A laptote with a wallet and bitcoins on the screen on a blue background

How to Choose the Best Bitcoin Wallet

4 May, 2020

Choosing a bitcoin wallet can be challenging, especially for cryptocurrency beginners. Knowing the key usability, privacy, and security features will lead you to the right decision.

Cryptocurrencies have become substantially ingrained in our society and the financial markets. Many services now support bitcoin payments, including well-known household names such as Domino’s, Starbucks, and Whole Foods. It is no longer a novelty to have some bitcoin stashed away for a rainy day.

The next important step after acquiring a certain amount of BTC funds is choosing the best Bitcoin wallet for your daily needs. Experienced Bitcoin owners use a variety of crypto wallets to take advantage of the exclusive features offered by each.

PixelPlex has been developing blockchain wallets since 2013 and we know what needs to be under the hood of the best cryptocurrency wallet. Let us guide you through the process of making the most optimal BTC wallet choice and advise you on what features to look out for.

What is a bitcoin wallet?

A bitcoin wallet is a medium that stores your private and public keys that allow access to BTC funds. It can be a physical device, a piece of paper or other material where your keys are written down, or a software application. Desktop and mobile wallet apps also allow you to spend your bitcoin by facilitating encrypted transactions signed using your private key.

Public and private keys are used to perform transactions to and from your wallet. The public key contains the address you share with other parties to allow them to send bitcoin to your wallet. The private key, on the other hand, is an encrypted sequence of numbers and letters that gains you access to your funds. It is also used to sign transactions and spend your bitcoins.

Since the private key is the gateway to your cryptocurrency fortunes, keeping it out of the wrong hands is a must. That’s why most bitcoin wallets store the private keys on a user’s device while some don’t have records of it at all, leaving you as the sole holder. In the latter case, you are the one in charge of keeping your private key safe. If you lose it, you lose access to your funds as well.

Most modern wallets are hierarchical deterministic (HD wallets) which means that they generate new addresses for every transaction. This is done for privacy and security reasons and to ensure no one can track your transactions on the network. These addresses are derived from a master private key that serves as the root for the whole tree of generated keys. The master key is presented to the wallet holder in a more user-friendly way, usually a 24-word mnemonic phrase (seed phrase). This mnemonic sentence serves as the backup for the wallet and can be used to restore access to your funds in another software or hardware wallet.

Mobile wallets have special mechanisms in place (Secure Enclave on iOS and Keystore on Android) that serve as containers and ensure the private keys remain encrypted and are never leaked from the device.

Essential features of a software bitcoin wallet

Now that the market is flooded with bitcoin wallets from various providers, there’s a universal approach to building a wallet user experience. Here are the key features most modern wallets provide:

  • Sending and receiving bitcoin to your accounts
  • Bitcoin transfers using generated QR code
  • Integration with top exchanges to buy bitcoin
  • Total balance summary across multiple coins and accounts
  • Import/export of crypto wallet accounts
  • Securing your wallet with a PIN
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Transaction history
  • Smart contracts management (if Ethereum supported)

Aside from these top features, some wallets also provide transaction tracking, graphical charts displaying crypto price fluctuations, and social media features.

Hot and cold wallets

Two people standing next to two wallets and a security icon

The way bitcoin wallets store the private keys categorizes them as either hot or cold wallets. Hot wallets are those that have a connection to the internet and store private keys locally on the device or on the provider’s servers. These include web, mobile, and desktop applications and although they have some security measures in place, they are more susceptible to various attacks and attempts to steal your bitcoins.

Cold wallets are those that allow you to store your private keys offline, and they include hardware and paper-based wallets. These wallets are considered best in terms of security, however, they do limit you in making use of your funds. Funds from a cold wallet can only be spent if connected to an online device.

There’s a variety of hot wallets available on the market, which is why they’re hard to choose from. Cold wallets, on the other hand, are mostly represented by the top brands of Trezor, Ledger Nano, and KeepKey. They offer a similar set of features with a pin code and seed phrase set up for security purposes, so the choice here really depends on design preferences and convenience.

Bitcoin wallet security measures

Unless you’re using a web wallet that takes care of everything for you, which is highly unrecommended for security reasons, you need to step forward and protect your funds. The security of a bitcoin wallet revolves around private key or seed phrase storage. Making sure no one obtains access to it is a must. As the saying goes, “If it’s no longer your private key, they’re no longer your coins”.

