Choosing a wallet - one of the key stages when working with cryptocurrencies. Companies provide a wide range of crypto wallets tailored for different needs: some clients are better suited for safe storage, while others are designed for convenience, but hardly suitable for storing large amounts.
In this article, we will look at different types of cryptocurrency wallets, get acquainted with popular products and compare them with each other. For convenience, we have grouped clients into sections: desktop, mobile, hardware, multicurrency, paper and web wallets.
This article is intended for initial acquaintance with various crypto wallets and does not contain a detailed description of each of them. You can find full guides and reviews of specific crypto wallets on our blog and YouTube channel. At the end of the article, we will provide personal recommendations of the Cryptonist team on choosing a cryptocurrency wallet, based on individual goals and user preferences. For convenience and quick movement between sections, there is a guide navigation at the beginning of the article.
Now let's get down to our roundup of the best cryptocurrency wallets. At the end of each section, we will compare clients according to the selected criteria and give them points if they meet these criteria.
How to compare the best cryptocurrency wallets
Each client for storing cryptocurrencies has its own advantages and disadvantages. We have highlighted several key criteria for comparing crypto wallets.
The presence of a russified interface
Some blockchain wallets have a complex interface that is difficult for beginners to understand. Russification simplifies perception and avoids additional difficulties when working with a crypto wallet.
Non-custodial clients do not store private keys, passwords and user seed phrases, therefore they are considered the most secure. Control over funds in such crypto wallets belongs entirely to the users themselves.
But custody services have their advantages. For example, they allow you to exchange cryptocurrency for other cryptoassets or fiat directly in your account, and can also support additional functions: staking, depositing at interest, and much more. Before using them, we must accept these risks.
There are hybrid online wallets. For example, the Blockchain.com wallet is non-custodial. Users can make an unlimited number of transactions, but the interface also supports exchange (Swap), deposit and purchase with fiat currencies.
By this criterion, we determine whether the program contains open or closed source code. Open source allows third-party developers to audit and identify vulnerabilities if they are present in the client's source code. In other words, open source implies lack of trust in the developer, but closed trust in the development team.
This item reflects whether the wallet has additional features to improve user anonymity, such as rotating btc addresses, merging crypto transactions, or supporting change addresses.
For many novice users, as a rule, basic functionality is sufficient for transferring and receiving coins. They do not need advanced features that burden the client interface and make it difficult to interact with it.
Support for new bitcoin addresses (Segwit)
We indicate whether the crypto wallet is compatible with the new format of SegWit addresses 3 and bech32, which can speed up transactions and approximately halve the cost of transaction fees.
The most trusted local wallets
Local or desktop clients are programs created for a specific operating system, such as Windows, Mac OS, or Linux. Desktop crypto wallets are also cross-platform, i.e. not tied to a specific operating system.
There are two main types of local crypto wallets: heavy or light clients. Heavy clients include downloading the full blockchain history. For example, the bitcoin blockchain at the time of this writing takes up over 200 GB of hard drive space. Such wallets are also called decentralized, that is, they lack trust in any node. This means that they do not have central servers that store the entire history of the blockchain, and each user has their own copy of the blockchain. Light clients connect to third-party servers that store the bulk of the blockchain, while the client side stores only its own transactions.
"Light" programs store only a part of transactions, and the rest of the history is located on remote servers. They are more centralized, but as a rule, private keys, passwords and seed-phrase are stored only on the client side, so such wallets are still safe.
Desktop crypto wallets are more secure than web clients because the attack surface is limited to vulnerabilities in the OS, excluding phishing that web wallets are exposed to. But if you are not going to store large amounts, then online clients for a browser or smartphone may be suitable for you, since they are more convenient and you can use them even “on the go”.
One of the oldest Bitcoin wallets, Electrum was created in 2011 by a team of independent developers from MIT and is open source. This is a lightweight client that stores only a part of the blockchain history, which is then uploaded to the server. There is a full review about Electrum, which you can read on our blog.
Electrum only supports Bitcoin, but there are versions for other cryptocurrencies: Electron Cash (for BCH), Dash-electrum, Electrum LTC, Qtum Electrum and many others. Many crypto wallets are based on the Electrum code, which indicates its reliability, verified by users and developers. One of the main features of Electrum is encrypted storage of files, which can be accessed with a password. Even if your PC is stolen, the interface cannot be opened unless a password can be found. The Electrum Bitcoin wallet also supports cold storage of private keys on the user's device, the integration of hardware wallets such as Trezor or Ledger, and additional security features such as multisignature and two-factor authentication.
Armory is an open source desktop bitcoin wallet created in 2012 by independent developers, with support for the highly secure and autonomous Glacier protocol. Among the features of Armory Wallet are multisignatures and the function of cold storage of cryptocurrencies.
The crypto wallet supports the only cryptocurrency - Bitcoin. Management is entirely on the client side. You can store bitcoins offline, and create transactions in a "view-only" wallet, isolating the main account from the Internet. Armory is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, Linux and even Raspberry Pi operating systems. It supports both legacy legacy addresses and the new type of Bitcoin Segwit addresses.
Wasabi is an open source desktop wallet based on CoinJoin, a special type of Bitcoin transaction in which multiple users come together to combine their coins into a single transaction. This protocol can significantly increase the anonymity of coin owners. Despite the fact that this concept has existed since the very beginning of the emergence of bitcoin, only a few crypto wallets have implemented it, including Wasabi. You can read more about the CoinJoin mechanism on the crypto wallet website in the documents section.
Among the features of Wasabi stands out integration with cold hardware wallets, as well as with the Tor network, which increases anonymity and allows coordinators not to reveal the user's IP address. Wasabi is available on Windows, Mac OS and Linux platforms.
Bitcoin Core, formerly known as Bitcoin Qt, is the original open source bitcoin wallet that stores the entire history of the blockchain on a local node. At the time of this writing, the history of Bitcoin blocks takes up over 200 GB of memory. The fully decentralized Bitcoin Core wallet allows the user to deploy a full node on their PC to broadcast transactions to the blockchain network. Bitcoin Core has a Prune parameter that allows you to reduce the downloadable blockchain size to 10-15 GB, eliminating the need to download the full chain of transactions.
The original crypto wallet is safe, provides full control over funds and commissions and does not require the participation of third parties to verify transactions, but the user will need some technical knowledge to understand its work and a high speed of the Internet connection for the stable work of the client. Bitcoin Core can be downloaded from the official bitcoin website Bitcoin.org.
Guarda is a non-custodial multicurrency crypto wallet for exchanging, storing and transferring crypto assets. Combines simplicity and safety. Guarda supports multisig, built-in exchanger and PoS-based staking.
One of the benefits of Guarda is support for other cryptocurrencies besides BTC. Guarda is compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux operating systems. There is also a mobile and web version of Guarda, as well as a paper wallet.
A simple and easy to use local bitcoin wallet that supports view-only accounts. The option allows you to safely check balances on public networks, for example, in a cafe or an airport. GreenAddress Wallet provides several options for two-factor authentication, multisignature for sending transactions and PIn-code for quick access to coins in a mobile crypto wallet.
All private information is stored on the local device only in encrypted form. The GreenAddress wallet supports Tor integration and generates new coin-accepting addresses to increase user anonymity. There is also a mobile version for iOS and Android.