Basically what is called “Wallet” it is a file which contains the private key and the public key giving you access to your cryptocurrencies. The advantage is that this wallet can be stored digitally, but also physically (on paper, a tattoo or a baby dolphin leather treasure map).
Here are the types of wallets you have available to store your cryptos.
1/ Online wallets
They are offered by many platforms (for trading or buying crypto) . Even if you have access to them, you are not the owner of these wallets. Which means that if the company closes the site, or if it gets hacked, you are likely to lose access to this wallet or see your crypto go elsewhere. It is therefore something that I advise you not to use, at least for prolonged use.
2/ Desktop wallets
These are the clients you install on your computer such as the official client ( Bitcoin , or whatever) or multiwallets like Jaxx . They allow you to keep control of your cryptos but be careful! It is advisable to save them well (on a USB key eh, not on a public FTP), because in the event of a problem with your disk you can lose your wallet. And if you’re careless with your computer’s security, malware or a cybercriminal can steal it from you. So to use, but keeping all of this in mind.
3/ Mobile wallets
Same as above, but for your smartphone. This has a practical side, because it allows you to have your wallet always at hand and it simplifies transactions in everyday life. But as for Desktop wallets, beware of malware, the security of your mobile, and above all be careful with the mobile wallet you choose, because there are more and more fake wallets pushed, especially on the Android PlayStore which offers a backdoor allowing cybercriminals to recover your coins. Some applications are also simply gateways to online wallets and your keys are not stored on your smartphone, but on an external server. Pay attention to this.
4/ Hardware wallets
Trezors and other Ledgers are ideal for storing your cryptos. This allows them to be placed on what is called cold storage, thus out of reach of malware and other viruses. And it’s relatively secure. Be careful though to choose a good PIN code and to keep your backup key in a safe place (and not on your computer). Be well informed about how these keys work to avoid falling into traps like this with second-hand keys .
5/ Paper wallets
It’s also very interesting. It consists of printing often in the form of QR codes, your private and public keys. It costs nothing, it’s easy to do, and it allows you to physically transport your cryptos other than on a digital medium. The downside, of course, is securing that piece of paper. You can put it in the safe or hide it in several copies all over the world. But if someone stumbles upon it, they could access your cryptos. The paper wallet is often used to make gift cards in Bitcoin or other. It is a format that remains original. Warning, I recommend that you read this page before jumping into it .
So much for the different existing wallets.