The Best Bitcoin Wallets for 2021
With Bitcoin being used globally, the best Canadian Bitcoin wallet is one that is made for all crypto wallet users no matter where they live. Still, whether you choose offline storage or online, there’s something out there for everyone to give you full control of your Bitcoin transactions.
So, what’s the best Bitcoin wallet, Canada? Read on to find out.
Table of Contents
The Best Bitcoin Wallets for 2021
1. Ledger Nano X
With security being paramount in selecting any Bitcoin wallet, a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano X must make the top of the list. It is not connected to the internet, making it infinitely more secure than any web, desktop, or mobile wallet that is vulnerable to hackers or the web host going out of business and taking your bitcoins with them.
Hardware wallets are generally too big to take out with you, but not the stopwatch-sized Ledger Nano X.
Bluetooth technology allows connectivity to mobile devices, which makes it slightly more vulnerable to hackers, but you can always turn that feature off. In addition, the wallet supports over 1,800 cryptocurrencies.
2. Trezor Model T
The Trezor Model T rates highly because of security. Being slightly harder to use than the Ledger Nano X is what stops it from ranking number one. It’s less secure but slightly more convenient, as it gives you in-wallet access to Bitcoin exchanges to buy cryptocurrency with fiat currency or convert from one to another.
The included touchscreen makes it easier to use, and the micro-SD card port allows you to encrypt your access PIN for the wallet from cyberattacks. The backup feature allows you to recover your coins if something were to happen that prevented your access to them. You can also establish a receive address, whose QR code can be scanned by the sender to confirm a transaction once you hit Trezor’s QR button.
The Exodus is probably the best desktop wallet. It’s a hot wallet, but it isn’t managed by a third party so only you have access to your private key.
Exodus can support 130 cryptocurrencies and has a companion mobile app. It is integrated with the Exodus exchange which charges a fee for transactions made through it. Plus, you must purchase cryptocurrency with US dollars from a centralized exchange before transferring it to Exodus. The Exodus is compatible with Trezor’s Model T.
This is the Bitcoin wallet for investors who want to maximize their crypto assets. In addition to letting you send, receive, and exchange cryptocurrency, YouHodler allows you to collect interest on your bitcoins like a bank account at 12.3 percent annually.
You can also receive cash loans using your cryptocurrency as collateral. With YouHodler’s multiplying feature called MULTIHODL, if you guess the direction of the value of your bitcoins, select a multiplication of, say, 30 times, and get it right, your cryptocurrency will multiply by that much.
This is the longstanding open-source wallet for the Bitcoin purists. Founded in 2011, it has a super simple interface, but its advanced features and lack of customer support — unlike Exodus and YouHodler — put it in the realm of experienced users only.
That’s not to say that things aren’t secure. It uses two-factor authentication, passphrases, and PIN numbers. However, only Bitcoin holders need apply since Electrum isn’t compatible with other cryptocurrencies.
What is a Bitcoin Wallet?
A Bitcoin wallet is either a digital space online or a physical piece of hardware containing software where you can store your bitcoins (or another cryptocurrency).
Technically, cryptocurrency cannot be stored. What is actually being stored is a private key for corresponding Bitcoin addresses on the blockchain. You then have access to those bitcoins by using the key to digitally sign a Bitcoin transaction. However, if a hacker gains access to the same private key, they take control of your bitcoins.
A Bitcoin wallet can take many forms:
Desktop wallets are software installed on your computer desktop and are under your complete control. They can be integrated into a Bitcoin exchange or mining network, but if your computer is stolen or compromised, they can be too.
These perform the same functionality as a desktop wallet but sit on a mobile phone instead of a computer. You can often pay directly from your Bitcoin wallet at actual stores using software that takes advantage of near-field communication (NFC).
Web wallets exist online and can be accessed from anywhere. They are password-protected and managed by a third party. However, the risk with web wallets is that the third parties managing them will default and shutter their operation while you are left with nothing.
Notably the safest option, hardware wallets are rare and don’t have to be connected to the internet. Just connect the wallet to the computer and transactions can be signed automatically without exposing your private key.
How to choose the best Bitcoin Wallet?
When choosing how to store bitcoins, security should be your primary concern. The convenience of accessing your bitcoins from anywhere through a web or mobile wallet is nice, but if your wallet gets hacked, your bitcoins are stolen, or the third party storing your bitcoins for you goes belly up, that convenience won’t matter.
When considering security, you must also consider the reputation of your Bitcoin wallet maker or host. Some cryptocurrency wallets may have bugs or vulnerabilities that put them at risk from hackers or make them difficult to use when trying to execute a transaction. Hit the forums on Reddit or cryptocurrency websites and research what users and experts are saying before making your selection.
Make sure you—and only you—have access to your bitcoins’ private keys. Some web wallets may not give you access to these keys and instead give that access to an intermediary who has the power to delay your transactions and may charge fees to let you use your bitcoins. The biggest danger is if this middleman goes out of business, you will have no control over your bitcoins, only a claim to them.
Speaking of private keys, make sure your wallet can back these up in the cloud. This is especially important if you store multiple cryptocurrencies or have multiple wallets because each of these will come with a key. Backing them up restores access to your bitcoins if the initial method is compromised.
Other factors you may want to consider when choosing a Bitcoin Wallet:
- Fee customization (the option to pay higher fees for faster transaction processing)
- Whether you want more than one user to approve a transaction before it goes through
- Create unlimited wallets (organize your bitcoins for spending, saving, and more)
- Notes for each transaction
- Currency display (the option to see both crypto and traditional currency value)
The Bottom Line
Use a hybrid approach when asking both where to store Bitcoin and how to store Bitcoin. Try a web-based or mobile wallet for quick or in-person transactions, but keep the bulk of your bitcoins on a hardware wallet so only some of them are exposed online to potential theft.
Frequently Asked Questions
Nothing is ever completely safe, especially in the Bitcoin world. There are some safer Bitcoin wallets and some not as safe. Hardware wallets, which look like USB drives or external hard drives, are the safest of them all because they are “cold” or not connected to the internet. “Hot” wallets are more vulnerable to hacking, phishing, or in the case of wallets hosted by a third-party custodian, vulnerable to default. With hardware wallets, transactions are only authorized when the wallet is connected, and thefts of hardware wallets due to home invasion are exceedingly rare. Even “hot” wallets with online connectivity can be made safer when they are insured, as some are, so if your bitcoins ever disappear, you’re able to get their value back.
Some Bitcoin wallets are anonymous and some are not. If you are using a wallet online provided by a centralized exchange, chances are your transactions are not anonymous. This is because you likely had to provide your ID before registering for the wallet service, so the exchange knows who you are in the event that you were ever going to use your bitcoins for criminal activity.
Some Bitcoin wallets are free, but some are not. If you’re going for a hardware wallet, you will have to buy it. Prices for hardware wallets range from $150 to over $200. Some web-based or software wallets are free, but they will likely charge transaction fees when you send bitcoins to another user. Some other web-based wallets allow you to pay more money to increase the speed of your transaction, but the actual storage of your money is free. If you are using a software, mobile, or web-based wallet, make sure you know the fee structure and how it works if there is one.