A very short intro guide to cryptocurrency wallets
Crypto wallet is a program or a device that lets you:
- Send funds (or pay)
- Receive funds (or get paid)
- Check your balance
Bitcoin wallets are similar to email accounts.
- Instead of an email address you have a public address (technically called a public key).
- And instead of a login password you have a private key.
What are public and private keys?
- Keys look like passwords – long strings of numbers and letters.
- Often QR codes are used instead.
- Recommended reading (more tech-y): A Beginner’s Guide: Private and Public Key Cryptography Deciphered
How do I use public and private keys?
- Give your public address to anyone who is sending you funds (Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency).
- Keep your private key safely stored like your most important passwords.
- Recommended reading: Blockchain Public / Private Key Cryptography In A Nutshell
- Recommended video (the whole playlist provides good intro into wallets and more): Bitcoin Q&A: Public keys vs. addresses
How do I get a wallet?
- There are different types of cryptocurrency wallets.
- If you are looking for a quick and free way to try things out use one of the recommended mobile wallets.
- Vetted wallets by Bitcoin.org: Choose your Bitcoin wallet
- Recommended reading: Bitcoin Wallet Guide, Reviews and Comparison
Better safe than sorry.
- Now that you have some skin in the game, move your funds to a more secured type of a wallet.
- Larger sums are safer in a cold storage (stored offline) so a hardware wallet is recommended.
- Recommended reading: Hardware Wallets Compared and Reviewed
- Always use 2FA (two factor authentication) for online services (and back it up).
- Use mobile or desktop wallets for daily use and hardware wallets for your savings.
- Always backup your keys offline.
- Recommended reading: Securing your wallet