Let’s go over the basic security measures for your bitcoin wallet:

  • Be mindful of using online services. Popular services such as exchanges, online wallets, payment systems, and other resources controlled by third parties are known to have vulnerabilities and often suffer from malicious attacks. Storing bitcoin in cryptocurrency exchange wallets is generally bad practice as they hold custody of your private keys just like any online wallet. Use them for buying crypto and trading purposes, then transfer funds to a more secure wallet. Be careful around third-party apps as well and always review their permissions.
  • Use cold wallets for storing large sums. Since keeping your funds in mobile and desktop wallets is not entirely secure, we recommend purchasing a hardware wallet like Ledger Nano for keeping large amounts of bitcoin savings. You can still use a mobile bitcoin wallet for making daily purchases. By doing this, you won’t have to worry about hackers exposing wallet vulnerabilities. You can be sure your funds are safe and sound as long as you don’t lose the device or forget your PIN and seed phrase.
  • Set up two-factor authentication. This feature provides an extra layer of security by requiring that every login is approved with a code sent to your device. This makes it impossible for someone to steal your bitcoin with a stolen passphrase or other credentials.
  • Always use the latest version of your wallet and operating system. Make sure you timely install updates that contain major bug fixes and security patches. Ignoring them could allow hackers to exploit vulnerabilities and tap into your device. Updates may also carry useful features that improve usability or introduce stronger protection techniques.
  • Use multi-signature wallets to prevent unwanted transfers. Multi-signature requires a transaction to be approved by several wallet holders as well as the person who initiated it. This can be particularly useful for family members who manage a joint savings account or a company’s board of trustees sharing access to its capital fund.

Choosing the best bitcoin wallet to store your funds

A multitude of factors needs to be considered when choosing a bitcoin wallet, and these will  depend on your individual requirements and how you plan to make use of the funds. The list of features offered by various providers stretches to several dozen. Here we break down the most crucial ones that will often play a deciding role in choosing the best bitcoin wallet:

  • Is the wallet fully open-source? An open-source wallet is much more reliable for safely storing your bitcoins. Open source means that your security will be ensured by a global community of blockchain experts who have more chances to uncover potential bugs and patch them up as quickly as possible.
  • Is it free or subscription-based? Most often, you would want your wallet to be available to use for free, however, you do need to pay attention to what information you are giving the provider in return for this kind of license.
  • Is it a custodial bitcoin wallet? With a custodial wallet, you allow the provider to store your private keys on their servers. This does pose serious security risks for your funds, yet some custodial wallets give their users exclusive features that you won’t find in their non-custodial counterparts.
  • Is the back-end open-source? If using a custodial wallet, this might be a significant feature. Even if your wallet claims to be fully open-source, the back-end specifics might still be closed to the general public. An open-source back-end allows you to be in full control of your crypto wallet.
  • Does the wallet use the Tor network? Using the Tor routing network ensures complete anonymity and security for your bitcoin transactions. Look for this feature if you don’t want hackers using your IP address to extract information about bitcoin transactions.
  • How is the private key backed up? If you are the sole custodian of your private key, back-up is the first thing you should think about. It lets you regain access to your bitcoin wallet upon losing your key. Different wallets offer features like a seed phrase, encrypted files, or other means to export the private key to another device.
  • Is multi-signature enabled? A multi-signature splits access control to your bitcoin wallet between multiple parties. The user can set the number of signatures required to perform the transaction. This feature prevents hackers from accessing the account and moving funds without the approval of the majority of the parties involved.
  • Does the wallet support Bech32? Bech32 addresses give you the advantage of lower transaction fees and provide more convenience in terms of executing transactions. Unlike other formats, Bech32 addresses are entirely lower-case which decreases input errors and makes it easier to share them.
  • How is UTXO management carried out? This is very important if you want to avoid incurring higher transaction fees. Unspent bitcoins are grouped into clusters which forces you to spend greater amounts of funds on smaller transactions. Manual, automated or predictive UTXO management helps prevent these issues.
  • Is the Lightning network supported? The Lightning network implements an upgraded blockchain protocol and takes a more modern approach towards peer-to-peer payments. It allows sending and receiving Bitcoin much quicker.

