Ah, we love seemingly objective questions that turn out to be subjective! Digital currencies have only been around a few years, but already we've seen fierce loyalties being expressed for certain types of wallets over others. Consider, too, that some wallets have different features than others—for example, if you want to just keep your cryptocurrency safe, and not really spend it, you'll want a different wallet than someone with a more active account—and it makes this question even more challenging to answer. There are also different types of wallets—those kept on your desktop or laptop hard drive, those that use cloud computing, mobile applications, and even physical “paper wallets.” When you weigh in all those factors, it's practically impossible to say with any authority which are the “best” digital currency wallets.
However, we did some digging and found the cryptocurrency wallets that are getting the most buzz online, and we're presenting the top five we found below. We're presenting these in no particular order, and we also ask that you keep in mind new wallets are being introduced all the time, and your mileage may vary.
Bitcoin-QT. This is the full Bitcoin client, and as a result it takes a while to download (their web page says the initial download and sync can take a full day to complete), and takes up a lot of computer space. This system is ideal for those who are tech-savvy and would like to have their computers synchronized with the blocks of data that are central to mining. It's really much more than just a simple wallet, but it does have wallet features such as transaction capability. Bitcoin-QT is desktop- and laptop-compatible only, and cannot be used on mobile devices, chiefly because it's far too large.
Bitcoin Wallet. This is a greatly-simplified digital wallet designed to run smoothly on mobile devices that use the Android operating system. (Coinbase, who created this wallet, has had its iOS version pulled from the Apple App Store, according to this article.) This wallet is used for transactions and account maintenance, but does not support advanced functions such as mining.
My Wallet. This one's so popular that many people believe it's owned and offered by the issuers of Bitcoins themselves. In reality, though, it comes from a company called BlockChain. My Wallet comes in desktop, mobile, and paper wallet versions, and is a quick and simple download. Its interface is designed for first-time users, and many of its advocates like that it's backed by the BlockChain website, which offers real-time mining, transaction and market information. Their most current chart shows My Wallet has over 600,000 users, and that number is on the rise. According to our research, that makes it the most-used digital currency wallet today.
Coinbase. This is a San-Francisco based wallet-hosting service much like BlockChain. They offer desktop, mobile and paper wallets, as well. Its supporters argue that Coinbase offers the combination of smooth and intuitive user interface (UI) while still being technically cutting-edge. Their corporate informational page claims there are over 400,000 Coinbase wallets registered—making it a close second to BlockChain's My Wallet.
Litecoin Wallet. As the second-most-popular type of digital currency out there, it would logically follow that their wallets are right behind Bitcoin's in popularity, as well. Litecoin currently only offers desktop wallets, but it's being reported they're working on mobile versions, too. According to a thread on a Litecoin Forum, the Android operating system version will be introduced first, since Litecoin does not yet have an Apple developer's license.
As you can see, the majority of online wallets right now focus on the storage and trading of Bitcoins. That's understandable, since they're the industry leader, and are hot right now. As the industry matures, and more competitors carve a niche in the market share, we look for that to change; not only will there be wallets devoted to other kinds of digital currency, but we're confident that we'll also see wallets that work with more than one type.
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