Ethereum is the second most valuable crypto and one of the oldest. But Ethereum is more than just a cryptocurrency; it’s a broad ecosystem that has expanded the scope of the crypto world, making it a popular asset for those looking at the future of crypto.
If you want to buy ETH, you can do so right away. You just need two things:
- A place where you can buy ETH
- An Ethereum wallet to store your ETH
What is an Ethereum (ETH) Wallet?
Ethereum wallets are applications enabling the storage of ETH. They are very similar to banking apps, just without the need for an actual bank. You can use your Ethereum wallet in similar ways:
- Viewing your current balances
- Conducting transactions
- Reviewing your transaction history
Apart from these traditional banking services, you need an Ethereum wallet to store Ethereum. As a digital currency, ETH needs a dedicated storage solution. For end-users, this means using one of the multiple types of Ethereum wallets.
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Types of Wallets
There are several types of Ethereum wallets to choose from, each varying in their ease of access and level of security. These are the widely-used options that most people choose from. But first, there are a few definitions you should understand.
- Hot wallets are wallets that are connected to the internet. They are thus less secure because they are more vulnerable to attacks. However, they make most functions, like trading, easier.
- Cold wallets are wallets that are not connected to the internet. They are far more secure than hot wallets, but they are less convenient, and most functions require more steps.
- Public keys enable you to receive transactions. These cryptographic codes are connected to the user’s private key. Public keys can be compared to a padlock.
- Private keys unlock the right to authorize transactions. They can be compared to the key to the padlock.
Hardware Ethereum Wallets
As the name suggests, hardware wallets include any hardware to store your private keys offline. They are the primary cold storage option, as the hardware wallet doesn’t necessarily need to be connected to the internet at all times. But, of course, a hardware wallet must be connected to the internet for crypto to be moved.
To access the assets in a hardware wallet, one needs physical access to the hardware device. They would then need to know the password to access its contents. This makes it more secure (in a cybersecurity sense) than any hot wallet.
Security is a significant draw for hardware wallet users. However, costs for hardware wallets usually are pretty high. This makes them an inefficient option for those only storing crypto assets worth small sums.
There are several popular hardware wallets you can buy, including Trezor.
Ethereum Mobile Wallet Apps
Mobile crypto wallets are applications that can be installed on a mobile device and used for storage. They are a simple option and usually are no more complicated than any other app you’d download from Google Play or the App Store. You can then use them for all your transactions and different needs, so long as your mobile device is connected to the internet.
Ethereum mobile wallets are very convenient, enabling you to carry your ETH in your pocket on the go. They are typically reliant on miners providing consistent, up-to-date data. You can then use your wallet app to authorize transactions.
There are some downsides to mobile wallet apps. First of all, if you lose your phone or it is destroyed, you may lose your ETH. You can (and should) back up your wallet if your phone is compromised.
Security is the other challenge. Mobile wallet apps are hot storage solutions. They are easier to hack than other options, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks.
Ethereum Web Wallets
Web wallets are hosted wallets where websites facilitate your connection with the Ethereum blockchain. You typically:
- Make an account
- Open your web browser
- Connect to your account
- Conduct transactions and view balances
It’s as simple as that.
Web wallets are typically cloud-based and can be accessed anywhere with an adequate device. They can be risky because you have to trust the site with your private keys.
Ethereum Desktop Applications
Desktop applications for Ethereum storage are widely available for Windows, macOS, and Linux OS. They are a simple solution that is very easy to use. Therefore, they are ideal for people who want to conduct their Ethereum transactions from their desktops.
Most ETH desktop wallets use locally held keys. So, you will need to use your computer to access your wallet once it’s stored in a desktop wallet.
Users who want a desktop wallet must download a client with the Ethereum blockchain. A full client will take more space but won’t require miners to feed you accurate data constantly. This more self-reliant option ensures you always have the most up-to-date information directly from the blockchain.
Desktop wallets can be used for more than storage and simple transactions. Like mobile wallets, they enable some advanced features like smart contracts.
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What Can You Do With an Ethereum Wallet?
Ethereum wallets are storage solutions, but most have other uses.
Buy, Sell, and Exchange Ethereum
The first function of Ethereum wallets is to buy and sell ETH. You can use your wallet to exchange ETH for other cryptos as well.
Ethereum offers opportunities for several forms of income. One of them is through staking.
Staking on the Ethereum blockchain is encouraged by Ethereum. It helps the network while earning you rewards. To become a full validator, you would need to stake 32 ETH. However, you can stake ETH in another staking pool off the platform as well. You just need to find a platform to stake on your behalf.
Staking provides passive income in ETH that varies by platform.
Earn Interest on Your Ethereum
Earning interest on Ethereum is possible on several platforms. You may receive interest on deposited ETH on some platforms. In some cases, you earn interest by putting your ETH into a crypto lending platform.
What Security Features Should You Look for in an Ethereum Wallet App?
There are different levels of security among different providers of each kind of storage solution. In general, the fastest and most efficient way to compare them is by practices and certifications.
Having a wallet that enables two-factor authentication and offers cold storage should be considered a must. Even the best passwords can be easy to break.
Your Own Security
Regardless of which storage method you choose, you should use the best practices for security. That means only using strong passwords as a start. In addition, most wallets enable two-factor authentication, which is a feature you should always take advantage of.
Where Can You Sign Up for an Ethereum Wallet?
There are many places you can acquire an Ethereum wallet. All you need to do is find the provider of your choice and sign up. Exodus offers a crypto wallet with a good balance between costs, security, and features.
Exodus is a crypto wallet provider offering a desktop application with an in-built exchange and a mobile app to manage your crypto on the go. With the ability to buy, sell, and manage over 100 cryptocurrencies, Exodus crypto wallet’s simple design can accommodate beginners crypto investors and more expert traders. Click here to learn more about Exodus and how to get started with their crypto wallet.