Best bitcoin wallets of 2021

A person next to a pile of coins and tablet computer

It’s quite hard to pick out just the right bitcoin wallet for your needs, especially when the market is oversaturated with cryptocurrency payment solutions. To help you decide, we’ll go over the different kinds of wallets and provide you with a list of the best bitcoin wallets for each category.

Mobile wallets

Mobile wallets usually have a simple and straightforward interface and are great for everyday spending. They can be used to pay for products in shops, in peer-to-peer bitcoin transfers, and for trading cryptocurrency on exchanges. To make payments and transfers easier, they provide features like near field communication (NFC), “touch-to-pay”, and QR codes to supplement addresses.

Mobile wallets offer a user-friendly experience and combine various services into a single app.  These wallets are a good starting point for beginner users and they also may include some interesting features for experts in cryptocurrency.

Since many businesses started accepting bitcoin as a payment method, a mobile bitcoin wallet has become a very convenient option. Who wouldn’t want to pay for food at a local restaurant with their bitcoin on the go?

Let’s take a look at some mobile bitcoin wallet options.

Echo Wallet:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: Yes
  • Tor-compatible: Yes
  • Private key backup: Shamir Backup
  • Multi-signature support: Yes
  • Bech32 support: Yes
  • UTXO management: Manual
  • Lightning network support: Yes

The Echo wallet operates over a revolutionary ECHO blockchain protocol powered by BTC and ETH sidechain functionality. This creates a gateway between bitcoin payments and decentralized finance with Ethereum DApps. An integrated DApp store allows you to easily explore ECHO’s DeFi world.

The wallet also takes advantage of the migrated 0x protocol, allowing for streamlined decentralized crypto exchange. The list of features includes BLE payments, Tor and VPN support, private key backup with Shamir’s Secret, and an automated fee calculator for faster transactions. Echo also includes a crypto DNS, so you can forget typing in the long addresses and simply indicate your recipient’s username to send funds.


Windows icon of blue color


Linux icon of blue color


MacOS icon of blue color


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

BlueWallet:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: Yes
  • Tor-compatible: No
  • Private key backup: 24-word mnemonic phrase
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: Yes
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: Yes

BlueWallet is one of the best mobile wallets for Bitcoin. It is open-source and offers such features as plausible deniability, flexible fees, replace-by-fee, and Lightning support. The crypto wallet has a simple and clean UI allowing you to manage your transactions quickly and conveniently.

Plausible deniability allows you to set a password that decrypts a fake wallet which is useful when you are being forced into unlocking your wallet. BlueWallet also gets rid of all crypto management technicalities such as maintaining a channel or keeping track of incoming and outgoing liquidity.


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Blockchain:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: Yes
  • Private key backup: 12-word mnemonic phrase
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: No
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

The Blockchain wallet is one of the most popular bitcoin payment solutions trusted by individuals, businesses and institutions in over 140 countries around the world. It’s a non-custodial wallet, leaving you the sole holder of your private keys. Among its handy features are 4-digit pin and biometric authentication to safeguard your security, and simplified backup with a 12-word seed. The wallet has an integrated exchange for buying and selling crypto and automatically checks to make sure you pay the lowest fees.

Besides bitcoin, Blockchain also supports bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH), stellar (XLM), algorand (ALGO), and tether (USDT). It offers Tor support and provides server-side entropy with maximum anonymity and privacy of your transactions. With a sleek UI/UX, it allows you to make instant cryptocurrency transfers via a QR code widget.


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Samourai:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: Yes
  • Tor-compatible: Yes
  • Private key backup: 12-word mnemonic phrase
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: Yes
  • UTXO management: Manual
  • Lightning network support: No

Developed with privacy and security in mind, Samourai keeps your transactions masked and your funds safely stored. It generates new addresses for every transaction to protect users’ metadata and prevent hackers from using your identity to steal funds.

With such sophisticated features as being able to run under any network conditions and having its own full Bitcoin node that guarantees you full sovereignty, Samourai is arguably the best Bitcoin wallet for Android.


Android icon of blue color

Blockstream Green:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: Yes
  • Tor-compatible: Yes
  • Private key backup: 24-word mnemonic phrase
  • Multi-signature support: Yes
  • Bech32 support: Yes
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

If you’re looking for the best iOS bitcoin wallet or an Android wallet app, Blockstream Green is one you should consider. In addition to having strong security and control, it offers a slick UI for conveniently storing your coins and easily making transactions.

