Ethereum Wallet: The Complete Guide

Consider this your ultimate guide to finding the best Ethereum wallet to store your Ether and other valuable cryptocurrencies.

So you’re looking to get an Ethereum wallet? Maybe you just purchased your first bit of Ethereum on Coinbase? Or maybe you’ve been investing in Ethereum back before it forked into Ethereum Classic. Either way, you’re probably wondering how to store all this Ether that you’ve accumulated? And, most important – how do you store it safely?

Rule number one, treat cryptocurrencies just as you would for your fiat (USD, GBP, SGD). Take the same precautionary measures you would take to secure your tangible cash, and apply them to your Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. Know that a small investment in your Ethereum’s security and storage now could prevent future theft and heartbreak.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Do I Need an Ethereum Wallet?
  2. Ethereum Hardware Wallet & Cold Storage
  3. Ethereum Hot Wallet
  4. Closing Thoughts

Why Do I Need an Ethereum Wallet?

So, you might first be asking, why do I need to store my Ether in a wallet? Isn’t it safe on cryptocurrency trading exchanges?

The answer: not exactly.

Just as technological advances have made great strides in the last decade, so have the persons exploiting them. And as such, financial theft and crimes are heavily on the rise. Look to this 2018 PwC survey on global economic crime and fraud, which noted that nearly 50% of the 7,000+ organizations survey stated they had been a victim of economic fraud or crime within the past two years. Keep in mind that even PwC reckons the overall amount to be grossly underestimated, meaning that it extends seriously further than you might think.

If regulated billion dollar companies and corporations – who have a sizeable cybersecurity budget – are unable to prevent constant online attacks and hacks, how is the blockchain ecosystem going to? Unfortunately, due to its infancy and various security holes which are still being overhauled, cryptocurrency and blockchain are both ripe industries for large-scale hacks and attacks. Not to mention, it’s unregulated at the moment as well – opening up a whole new can of worms for cybersecurity issues.

Still not sold?

Check out our past blog post on the largest Bitcoin and cryptocurrency hacks of all time. 2018 has already seen its fair share of hacks and compromised exchanges, with over $530 stolen from Japanese exchange Coincheck in January, $170 million siphoned from Bitgrail in February, and over $30 million taken from well-known Korean exchange ‘Bithumb’ mid-year. That’s not even close to all the hacks that have taken place.

If the amount of Ethereum or cryptocurrency that you hold means something to you – we strongly recommend purchasing an Ethereum or Bitcoin wallet. For most people, the typical range where they start getting uncomfortable with having value on an exchange is around the 1-month salary amount. Stick to the 1-month salary rule, and opt for an Ethereum wallet once you’ve exceeded that amount on an exchange.

Now, without further adieu, we present to you the best Ethereum wallets in the present day cryptosphere.

Ethereum Hardware Wallet

Hardware wallets and cold storage refer to Ethereum and cryptocurrency wallets which enable investors and users to store their ETH, BTC, and other cryptocurrency private keys offline. By keeping a user’s private keys from ever being “kissed” or afflicted with an Internet connection (and inevitable, the consequences which result from doing so), offline and hardware wallets are the most secure medium for storing your ETH and other cryptos.

For those unfamiliar with the term “private key,” it’s just a special name for the cryptographic number or form – known only by its holder – which authorizes you to access, manage, and spend your Ethereum and various other cryptocurrencies.

Simply put, private keys can be seen as your own personalized and encrypted pass to an amusement park or sports match. However, instead of actually presenting your ticket to an usher (which would ultimately relinquish some form of control over the ticket and your key), you simply use it to sign off on the transaction, your identity, and the authenticity of it all. While some ETH investors and users are wary of purchasing hardware ETH wallets, as they are typically the most expensive of all storage options, they do offer the following benefits:

  • Reliability,
  • Durability,
  • Functionality, &
  • Security.

And, is it really too much to ask to spend around USD $100 to lock up an investment worth more than 10x that?

If your ETH and BTC investment holds significant value to you, then there’s no doubt that you should be taking the requisite security and precautionary measures to protect it. As noted above, one month’s salary is generally the monetary sum most users are not prepared to lose, and as such, they should be purchasing a hardware wallet to secure their investment.

Specifically, Ethereum cold storage and offline Ethereum wallets can be broken down into core types: hardware wallets and paper wallets. Below are CoolWallet’s choices for the best Ethereum hardware wallets and Ethereum paper wallets in the current day blockchain security and storage ecosystem.

