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The Top 10 Bitcoin Wallets for 2017
Bitcoin has grown massively in popularity in New Zealand in the last 12 months. When you start using Bitcoin, the initial step is to select a secure wallet. Basically, your wallet is your default place to send, receive, and store Bitcoins. There are various kinds of Bitcoin wallets out there to choose from, so here are some key features to consider when selecting which one is best suited to your requirements.
Looking for our 2018 recommendations? Check out our updated post: Top 10 Bitcoin Wallets for 2018.
What Features to Consider
The Reputation of the Wallet
Who developed the app? How private are the servers where the information is stored? It may take some time to establish a reputation so It’s worthwhile to stay up to date on the newest wallets that get released. However, when it comes to your money, you should only do business with reputable organisations.
Open source wallets permit other programmers to assess the code and validate the security foundation of the wallet. This can be especially helpful for new wallet owners, as it provides them with a strong base to establish a reputation. Opt for wallets that store private keys offline instead of on servers if security is important to you.
The Bitcoin network is pseudonymous. Anyone can view the transaction history associated with a Bitcoin wallet, which is part of what makes the block chain so robust… If you’re worried about privacy, use a different deposit address for each transaction or for further anonymity tumble your bitcoins and opt for a wallet that supports the TOR network.
This new feature allows several private keys to be set up on one Bitcoin wallet. Users can establish a shared wallet that requires private keys from multiple people for a transaction to be confirmed. This provides an additional layer of security for family and corporate sharing accounts.
The wallet must offer a strong backup feature that ensures that you don’t lose access to your Bitcoin account, even if it is stolen or damaged. When backing up your wallet make sure you back-up all your private keys. If you’re storing your back-up online make sure you encrypt it so that it can’t be used if someone steals them. It’s also important to store your back-ups in more than one location incase something happens to that external hard drive or flash drive.
With so many devices used these days, make sure that the wallet you choose can be used on your platform of choice. If availability is more important to you than security, opt for a web-based Bitcoin wallet and ensure that it can be used with the hardware wallet you have your eye on.
Now that you know what features to seek out in a Bitcoin wallet, let’s assess the Top 10 Wallets of 2017.
Copay is the single biggest Bitcoin wallet that can be accessed through multiple platforms including Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux and so on. Copay was developed by BitPay, a reputed Bitcoin payment service that prides itself on its secure infrastructure. As a MultiSig wallet, Copay allows you to establish a shared wallet that requires private keys from several people for a transaction to be confirmed. Because it is open source, any programmer can audit the code and validate its security options. The private key remains stored on the client side, which enhances security further. It also permits you to establish a 12-word mnemonic, which you are encouraged to record for a Copay wallet backup.
As the self-proclaimed “Default Bitcoin wallet”, Mycelium is one of the longest running and most widely used platforms. Mycelium is a semi-open source platform, its coding can be reviewed by anyone, but you can’t change or redistribute it for security purposes. Encrypted data is sent over a highly-secured network. For added privacy, it also permits you to backup your wallet, connect to the TOR network, and even protect your mobile wallet with a PIN. You can download the Mycelium wallet on iOS and Android but It does not currently have a desktop platform. As of now, it doesn’t support MultiSig accounts but that may change in the near future.
Armory is renowned as one of the most secure and reputable Bitcoin wallets currently available. It comes equipped with numerous features. Armory is open source, comes with MultiSig support and transactions can be made with the TOR network. Additionally, it provides impenetrable backup and encryption tools. Armory uses secure private key storage on an offline computer. Having the private key on a cold storage wallet prevents hackers from stealing or accessing them. Armory is best suited for advanced users. Beginners might find it overwhelming at first. It is a desktop client that can be used on macOS, Windows, Raspberry Pi, and Ubuntu. If you’re willing to set up one of these platforms, this Bitcoin wallet would be worth downloading.
AirBitz is a highly secure Bitcoin wallet client intended for mobile platforms. As an open source system, AirBitz has all the basic features you expect in a Bitcoin wallet, including client-side encryption and backups. It also has a directory of merchants who accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. These additions enhance what was already a phenomenal wallet. However, it does come with some negatives. To begin with, the TOR network is not supported. Secondly, it currently doesn’t come with MultiSig support. The programmers are said to be working on this, but no release date has been announced. Ultimately, AirBitz is easy to use and packed full of features. It can be used on iOS and Android-powered devices.
As an individual client, Breadwallet connects you right to the Bitcoin network. Your Bitcoins are secure since there are no extra servers (which are susceptible to hacks). Because Breadwallet is open source, anyone can assess the code and confirm your wallet’s security model. It also offers a handy method to have your wallet backed up in the event of theft or damage. Without MultiSig however, you’ll be unable to share an account with others. Further, connections via the TOR network aren’t supported by Breadwallet. If these features aren’t important to you and you’re in search of a basic wallet, Breadwallet might be just what you need. Breadwallet is available on Android and iOS-based platforms.
