HOW TO MANAGE AND STORE YOUR CRYPTO: CRYPTO WALLETS — By Mickael Mosse
Since Bitcoin is a relative new topic and not everybody looks to invest in cryptocurrencies, for most it remains a theoretical matter of our modern world. But to make cryptocurrencies a reality closer to our daily lives than we believe, I’d like to talk about crypto wallets.
A crypto wallet is the specific tool that allow anyone who owns cryptocurrencies to access them and make use of them in the real world. As the word says, a crypto wallet has the function to store and make available our crypto. However, more than storing our crypto -which is completely digital -, crypto wallets hold the private keys that protect and authorize access to the digital coins.
Whoever controls the private keys controls the crypto attached to those keys. This is why one of the main steps to owning crypto: choosing the right wallet for you. A crypto wallet manages the private keys for you and, for that reason, the coins you possess. But not all wallets are made the same.
In the market it exists several types of crypto wallet. It can be an app, a website, or a physical device that manages the private keys for you. The main thing to consider when choosing a wallet is level of safety they offer in the management of your private keys.
While with hardware wallets you have total control of your private keys, online wallets are the ones who have control over your keys. Wallet apps also allow you to have complete access to your keys but having to depend on devices connected to the internet make them more vulnerable to hackers than a hardware wallet but are more safe than online wallets, which are the most prone to these attacks.
The digital aspect of cryptocurrency makes the need to be connected to the internet in order to have access to your coins. Of course, there will always be people trying to take advantage to any weaknesses existent. Not only hackers you have to be aware of, but shady applications that claim to be crypto wallets to just have access to your private keys. As easy to wanting to download an app from Playstore or Apple store, you unknowingly be leaded to possibility of a hack.
Also, you have to be aware that crypto exchanges are not wallets. Some of them offer to store your private keys, and although they’re safe exchanges, they don’t specialize in the storage of keys. The most famous case of crypto loss due to this is the case of Mt. Gox. People placed their trust in this exchange for storing their private keys and billions of dollars in Bitcoins were irrecoverable.
Even if you choose the safest wallet by your own terms, you can lose the keys, which are a series of numbers of letters, if you don’t have a backup. People have the option to rely even on a piece of paper to store their private key, as long as it remains out of destructive elements. Remember that the private keys protect your assets in crypto but, if you are not careful, you can be locked out from ever seeing them again.
So it’s good your considering all the pros and cons of investing in crypto and how much it would serve your own interest, but crypto wallets are another not-so-known aspect that require a good amount of investment in time and searching about. Although this article is by far a guideline to choose a crypto wallet, I hope it is a good start, and an awakening one, to your searching quest and your plans to make owning crypto a reality.
Mickael Mosse — Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Expert