With the success of cryptocurrencies and the crypto boom have come hackers and people interested in stealing your digital assets. In that vein, you will have heard of multiple times when exchanges and crypto protocols were hacked. Such events always rock the crypto world.
Now, this wasn’t exactly the company losing but it was $610 million of user assets. While in this last case the hacker returned the funds, this is an extremely rare occurrence. Trusting that exchanges like Coinbase will refund the lost money is also not worth relying on.
Given the issues and stress such an event would cause, the best way to go is for your assets not to be lost in the first place. This is exactly why experienced traders, including us, recommend storing your crypto using a solution that lets you store the private keys by yourself. You can start doing so by using a software wallet.
If you’re still unaware of what software wallets are, you may be interested in reading our Ultimate Cryptocurrency Learning Resource.
Let’s have a quick refresher just in case. A software wallet is in essence a piece of software that stores your private keys for you on your mobile phone or computer. That is in contrast to crypto exchanges, in which your private keys will be stored by the company… essentially holding your crypto for you.
You then get to access and move your coins with your exchange username and password.
It’s clear to see the differences in security levels already. Being the one who holds your own crypto is a clear advantage and much safer than having it held for you. This is why we’ll continue to reinforce the fact that you should hold your own crypto as much as possible.
There is a common phrase in crypto: “Not your keys, not your crypto”.
Let’s get straight to the topic by looking at some of the best desktop wallets out there and how you can take control of your crypto finances. We’ll be looking at where each wallet shines and how you can take advantage of the benefits each one provides. After all this, you should be able to make an informed decision about which desktop wallet is best for you.
Let’s start with our first wallet, Exodus. This platform is already one of the best-known and most trusted software wallets out there, which gives it a place in our best desktop wallets ranking. In short, it’s one of the most accessible desktop wallets to date. This is reflected in part by its huge user base, which had over 382,000 active users in 2020.
This focus on accessibility is mirrored by the wallet’s sleek design and simple user interface. This is also reinforced by the Exodus test phase system.
By using it, you can start testing the wallet without having to back up your seed phrase. Only once you have decided that Exodus is the permanent solution for you, do you need to back this up and set up the permanent recovery requirements.
The platform has also adapted to its massive growth. With more users on the platform, you do need to offer more variety. This need for variety is easily covered with support for over 148 different assets at this time, with the list continuing to expand.
The list of supported coins includes all the names most investors will be familiar with already, and many more that you might never hear of. With Exodus, you are sure to have all your possible niche coins covered.
Exodus also tries to make the features that are available to users in exchanges, directly accessible via its interface. This includes the ‘Exodus Exchange”, which lets you trade your cryptocurrencies directly from your wallet. While convenient, this will not replace a dedicated exchange as by using it you may see yourself paying higher fees.
On top of the simple exchange feature, Exodus lets users also make use of the other features available through the platform. This is done through their ‘Exodus Apps’.
Through these apps, you can make use of a variety of different options to make full use of your crypto. This ranges from gaming to all the options provided by the Compound Finance platform. The number of different apps available is ever-growing so there are always new features to explore.
If you are worried about security, you really shouldn’t be. On one side, the platform provides all the security measures we now expect from a separate wallet. That is, your private keys are stored locally on your device and you can generate a backup seed phrase.
In addition to this, you can set up a “Lock Wallet ” feature. This lets you set an automatic lock on your wallet after a set time of inactivity.
You can then be sure that your crypto can’t be messed with if you’ve stepped away from the computer. The platform also complies with the latest security practices, which will ensure the security of your crypto… As long as you follow good security practices too!
There are however some features that the wallet does not provide. The platform does lack any Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). However, you can make use of it through your Trezor Model T hardware wallet if you own one.
What we do see as a bit of a security flaw however is the email backup option. This lets you recover your wallet directly using your email if you have an old version of the wallet. While this is a great step for accessibility, it does make us more security-oriented traders worried. We all know that emails can be easily compromised.
That being said, the safety of your email is something that you should be on top of. If you’re sure about the security of your email and like the convenience, this may be an option for you.
If this has convinced you, you may be looking at installing it. You can rest assured that no matter what platform you have, you should be able to make full use of the variety of features that Exodus provides. On desktop, it is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. On top of that, should you be so inclined, there’s also a mobile version for you to take on the road.
Exodus is one of the most user-friendly services out there but does still provide features for all types of traders, beginner or experienced. If you’re still unsure, make sure to check out our full review of this software wallet.
Next on our list of best desktop wallets is Electrum. This one is a mainstay for those out there who have been into crypto since the start. It’s been hanging out in the crypto world since 2011 and has stayed strong ever since. The software wallet thrives on its status as one of the most secure options for users out there.
Unlike our previous contestant, Electrum is not a beginner-friendly crypto wallet.
The user interface reflects its age and is basic-looking at best. On top of that, the documentation that you can find, while useful, is also not that user-friendly. Reading it seems more like reading a car user manual than the colorful knowledgebases that we’ve become used to.
Many of the wallets on our list provide a multitude of different cryptocurrencies to hold all in the same wallet. That won’t be possible with Electrum, you will be limited to holding only Bitcoin.
