With Bitcoin quickly approaching its all-time high, many investors are now looking to diversify into cryptocurrencies.
One thing that makes cryptocurrencies a different type of investment is the way your funds are stored. Before being able to make a purchase, you need to create a digital storage location, also known as a cryptocurrency wallet, to store your coins.
In this article, we will briefly discuss what you need to know before choosing a Bitcoin wallet app and go through our favorite options. Let’s get started!
Things you should know when choosing a bitcoin wallet
There are a few things you need to keep in mind before learning how to get a bitcoin wallet app.
Types of bitcoin wallets (phone apps)
While most Bitcoin wallet applications may look similar, there are a few distinct differences that you need to be aware of. These are more technical in nature but will come in handy later, when choosing the wallet that suits your needs:
- Custodial vs non-custodial – Custodial wallet apps have “custody” over your funds in case you lose your phone or forget your pin. Non-custodial wallets give full responsibility to you, and have no access to your funds. For safety purposes, it is always better to choose non-custodial wallet options.
- Independent wallets vs exchange-based wallets – The line between these two is thinning and will eventually turn into the same thing. For now, however, there is a difference between wallet-only apps and exchange-based apps. The latest offer access to the full functionalities of their trading platform and all its products, as well as your wallet.
- Bitcoin wallet vs multi-coin wallet – Some wallets support Bitcoin only, while others support multiple coins. Most crypto wallet apps support multiple cryptocurrencies, making it easier for investors to access their portfolio in one place.
- Mobile only vs mobile-supported – Certain wallet apps operate solely as an app on mobile phones. Others offer an app functionality but can also be accessed online, or through a desktop app. Multiple access points offer more convenience to users and help avoid single points of failure.
- Single-sig vs Multi-sig – Do one or more people have to “sign” a transaction with their private keys before a transfer can take place? This is especially important for companies, and large slace investors.
Bitcoin wallet terminologies
Cryptocurrency wallets may become rather complex for those not familiar with basic terminologies. Here are the terms you should understand when choosing a Bitcoin wallet app:
- XBT / BTC – While most people refer to Bitcoin as BTC, some wallets list the cryptocurrency under its official acronym, XBT. Both BTC and XBT refer to the same coin, and you can thus use these addresses to receive Bitcoin.
- Public address – A long string of letters and numbers that represents your unique wallet address. You can offer this code to request or receive BTC. This is the code you’ll be dealing with when learning how to add money to Bitcoin wallet apps.
- Private keys – Similar string of letters and numbers albeit longer than the public address. It represents the unique credentials of your wallet – your access codes – and is used to access and send Bitcoin from your wallet. Most wallet apps don’t interact with this code at all, and have rather replaced it with a 4-6 digit pincode.
- Seed phrase / backup phrase – A phrase of 12-24 words that can be used to regain access to your wallet in case it is lost or stolen. This phrase is offered only once when you first create your wallet. It is best to write these words on a piece of paper and store them safely.
- Decrypt – Refers to the process of unlocking your wallet when you input the correct credentials (private keys or password). Every crypto wallet app will show this phrase the moment of unlocking your wallet.
- Whitelisted address (or wallet) – A public address that has been verified by providing personal information and documentation. These are the addresses that can make transactions from within the wallet and can be tracked by legal authorities if necessary.
- Swap – The process of exchanging one cryptocurrency for another through the wallet. This functionality is only available for whitelisted wallets.
- Hot wallet – A wallet that stores your private keys online.
- Cold wallet – A wallet that stores your private keys offline.
The concept of confirmations & confirmation time
When sending BTC from one wallet to another, the time required to complete the transfer depends on the required confirmations.
By confirmations, we refer to the transaction blocks that need to be confirmed until the recipient is able to see the funds in their wallet. Each transaction block takes 10 minutes to confirm and the number of confirmations required will depend on the amount of fees you pay for your transaction (from 1 until 6). The higher the fees, the less confirmation will need to take place, and thus the faster the transaction will be.
With that being said, let’s now delve into everything you need to know when exploring how to select a Bitcoin wallet.
How to choose a bitcoin wallet
Now that you have a better understanding of the types of apps and basic terminologies, its time to learn how to properly choose a Bitcoin wallet. Let’s go through the steps you need to follow to do this successfully:
Step #1 – Figure out what you need from the wallet
This is very important, as each wallet has unique features. Knowing what you need from a wallet will become the guiding principle in making your final choice. To make this process easier, answer the following list of questions:
- Which bitcoin wallet should I use for long-term storage, and which one for trading?
- Do I want to benefit from additional services (earning interest, staking, etc) or just an app to store and track my funds?
- How important is simplicity and convenience (a.k.a. UI & UX) for me?
- Do I need to access my funds from one or multiple sources?
- Am I only going to buy Bitcoin or also other types of cryptocurrencies?
- Do I want to access my wallet with or without a pincode?
Most of the above questions can be answered when looking at the different types of Bitcoin wallets (shown above). However, some questions will require further pondering, and you may even come up with additional information to guide your decision.