Blockstream introduced an innovative multi-signature model with the private key kept both by the users and on their servers. This blocks anyone from taking advantage of your funds even if you lose your device. Bech32 support, customizable fees, and replace-by-fee are only some of the features of Blockstream. Full compatibility with Ledger and Trezor wallets combines the benefits of cold storage with the advanced functionality of the Blockstream Green online wallet.


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Bitcoin Wallet:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: Yes
  • Tor-compatible: Yes
  • Private key backup: Encrypted file
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: Yes
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

The Bitcoin Wallet is a free and open-source payment app for your Android device. It is swift, secure, and combines the most important features for users to transact using Bitcoin. Nothing more and nothing less.

It supports sending and receiving coins with NFC, Bitcoin URL, and QR codes. The wallet allows you to pay via Bluetooth when your device is not connected to a network. Bitcoin wallet also supports Bech32, replace-by-fee, and the Tor network.


Android icon of blue color

BRD:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: No
  • Private key backup: 12-word mnemonic phrase
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: Yes
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

BRD is non-custodial and open-source, and is arguably the best mobile bitcoin wallet for beginner users. It offers an appealing and extremely intuitive UI. So it’s a great fit if you decide to keep your savings in a hardware wallet and store small amounts of bitcoin in a mobile one for daily use. Besides bitcoin, the wallet supports Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and ERC-20 tokens. BRD has support for Bech32, enables bitcoin trading, and is available for both iOS and Android.

The wallet’s website has an extensive FAQ section and their team offers lively 24-7 support. BRD gets mostly positive reviews on the App Store and the negative ones are based on personal issues. The team has a habit of replying to each review, helping users out with their particular issues.


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Mycelium:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: Yes
  • Private key backup: 12-word mnemonic phrase
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: Yes
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

If you’re looking for a simple app to carry out day-to-day BTC transactions, Mycelium could be your best Android crypto wallet. The wallet protects your account by importing the private key during the transaction and deleting it after it is no longer needed.

Being a hierarchical deterministic (HD) wallet, Mycelium allows you to safely store your coins, manage accounts, create backups, and instantly trade BTC at profitable rates. It also gives you the ability to set priority-based miner fees according to your needs.


Android icon of blue color

Edge:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: Yes
  • Tor-compatible: No
  • Private key backup: Username and password
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: No
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

It would be fair to call Edge the best bitcoin wallet for beginner users. It has a very convenient UI coupled with strong security features, and it also provides a directory of the nearest businesses accepting bitcoin for your convenience.

Edge offers a username and password backup alternative to the traditional lengthy mnemonic phrases. To make things even more convenient, you are able to secure access to your bitcoin wallet with either PIN or Touch ID. Security with 2FA, SegWit support for streamlined transactions, and other useful features are also included in this handy wallet.


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Keymaster:

  • Open-source: No
  • Free or subscription-based: Subscription
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: No
  • Private key backup: Encrypted file
  • Multi-signature support: Yes
  • Bech32 support: No
  • UTXO management: Automated sweeping
  • Lightning network support: No

Keymaster is developed by Casa, a crypto custody company providing tools and services to increase the security and privacy of bitcoin transactions. Their flagship, the Keymaster mobile bitcoin wallet, lets you secure your coins with multiple multi-signature setups.

This wallet offers 3 to 5 multi-signature security, which means you can protect your funds with 5 different devices. It’s very useful for multiperson usage by families, teams, startups, etc. Since it is paid-for software, you have the advantage of a dedicated 24/7 customer service team who can walk you through solving any user problems.


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

ZenGo:

  • Open-source: No
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: No
  • Private key backup: Distributed shares
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: No
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

ZenGo is the first non-custodial bitcoin wallet that does not use private keys for security. Instead, the wallet uses two “mathematical secret shares”, one of which is stored on your device and the other on ZenGo’s servers.

ZenGo offers one-tap customer support, which makes it very easy for crypto newbies to get instant help and guidance. All the transactions are run directly on the blockchain and secured with encrypted biometrics. You are also presented with instant transaction notifications confirming every completed bitcoin transfer.


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Abra:

  • Open-source: No
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: No
  • Private key backup: 13-word mnemonic phrase
  • Multi-signature support: Yes
  • Bech32 support: No
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

Abra is a cryptocurrency investment app with non-custodial HD bitcoin wallet architecture. It allows users to exchange over 100 different coins from your mobile device. It also has stablecoin deposit and withdrawal opportunities.