Always make sure the cryptocurrency exchange website you’re going to is secure. You can do this by checking for the green colored “secure” and padlock in the address bar. Bookmarking the actual website where you trade ETH and store cryptos is an effective way of ensuring you’ll never log into the wrong website.

Best Ethereum Hardware Wallets

Think of Ethereum hardware wallets as your own personal bank vault or safe (or for the highly skeptical out there, your own plot of dirt to bury it under), keeping your ETH and other cryptos out of the reach of malicious actors and centralized entities. Hardware wallets are as their name implies – hardware. They’re an actual physical hardware device, which is merely the holder of your private keys and access to the Ethereum blockchain, and require the actual physical act of connecting it via USB to your iPhone, Android, or computer.

After authorizing and verifying user identity and access to the funds, users are then able to send or transact via the blockchain. For example, when executing and authorizing transactions with hardware Ethereum wallets, users will be required to confirm every transaction by pressing one or several buttons on the device – meaning access to your Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies is truly at your fingertips.

So, what sets Ethereum hardware wallets apart from other ETH and online wallets?

For starters, ETH hardware wallets offer incomparable security, as hacks against them are extremely rare and usually only occur due to physical acquisition or theft. Furthermore, one of the other popular methods of gaining ahold of a person’s funds are through a compromised shipping or production process – so, it’s imperative you make sure your ETH hardware wallets packaging is intact and hasn’t been opened.

Below are just several other reasons why hardware Ethereum (ETH) wallets are incredibly valuable and worth considering to store your ETH, BTC, and other cryptos:

  • Separation of private keys from vulnerable and corruptible software,
  • Immune from malicious computer viruses and bugs – one of the most popular issues afflicting ETH hot wallets,
  • Ability to interact with corrupted and virus-ridden computers, and
  • Open source software, enabling the entire transaction to be sanctioned and validated by the holder.

At CoolWallet, we can’t recommend utilizing a hardware Ethereum wallet enough, as but for a few unique and peculiar circumstances, it’s essentially impenetrable.

Keep in mind that the second your private key is kissed by the Internet connection, it no longer remains cold storage and is considered a hot wallet. Look no further than ICO and cryptocurrency investor Ian Balina, who in April 2018 was hacked for over USD $2 million after leaving his private keys in an online medium.

Now, let’s get started with the most comprehensive, functional, and portable of all Ethereum hardware wallets – The CoolWallet S.

CoolWallet S

CoolWallet Bitcoin Wallet System

CoolWallet S recently announced a partnership with the hybrid decentralized cryptocurrency exchange ‘Joyso,’ sanctioning users to securely trade ETH and other cryptos on their smartphone.

If you’re looking to literally hold access to your ETH and other cryptos at the tips of your fingertips, consider checking out the CoolWallet S – a revolutionary Ethereum hardware wallet which pairs with both your iPhone and Android. Boasting a quick, convenient, and painless setup, the CoolWallet S is geared towards users looking to remain completely anonymous while securing their ETH and investments in just minutes.

Furthermore, CoolWallet S eliminates the need for USB cables and other clunky connectivity pieces, allowing users to access funds on the go and without worry. Specifically, the CoolWallet S is:

  • Waterproof,
  • Cold and heat resistant,
  • Impact resistant, and
  • Tamper-proof.

The CoolWallet S is here to weather all elements, whether it’s hackers, phishing attempts, or rain – The CoolWallet S provides end-to-end Ethereum and crypto security.

Unlike other popular hardware wallets which still susceptible to a single point of failure – making them an easy target for malicious attacks and other hacks – the CoolWallet S requires hackers and other malicious actors to not only acquire your CoolWallet S but your pairing device as well (iPhone or Android). Finally, mix in a partnership with MetaCertProcol – the world’s biggest verified address database – and CoolWallet S is covering all their bases. From phishing attempts to the elimination of a single point of failure, to hacking attempts, CoolWallet S has it all.

If you’d like to read up more on how the CoolWallet S is overhauling traditional cryptocurrency and Ethereum wallets, you can check out our FAQ here.

Ledger Nano S

A Ledger with a cable on a table

In January 2018, Ledger reported selling their millionth wallet, estimating their yearly revenue to be over $100 million, making them one of the most popular cryptocurrencies and Ethereum hardware wallets to date.  

