One of the hallmark qualities of cryptocurrency is its virtuality. Unlike most other forms of currency, crypto has no physical embodiment. You can't get it as paper, coin, bar of gold or fancy bead. There's no token that needs to be locked up in a bank vault or buried beneath a mattress.
But like anything valuable, cryptocurrency needs to be protected. It exists as a natively digital entity that requires an internet connection for any transaction -- and that connectedness makes it vulnerable to hacking. In fact, despite its ethereal nature, it's at least as susceptible to plunder as cash or gold. And with cryptocurrency, these violations are likely to come remotely.
Read: Bitcoin explained -- everything you need to know
Many newcomers buy cryptocurrency from an exchange, such as Coinbase or BitFlyer, and leave their holdings in those sites' "custodial" wallets. But like any other online entity, the exchanges are vulnerable to hacking -- and as the crossroads for many billions of dollars of transactions every day, they make for particularly attractive targets. The cautionary tales of Mt. Gox, which "lost" 750,000 of its customers' bitcoins in 2014;NiceHash, which was robbed of $60 million in December 2017; and a recent close call at Binanceshow the risks associated with leaving your coins in an exchange's online wallet.
Conventional wisdom dictates that if you've got more virtual currency than you'd be comfortable carrying around on your person, or you intend to hold it as a long-term investment, you should keep it in "cold storage." This could be a computer that's disconnected from the internet or a specialized USB drive called a hardware wallet. (We'll take a look at how those work in a future explainer.)
Dedicating a computer to store your cryptocurrency or shelling out for a hardware wallet isn't an option for everyone, however. Well known devices such as the Trezor and Ledger cost between $75 and $100 and, by design, add complexity and a few extra steps to every transaction. Software wallets, by contrast, are usually free and easily accessed though, ultimately, less secure.
Now Playing: Watch this: What the heck is blockchain?
A cryptocurrency wallet's primary function is to store the public and private keys you need to conduct a transaction on the blockchain. Many also offer features such as integrated currency swapping. There are three main kinds of software wallets -- desktop, online and mobile -- and each offers a different combination of convenience and security.
Desktop wallets are software you install on your computer. They give you lots of control over your assets but, if connected to the internet, remain vulnerable. A malware infection, the remote takeover of your computer or -- even if you're not online -- a hard-drive failure could be a catastrophe.
Read:Blockchain Decoded on CNET
Online wallets are hosted on a website. This makes them convenient because they're accessible from any internet-connected device. The downside: Your private keys are (theoretically) known to the website owner and, from a technical perspective, there's not much to stop them from simply taking your coins.
Mobile app wallets are optimized for retail transactions -- that is, paying for stuff with bitcoin or another cryptocurrency. But because your encryption keys are stored on your phone, you lose your coins if you lose your device. You thought it was a bummer to leave your phone in a taxi? Imagine how bad it will be if it has thousands of dollars of cryptocurrency locked on it.
Whether you choose a hardware, software or paper wallet to manage your passwords and private keys, there are a handful of things you can do to keep your stash safer. These include:
We'll take a high-level view of some well known software wallets to provide an overview of the different features and tradeoffs to consider.
Note: There are many wallet options available, and we have not comprehensively tested any of these. As such, we cannot recommend any of them. As with everything related to cryptocurrency, you are advised to do your own research before making any decisions. Caveat emptor!
A versatile online wallet, Jaxx can be installed on a computer (Windows, Mac or Linux), added as an extension to the Chrome web browser, or downloaded as an app on an Android or Apple phone or tablet. In addition to helping you store dozens of cryptocurrencies, Jaxx's support for the ShapeShift API makes it easy to swap coins -- say, Litecoin for Ether -- right inside the wallet. ShapeShift's exchange rates aren't always as low as what you'll find on major exchanges and they do charge a transaction fee (or "miner fee"), which was about 40 cents on the Bitcoin to Ether transaction we priced out. Jaxx offers novices an easy pathway into alt-coins that aren't yet supported by Coinbase or Bittrex.
Learn more: jaxx.io
Super simple to install and use, MetaMask is a specialist, supporting only ERC20 tokens -- that is, any cryptocurrency built on the Ethereum platform. The good news: there are about 50,000 or so tokens (and projects) built on Ethereum, accounting for roughly 90 percent of the total cryptocurrency market cap, which was more than $200 billionat the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
MetaMask can be used to send, receive and store Ethereum tokens and private keys. All of the data is encrypted and stored locally, making it difficult for the developers or anyone else to steal your keys or coins remotely. And, in addition to its storage and transactional capabilities, the MetaMask extension connects most web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Brave) with the growing universe of decentralized applications, also known as dApps, being built on the Ethereum platform.
