What is a bitcoin wallet?A "wallet" is basically the Bitcoin equivalent of a bank account. It allows you to receive bitcoins, store them, and then send them to others. There are two main types of wallets. A software wallet is one that you install on your own computer or mobile device. You are in complete control over the security of your coins, but they can sometimes be tricky to install and maintain. A web wallet or hosted wallet is one that is hosted by a third party. They are often much easier to use, but you have to trust the provider to maintain high levels of security to protect your coins. There are three main wallets recommended for beginners.
1. Coinbase Bitcoin walletCoinbase is the leading exchange service today in buying and selling Bitcoins. It was founded in 2012 and since then has received over US$31 million in venture capital funding. The Bitcoin exchange service is available in 19 countries around the world. Their Online wallet is beginners friendly but the fact that the company holds your funds is can be somewhat risky. Having said that Coinbase has recently launched their Vault service which denies the company control over your funds.
Pros: Beginner friendly, ability to add funds from within the wallet. Established and respectable company.
Cons: Company has some control over your funds (depends if you're using Vault). Not supported worldwide (yet).
2. Blockchain.info Bitcoin walletThe most popular Bitcoin wallet today, Blockchain.info allows you to send / receive Bitcoins through your browser or mobile phone. This is what's known as a hybrid wallet – meaning the company stores your wallet online but they do not have access to your private keys. However since the wallet is loaded from their servers some trust in the company is still needed. Recommended for beginners who are trying out Bitcoin.
Pros: An established and trusted company in the Bitcoin community, good interface, available for mobile and web.
Cons: 3rd party trust required, hard to make completely anonymous.
3. Xapo Bitcoin walletXapo is a web-based wallet system, so alls you need to access it is a web browser and Internet connection. Xapo is known for having reasonably advanced privacy and security features, especially for a web-based wallet. The company supports payments through a debit card system, making it easy to spend your Bitcoins. The app is also friendly for newbies, so if you're new to Bitcoin, give Xapo a close look.
Pros: Xapo debit card system allows you to use Bitcoin ATMs and spend at merchants across the world.
Cons: Web-based wallets face extra security threats, and you won't be able to manage your Bitcoins without a Internet connection.