So the question comes. Why is Electrum even on our list if it provides a limited crypto variety and it’s unintuitive?
Well, there are many reasons why this wallet is well known for being one of the best in the crypto world. While limited, it does what it’s meant to do in an excellent manner. So what are these features that we’re talking about?
For one, it’s open-source and coded in python. This means that it’s easily accessible and the security can be easily double-checked.
The software is lightweight, fast, and is probably the safest and most trusted among users in the Bitcoin community. It is however targeted at those who are already well versed in the crypto space.
The wallet also offers high speed, which is essential for advanced traders. This is possible because the wallet doesn’t download the entire blockchain records to operate.
Most of the processing is done on the decentralized electrum servers that handle the bulk of the work. So now the question is raised. Is this safe? If the sending and receiving of funds are done on a server somewhere, how do I know my private keys can’t be stolen?
This is a valid security question and Electrum has you covered.
The private keys are stored locally on your device and never actually leave your computer. On top of that, they are highly encrypted which gives them another layer of safety. Other security measures have also been implemented including aspects such as a seed recovery phrase and passwords.
But these are the standards we generally come to assume any good wallet will have.
Let’s take a look at some other features offered by the wallet:
- Tor Support: Electrum is one of the few wallets that provide support for the Tor network, providing an added privacy layer to its users.
- Different wallet types: You can set up a multitude of different wallet types. These include multi-signature wallets and watch-only wallets. The former requires more than one private key to spend your crypto. The latter, on the other hand, only lets you watch transactions without being able to interfere.
- Hardware Wallet Support: Electrum does provide support for the biggest names in hardware wallets. This includes the likes of wallets by Ledger, Trezor, and Keepkey, making it easy enough to make full use of both your hot and cold wallets.
- Choose your fees: You can set what you are willing to pay as transaction fees. The fees paid do change the transaction time so you have a slider that balances speed vs price.
There are a bunch of other features that you can make use of when using Electrum. Most of these are generally privacy and accessibility related. One feature that we are missing is easy access to an exchange, which means you will need to transfer your Bitcoin out first if you want to trade them.
If Electrum has convinced you, you’ll be happy to know that the platform is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. For those Android users, there is a mobile version. They are however lacking iOS support so iPhone users may be disappointed.
All in all, with all the privacy and security options that this wallet provides, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most trusted options out there by experienced traders.
Third on our list, let’s take a look at Wasabi Wallet. This is an open-source product designed to protect its users’ sensitive financial data, on the network level and the blockchain.
One issue that the Wasabi Wallet does have is that it’s Bitcoin only. While this may not be an issue for most, that may send some users away. In any case. If privacy is the most important thing for you, you should consider this platform.
This privacy is maintained through some quite advanced features that make the wallet potentially not suited to newer crypto adopters.
For example, one “problem” of the blockchain is that all transactions are declared to the whole network. This means that your transactions are visible to anyone looking. If you don’t like people finding out what you spend your Bitcoin on, Wasabi Wallet is the software for you.
Let’s see how this works: Through the CoinJoin feature, the service lets you break the input and output of a transaction. This is achieved by multiple users pooling their different transactions into a big pot.
Once that is all joined, the output addresses are provided and the transactions are sent out. This whole process means that anyone snooping won’t be able to say that your transaction went to a certain person.
The privacy of CoinJoin is entirely dependent on how many people put their cash in the pot. This means that these transactions can take a bit longer as you wait for people to join. That being said, you can set the privacy level that makes these transaction times vary depending on how secure you want these to be.
Other features that you get with Wasabi are the likes of:
- Privacy Mode: If you’re worried that someone may be snooping at your computer screen while you’re using your wallet, you can enter privacy mode. This feature simply hides all sensitive data from being displayed on the screen while still being usable.
- Lock Screen: This feature lets you lock out the wallet while it’s still running. This means that the user interface won’t be visible or interactable until you’ve input your PIN. When active, you can just walk away from your computer and be sure that nobody will be able to mess with your funds.
- Tor Integration: With Wasabi, you can route your transactions through the Tor network, further anonymizing your identity by hiding your IP.
- Hardware Wallet Integration: You can use Wasabi Wallet with almost any hardware wallet by using its Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Interface. This has been proven to work with most of the main wallets out there, including the Trezor model One and T, the Ledger Nano S, and Coldcard.
Now all these are quite advanced features. That does not mean that the wallet is hard to use. Fortunately, the user interface is quite friendly. If you want to install Wasabi Wallet, you’ll be happy to know that it’s available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. At this time there is no mobile version available.
If you are looking for something a bit newer and beginner-friendly, you may cast your eyes on Atomic Wallet. This one is not necessarily as mainstream as Electrum but it quickly gained weight in the crypto space.
If you look at the Atomic Wallet website today, you’ll see that it proudly advertises its positive reviews. These positive reviews are entirely justified. The platform provides multiple features that you will be happy to make use of.
One such feature is the fact that it’s a multi-currency wallet. Unlike with the last two wallets, you’ll be able to hold all your different coins and assets in the same wallet. This means that you won’t have to be wondering where you stored that one coin that you’re suddenly interested in. All your coins are in the same place.