Step #2 – Research popular Bitcoin wallet options
As soon as you know what you need from your wallet, it’s time to do research. In this case, the best way to go is to engage with communities that are more experienced in the topic you are interested in. Here is where you can find them:
- Facebook communities, like Crypto Coin Trader and Cryptocurrency Investing.
- “Crypto” Twitter influencers, who tend to avoid sponsored posts. You can find them by using the right hashtags (#BTC, $BTC, or others).
- Telegram and Discord groups related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
- Subreddits like r/Bitcoin
Aside from these sources, you can also check the most popular wallet apps to get a better idea of what the public is choosing to use. We will briefly discuss those in the next chapter.
Step #3 – Download your favorite Bitcoin wallet app
When you find the best Bitcoin wallet app for your needs, download it on your mobile device. Some people will choose to keep a separate mobile device for their cryptocurrency wallet, which they leave at home for extra security. While this is not mandatory, it might be a good idea for those that are dealing with large sums of money.
Once you download the app, go through the setup process. As soon as the wallet is successfully installed, you will be able to start operating it.
Step #4 – Take all the necessary safety measures
At this point, and before you send any coins to your wallet, explore the wallet’s functionalities in terms of security. In most cases, you will be able to add the following:
- A 4-6 digit pin code
- 2-Factor Authentication (2FA)
- Additional SMS or Email verification each time you log in (for certain wallet options)
Obviously, the more options you activate when it comes to security, the safer your funds will be. However, keep in mind that, when choosing a Bitcoin wallet app, you will come across more risks than other wallet options, like hardware wallets.
Step #5 – Start using the wallet
You are now ready to start storing and transferring Bitcoin!
Remember that your Bitcoin wallet software may occasionally need updates, in which case you will be informed within the app on the steps you need to take. Such updates will never request personal information or private keys from you, so if this occurs cancel the update and inform the wallet’s support team immediately.
Which is the best bitcoin wallet app?
We have already talked in detail about the best crypto wallets in the market. However, when it comes to smartphone apps specifically, there are a few options we tend to like more than others. Check the options below to see our crypto wallet comparison with the 5 best Bitcoin wallet apps.
Learn how to download and set up Blockchain wallet here.
Blockchain wallet is one of the most popular wallet options for Bitcoin and Altcoin users worldwide. It has a very simplistic design, unlocks with a 4-digit pin, and allows users to handle their funds in a very convenient manner.
- Offers additional services like swaps, high-yield interest accounts, and airdrops
- Available for Android and iOS, and comes with a secondary desktop version
- Non-custodial with increased transaction privacy measures
- Supports 7 cryptocurrencies among which 2 are stablecoins
- Transactions settle on-chain, which makes them more reliable and resistant to fraud
Learn how to download and set up Trust wallet here.
Trust wallet is Binance’s official Bitcoin wallet. It has experienced a massive increase in popularity due to being one of the few convenient options when it comes to bridging centralized and decentralized trading, by offering a common storage solution.
- Offers staking opportunities with above-average rewards
- One of the very few reliable wallet options that connect and trade on DEXs and access dApps.
- Access protection through pin code and biometrics
- Supports hundreds of altcoins
Learn more about Schildbach wallet here.
Commonly known as Schildbach wallet, this option is one of the earliest to be released in the market (since 2011). Users can only store and transfer Bitcoin, and the wallet comes with a clean and minimalistic interface.
- Does not need registration (or whitelisting) and is easy to install
- Only available for Android devices
- Does not store any altcoins
- Non-custodial and open source wallet
The BRD wallet has managed to amass a user base of more than 6 million investors over the past two years and is considered to be the best bitcoin wallet for iPhone users.
- Non-custodial, open-source solution that gives users full control over their funds
- Simple and minimal design that makes the transaction process easy for new users
- Supports Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and several stablecoins
- No sign-up, logins, or other personal information is required.
- Very active and responsive support team, ready to answer your questions
Learn how to download and set up Edge wallet here.
If you are choosing a Bitcoin wallet app that is user-friendly then Edge is your best choice. While not as popular as some of the other options in this list, it has everything you need when choosing a Bitcoin wallet app. Consider some of the following features:
- Creates automatic backups to avoid potential mistakes in the manual process
- Non-custodial, single-sig wallet option
- Supports Bitcoin (BTC) and 19 other popular cryptocurrencies
- Easy to use Bitcoin wallet app even for those with no experience
- Hierarchical Deterministic with changing addresses for every transaction, similar to hardware wallets
Summing up the crypto wallet comparison
You should now have a better idea about the things you need to pay attention to when choosing a Bitcoin wallet app. While there are many different options to choose from, not all will satisfy your needs.
To better understand which option works best for you, look at the technical specifications of each wallet and determine what you will be using the wallet for. And if you have difficulties choosing a Bitcoin wallet after doing so, consider testing several wallets to see which one you feel most comfortable with.