The Abra bitcoin wallet app allows you to exchange currency using bitcoin as a base while avoiding traditional money transfer providers. It is a simple and convenient mobile cryptocurrency exchange and investment platform.


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

CoinSpace:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: Yes
  • Private key backup: 12-word mnemonic phrase
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: No
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

CoinSpace is a free, open-source HD bitcoin wallet with a light node that does not require additional space for blockchain storage on your device. It is designed for ease of use and is simple and straightforward even for crypto beginners.

Its prominent features are dynamic fee suggestions, a built-in ShapeShift exchange, client-side encryption with AES-256, and changing addresses for transactions to prevent leaking metadata.


MacOS icon of blue color


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Desktop wallets

Desktop wallets pack all the features needed for making transactions and exchanging cryptocurrency for services, which is why they can be hard to grasp for beginners. These applications have to be downloaded and installed. The private keys are stored in a file on your computer. Although this does pose some risks, since a desktop bitcoin wallet is connected to the internet, you are still the sole holder of your keys and aren’t relying on third parties. Desktop wallets are also a great option to use in combination with your hardware wallet, allowing you to transfer and spend your savings without any risks.

We’ve listed some popular desktop wallet options for you below.

Exodus:

  • Open-source: No
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: No
  • Private key backup: 12-word mnemonic phrase or email
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: Yes
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

Exodus is called the best BTC wallet for its 24/7 customer support and one of the most beautiful UI designs. Its seamless interface is very easy to navigate from both mobile and desktop. Your crypto assets are conveniently displayed as a pie chart.

Besides the mnemonic phrase, Exodus offers an email backup feature. Powered by ShapeShift, its built-in trade and portfolio functionality allows you to easily swap coins and keep track of the market. The Exodus bitcoin wallet is swift and convenient, with automatic fee adjustments for crypto beginners.


Windows icon of blue color


Linux icon of blue color


MacOS icon of blue color


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Guarda Wallet:

  • Open-source: No
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: No
  • Private key backup: encrypted file
  • Multi-signature support: Yes
  • Bech32 support: No
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

Guarda Wallet is a non-custodial crypto wallet that supports about 50 blockchains, including BTC and more than 10k tokens. It is available on several platforms: Web, Desktop, Chrome Extension, and Mobile.

Apart from storing, sending, and receiving crypto, with Guarda Wallet you can easily buy, exchange, stake, delegate, borrow crypto, send funds to smart contracts, and more. It is even possible to issue your own ERC20 tokens. Thanks to integrations with promising projects, it is possible to manage crypto by using HRA, like UD or FIO, send and receive to multi-signature addresses for BTC and ETH, and more.


Windows icon of blue color


Linux icon of blue color


MacOS icon of blue color


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Bitcoin Core:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: Runs with the full node
  • Tor-compatible: Yes
  • Private key backup: encrypted file
  • Multi-signature support: Yes
  • Bech32 support: No
  • UTXO management: Manual
  • Lightning network support: No

The Bitcoin Core wallet is fully open-source, offering complete transparency for your transactions. This desktop wallet is often criticized for its unwieldy UI and other limitations, as it has fewer features compared to other crypto wallets.

It’s also very resource-intensive, as you have to download and run a full bitcoin core node to use the wallet. This consumes a significant amount of memory. That being said, it is often regarded as the best bitcoin wallet in terms of security, privacy, and stability. It’s fully compatible with the Tor network and uses a highly decentralized peer-to-peer network for payments.


Windows icon of blue color


MacOS icon of blue color


Linux icon of blue color

Electrum:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: Yes
  • Tor-compatible: Yes
  • Private key backup: 12-word mnemonic phrase and encrypted file
  • Multi-signature support: Yes
  • Bech32 support: Yes
  • UTXO management: Manual
  • Lightning network support: Yes

Electrum is deemed by many to be the most secure cryptocurrency wallet for bitcoin, and that’s for a reason. It originated when crypto wallets were beginning to gain traction and has been continuously evolving, accumulating the best crypto space ideas since its inception back in 2011.

This wallet shares the same unappealing UI as the Bitcoin Core wallet but packs more advanced features. These include replace-by-fee for reverting transactions by paying a higher fee, creating labels for addresses, Bech32 support, transaction history export, and more.

