The best virtual wallets to store bitcoin or cryptocurrencies in 2024.

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Before buying bitcoins, you need a place to store them. This place is commonly called bitcoin wallet in Spanish, although they are also called carteras or billeteras bitcoin.

But not all wallets are the same. There are many types: you can store your cryptocurrencies on your computer or mobile phone, on a physical device or even on a piece of paper. But not all of them are equally secure.

In this article, we will teach you how to create a bitcoin account. Discover what types exist and how to store bitcoin securely in our guide on bitcoin wallets.

What is a bitcoin wallet?

A bitcoin wallet (monedero or bitcoin wallet) is the place where bitcoins or cryptocurrencies are stored. It would be the equivalent of a bank account, although it presents multiple advantages.

The main advantage is decentralization: There are no intermediaries, no organizations or banks. A bitcoin wallet belongs only to you. But also, they are much easier to create than a traditional bank account.

The truth is that wallets are not a virtual space where your bitcoins are stored. Cryptocurrencies are stored in the blockchain and wallets securely store the access data to the exact location where your bitcoins are in the blockchain.

The goal of wallets is to provide a more intuitive access to the blockchain.

How to use a virtual wallet

The operation of a bitcoin wallet is fundamentally based on two concepts:

  • A public key; which you can freely share. It is used to add bitcoins to the wallet.
  • A private key; which you should NEVER share. It is used to withdraw bitcoins from the wallet.

All bitcoin wallets have these two keys. However, some current wallets, such as online or mobile wallets, only display the public key for adding bitcoins.

When you withdraw your bitcoins from the wallet, the private key is automatically entered by the application you are using, making it easier to use. Although you don't see it, it is stored and managed by that software.

It is very important to keep the keys and passwords of your wallet in a safe place. If you lose them, it's like losing money and the bitcoins they contain can never be recovered. You should also not share your private key, if someone knows it, they could withdraw the money from your wallet at any time.

Before using any bitcoin wallet, it is advisable to test with a small amount of cryptocurrency, to learn how they are used and avoid scams. It is convenient to do this when both saving money and spending the bitcoins from your wallet.

How to create a bitcoin account

Although many people call it a bitcoin account, as you may have seen, what you really need is a cryptocurrency wallet.

To create a bitcoin wallet, all you need to do is register with one of the options we propose below, depending on which one suits your needs. Once registered, you will have a public key and a private key, and you can start trading with bitcoin.

Remember that the alternatives we propose are reliable. If you choose another option, make sure you can store bitcoins securely in it.

Types of Bitcoin Wallets

Generally, Bitcoin wallets can be divided into two groups:

  • "Cold wallets" or offline wallets that are NOT connected to the internet. Paper wallets or hardware wallets are considered cold wallets. They are also referred to as offline virtual wallets.
  • "Hot wallets", online wallets or online wallets that work online, connected to the internet. Web wallets, desktop wallets, or mobile wallets are hot wallets.

"Cold wallets" are much more secure, but more complicated to use. It is recommended to store long-term investments or bitcoins that will not be used for a long time in them.

On the other hand, it is advisable to store bitcoins for trading or those that you plan to use in the near future in hot wallets. Choosing a bitcoin wallet will depend on the strategy you plan to follow.

Hardware wallets: Store bitcoins on USB

Hardware wallets or physical wallets are small devices, similar to USB drives, that are used to store bitcoins. They connect to the internet when performing transactions and are the most secure method for storing cryptocurrencies.

They are offline devices, as they only need to be connected when making transfers, and they are impossible to hack. They accept most cryptocurrencies and ERC-20 tokens. However, like banknotes, they can be lost or stolen.

It is possible to store bitcoins on a USB drive using a hardware wallet

Hardware wallets are the safest wallet. However, they have a drawback: the price of these devices is quite high.

Some current hardware wallets are Trezor, Keepkey, or Ledger. They can be easily purchased through Amazon:

There are other cheaper options but with more limitations. For example, they are less compatible, require logging in through Google services, and sometimes do not allow two-factor authentication. Some of these alternatives are:

Paper Wallets

Paper wallets, or "paper wallets", are simple sheets of paper where both the public and private keys are printed. They are cold wallets, ideal for long-term storage.

There are several websites that offer a solution to generate a paper wallet:

walletgenerator.net (multi-currency, accepts, among other cryptocurrencies, ether)

bitcoinpaperwallet.com

bitaddress.org

To ensure the secure storage of your bitcoins in your wallet, it is essential to follow the steps indicated on the websites:

  1. Download the code of their application from the indicated website.
  2. Disconnect from the internet.
  3. Generate the paper wallet in PDF and print it directly. It is essential not to save the file, but to print it directly.
  4. Share your public address to receive bitcoins or to check the funds in your wallet.
  5. Keep your private key secret. If it becomes public, anyone could withdraw the funds from your wallet. For increased security, it is recommended to create a new paper wallet every time you use your private address.

When creating a paper bitcoin wallet, disconnect from the internet and print it without saving the generated PDF, you protect yourself from possible hacking. This way, you are the only one who knows the key, making it a secure way to store bitcoins. To further protect your wallet, it is recommended to create the paper wallet on an operating system free of viruses and spyware, such as a Ubuntu LiveCD.

Paper wallets are like banknotes: If you lose them, you will lose your money. Therefore, it is advisable to have multiple copies of the wallet and store them in safe places where they will not deteriorate or be stolen.

In any case, using paper wallets is the simplest way to store bitcoins, as they are free and very secure.

