What's in a wallet?

What's in a wallet?

If you want to get some bitcoins, the first thing to do is to get a wallet where to store your bitcoins. This is no regular leather wallet, but a piece of software (or hardware) The good news is that you can get a free wallet.The bad news is that you’ll have to secure your wallet. The wallet doesn’t store the bitcoins themselves, it stores a collection of secret string (a string is a bunch of letters and numbers) called private keys. Normally the wallet is protected from unauthorized access by a password. The wallets come in multiple forms : desktop wallets, web wallets, mobile wallets, hardware wallets and paper wallets.

A desktop wallet is an application that is installed directly on your desktop. The hardware keys are stored on your hard drive which makes the funds accessible only from that computer. The problem with desktop wallets is that they can get corrupted or stolen. So make sure you do regular backups of your wallets and store them in a safe place.

A web wallet lives on the web. One can store and use the bitcoins through the browser. The wallets are hosted by a provider who also manages the private keys for you, which means that securing the wallet is their job now, and they probably do it better that you would. Also , there is pretty much no risk of accidentally deleting/damaging your wallet as it could happen with a desktop. However, you are not home free. You should make sure that the password to the web wallet is a strong one and enable 2 Factor Authentication. Wikipedia offers some guidelines for establishing strong passwords :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Password_strength#Guidelines_for_strong_passwords. If you don’t know what a 2 factor authentication is , follow this link : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-factor_authentication

A mobile wallet functions just like a desktop wallet, but on your mobile device.

A hardware wallet is a piece of electronics designed to store bitcoins . To use these wallets, you need to connect them to a computer and enter a pin to do whatever it is that you need to do with your bitcoins. The good thing is that you don’t have to enter the private keys on the computer , just your pin on the hardware, which means that you can utilize this wallet even on a compromised computer.

A paper wallet is exactly what it sounds : a piece of paper with the address and the private key. This is pretty secure, as an attacker would need to physically steal your paper. The problem with it is that one could lose this piece of paper and the bitcoins are lost forever. For a huge list of wallets go to https://bitcoin.org/en/choose-your-wallet