Another core feature is full compatibility with major hardware wallets, including Ledger Nano S, Trezor, and KeepKey. This is very useful if you favor the uncompromised security of your funds powered by cold storage. Electrum is available via desktop and mobile Android bitcoin wallet app.


Windows icon of blue color


Linux icon of blue color


MacOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Wasabi:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: Yes
  • Tor-compatible: Yes
  • Private key backup: 12-word mnemonic phrase
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: Yes
  • UTXO management: Manual
  • Lightning network support: Yes

Wasabi is an open-source, non-custodial Bitcoin desktop wallet. It has everything you need for secure and convenient peer-to-peer payments: built-in Tor, advanced CoinJoin transactions, and UTXO management.

Wasabi’s CoinJoin is based on Zero Link protocol which gives an additional layer of privacy to users’ transaction history. Among other features, it has Bech32 support, dynamic fee suggestions, advanced replace-by-fee, and Lightning network integration.


Windows icon of blue color


Linux icon of blue color


MacOS icon of blue color

Jaxx Liberty:

  • Open-source: No
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: Yes
  • Private key backup: 12-word mnemonic phrase
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: No
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

Jaxx Liberty is a non-custodial HD blockchain wallet. It uses the BIP39 industry-standard to generate your mnemonic phrase. The users’ private keys and backup phrases are stored on their devices.

This bitcoin wallet features ShapeShift integration and allows you to easily switch between cryptocurrencies. Its seamless interface design with a comprehensive dashboard, diagrams and live charts prove to be convenient for both beginner users and crypto professionals. Tor network and VPN support ensure the high security of your transactions.


Windows icon of blue color


Linux icon of blue color


MacOS icon of blue color


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Armory:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: Yes
  • Private key backup: Mixed (printed, encrypted file, digital wallet data)
  • Multi-signature support: Yes
  • Bech32 support: Yes
  • UTXO management: Manual
  • Lightning network support: No

Armory is a desktop crypto wallet that sets security as its top priority. Its capabilities include setting up multiple wallet addresses, multi-signature support, and decentralized lockboxes which allow bitcoin holders to store their private keys offline.

The wallet maintains its impenetrable protection of your funds via the Glacier Protocol, which is one of the most secure bitcoin cold storage systems.


Windows icon of blue color


Linux icon of blue color


MacOS icon of blue color

Coinomi:

  • Open-source: Yes, GitHub Link
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: Yes
  • Tor-compatible: No
  • Private key backup: 24-word mnemonic phrase
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: Yes
  • UTXO management: Manual
  • Lightning network support: No

Coinomi is a security-first, cross-platform, multi-chain HD bitcoin wallet. It’s DeFi-ready, with a built-in DApp browser and native Web3 support. Both the mobile and desktop versions of the wallet have a UI that is a treat for the eye. You wouldn’t be wrong to call Coinomi the safest crypto wallet, as it has neither been hacked nor compromised since its inception in 2014.

The wallet supports more than 125 blockchains besides bitcoin, and thousands of tokens. It features Crypto DNS to allow the use of aliases for addresses of major services and chains. Coinomi has multiple built-in exchanges via partnerships with the top providers on the market.


Windows icon of blue color


Linux icon of blue color


MacOS icon of blue color


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Web Wallets

Web wallets act as online providers of cryptocurrency storage, as they keep your private keys on their servers. This leaves you fully reliant on a third party in terms of security. However, some web wallets do offer some useful features in exchange. For instance, they can bundle your transactions with other users before registering them on the network, which lowers transaction fees. Some platforms even offer internal bitcoin transfers for no fee whatsoever. Online wallets can be a useful alternative. However, it is generally considered bad practice to store your funds in a default wallet for an exchange where you initially bought bitcoin.

Here are a few web wallets that could be considered viable options for storing bitcoin and making payments.

Coinbase:

  • Open-source: No
  • Free or subscription-based: Yes
  • Custodial: Yes
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: No
  • Private key backup: Custody
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: No
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

Coinbase protects your crypto funds using Secure Enclave and biometric authentication technology. It is often considered the best bitcoin wallet app on account of its integrated DApp browser that opens the door to decentralized exchanges, jobs, digital collectibles, and other facets of the decentralized financial system.

The crypto wallet has a user-friendly interface that even first-time crypto owners will find very convenient and easy to use. One of its outstanding features is the real-time price chart which shows the crypto assets’ current circulating volumes and other significant details. With Coinbase you are also able to send transactions by indicating just the wallet owner’s username.


