As you buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it becomes crucial that you have the best cryptocurrency and bitcoin wallet. Buying Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is like buying physical gold. You have to have a way to keep them safe from the risks and dangers of the world.
When it comes to digital currencies, like bitcoin, there are ways to secure your coins so that you are not vulnerable to the dangers in this space. Having a secure wallet,where you own your private keys, be it a mobile, paper or hardware wallet is crucial and necessary.
With that in mind, let’s go over the best bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallets. We will take a look at the security features, costs and how easier each is to use.
There’s a few different types of wallets to understand, which we will also explain, along with the pros and cons of using each type.
We’ll start off the best bitcoin wallets for Canadians.
Ledger Nano S
The Ledger is probably the most well known hardware wallets available on the cryptocurrency market – and for good reason. Founded in 2014, Ledger has risen to the top of the hardware wallet market with their intuitive and modern user interface and their secure design with their hardware cryptocurrency wallet.
Ledger has two popular lines for their product – the Ledger Nano S and the Nano X.
They are pretty much the same but the Nano X is a bit more expensive as it comes with more storage, battery and bluetooth connectivity so you don’t need to plug it in to interact with it.
Both allow you to send and receive digital currency using either a phone or computer, depending on the model. Most importantly, these hardware wallets allow you to own, and store your private keys offline. This is the most secure way of storing your bitcoin, ethereum or any other digital you cant afford to lose.
In general, the Nano S is a sufficient cryptocurrency wallet for most people to use without any setbacks. It’s sleek chrome metal finish feels great in the hands when using it.
Ledger also comes with a Ledger Live app and this is how you’re able to interact with your hardware wallet like any other software wallet.
Now you might be thinking… aren’t hardware wallets hard to use if you aren’t exactly looking to store your crypto in one place for long? Well with Ledger and other hardware wallets, you’re very easily able to connect them to other popular wallets, such as Metamask, to interface with your ledger.
Currently, Ledger supports many cryptocurrencies (over 1000) and all ERC20 Tokens so if you’re in the Ethereum ecosystem, then it’s easier than ever to store it safely and be able to buy and sell quite easily as well.
Ledger Nano S starts off at $59 USD and Nano X is $119 USD. Click [here] for more information.
Trezor is another hardware wallet, that works in a similar way to Ledger. Trezor has two wallets available: Trezor One and Trezor Model T. The design of Trezor is a lot less flashy compared to Ledger but they do have a harder shell so it is a little less fragile.
The Trezor wallet supports more than 1000+ cryptocurrencies so you’re able to store most, if not all your diverse coins. Trezor wallets also come with a password manager like LastPass if you purchase their Trezor Model T.
The main difference between the two Trezor models is how you’re unlocking your device. For the standard Trezor one model, you’re mainly using your computer to interact with the Trezor – entering your Pin and passphrase through your PC or Mobile.
WIth the Trezor Model T, you’re using the actual hardware screen to enter your Pin, which is slightly more secure. This model also comes with a full color screen to interact with as well.
Again, with a Trezor, you own your private key, important for any cryptocurrency wallet.
Trezor One starts at $55 USD and Trezor Model T is $169 USD. Click [here] for more information.
KeepKey is a relatively new type of hardware wallet. They do have well designed wallet shells which look sleek and modern. KeepKey is also cheaper than popular wallets like Ledger – coming in at $49 usd for the base version.
KeepKey wallets however do not support as many currencies as Ledger or Trezor. Right now they support 40 cryptocurrencies. They also have a negative image when it comes to customer support and device bugs.
CoinJar is a hybrid exchange/wallet. It has a simple user interface which makes it easy to quickly buy and sell cryptocurrency within their wallet app which is available for desktop and mobile. This is perfect for anyone who will be buying and selling crypto regularly, however, large amounts of crypto should not be stored here for long periods of time as exchanges always run the risk of being hacked.
The Electrum wallet has been around for quite a while now. It’s a household name for Bitcoin software wallets.
This is an open-source wallet where you download and install the wallet on your computer.
It is easy to use and perfect for those who regularly want to send and receive digital assets. It also is compatible with hardware wallets such as the Ledger.
But while Electrum is quite safe as they never store your private keys on their server… Electrum is still a Hot wallet, meaning it’s connected to an active device, such as your desktop – hackers are still able to get into your wallet via keyloggers or malware. Electrum has faced a few security issues in the past, however it is considered safe if configured and updated properly.
Overall, Electrum is a safe wallet and easy to use for anyone looking to store Bitcoin in a place for short to medium term.
The Importance of Security for Storing Crypto
As cryptocurrencies transactions are immutable… storing your bitcoin safely and securely is more important than ever. With your bank account, you can just call them up to reverse the transaction if someone fraudulently has used your credit card, but with crypto, once your coins are sent… there is no going back.