Boasting storage capabilities of the most altcoins and tokens of all Ethereum hardware wallets, the Ledger Nano S is a staple in the cryptocurrency security arena. And, it doesn’t hurt that it’s the cheapest of all options, costing users right around USD $92 or EUR $79.

The Ledger Nano S integrates OLED display double-check for transaction validation and confirmations, allowing users to connect to nearly any computer (even corrupted ones) via USB. Having been one of the first major cryptocurrency and Ethereum hardware wallets in the blockchain ecosystem, Ledger is constantly rolling out improvements in order to stay competitive in the space while ensuring easy access and a user-friendly interface.

And Ledger enables users to operate with a multitude of other wallet interfaces, including:

  • MyEtherWallet (MEW),
  • Electrum,
  • MyCelium, and
  • BitGo.

Keep in mind that these are just a few of the wallet interfaces integrated with Ledger. And, for users looking to set up their Nano Ledger S with the MyEtherWallet Ethereum interface, check out this tutorial here.

If you’re interested in reading up about the Ledger Nano S and the various tokens it supports, check out their website.

Trezor Hardware Wallet

A Ledger with a cable on a table

Trezor boasts one of the most recognizable names in the cryptocurrency hardware wallet ecosystem and supports a cross-compatible recover seed which may be integrated and used with numerous wallet applications.  

Typically mentioned in the same breath as the Nano Ledger S, Trezor is one of the biggest and well-establish Ethereum hardware wallets in the cryptosphere. Even billing itself as the “original Bitcoin hardware wallet,” Trezor is the closest thing to a household name in regards to hardware wallets.

What makes Trezor a titan in the space is their numerous partnerships and integrations with other open-source blockchain wallets and interfaces – such as MyEtherWallet. Partnering with such interfaces and online wallets enables users to access a wide variety of coins (think all ERC20 tokens) while retaining the trust and reliability of their Trezor.

Furthermore, Trezor boasts a deterministic wallet structure, allowing it to hold an infinite number of private keys and enables users to recover everything in its entirety in cases of theft or loss (as long as you have your recovery seed). Finally, Trevor’s PIN entry system assures users that should a hacker try and compromise your wallet by overloading passwords, it would likely take them hundreds of years. Trezor’s unique pin entry system doubles the requisite time a user must wait before entering a pin again after every failed attempt.

Don’t believe us? Check out this article written by the Wired.com editor who lost his password and recovery seed, and ultimately calculated that with the rate he was incorrectly guessing, he would be deceased before his 31st guess.

If you’d like to read up on Trezor further, head on over to their website and read their FAQ.

Still curious about exactly what Ethereum is and how it’s enabling the creation deployment of decentralized applications (DApps) and smart contracts? Check our comprehensive blog post here.

Best Ethereum Paper Wallets

My Ether Wallet Ethereum Paper Wallet

Paper and steel wallets are a cheaper alternative to storing their Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. However, they are highly susceptible to natural elements and must be stored with thorough preparation and care.

Just as their name implies, Ethereum paper wallets are cold wallets which store a user’s private keys or QR cards on a piece of paper. Due to the obvious wear and tear associated with storing highly sensitive information on a piece of paper, some users look to up the permanence and engrave their private keys or QR cards on steel. Think of steel wallets as the most durable and permanent form of paper wallets.

While hardware wallets (such as the CoolWallet S, Trezor, and Ledger Nano S) require the use of an intermediary device (along with a deeper wallet), paper and steel wallets are virtually free (not including your printer’s ink, steel cost, or storage costs).

While paper and steel wallets are the cheapest form of cold storage for your Ethereum, they are highly susceptible to average wear and tear, leaving you no way to recover your Ethereum or other cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, users often encounter transcription errors with their private seeds, leading to no chance of recovery.

When using paper and steel Ethereum wallets, make sure to account for inclement weather conditions, potential corrosion, and various other elemental disasters. If you dream it, it’s happened to someone and their wallet before.

When writing down your password and recovery seed, make sure to jot it down in more than one place – that way if you lose one piece of paper, you can still recover your keys and device. Furthermore, never share you private seed or recovery seed online.

Ethereum Hot Wallets & Online Storage

Looking for the best Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash wallet? Check out our comprehensive guides breaking down the best wallets for Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash holders.

On the other end of the Ethereum security and storage spectrum are hot wallets, which store a user’s private keys or cryptocurrencies online. Hot wallets also extend to cold storage and other offline wallets which have been “kissed” by an Internet connection (as the sensitive data is now compromised). Online Ethereum wallets do serve their purpose for ETH and cryptocurrency investors, however, they should not be viewed as an end solution for investors or users with large sums of ETH, BTC, BCH, or other cryptocurrencies.