You can find detailed information on how to generate and use them in How to Create a Bitcoin Paper Wallet.

Desktop Wallets

A desktop wallet is a program that you install on your computer. They are usually easy to set up and free. The drawback is that they require maintenance, as you need to make backups and update the blockchain, which is downloaded to your computer when you use it.

In addition, if you lose or your computer gets damaged or hacked, you can lose your private keys and therefore your bitcoins.

The original desktop wallet is the Bitcoin Core protocol. You can download it from the official Bitcoin website.

As a drawback, you need to download the entire blockchain to your computer, which is all the transactions made since the birth of Bitcoin. The blockchain currently occupies more than 200GB. You can check the size of the blockchain at the following link.

However, lightweight wallets, known as SPV (Simplified Payment Verification), have been developed. SPVs do not download the entire blockchain, but rather synchronize with it.

The most widely used SPV is Electrum, considered quite secure and very easy to use for beginners. It also offers the option to store your cryptocurrencies in a cold wallet.

Other well-known SPV desktop wallets are Armory, Exodus, Jaxx, or Copay. They all have versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Both Exodus and Jaxx accept ether. Additionally, you can use the official Ethereum wallet, which can be downloaded from its website.

Online wallets

Online wallets or web wallets are cloud-based. Their main advantage is that you can access them from any device using a password. You can access an online wallet from a computer, smartphone, or even through an app.

Most of them are free wallets. However, they have the disadvantage of storing your private address in the cloud. Therefore, you must ensure that you use a reliable web wallet with high security controls and assurance that they will not disappear, close, or deny you access.

The most reliable and secure web wallets are:

Coinbase and Blockchain are web wallets associated with exchanges, so you can buy bitcoins without making transactions.

Additionally, Xapo and Coinbase offer cold storage solutions.

For storing ether, one of the best web wallets is MyEtherWallet. It offers multiple security solutions and supports both Ethereum and all tokens based on its technology. MyEtherWallet does not store your private keys, which you will have to store yourself by making copies.

Other options for storing ether are Coinbase, which also accepts ether, or creating an Ethereum paper wallet.

A web bitcoin wallet is excellent for daily transactions. However, you should not store large amounts of cryptocurrency since their security relies on third parties.

Other popular web wallets include:

Mobile Wallets

A mobile wallet is as simple as an app for your smartphone. However, most of them are focused on instant payments through your mobile. Most web wallets, such as Coinbase or Xapo, have a mobile version.

Smartphones are devices that are always connected to the internet, so mobile wallets can be vulnerable. In addition, this type of wallets usually have at most basic privacy protection. Therefore, you should only store cryptocurrencies in them that you are going to spend quickly.

Below are some options of mobile wallets according to the platform:

Best Bitcoin wallets for Android

Best Bitcoin wallets for iPhone or iOS

Best Bitcoin wallets for Windows Phone

Exchange Wallets

We want to mention the wallets that exchanges have.

Bitcoin exchanges are platforms that allow trading (buying and selling) with cryptocurrencies.

In order to provide these services, exchanges offer their own virtual wallets where cryptocurrencies are temporarily stored after being acquired or before being sold. However, many users use exchange wallets as a long-term storage system, which is not recommended at all.

The wallets offered by exchanges are online wallets, where you give up the privacy and security of your account to a third party. Additionally, exchanges are often targeted by hacking attacks and have stolen millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies.

These attacks have been very isolated and have affected specific exchanges. Furthermore, these platforms are investing to significantly improve their security. Nevertheless, to prevent bigger problems, we recommend using their wallets for the shortest time possible and, once the cryptocurrencies are purchased, transfer them to a more secure wallet.

It goes without saying that, to avoid scams, you should use widely recognized and highly reputable platforms. In the following article, we show you some of the safest exchanges.

How much does a virtual bitcoin wallet cost?

Virtual wallets are commission-free. Be wary if you come across one that asks for money, as it is likely to be a fraud.

However, making a transaction to or from your bitcoin wallet does have fees. These fees are for a miner to include your transaction in a blockchain block. Therefore, they have nothing to do with the wallet you use.

The fees vary, as they depend on the congestion of the blockchain. You can check the recommended fee at bitcoinfees.earn.com.

Additionally, you can make cheaper transactions for wallets that have SegWit activated.

SegWit was an upgrade to improve transactions implemented on bitcoin in July 2017, which allows for more transactions per block every 10 minutes.

This results in a significant decrease in transaction fees, reduced by 50% to 70%.

Cheapest Bitcoin Wallets

Some of the Bitcoin wallets that have activated SegWit update are:

Is a virtual bitcoin wallet secure?

The security of a bitcoin wallet depends on the format you choose and how you use them.

Offline wallets, such as hardware wallets or paper wallets, are the most secure bitcoin wallets. However, they can be lost, so it is advisable to make backups.

On the other hand, when using hot wallets, you are giving away information and relying on third-party security. In addition, they are connected to the internet, which makes them vulnerable to hacking, viruses, or malware.

As mentioned, most bitcoin investors use a hybrid solution: They store the majority of their long-term investment in a cold bitcoin wallet, and maintain liquidity in web or mobile wallets.

Regardless of the bitcoin wallet option you choose, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Security is always a good idea.
  • Do not give your passwords or private addresses to anyone.
  • Always keep backups of your private keys.

Once you have created your bitcoin account, you can start trading with cryptocurrencies. We propose the following options:

We hope you have resolved all your doubts about virtual wallets. You can learn much more about cryptocurrencies in our bitcoin tutorial.