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What is an Ethereum Wallet?

An Ethereum wallet is a software that communicates with the blockchain to send and verify transactions. Ethereum transactions require a payment in the form of Gas, so the wallets usually have a feature to set the gas price and gas limit and move the transaction faster, especially on days with high traffic.

An Ethereum wallet also comes with private keys or other methods of unique, encryption-based identification. As with other wallets, passwords are not recoverable.

Keep in mind that Ethereum is still a young project and wallets are not so well-developed and tested by the users and the programming community. Follow Twitter and other social media for tips on timely updates, especially when the whole network changes its versions.

Types of Ethereum Wallet

There are many options to hold your cryptocoins. The most common categories are:

  • Exchange-based online wallets, related to trading sites. Most cryptocurrency exchanges offer on-site wallets, often with a mobile version.
  • Independent online wallets and their respective mobile versions.
  • Desktop wallets, still possibly connected to the internet, but a touch more secure.
  • Hardware wallets for cold storage.
  • Paper wallets generated with a various level of security from desktop or online accounts.

Top 5 Ethereum Wallets for 2017

Jaxx - A multi-coin storage solution, available for both Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, along with other tokens. Jaxx is a hot wallet connected to the internet, which creates potential problems with security. The creators of the project claim they have struck a good balance between ease of use, portability, and security.

Pros: Ease of use, access to the Shapeshift mechanism, user-friendly. Jaxx allows users to generate a new address for each transaction.

Cons: Recent security breaks and a theft of funds in June 2017, related to the mnemonic pass-phrase for the wallet. The 12-word pass phrase can be accessed and stolen from personal computers. The owners do not plan to alter the security model for this wallet.

MyEtherWallet   A client-side interface for creating new wallets. The online wallet service connects to Jaxx, Ledger NanoS, and other storage solutions.

Pros: Easy, extremely portable, hot wallet for fast transactions.

Cons: Low security, the possibility to send keys to a faked URL if not careful. Forces you to use only one public address.

Exodus  claiming to be an all-in-one app to secure, manage and exchange blockchain assets. Exodus supports Ethereum-related tokens such as Gnosis. Exodus is a multi-asset desktop wallet with Shapeshift to exchange between tokens. The wallet supports Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Litecoin and more. Live charts calculate the value of your portfolio.

Pros: Well-designed, user-friendly, targeted toward traders and investors. The user holds the private keys. Exodus is constantly improved by developers for minor or bigger bugs.

Cons: May be complicated. Forces user to receive tokens at the same addresses instead of generating new ones Not an open source wallet, no community previews. Sometimes users report a loss of holdings or failed transactions not showing up in the balance. May accept weak passwords.

The 1.36.1 version of Exodus was released in October 2017 and also holds Ethereum Classic.

Mist  A well-used solution, suitable for both Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. Open-source wallet recommended by the Ethereum community.

Pros: Open-source, a user-tested wallet that allows desktop function. Mist also works for Linux users.

Cons: Technically more involved, requires users to install the right version and keep track of the process.

Ledger NanoS  The go-to hardware storage solution. This wallet uses encrypted chip technology to safely store private keys and securely communicate with other devices and interfaces.

Pros: A portable, affordable option for cold storage. More security compared to hot wallets or personal computers. Ease of use increased with the help of other apps and interfaces.

Cons: More technically involved, the danger of physical loss or damage.

Ethereum Wallets Compared

We will compare several wallets by their combination of user-friendliness and security. The wallets we've picked represent the diversified ways to store Ethereum and possibly exchange it immediately, without new accounts with online traders.

 

 

         

 

Jaxx

Exodus

Chrome Add-On

Mist

Ledger NanoS

Cold Storage

X

X

X

X

Yes

Ease of Use

High

Medium

High

Medium

Medium

User holds private key

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Shapeshift Exchange Mechanism

After Jaxx 1.0.2

Yes

X

Yes

X

Bonus: ERC-20 Tokens

If you are buying Ethereum to participate in ICOs, it is best to choose MyEtherWallet. This online service lets you store the UTC file and unlock the wallet whenever you wish.

In addition, the wallet stores a history of all ERC-20 token purchases. Because of high traffic, tokens are no longer displayed and it is better to view token balances by using Etherscan.io, where you paste the public address from MyEtherWallet.

To send tokens, you will need to recreate the token with data from Etherscan, copying the token address and decimals number. Then, you can send it to exchanges.