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

Xapo:

  • Open-source: No
  • Free or subscription-based: Free
  • Custodial: Yes
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: No
  • Private key backup: Custody
  • Multi-signature support: No
  • Bech32 support: No
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

Xapo is regarded as the most secure cryptocurrency wallet because of its proprietary data encryption technology. The wallet stores customer funds offline on highly secure servers that are not exposed to the vulnerabilities of internet connection. The Wall Street Journal named this wallet app the “Fort Knox of bitcoin storage”.

Xapo provides custom permissions for each of your accounts and partitions of crypto funds for every user group. Multi-factor authentication, private key segmentation, and 24/7 monitoring add to the overall integrity of this BTC wallet mobile app.


iOS icon of blue color


Android icon of blue color

BitGo Wallet:

  • Open-source: No
  • Free or subscription-based: Pay as you go subscription
  • Custodial: No
  • Back-end open-sourced: No
  • Tor-compatible: No
  • Private key backup: Encrypted file
  • Multi-signature support: Yes
  • Bech32 support: No
  • UTXO management: No
  • Lightning network support: No

The BitGo wallet is a multi-signature HD bitcoin web wallet with top security backed by an institutional digital asset custody. It offers a built-in BitGo exchange platform that allows trading with dynamic rates depending on the asset volume.

A major feature is the wallet’s 3-key multi-signature setup. The user initiates all transactions with the Customer Key. BitGo generates and stores the key used to co-sign these transactions after they’ve met the platform’s policy controls. Another key is stored by the bitcoin owner for disaster recovery.


Web icon of blue color

Hardware Wallets

Hardware wallets are devices that store your private keys offline at all times. The keys are stored in an isolated area of a microcontroller and therefore cannot be extracted with malicious software. They can be plugged into a web, desktop, or mobile wallet, but all of the transaction validation processes are carried out within the hardware wallet itself, and your private key is never exposed. You connect your wallet to a device via USB or Bluetooth, initiate a transaction using your wallet app, and confirm it by pressing a key on the hardware wallet. After you’re done with spending funds, you simply unplug it from the device.

Let’s go over the top choices of hardware wallets available on the market.

A Ledger Nano X device

Ledger Nano devices set an industry-standard in cold storage and security. It is certified by the French cybersecurity agency ANSSI and features a Secure Element (SE) chip that is capable of withstanding the most prolific hacking attempts. The latest version, Ledger Nano X, also has its own secure operating system that adds an additional layer of protection by isolating individual apps installed on the device.

Ledger wallets have a convenient design with a screen that displays transaction details and two buttons for confirming transactions. To add to the convenience, Ledger Nano X features a Bluetooth connection so you can easily connect with a desktop or mobile wallet.

Not only that, the device comes with the Ledger Live cross-platform wallet application that allows you to store, send, and receive bitcoin funds while taking advantage of the maximum security assured with cold storage. It features most of the benefits provided by other desktop and mobile bitcoin wallets, including trading, lending, and staking coins with Bech32 support. Overall it’s a decent everyday bitcoin wallet that you can also use to make transactions on the go via the slick and intuitive mobile app.

Trezor devices

Trezor is a hardware wallet which can sign transactions while connected to an online device via its web interface. Besides bitcoin, it supports over 1000 other cryptocurrencies and, depending on the hardware capabilities of your device, offers features like U2F and FIDO2 authentication, Shamir backup, and password manager. The latest Trezor Model T provides a full-color touchscreen instead of the monochrome display with two buttons, adding to its overall convenience.

As an extra layer of security, Trezor allows you to create an additional passphrase. This passphrase is used in conjunction with your 24-word mnemonic seed to access your wallet account. Each entered passphrase generates a new wallet, so be extra careful and make sure you enter the correct phrase. Otherwise, you’ll see an empty wallet on your screen.

Acting as cold storage for your bitcoin, Trezor provides full transparency and control over your funds. It can be plugged into any other web, desktop, or mobile bitcoin wallet and used in blockchain projects that support it.

CoolWallet S interface on a mobile device

Modeled in the size of your typical credit card, CoolWallet S is the most compact hardware wallet on the market. What makes it special is that the wallet comes with its own mobile app and connects to your device via Bluetooth or NFC. This gives it more convenience as compared to traditional hardware wallets that use USB cords for connectivity. CoolWallet S secures transactions with 2+1 factor authentication where users first confirm their identity with biometrics on their phone and then press a button on the wallet’s card.