With all that in mind, there is a trade off between security and ease of use.
When we’re talking about crypto security, we consider the CIA triad. It stands for Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability.
When thinking about bitcoin wallets, there’s a balance between security and ease of use.
If it’s super secure, it’s generally harder to access and use the system – whereas on the other hand, if it’s easy to access, it’s less secure.
You may need ease of use if you trade a lot.
on the other hand, if you’re planning on holding long term, you will want to lock down your assets securely as possible.
Let’s go over the different types of wallets you can use.
Ways of Storing Your Cryptocurrency
In the security world, online storage can be referred to as hot storage and offline is known as cold storage. So we may use these terms interchangeably. Typically, the most secure way to store your bitcoin is in a cold wallet, with your private key stored some where safe and secure, offline.
Online or Cold Storage:
When you hear hosted wallet’s, it refers to wallets on exchanges. While many exchanges have strong security features, such as 2 factor authentication, exchange storage comes with one big downside. A popular phrase in crypto is “not your keys, not your crypto”. What this means is when you have cryptocurrency on any exchange, such as Binance, Coinspot, Coinbase etc… you don’t control your funds at all.
You basically have the right to make the request to the exchange to withdraw your funds. And exchanges hold the private keys and crypto of all their user’s funds in their cold storage. When you trade cryptocurrency on exchanges, no crypto is actually being moved, as your balance is just stored as a number on their servers.
Only when withdrawing, do the cryptocurrencies actually move. So, holding funds on exchanges for the long term is the worst way to store your cryptocurrency – as exchanges are prime targets for hackers to steal from. There have been many huge hacks into reputable exchanges where millions of dollars have been lost. Kucoin, Binance, Mt Gox and more…
As of writing this article, there are also other factors to watch out for. Regulation is a big one as regulators can shut down exchanges. OKEx – a giant exchange in the Chinese market has been under scrutiny with their CEO arrested. Why does this matter? No user of OKEx can withdraw their funds as it’s been frozen – and they can’t do anything about it (No estimated time has been given as well by OKEx).
But if you want to buy bitcoin, make trades and are looking to hold crypto short term, having it on exchanges for a short period of time is generally OK. At the very least, make sure the exchange is tight on security and uses cold storage for the funds. We strongly recommend Bitbuy and Coinberry for Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges.
These wallets are a lot better in terms of security as you now have ownership of your private key. Software wallets can refer to desktop wallets that you download and set up, mobile wallets or chrome extension wallets. It’s important to note that a software wallet can be either hot or cold, depending on how they are set up.
These wallets will require you to write down your seed phrase in a safe location. Your seed phrase is a mnemonic phrase generated from the private key of your wallet. This seed phrase acts like your master key. If you lost your phone, or computer, then you can redownload the app, restore your wallet using your seed phase and your funds are back where it started. So as long as you have the seed phrase, you won’t lose your funds.
But on the same token, if someone else manages to get your seed phrase, they can pull up your account anywhere and they can use it. We recommended writing your seed phrase, or private key, on a physical notebook, paper and storing it somewhere safe and memorable. Do not write your phase on your computer or mobile. Treat your seed phrase like you have actual gold.
A hardware wallet is often considered as the best type of wallet. It is the most secure way to store your cryptocurrency today. Hardware wallets such as Ledger or Trezor give you the most control and make sure hackers are never able to get into your wallet.
The reason why it’s so secure is because it’s never connected to the internet. Thus, any malware or keylogger is rendered useless on your computer. And when you send transactions through your hard wallet, your private keys are never exposed. It never leaves your hardware wallet which means no trace of your keys will be on a compromised device or on the internet.
It’s also easier than ever to transact with your hardware wallet as there is a lot of support from software wallets to be able to read the data from your wallet. But to send funds, you’ll still need to approve it on your wallet.
Wallets like Electrum allow you to connect to your Ledger or Trezor with a few simple buttons giving you the best of both worlds of security and ease of use.
And even if you lose your hardware wallet, as long as you know your seed phrase, you can buy another one, use your seed phrase to recover your account and you’re all good to go. No crypto will be lost.
A paper wallet is literally a paper wallet. You print out your private keys and generate a QR code on paper. So when you send transactions, you just scan the code and it’ll work. However, this type of wallet is typically only used by advanced users, who know what they are doing, and a super serious about securing their cryptocurrency.
As secure as this method is, it’s also very inconvenient because everything is stored on a piece of paper. It can easily be destroyed, lost, damaged and you would not be able to recover it.
And the process of generating a secure paper wallet is also very hard to do, as you’ll probably need to set up a new device which has never been connected to the internet so you know it has not been compromised. A paper wallet is not considered as a safe way to store any large amount of bitcoin.