A wallet designates a supposedly secure storage solution for cryptocurrencies. Desktop wallet, hardware wallet, web wallet… Several types of processes coexist.

What is a wallet ?


  • Definition
  • How to choose

A “wallet“”, whose English translation is “portfolio”, is, in terms of cryptocurrencies , a supposedly secure storage method, physical or digital, of cryptocurrencies.

The name wallet covers different storage modes . But in practice, a wallet – whether it is client software, an application, an encrypted and secure file or a simple piece of paper – almost invariably includes two elements: a public key , known to all and corresponding, for example, to a bitcoin address, or to the address of another cryptocurrency, and a private key, known only to the owner of the wallet. This key makes it possible to sign transactions and to prove to all the peers of a network that one is indeed the owner of such or such amount of a cryptocurrency.

Which wallet to choose?

A wallet can take the form of a mobile application, present on a smartphone. Practical, this solution allows you to make purchases online, but also in the physical world, from merchants accepting payment by means of this or that cryptocurrency. But it is also risky, in that it exposes the owner of this type of wallet to the disappointments that a hack or theft of a smartphone can constitute. It is therefore strongly recommended not to store large quantities of cryptocurrencies on this type of application.

The wallet can also take the form of software that you install on your personal computer. We then speak of a ” desktop wallet “. Regardless of the level of security of this type of wallet, its user must always ensure that the computer hosting said wallet is not vulnerable to viruses, malware and other digital infections of the same type.

Another solution: the hardware wallet . These are devices offering an optimal level of security in that they store the private keys on an on-board chip, the processor being the only one capable, independently of a computer, of performing the signature of a transaction. .

Another variant, with the hybrid wallet: installed on a personal computer, this type of software makes it possible to carry out exchanges between different cryptocurrencies. The web wallet (or cloud wallet) is, for its part, a cryptocurrency wallet that is installed remotely, at a service provider, wallet supplier. Here, what can be extremely risky is that the user delegates the security and backup of his wallet to a third party.

Finally, methods as classic as they are random, the brain wallet and the paper wallet, are all invitations to memorize or lay down on a simple sheet of paper the information necessary to finalize a transaction in cryptocurrency. But beware of typos and memory lapses…

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