Created by KeepKey, MultiBit is a wallet that also uses a USB device to sign all transactions for additional security. It is a desktop client that connects right to the Bitcoin network. As an open source client, MultiBit will let you backup your wallets and restore your private keys with a passphrase. It allows you to establish and use TOR as a proxy to stop hackers from connecting your IP address with your payments. MultiBit doesn’t come with MultiSig support, although, if you’re in search of a lightweight platform, something simple to set up and easy to use, and MultiSig isn’t important to you, then MultiBit might be right up your alley.
Electrum is decentralised lightweight wallet and is very fast for a Bitcoin wallet. It takes up the bare minimum of resources on computers, making it ideal for those with older computers. Electrum may be less reliant on hardware resources, but that certainly doesn’t inhibit the features it comes with. As an open source wallet, Electrum comes with MultiSig support, hardware wallet integration, and use of the TOR network, which will aid you in remaining anonymous. Like Armory, Electrum lets you store private keys offline to secure them from hackers. With a variety of features, there are so many things to like about Electrum. It can be used on MacOS, Windows, Android, and Linux. There is currently no Apple mobile platform Electrum can be used on, but if this doesn’t affect you, you’re encouraged to download Electrum.
Although Blockchain.info offers a Bitcoin wallet, they are more well known for their Blockchain explorer service. This Bitcoin wallet is suitable for you if convenience and accessibility is what you’re looking for. For extra anonymity, simply connect to the TOR network. Aside from these features, there’s nothing else special about this Bitcoin wallet. Private servers are where your keys are stored, and you’re expected to trust them. Further, it won’t connect right to the Bitcoin network and in the event of the Blockchain servers going offline, you’ll have no accessibility to your Bitcoins. It is recommended that you use online wallets strictly for storing small expenditures. If you do opt to use Blockchain.info, you can use their mobile and desktop apps, which can be downloaded on macOS, iOS, Android, and Windows platforms.
9. Ledger Wallet
Ledger is a France-based startup that creates hardware wallets for cryptocurrencies. It has developed numerous wallets like the Nano S, Ledger Nano, and Ledger Blue. Using a USB connection, your computer connects to the wallet and confirms transactions when paired with a software wallet. As a hardware wallet, Ledger provides you with total regulation over your Bitcoins. It is your responsibility to back-up and manage your private keys. This removes the requirement of trusting third-party websites with your Bitcoins. Further, as a specific piece of hardware stores your keys, they are protected from internet-based threats and malware. Priced at NZD$129-229, the Ledger Nano is a small hardware wallet. For NZD$386, you can use the Ledger Blue, which allows you to navigate through your transactions effortlessly with a touch screen and is the most advanced hardware wallet on the market. They also offer worldwide shipping. Both are great options to keep your Bitcoin secure and well worth the price.
As a hardware wallet pioneer, Trezor was developed by the European start-up, SatoshiLabs. Using a USB connection, the Trezor hooks up to your computer and comes with an OLED display. The Trezor wallet offers several security features, including total control of all your Bitcoins and security to protect you from malicious programs. Because your Bitcoins are kept offline, attackers can’t access them. The Trezor wallet connects to several other software wallets. When you want to send Bitcoins from any of them, simply validate the message shown on Trezor’s OLED display. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Priced at NZD$141, Trezor comes in a number of different colours.
Ok so we said it was going to be the top 10 wallets but we couldn’t resist adding this new kid on the block that is still in alpha testing. Samourai has a range of features including military grade AES-256 encryption on your device, no address reuse for privacy, Tor and VPN support, to name a few. Samourai also uses ‘smart’ miners fees, allowing you to select the network fees you want to pay. When the Bitcoin network is running slow you can select ‘priority’ fees for faster transaction confirmation. The feature that really sets this wallet apart is Ricochet which is a premium transaction type that helps improve fungibility and frustrate blockchain spies. This wallet is well worth trying out and has huge potential, but keep in mind that it’s still in alpha 3 testing so their are bugs to be ironed out. We only recommend this wallet for advanced users at this time for that reason. Samourai is currently only available on Android but more platforms are planned in future.
The Bottom Line
Bitcoin is here to stay in New Zealand. As you’ve learned from this article, there are several kinds of Bitcoin wallets, which include web-based wallets, hardware wallets and software wallets. Security should be your highest priority when choosing or setting up a wallet as you essentially become your own bank. These are without question, the most practical Bitcoin wallets out there. This list should provide you with the most comprehensive information of what to seek out in a Bitcoin wallet. Let us know what wallet you use to store your Bitcoins in the comments below.
Last updated 25/04/2017
Please note: we are Affiliates of Ledger and Trezor, the two hardware wallet manufacturers we recommend.