With over 300 different currencies and all ERC-20 tokens supported, you’re sure to be able to hold nearly whatever you want in your software wallet. Everyone always says that you should diversify your portfolio… and you should! This wallet makes it easier than ever.
In terms of security, you’ll be happy to see the standard security features that software wallets usually provide. On the one hand, your private keys are all stored locally. This means that these are never exposed to the outside world or otherwise to the Atomic Wallet servers.
When you create your account, you’ll also be required to set up your password and 12-word recovery phrase to be able to access your wallet and recover it should it ever become lost.
Another place where AtomicWallet excels is in their Customer Support and their learning resources. Their website has an extensive Knowledge Base and even an Academy site. This will have most of your questions covered should you have any regarding their product or crypto in general.
If after checking their knowledge base, you still have questions, you can always contact them directly. Atomic lets you contact them live at any point over their 24/7 support. On their website, when submitting a ticket, they proudly announce that their team replies within 1-2 hours.
This is very good for what is to be expected in the crypto space. Many wallets and exchanges have very lackluster support and this provides a breath of fresh air.
So we’ve looked at the large crypto availability and the customer support.
What else does the service provide?
- Buying Crypto: Users can buy crypto directly over the Atomic Wallet platform. They achieve this with their partner Simplex. At this time, BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, XRP, XLM, BNB, TRX, ATOM, DAI, PAX, BUSD, NANO, USDT, DASH, can be purchased directly through the platform.
- Exchange integration: Users are also provided with a built-in exchange service in the user interface, thanks to the partnership with ShapeShift and Changelly.
- Atomic Swaps: You can also trade one coin for another directly on their platform for certain coins. This is entirely without the use of a centralized exchange.
- Staking: Users can make most of their crypto by staking directly in the wallet without any fees. At this time, the following coins are supported for staking: Solana (SOL) Zilliqa (ZIL) Cardano (ADA) Atomic Wallet Token (AWC) Icon (ICX) BAND Protocol (BAND) Cosmos (ATOM) Tezos (XTZ) Tron (TRX) NEO (NEO) Komodo (KMD) Algorand (ALGO) Vechain (VET) & VTHO.
This is a lot more functionality than one would expect for a software wallet. In any case, should you decide to use Atomic Wallet, you can get it on all platforms, be it Windows, macOS, or Linux. You even get the mobile platform with both Android and iOS supported.
Last but not least, let’s take a look at BitPay Wallet. Originally called Copay, this is another Bitcoin-only wallet that was developed in 2015 by BitPay. This company was founded in 2011 as a Bitcoin payment service provider. Currently, the company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
While you won’t be making use of over 300 different currencies in this wallet, you will be able to store your Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. This should have many users covered for more simple use-cases.
Now, where does BitPay Wallet shine and why is it even on this list? BitPay Wallet does have many features that make it very popular among many users.
For one it’s multi-signature.
Just like we talked with Electrum, you can set up a wallet in a manner that means that you need multiple signatures to be able to complete a transaction. This is perfect for shared accounts where one person cannot simply extract all the funds. You need the consent of all the signatures to be able to move them.
A second feature that makes BitPay Wallet stand out is the fact that it supports multiple accounts. This means that you can have multiple different wallets all hosted on the same BitPay Wallet service.
While your private keys for the different wallets are all stored on the same computer, this does provide an added security measure of the different addresses and private keys. Should the one be compromised for any reason, the other would still be secure.
You will also be able to take advantage of all the standard security and backup features we now expect from a crypto wallet. This includes passwords and a seed phrase to be able to recover your wallet should you ever lose it.
Lastly, the software is entirely open source and provides a simple and intuitive user interface. This makes using the service quite a breeze. Anyone can access the service.
Consider that the software is available on all platforms, be it mobile, with Android and iOS or computer, with macOS, Windows, and even Linux as supported operating systems.
One feature that is missing from the wallet is any sort of 2FA. That being said, you can emulate that by setting a multi-signature wallet for your account with one hosted on your phone. This would give you the same result as a 2FA but is quite annoying and not the best way to go about it.
Another place where the service is also lacking is their customer support which does seem to be on the slower side. This can be quite an annoyance for a lot of people, even more, when their money is involved.
If you are looking for something that is easy to use and provides such features as a multi-signature wallet, BitPay Wallet may be the one for you.
As we all know, choosing a wallet is not easy. The issue is that not all desktop wallets are built to fill all purposes. That being said, we’re happy to see that we do have a variety of different options available to us.
In this article, we’ve taken a look at some of the Best Desktop Wallets out there. That does not mean that they will all fill your use case.
If you are someone who is just starting to look into the crypto world and are moving to get your first software wallet, you may be unsatisfied with Wasabi or Electrum but may be moving more to the Atomic or Exodus software.
On the other hand, if you do like to be able to have something super lightweight and safe as a vault, you may move to Electrum.
That being said, should you be wanting to keep your transactions private, you may want to be looking at Wasabi wallet.
In any case, like everything in the crypto space, you have a multitude of options available to you. We hope that this article has provided you with the information to be able to find the best desktop cryptocurrency wallet for you.
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