Simply put, think of Ethereum hot wallets and online storage as similar to a checking account –  where users should keep what they need for transactions, trading, and withdrawing. That’s right, small amounts. It’s worth noting that the majority of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency hacks and losses have occurred as a result of storing funds in online wallets.

Since Ethereum online wallets are connected to the Internet, it’s no surprise that they are susceptible to a wider arrange of malicious attacks and vulnerabilities. Below are just some of the most common vulnerabilities:

  • Malicious phishing attacks,
  • Malware,
  • Two-factor authentication redirection,
  • Email hacking, &
  • Utilization of TeamViewer for entry.

Keep in mind the above is a non-exhaustive list, and as cryptocurrency grows and becomes more mainstream, the malicious attacks and hacks will ramp up even further.

In this section, we’re going to tackle the most popular types of online Ethereum wallets for hot storage. Such wallets include online Ethereum wallets, Ethereum desktop wallets, and mobile Ethereum wallets.

Best Ethereum Wallets Online

The largest barrier to entry for persons looking to get into cryptocurrency and purchase their first bit of Ethereum is the ease of purchasing it online. At the moment, there are only several major platforms for users to purchase Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies with fiat and their debit card, making it a relatively difficult environment to navigate (if you don’t know what to look for).

For persons just starting investing in Ethereum and crypto, and who are looking for a free Ethereum wallet, we recommend using Coinbase or CEX.io. Both platforms provide users with the option to purchase cryptocurrencies such as ETH, BTC, and BCH with their debit card, making it a seamless and painless process.

For users who are a bit more experienced in handling Ethereum and cryptocurrencies, we recommend using MyEtherWallet – as it has proven success and security in the storage arena, and also enables users to connect their Ledger Nano S or Trezor in order to secure their funds by cold storage. What’s interesting about MyEtherWallet is that it’s not a standard Ethereum web wallet, and does not allow users to store their Ethereum on their servers, but access the Ethereum blockchain through their node.

Specifically, online wallets refer to any cryptocurrency wallet which users access via their Internet browser and does not require users to install or download any specific extension. Online Ethereum wallets may be accessed from anywhere and any computer, making them convenient, yet dangerous.

If you’re just looking to store small amounts of Ethereum and crypto, online wallets are likely your best bet. Furthermore, we recommend users enable two-factor authentication when using online Ethereum wallets in order to minimize the chances of their funds being hacked or stolen. And finally, when storing ETH and crypt in an online wallet, it’s important for users to recognize that their funds are stored with a centralized entity, which boasts several core vulnerabilities:

  • Keyloggers,
  • Insider hacking,
  • Outdated or inadequate security techniques,
  • DDOS attacks,
  • Viruses, &
  • Central points of failure.

Best Desktop Ethereum Wallets

Desktop Ethereum wallets are the apex of security for all hot wallets and are highly recommended for users and HODL’ers who are seeking to store large sums of Ethereum and crypto on a wallet. Specifically, desktop Ethereum wallets refer to software programs which are downloaded and installed on a computer, and unlike online Ethereum wallets, they may only be accessed from a single computer.

What separates desktop Ethereum wallets from online wallets is the ability to act like cold storage. As long as users take the requisite precautionary steps to download their desktop wallet onto an offline computer (and make sure it’s never “kissed” by an Internet connection), then desktop Ethereum wallets will actually be considered cold storage. However, it’s important to understand that as soon as it is exposed to and kissed by an online Internet connection, it will become a hot wallet.

It’s also important to note that when downloading desktop wallets, users should back up their wallet in case their computer crashes or dies – otherwise, there’s a high probability you won’t be able to recover all of your valuable ETH and crypto.

Below are just two of the best Ethereum desktop wallets in the space that we recommend:

MetaMask

If you’ve browsed cryptocurrency forums or websites for any time, there’s a high likelihood you’ve seen the signature MetaMask fox icon.

Think of MetaMask as a web browser of its own, allowing users to access the Ethereum network and send and receive Ethereum. Users are able to do almost anything Ethereum related with MetaMask that they care to do, as it boasts one of the better ETH desktop wallets out there. Simply put, it’s the bridge connecting users to the Ethereum network.

