Ethereum Wiki: What Is Ethereum?
Ethereum is a software computing platform based on blockchain technology. The platform allows for the building and deployment of decentralized applications called smart contracts.
These smart contracts run exactly as they were programmed, without any scope for fraud, censorship, or third-party interference. You can create and store registries of promises or debts, and move currencies according to programmed instructions given way back in time (like in a futures contract or a will).
Ethereum uses “Ether,” a unique code that can be used for paying to run an application or program. Just as a car needs fuel to run, Ethereum needs Ethers to run requested operations.
Now that you have a broad overview of what Ethereum is, we’ll focus this Ethereum wiki section on the important aspecta of how to store Ether coin (ETH), and what the best Ethereum wallets are.
How to Store Ether Coin?
Buying Ether coin is just the first step in becoming an ETH owner. The more important aspect is how to store Ether coin. Of course, one could store them on the very exchange where they get the Ethers from, but this is not a very secure option, as it is a public exchange.
This is where ETH wallets come into the picture. If you’ve never heard of cryptocurrencies, you might ask, “What is an ETH wallet?” It is far removed from the wallet in your pocket.
What Is an Ethereum Wallet?
Think of an Ethereum wallet as an e-mail ID. Basically, it is like an account on the Ethereum network that can be used to store or transfer ETH coins. When I say coins, I mean Ethereum currencies, Ether, or Ethereum tokens.
Ether is the native currency of Ethereum platform, often called Ethereum or ETH. Ethereum tokens are non-native currencies on the Ethereum network.
Ethereum wallets enable developers to store their created ethers in the safest location and avoid fraudulent transactions.
As there are quite a few Ethereum wallets in the market, some with “ShapeShift” built in, you need to know about the factors to select the best Ethereum wallets.
Factors to Select the Best Ethereum Wallets
Ethereum wallets are constantly upgrading to keep up with the continuous advancements in technology. But, upgrades notwithstanding, there are certain basic factors all wallets must adhere to if they want to be among the best Ethereum wallets.
Advanced Compatibility Options: A good Ethereum wallet should be compatible with a number of operating systems. Better compatibility ensures less downtime during command execution and also helps in the cross-functioning process.
Private Keys: As private keys are the foundation of all transactions, most of the good Ethereum wallets empower you to have proper control of your private keys. The more control you have over the private keys, the easier it is to encrypt files and unlock coins for further processing. So the simple rule of thumb is that better control over keys equals better wallet, equals better function in the market.
Ease of Use: This factor is self-explanatory. You don’t want to struggle with your wallet every time you use it.
Sound Storage Facility with Backup Features: A good wallet is one that consists of restore functions. This is a crucial factor, as it helps reduce the tension associated with lost Ethers or other security concerns.
Now that you have a good idea of the factors to select the best ETH wallet, let’s take a look at the best Ethereum wallets on the market.
Review of Best Ethereum Wallets to Store ETH
Like all cryptocurrency wallets, Ethereum wallets too can be classified into software wallets (online wallets, desktop wallets, and mobile wallets), hardware wallets, and paper wallets. Since a paper wallet is nothing but a printout of the transaction, we will not discuss it here.
Here is a list of the five best Ethereum wallets, including both hardware and software wallets, that meet the factors to select the best ETH wallets. For your quick reference, there is a chart at the bottom of this section showcasing the best Ethereum wallets.
Ledger Nano S (Hardware Wallet)
The “Ledger Nano S” is one of the most popular hardware wallets. It looks like a fancy USB drive and comes with a built-in OLED screen that allows you to control your transactions. This wallet is so secure, you can even safely use it on a hacked computer. This wallet is loaded with features that allow you to track your funds and restore them in case something goes wrong with the device.
- Great for multiple currencies.
- Most secure wallet.
- Can restore fund in case device corrupts.
- Metal casing.
- Can get lost/stolen.
- Initial cost of $65.00.
Exodus (Desktop Wallet)
Exodus is the world’s first multi-cryptocurrency desktop wallet. It is free to use and has a nifty user-interface that shows you a pie chart of your entire portfolio of coins the moment you open the wallet. It is also the first desktop wallet to have built-in ShapeShift, which enables one to exchange cryptocurrencies. The wallet supports “Mac,” “Linux,” and “Windows.”
While one needs to be connected to the Internet when using Exodus, the good news is that your private keys never leave your computer.
Features like one-click e-mail recovery and backup seed keys for restoring your wallet ensure the security of your funds.
- Free to use.
- High security.
- One-click e-mail recovery and backup.
- User-friendly interface.
- Cannot be used on the go.
- Requires personal e-mail.
- Does not support smart contracts.
Mist (Desktop Wallet)
This is the official Ethereum wallet. When you first install Mist on your desktop, it needs to synchronize with all Ethereum nodes and, therefore, takes a bit longer. The wallet is password-dependent, so, once you set the password, that password becomes the only way to access your wallet.
Once inside the wallet, a pair of public and private keys will help you perform transactions. Like Exodus, Mist comes with ShapeShift built-in and supports Mac, Linux, and Windows.
- Official Ethereum wallet.
- Built-in ShapeShift.
- Takes time to install.
- Cannot be used on the go.
Coinbase (Web Wallet)
This is one of the most popular web wallets. Originally intended for Bitcoin, it has included Ethereum support this year. This is a cheap and fast way of storing Ether. U.S. and Canada are two of the 32 countries that Coinbase is available in.
All you need to do is register on the Coinbase web site, get your public address, transfer your ETH to Coinbase’s public address, and then store your Ethers. The big drawback is that, because the private keys are stored on Coinbase’s hosted servers, they are not in the user’s control.
- Cheap and fast storage.
- Available in 32 countries.
- Two-step verification process.
- Can be used on the go.
- Private keys not in user control.
- No smart contract support.
- Slow customer support.
Jaxx (Mobile Wallet)
This is a multi-asset mobile wallet that supports 13 cryptocurrencies, including Ether. The good thing about this wallet is that private keys never leave the device, and features like seed keys enable you to restore your funds whenever required. This very versatile wallet is supported by desktop (Windows, Mac OS, Linux) platforms, through browser extensions (“Google Chrome,” “Mozilla Firefox”), and mobile/tablet applications (“iOS,” “Android”).
- Supports multiple platforms.
- Can restore funds.
- Private keys never leave device.
- High fees.
Best Ethereum Wallets Chart
|Ledger Nano||Hardware||Initial $65.00||High||High|
|Exodus||Desktop||Free||Risk of Hacking||Low|
|Mist||Desktop||High Fees||Risk of Hacking||Low|
|Coinbase||Online||Low Fees||Risk of Hacking||High|
|Jaxx||Mobile/Desktop||High Fees||Risk of Hacking||High|
The foremost question any trader new to Ethereum has is, “Are Ethereum wallets safe?” The thing to remember is that security does not depend on the currency. It depends on the type of wallet and the service provider. Keeping your ethers in an online wallet comes with a remote but ever-present risk of hacking.
Offline wallets, on the other hand, cannot be hacked, and they do not rely on a third party for security. Having said that, whether you are using online wallets or offline wallets, you need to implement and follow diligent security precautions.
All things considered, my favorite Ether wallet—or favorite cryptocurrency wallet, for that matter—is the Ledger Nano S. I base my choice on Ethereum wallet reviews, user experiences, and the reputation of the wallet itself. And it’s a nice feeling to know that I’m in control of my funds. It’s as good as having money in a real wallet, and not on a credit card that can be compromised.