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Wallets

What is a Wallet?

Resembling fiat currency bank accounts, Ether wallets are used for holding, storing, and transferring Ether. 

The Ethereum platform allows you to create a wallet for yourself, but it is easier to use a third party to do this.

Third-party wallet providers are available through a software application, website, or other mechanism. Wallet providers give the user their “public key,” which is their Ether “address.” The wallet also utilizes the user’s private keys, which “unlock” the wallet and allow the user to spend the Ether that’s allocated to that address within the blockchain.

Also similar to a fiat bank account, these wallets hold a user’s balance and provide storage and transaction history. As a part of the Ethereum platform, entities can view your balance and transaction history – but not access it, and your identity is kept anonymous.

Which Wallet Do I Use?

Wallets can come in different forms such as a mobile wallet, a desktop wallet, a wallet that is stored on the web, or even a tangible hardware wallet. These various wallets fall into two categories: Hot Storage Wallets and Cold Storage Wallets (there can be hybrids of hot and cold, as well).

A hot storage wallet refers to a wallet that’s kept online. Hot wallets are generally more vulnerable to hacking and theft due to internet access.

A cold storage wallet refers to an offline wallet (something that’s not connected to the internet, and can be in a tangible form). Cold wallets are intended to help protect the stored Ether against hacking and theft, due to the inaccessibility of the internet.

Exchanges may offer built-in wallets with their services or a user may select their own from a different provider.

There are many wallets available for virtual currency users. Listed below are a few of the more popular wallets used for storing just Ether.

EthAddress

EthAddress offers another paper wallet for users to handle. Running on an open source Javascript client-side, users can generate their own addresses. They have the options to choose a single address wallet, bulk addresses, and split wallets. Users can also choose a vanity wallet if they want to personally generate their own address.
View Wallet
SupportETH
User InterfaceNo
SecurityOffline storage
PrivacyNo personal information needed
Independent WalletYes
PlatformPaper

Ethereum’s Mist

Ethereum’s own wallet, Mist, grants users access to the world of decentralized applications. Through this wallet, users have the opportunity to “write, deploy, and use smart contracts.” Mist incorporates the “Shifty Button” from Shapeshift into its wallet making it easier for users to transfer virtual currency into Ether. To access this wallet, the user must download it onto their desktop. The downside is this may take a while, since the wallet has to sync with every node in the blockchain.
View Wallet
SupportETH
User InterfaceYes
SecurityMulti-signature
PrivacyNo personal information needed
Independent WalletYes
PlatformFull Node

Geth - ETC

Geth is a wallet designed for programmers who want to mine ether, create contracts, and send transactions. The wallet can be downloaded on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows. Geth also offers users a developer’s guide where it highlights tips such as how to built from source.
View Wallet
SupportETC
User InterfaceCommand Line
SecurityUp to the user’s design
PrivacyUp to the user’s design
Independent WalletYes
PlatformFull Node

Geth - ETH

Geth is a wallet designed for programmers who want to mine ether, create contracts, and send transactions. Users can participate in the Ethereum Frontier live network. The wallet can be downloaded on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows. Geth also offers users a developer’s guide where it highlights tips such as how to built from source.
View Wallet
SupportETH
User InterfaceCommand Line
SecurityUp to the user’s design
PrivacyUp to the user’s design
Independent WalletYes
PlatformFull Node

Classic Ether Wallet

Classic Ether Wallet forked from the original MyEtherWallet. This version still uses the open source Javascript client-side tool which allows users to have better control over their coins. Users can generate their own addresses by creating a strong password. Users will have to save their coins on their Mist wallet, a JSON file, or a paper wallet. Since the hard fork, there have been reports of replay attacks. Classic Ether Wallet will protect you from sending your coins to the wrong chain.
View Wallet
SupportETC
User InterfaceYes
SecurityOffline storage
PrivacyYes. No personal information needed
Independent WalletYes. Open source JavaScript client-side
PlatformPaper, Offline, Extension (Chrome)

MyEtherWallet

MyEtherWallet operates as an open source Javascript client-side Ether wallet which allows users to create their own encrypted addresses to secure their funds. With the options of generating their own keys online and offline, users will know their funds are protected. Private keys can be sent to a Mist or Geth account for safekeeping. Users also have the choice to keep their Ether offline by transferring their funds to a paper wallet or JSON, CSV, or TXT file. No personal information is needed for this wallet and all funds are not stored online. This wallet also offers a Chrome extension for easier send and receive transactions.
View Wallet
SupportETC
User InterfaceYes
SecurityOffline storage
PrivacyYes. No personal information needed
Independent WalletYes. Open source Javascript client-side
PlatformPaper, Offline, Extension (Chrome)

Coinbase

Coinbase, One of Bitcoin’s most popular wallets now supports Ethereum. Its easy-to-use interface can make a novice buy/sell/trade like an expert. Users must add their bank account in order to purchase Ether. These transactions would take approximately 5 business days to complete. However, if a user needs Ether right away, they can add their credit or debit information for instant purchase. Coinbase’s mobile app makes it easier for those on the go. Price trends can be looked up while paying for coffee in Ether, and for those who worry about security, Coinbase offers a MultiSig Vault to safely secure their coins.
View Wallet
SupportETH
User InterfaceYes
Security2FA, multi-signature
PrivacyEncryption
Independent WalletNo
PlatformMobile, Desktop

Ledger Nano S

Ledger offers a small USB devices for Ether users. Users submit their pin into the small OLED to verify and validate their payments. The devices includes built-in apps for Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, users can choose to use third-party apps or build their own. For more convenience, Nano S users can sync their device to Ledger’s Google Chrome plug-in.
View Wallet
SupportETH, ETC
User InterfaceYes
SecurityOffline Storage, Pin Number, Malware Proof
PrivacyEncryption, Private keys never shared with third party
Independent WalletYes
PlatformHardware; Extension (Chrome)

Ledger Blue

Ledger, which is known for its bitcoin cold storage, is providing users the capability to save their Ether on hardware. Using a pin to unlock this wallet, an EAL6 secure chip, users are able to back up their funds. The small handheld device easily transfers funds through USB, Bluetooth, or NFC (Near Field Communication). Geared more toward developers, users can check the open source code to contribute their input.
View Wallet
SupportETH
User InterfaceYes
Security2FA, Pin Number
PrivacyEncryption
Independent WalletYes
PlatformHardware

HolyTransaction

The web-based wallet is known as a universal wallet with an instant exchange. Users can set up their wallets in minutes without the need for a bank account.
View Wallet
SupportETH
User InterfaceYes
Security2FA, Multi-signature
PrivacyLow
Independent WalletNo. Private keys stored by third party that can be easily accessed
PlatformWeb

Jaxx

Jaxx, formerly known as EthereumWallet, offers a wide variety of wallet platforms. Users can choose between a mobile or tablet app, an extension for Chrome or Firefox, and even a desktop platform. Jaxx suggests that their simple and easy interface works well for beginners to send and receive their funds, and users can easily sync all their devices together.
View Wallet
SupportETH, ETC
User InterfaceYes
SecurityLow (No 2FA)
PrivacyNo personal information needed
Independent WalletNo
PlatformDesktop (Windows, Mac OS, Linux), Extension (Chrome, Firefox), Mobile/Tablet (Apple, Android)