” and put it in your regular wallet. This is where crypto wallets come in. They allow you to securely store your crypto tokens and have access to them when you wish.
Introduction To Crypto Wallet
An important point to keep in mind is that crypto lives on its blockchain. There is thus no actual crypto in your wallet. Instead, the wallet is meant for storing your public and private keys.
What are private keys? Private keys are a long sequence of characters, numbers and symbols that act as the password to your crypto account. The public key is like your username on the blockchain and is derived from the private key. Coins on the blockchain are linked to these public-private keys.
Possessing a private key gives you access to the coins linked to it. This allows you to send, receive and transfer the coins to a new address.
How Crypto Wallets Work?
Crypto wallets allow users to send, receive and store crypto tokens. As mentioned earlier, the coins exist on the blockchain and users can access these coins and perform transactions using their crypto wallets because it stores the public and private keys. To send tokens to another wallet you need to know the public key of that wallet. To receive tokens, your public key needs to be shared with the sender.
Because of advancements in technology, the process of sending and receiving is super easy. But at the same time, one needs to be careful while performing transactions as sending tokens to the wrong addresses can result in permanent loss of funds.
Why Are Crypto Wallets Important?
With cash, you can hold a note in your possession. This acts as proof of ownership of that money. When it comes to digital money, another means of ownership is required. Thus, your public and private keys act as proof that you own tokens on the blockchain.
Crypto wallets are important because they provide safe and easy access to these tokens. Keeping your wallet – and your private key – safe is crucial to ensure your crypto remains secure.
Types of Crypto Wallets
There are many ways to store your keys, from physical to software solutions.
This is one of the simplest wallets to create, but can also be the hardest to use. It involves writing or printing out your private and public keys on a piece of paper and storing them safely. They are not connected to any hardware device or the internet. Paper wallets are thus highly secure.
Hardware wallets are physical devices similar to USB drives. They keep your keys secure and separate from your computer until you choose to connect and use them. This creates a balance between security and accessibility that many users prefer over paper wallets.
The best hardware wallets include the Ledger Nano S and Trezor Model One.
An online wallet is a software solution that stores your keys with a web application. These are intended for frequent users who need access to their wallets regularly. Online wallets make it much easier to use your crypto but are also the least secure option. The most popular online wallets are MetaMask and the Coinbase wallet.
Mobile and Desktop Wallets
These wallets are similar to online wallets, but rather than storing your keys on an online server, they store them locally on your device. This reduces your reliance on your wallet provider and creates a balance between convenience and security.
Read more: What Is A MultiSig Wallet
How Do You Use A Crypto Wallet?
The answer to this depends on the kind of wallet you have.
- Paper Wallet – Unfortunately, you cannot use funds stored in a paper wallet directly. To use them, you have to transfer these funds to a trusted wallet on your phone or laptop. This is done by “sweeping” or “importing” the keys.
Therefore, paper wallets are not meant for easy use, but for long-term storage in a safe location.
- Hardware Wallet – Using your hardware wallet involves connecting it to a laptop or phone and setting up a PIN. This wallet will then provide you with a wallet address to send and receive transactions. Whenever you wish to transfer tokens, enter the PIN on your device. Once you are done, you can disconnect the wallet and store the device safely.
- Online/Desktop Wallets – Using such wallets is the simplest. Trying to send or receive tokens will prompt you to link a wallet. It can be linked by opening your wallet app and adding the website to linked addresses.
How To Choose a Crypto Wallet That’s Right For You?
The most important factor which one needs to consider while choosing a Crypto wallet is the frequency of usage. If you are a trader then an Online wallet would be best for you since it is easier to perform transactions frequently using an online wallet. But if you are someone who wants to hold crypto for a long period, then a cold wallet would be best. It is also important to note that one needs to research well while considering a wallet and ensure that wallet security is not compromised under any circumstances.
Are Crypto Wallets Really Necessary?
Without crypto wallets your crypto funds are not secure. This means your public and private keys are much more prone to being hacked. Your funds can then easily be stolen or manipulated.
It is crucial you choose the right crypto wallet for your needs. It is also important to look into the security features of your wallet provider if you opt for an online wallet.
Best Ways to Secure Crypto Wallets
There are some key steps you can take to ensure your funds are always kept safe.
- Use Multi-factor Authentication – The MFA application of your choice sends you a unique code on your phone each time you wish to log into your account. Therefore, no one can access your wallet without also having your phone.
- Storage in a Cold Wallet – Wallets not connected to the internet are known as cold wallets. When your crypto holdings are large and you use them infrequently, it is recommended that you transfer them to a cold storage device like a hardware wallet.
- Use A VPN – A Virtual Private Network encrypts your web traffic to ensure it is protected from hackers. This is even more essential on public networks where many people may have access to your online activity.
- Don’t Share your Keys – The most important thing to keep in mind is to never share your keys or personal information with anyone. Sharing your wallet address on social media links it to your name and may be used by malicious attackers to scam you.
Read more: What is a Crypto Scam
Crypto can simplify our lives and finances through its innovative systems. But to keep it safe, it is important to choose the right wallet for your needs. From long-term storage away from the internet to daily usage, there’s an option for every need. Remember to do your research and look into reviews by other users to make your final decision.
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Disclaimer: Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions. Each investor must do his/her own research or seek independent advice if necessary before initiating any transactions in crypto products and NFTs. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author, and not to ZebPay or the author’s employer or other groups or individuals. ZebPay shall not be held liable for any acts or omissions, or losses incurred by the investors. ZebPay has not received any compensation in cash or kind for the above article and the article is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from the use of this information.