Learn more: metamask.io
The Exodus software wallet is a good entry-level wallet for cryptocurrency newcomers. It's known for responsive customer support, copious user documentation and a refined design and interface. It accommodates dozens of coins (here's a full list) and was the first wallet to support Shapeshift. There's no mobile app yet, however, and Exodus doesn't offer two-factor authentication or multisignature addressing, which gives you the power to require approval from multiple devices before finalizing a transaction. This could give security-minded coin owners pause.
Learn more: exodus.io
One of the first mobile wallets, Mycelium has since established a solid reputation as a secure and user-friendly way to store bitcoin (and, so far, only bitcoin). Like any credible wallet, it lets you generate a set of 12 "seed words" that will help you restore the wallet if you lose access to your private keys. There's no desktop interface, but it can be used in tandem with a cold storage solution, managing your accounts on a hardware device like a Trezor or Ledger. (The company also produces a USB key that generates paper wallets; plug it into your printer and out comes a paper wallet without any need for a computer.)
Instead of using ShapeShifter, Mycelium runs its own reputation-based exchange platform, which helps coordinate bitcoin trades between buyers and sellers. Transactions incur a fee that ranges from about 70 cents to $8 depending on the priority you set -- that is, how quickly you want it to be confirmed and added to the blockchain.
Learn more: wallet.mycelium.com
Remember: Do your own research before installing or using any of these wallet technologies -- or trading or investing in any cryptocurrency.
Buying and selling bitcoin: A quick and dirty introduction to trading cryptocurrency.
Initial coin offerings, explained: How can this possibly be a legitimate way to raise money?
See the article here:
How to keep your cryptocurrency safe - CNET
- Fidelity Said to Offer Cryptocurrency Trading Within a Few ... - May 10th, 2019
- Is This Cryptocurrency The Next Bitcoin? - forbes.com - April 28th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency Definition | Bankrate.com - April 26th, 2019
- Samsung is developing its own blockchain network, report claims - April 26th, 2019
- 2019s best cryptocurrency wallets | 70+ compared | finder.com - April 26th, 2019
- What is cryptocurrency? - Definition from WhatIs.com - April 25th, 2019
- A Beginner's Guide to Cryptocoin Mining: What You Need to ... - April 25th, 2019
- How Cryptocurrency Assets Are Becoming A New Battleground In ... - April 21st, 2019
- What is Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency Explained the Easy Way - April 13th, 2019
- How to trade cryptocurrency in the UK - finance.yahoo.com - April 8th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency Trading | TD Ameritrade - April 8th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency Prices, Charts, and Market Cap Data - UNHASHED - April 8th, 2019
- Blow To Bitcoin As World's Largest Cryptocurrency IPO Is Iced - April 2nd, 2019
- How and where do I report Cryptocurrency coin-to-coin ... - March 22nd, 2019
- Hundreds of Millions in Cryptocurrency Vanishes After ... - March 11th, 2019
- Fidelity's new cryptocurrency company is up and running ... - March 9th, 2019
- JPMorgan is creating its own cryptocurrency - CNN - March 6th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency Exchange Says It Can't Access $190 Million ... - February 5th, 2019
- What's the Best Cryptocurrency to Invest in Today? - January 9th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency Trading Easy tips to get started | AvaTrade - January 9th, 2019
- Thailand Issues 4 Cryptocurrency Licenses, Rejects 2 ... - January 9th, 2019
- NASDAQ, Fidelity Invest in New Cryptocurrency Exchange ... - January 9th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News | Cryptocurrency News | Blockchain ... - January 9th, 2019
- Differences Between Cryptocurrency Coins and Tokens - January 9th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency Charts - January 8th, 2019
- What is cryptocurrency? - cointelegraph.com - January 4th, 2019