Furthermore, it enables users to access and run Ethereum DApps. For example, in order to use a popular bounty hunting platform ‘The Bounties Network’ – where you complete tasks in reward for Ethereum and other cryptos – users are required to access the platform through MetaMask.

For users looking for a simple introduction to the MetaMask browser, check out this informative YouTube video. And, for users looking to download MetaMask and get started, head on over to their website.

Exodus

Having only recently permeated the Ethereum desktop wallet space (2016), Exodus has been on an aggressive push to solidify its name as one of the premier ETH wallets. Known for its easy-to-navigate user interface and integration with popular cryptocurrency trading exchange ShapeShift, and Exodus is highly recommended for crypto newcomers.

Furthermore, Exodus is well-known for their attentive customer support, affirming its spot at the forefront of Ethereum desktop wallets for novices. And, for those still looking to learn more about cryptocurrency, their website boasts over 100 explanatory articles, ranging from what transaction fees are, to breaking down wallet features, all the way to general blockchain advice.

At CoolWallet, we strongly recommend Exodus for users who might not have the security and storage experience required to operate a more complex wallet.

Make sure when enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) to opt for Google Authenticator over SMS, as there have been numerous hacking and redirection instances associated with SMS logins.

Best Ethereum Mobile Wallets

Typically referred to as “light” clients, as they don’t require users to download the entire Ethereum blockchain in order to function, mobile Ethereum wallets are great for users on the go. Mobile wallets enable users to download an app or software to their iPhone or Android and are strongly recommended for users who are storing small amounts of ETH and need it at their fingertips.

Below are two of the best Ethereum Wallets we at CoolWallet recommend you check out.

Trust Wallet

Having just been recently acquired by Binance – one of the largest and most reputable cryptocurrency exchanges in blockchain – Trust Wallet is an open-source, decentralized wallet for Ethereum, ERC20, and ERC223 tokens.

Trust Wallet is capable of storing over 20,000 cryptocurrency assets, sanctioning users to download with their iOS or early Android as well. Furthermore, Trust Wallet is completely anonymous, meaning that all user personal information and data is kept private and secure.

And, for users looking to trade at the tips of their fingertips, Trust Wallet is also partnered with Kyber Network, one of the largest decentralized liquidity networks in crypto.

If you’d like to read up further on Trust Wallet, head on over to their website or check out their reviews here.

Jaxx Cryptocurrency Wallet

Renowned for its superior privacy and integration with ShapeShift – a cryptocurrency exchange known for their omittance of personal data collection – Jaxx is a multi-asset cryptocurrency wallet which supports 13 cryptos, including Ethereum.

When using Jaxx, a user’s private keys never leave the actual device, ultimately granting users “true ownership” of their private keys. And on top of it’s recognized simplicity and customer support, Jaxx is free and doesn’t require users to sign up for any service or platform.

And, for those looking to combine mobile access and cold storage, don’t forget about the CoolWallet S, a one-of-a-kind Ethereum and Bitcoin wallet for users looking to securely and conveniently store their crypto.

To download the Jaxx cryptocurrency wallet and read about it further, head on over to their website.

When logging onto a cryptocurrency exchange or trust platform, beware of “Punycode,” as its commonly used to trick users into thinking their logging into a legitimate site. Simply put, Punycode is a special encoding which transforms small Unicode characters to ASCII, a “puny” and unrestricted character class (think the German language, eg. ‘München’).

Closing Thoughts

Best Bitcoin Wallet CoolWallet SWhether you’re looking for an Ethereum wallet that pairs with your Android or iPhone, or simply looking to store your Ethereum on a cryptocurrency exchange, CoolWallet S has you covered. And, just remember, never invest more than you’re willing to lose, happy HODL’ing, and stay cool.

When deciding on whether to use cold storage or hot wallets to store your Ethereum, approach the situation similar to your bank account. Cold storage and hardware Ethereum wallets are geared towards users storing large amounts of ETH and cryptos, so think of it similar to your savings account. On the other hand, think of hot wallets as your checking account, where you keep just enough ETH and crypto in it for purchases, trading, and other transactions.

Keep in mind when dealing with cryptocurrency and blockchain, skepticism is your best friend. So, if something seems off or peculiar, take a second look and double check its authenticity before proceeding further.

And finally, the amount of Ethereum, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies that have been hacked and stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges are likely just the tip of the iceberg in how much will be stolen in the next few years, so take a step in the right direction today, and start securing your Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies today.

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