Using a Crypto Wallet

This post will describe a couple of the most popular crypto currency wallets for storing your Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other crypto currencies.

Crypto currencies are stored on blockchains, and each unit of crypto currency sits on an “address”. Each address is controlled by a user(s) with the associated address’s private key. Think about a private key like a password. Anyone can have your username (blockchain address) but without the password they cannot get your coins. Services are available that allow you to access blockchains with friend UX, these are called “wallets”. With this in mind, there are two broad types of crypto currency wallets: personal and hosted.

Personal wallets are those where you (and only you) control the private keys. This is good if you don’t want to risk anyone else having access to your coins, but its risky depending on how much you trust yourself not to loose your credentials. If you’re the type of person who likes to be responsible for their own passwords, use a personal wallet where you own the keys. But beware that if you even loose your private keys, you will not be able to access your coins ever again. There is no customer service desk that will reset your password (private key).

Hosted Wallets are those where a 3rd party holds (or shares) your private keys. The hosted wallet provider stores the keys for you and is responsible for their safekeeping. This is good if you don’t trust yourself to maintain your own private keys, but bad if you want to eliminate the risk of hacking, etc. Even though one of the main benefits of blockchains is they enable trustless anonymous transactions, turns out a lot (or most) users still prefer to use hosted wallets to store they crypto currencies because they prefer to rely on someone else for their security (or have a hosted wallet bail them out if they even loose/forget their passwords.

Within the hosted wallet space, there are two other main types of wallets. There are wallets where your coins are held together with all other user’s coins, and there are wallets where your coins sit on your own unique address. Once again, whether either way is better or not for you depends on your personal preference.

Two popular crypto wallets are Trust Wallet and Blockchain.com. For the average crypto enthusiast, either of these wallets should work well enough. You can either install an app on your phone and/or access through a web browser. These wallets allow you to hold your coins and transfer/receive them from other users. Each of these wallets also has other features such as trading, staking, and other tools such as explorers.

Once you have an account and/or download the app to either of these wallets on your phone, you can receive coins to your wallet from another user by sharing your deposit address, and having the other user send your coins to this deposit address. Each app will generate an address for you to deposit to. You can monitor transactions on the app and through the blockchain using a blockchain explorer.

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