- Blockchain Will Survive A Cryptocurrency Apocalypse - January 1st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - December 25th, 2018
- Is Cryptocurrency Dead for Good? | Investopedia - December 6th, 2018
- Cryptocurrency scammers dupe Singaporeans out of $78,000 in ... - December 6th, 2018
- Invest in Cryptocurrency With Spare Change - Black Enterprise - November 28th, 2018
- What is Mining Cryptocurrency? What you need to know... - November 26th, 2018
- Saudi Arabia Will Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency in 2019 ... - November 23rd, 2018
- Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrency Prices Are Crashing Again ... - November 17th, 2018
- Homepage - Cryptocurrency Army - November 14th, 2018
- Cryptocurrency - Simple English Wikipedia, the free ... - November 14th, 2018
- How To Create Your Own Cryptocurrency - fastcompany.com - November 14th, 2018
- Cryptocurrency price plunge worse than bursting of dotcom ... - September 18th, 2018
- Iran, North Korea and Venezuela turning to cryptocurrency ... - September 12th, 2018
- SEC halts trading in two cryptocurrency products, citing ... - September 12th, 2018
- Cryptocurrency News, ICO Reviews & Blockchain Updates ... - September 9th, 2018
- Cryptocurrency "miners," utilities look for ways to get along ... - August 29th, 2018
- Cryptocurrency: Virtual money, real power, and the fight ... - August 28th, 2018
- Pornhub Now Accepts PumaPay Cryptocurrency - August 27th, 2018
- NK hackers target Mac users with trojan cryptocurrency app ... - August 27th, 2018
- Cryptocurrency: The unlucky investors who got in at the wrong ... - August 26th, 2018
- cryptocurrency coins Archives - The Industry Spread - August 26th, 2018
- cryptocurrency Archives - Page 6 of 6 - The Industry Spread - August 26th, 2018
- Cryptocurrency investment in SMSF - hallandwilcox.com.au - August 26th, 2018
- How To Choose The Best Cryptocurrency Wallet - Crypto News AU - August 26th, 2018
- Courses | Cryptocurrency Australia - August 26th, 2018
- What Every Investor Should Know Before Buying Cryptocurrency ... - August 26th, 2018
- The biggest cryptocurrency hack in the history of blockchain - August 26th, 2018
- After the Bitcoin Boom: Hard Lessons for Cryptocurrency ... - August 21st, 2018
- Cryptocurrency Rankings | CryptoSlate - August 14th, 2018
- Bitcoin price falls after SEC postpones key ETF decision - August 12th, 2018
- Brokers Cryptocurrency Deals Are Focus of SEC Review ... - August 7th, 2018
- 7 Cryptocurrency Predictions for the Rest of 2018 - August 7th, 2018
- Have a Cryptocurrency Company? Bermuda, Malta or Gibraltar ... - July 31st, 2018
- Bitcoin price live: Latest updates as cryptocurrency ... - July 22nd, 2018
- 2018 Bahamas Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Conference - July 16th, 2018
- Best Cryptocurrency Trading Platform 2018 | Top Crypto ... - July 13th, 2018
- Cryptocurrency: Advantages And Disadvantages Explained - July 12th, 2018
- ATB Coin - The fastest and most secure payment system - June 19th, 2018
- An Illustrated Glossary of Cryptocurrency Slang (Infographic) - June 19th, 2018
- Apollo All-in-One Cryptocurrency - June 3rd, 2018
- Cryptocurrency News, ICO Database, Coin Rankings and ... - May 25th, 2018
- CoinLib - Cryptocurrency prices now - May 21st, 2018
- Cryptocurrency Market Capitalizations | CoinMarketCap - May 4th, 2018
- CryptoCurrency Market , Coin Prices & Charts, Crypto ... - April 28th, 2018
- Nasdaq open to cryptocurrency exchange in future, says CEO - April 27th, 2018
- The 4 Top Cryptocurrency Mining Stocks -- The Motley Fool - April 27th, 2018
- One in five financial institutions consider cryptocurrency ... - April 27th, 2018
- New hacks siphon private cryptocurrency keys from ... - April 27th, 2018
- What Is Cryptocurrency? - dummies - April 21st, 2018
- Cryptocurrency Market Surges to $365 Billion, Start of a ... - April 21st, 2018
- BTCMANAGER | Bitcoin, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency News - April 16th, 2018
- How do I report Cryptocurrency Mining income? - TurboTax ... - April 4th, 2018
- When do you report Cryptocurrency investments? - TurboTax ... - April 4th, 2018
- Trading Cryptocurrency in 2018: The Definitive Guide - March 14th, 2018