Top 5 wallets to keep your bitcoins

5년 전

In 2015, the number of bitcoin wallets has grown twofold exceeding 12 mln. CoinFox reviews five most popular and advanced bitcoin wallets in the world working both online and through mobile applications.

Mycelium: "0% fee, 100% independence, no censorship"

Number of wallets: 250,000
Mobile wallet: yes
Cold storage: yes
User deanonymisation: no
Countries: worldwide
The Austrian company Mycelium was established in 2008 — even before Satoshi Nakamoto introduced bitcoin to the world! It was first offering hardware for decentralised message delivery and switched to operating with bitcoin soon after the cryptocurrency emerged on the market. “Bitcoin is likewise a decentralised method of transferring messages,” the company’s community manager Dmitry Murashchik says.

In April 2016, Mycelium has announced a mobile wallet with updated products and functions to facilitate blockchain assets management, which is also very user-friendly with its one-screen interface.

The emphasis here is made on security: the wallet users can create a backup copy of their account. The password based on 12 words seed is needed for the user to restore their bitcoins in the case of theft.

Mycelium also offers bitcoin-card, USB-device Entropy to generate “paper” bitcoin keys and Swish payment system with fully automated ordering.

In May 2016, Mycelium completed crowdsale, having sold its 5% share and collected 2,145 bitcoins, which at that time cost around $1.9 mln. Mycelium CEO Alexander Kuzmin said that the funds will be used to update the new application expected to “amaze” its users.

The wallet is available only for Android and not accessible on PC, which is a significant disadvantage.

Coinbase: convenient – yes, anonymous – no

Number of users: 4 mln
Mobile wallet: yes
Cold storage: yes
User deanonymisation: yes
Countries: 29 European countries, Canada, USA, Singapore
Founded by Brian Armstrong in 2012 in San Francisco, this company is one of the most popular bitcoin wallet services in the world, despite the transaction fee.

Coinbase wallet can be integrated with an account in one of US banks and allows to buy bitcoins using debit cards. It does not offer a backup copy of the account but links the wallet to Google ID. There is no key export feature in Coinbase. The security is ensured by two-factor identification, the multisig technology (more than one digital key stored in different forms and different places are used to authorise a bitcoin transaction).

Regarding anonymity, in case you wish to withdraw your money to your credit card, there is none on Coinbase: you will need to provide a screenshot of your ID and other personal data. The company also controls the keys, which does not make many cryptocurrency owners happy.

Last year, Coinbase launched Instant Exchange – the service for automatic bitcoin conversion to fiat currencies, which allows making cryptocurrency transactions independently from exchange fluctuations. It is also possible to pay in online-shops with bitcoins using the Fold Mobile application.

Nice bonus: Coinbase allows to exchange bitcoins to dollars or euro quickly with its free euro e-wallet.

Blockchain: store – yes, buy - no

Number of users: 7 mln
Mobile wallet: yes
Cold storage: no
User deanonymisation: no
Countries: worldwide
Blockchain company was established in London on 30 August 2011 and enjoys huge popularity. It claims its online-wallets are the most advanced in the world.

The majority of new Blockchain users come from countries like Argentina or “Eurozone periphery” where people have lost trust in the local financial system. Its success in emerging markets can be explained by the platform’s affordability compared with such services as Coinbase, Circle and Xapo. Unlike them, Blockchain does not allow its clients to buy bitcoins with traditional currency, encouraging to acquire them some other way and transfer to the wallet. By avoiding operations with official currency, the company does not fall under state regulations that cause much trouble to its competitors.

Blockchain wallet is easy to set up and can be used for one-time operations to enhance transactions security. Blockchain does not have access to their clients’ private keys.

Security is provided by the two-factor identification using a one-time code, and the opportunity to create backup copies.

Circle: bitcoin to the masses

Mobile wallet: yes
Cold storage: no
User anonymisation: yes
Countries: USA, UK, China
The American company, the first ever to receive BitLicense, gives its users the opportunity to make instant and free of charge cross-border payments in local currencies. Bitcoin is used as an intermediary currency. According to the company’s forecasts, this year, the volume of transactions through Circle will exceed $1 bln. Six months ago, its subsidiary Circle China was established.

To promote the adoption of digital currency, in July 2014, Circle granted 0.022 BTC (around $10) to everyone who signed up to its beta-version website.

In 2015, Circle launched a new bitcoin wallet based on Android and allowing to make NFC contactless payments. Like Coinbase, Circle also requires user authentication. There is an inconvenience, though: weekly operation amount for new users is limited to $300. It can be increased to $3000 later. Users also complain about numerous check-ups and transaction delays.

The wallets security is ensured by multicomponent signature. Bitcoin accounts are also completely safe from hacker attacks and theft.

From 2015, Circle Pay application supports debit and credit card transfers. It is also possible to make transfers from bank accounts, however, the transfer may take several working days.

Xapo: the cave of digital treasures

Mobile wallet: yes
Cold storage: yes
User anonymisation: yes
Countries: worldwide
Xapo, another European in our top 5, is a Swiss company offering bitcoin wallets together with cold storage and cryptocurrency debit cards.

Its CEO Wences Casares became interested in bitcoins due to financial instability in his native Argentina. He believes that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin “could do something with the chaotic nature of the world economy.”

Casares bought his first bitcoins back in 2011, but did not manage to find a way to store them, so he built an underground repository for himself. Later on, his friends and financial institutions behind them asked Casares the favour of using his vault to store their cryptocurrency. These days, Xapo Vault repository comprises several autonomous servers located in underground bunkers with armed security and biometric access. Their location is undisclosed. The company has no access to the funds stored on the servers. Among the advantages are also fast operation and low fees.

As for the disadvantages, they include the company’s access to user private keys, lack of instant balance update, slow SMS verification and poor technical support. Users also complain about access to their wallets being blocked without reason. The wallets work online and through a mobile app allowing to transfer funds to Xapo Vault and back. Bitcoin wallet is paired with a plastic payment card, which, however, requires a real phone number for registration.

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