The wallet supports bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies as well, including Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Binance. It also allows you to hold ERC-20 tokens. An interesting feature is that it lets you choose the complexity of your wallet’s seed phrase. You may have a 12, 18, or 24-word seed depending on your desired level of security.

Paper-based wallets

Paper-based wallets are another means of offline storage, whereby your private key is printed out on paper and provided with a QR code. This code is used to import to other types of wallets when you need to spend your funds. Once you’ve imported the wallet to a mobile, or any other online wallet, you can no longer use it as paper-based. These types of wallets can be created using bitcoin address generators such as BitAddress or Bitcoinpaperwallet and then printed out on paper for safe offline storage. Some of the other generators offer tamper-resistant design options with holographic labels. Just visit the wallet generator website and follow the instructions.

You’ll be asked to input random characters or move your mouse around for the random number generator to compose the address. It’s highly advisable that you disconnect from the internet while you’re generating the keys, and to make sure you have a malware-free computer so no one else sees the created addresses.

Although a somewhat good option in terms of security, like keeping your lifetime savings in a vault that no hacker can get to, paper wallets are an obsolete means of protection. This is because they imply address reuse. You only have one private and public key printed on the piece of paper, whereas modern HD wallets generate brand new addresses for every transaction.

Using the same address for multiple transactions raises severe privacy and security concerns and ultimately allows someone to trace bitcoin transfers back to you and other cryptocurrency holders you’ve traded with. We advise you to go with one of the hardware wallet options instead of using a paper wallet If you want to take advantage of secure cold storage for your private keys.

How do you send and receive bitcoin?

Making transactions is a relatively easy and intuitive process. That is if you are using a desktop or mobile wallet. To receive funds to a paper wallet, you’ll have to share your public address or the QR code that represents it. In order to spend funds, you’ll have to sweep your paper wallet to a software one. As for hardware wallets, you’ll need to plug the device into your computer or mobile phone.

Once you’ve imported the cold wallet to a wallet application, sending and receiving bitcoins is a matter of a few simple steps. We’ll walk you through making transactions using the Echo mobile wallet as an example.

The transaction processing model on the example of Echo wallet

  1. 1. To receive funds, go to transfers and tap on the ‘receive’ tab. From there you can share the QR code with your sender from the screen or using a Bluetooth connection. You can also send them the actual address if you are not in close proximity.
  2. 2. If you need to send funds, just tap on the ‘send’ tab, enter the amount and scan the QR code. You can also input the address or the recipient’s username manually.
  3. 3. That’s it, it’s that easy. Now you can check the transaction details in your history and make sure all went well. Although, it’s much better to double-check before you actually send someone your precious bitcoin 😉

Conclusion

Usability, privacy, and security are the most important features to look for when selecting the best bitcoin wallet. Most providers compromise usability by incorporating more security settings, forcing the user to go through a complicated setup process. Others focus more on usability and privacy features, providing a better user experience. It’s crucial to find a crypto wallet app with the right balance of features that suits your daily needs. We hope our guide helps you make the right choice.

Some businesses might need their own bitcoin payments solution that would adhere to their corporate standards and serve their customers best. Often going with bespoke wallet development instead of just using a third party app gives more benefits in terms of flexibility and user experience. Partnering with an experienced blockchain developer allows you to take advantage of a fine tuned development process to reach your quality expectations for the project and reduce the risks associated with bitcoin wallet development.

Get front-row industry insights with our monthly newsletter

Blockchain

PixelPlex Custom Blockchain Development Company. 50+ blockchain projects delivered. 100+ experienced blockchain developers. Offices in New York & Europe.

Blockchain

PixelPlex Custom Blockchain Development Company. 50+ blockchain projects delivered. 100+ experienced blockchain developers. Offices in New York & Europe.

next

Top Ethereum DeFi Lending, DEX, and Payments Projects

previous

Blockchain and Its Implementation in Finance, Real Estate, and Advertising

Get front-row industry insights with our monthly newsletter

Drop us a line - we’ll get back to you ASAP

Let’s give a start to your disruptive project

Select country

By clicking 'Send message' you agree to PixelPlex's Privacy and Cookies policy.