What is a Bitcoin Wallet?

The Bitcoin wallet is where bitcoins are stored. Wallets are software clients that people download to their computer. Wallets contain the public and private keys that allow bitcoins to be given and received.
  • To receive bitcoins you need the public key.
  • To give bitcoins you need the private key.
You can have several wallets on different devices and locations. It’s good to diversify your bitcoin holdings for security purposes, however you don’t want to make it so complicated that you can’t get your bitcoin.

Bitcoin wallets can be stored in several places including:

  • Computer hard drive
  • Mobile phone
  • External hard drive
  • In the “cloud” by a service
  • USB drive
  • Printed on paper

So, where is the best place to store my wallet?

Here’s everyone’s favorite answer: It depends…
Are you a high-value investor? Are you a bitcoiner that lives life on bitcoin? Are you a day trader? Are you just curious about bitcoin and have less than 1.0 BTC because you bought during the recent boom?
Here are some options for each of these groups.
Also, I’m not a financial advisor, or a lawyer, so remember, only you are responsible for your bitcoin.

High-value investor

You’ll want to have an off-line computer that stores most of your bitcoin for security purposes.
Also, make sure to have a paper backup.
Then, you may want to have a mobile phone wallet, for your local bitcoin economy interactions.

Bitcoiner for life

You’ll want to check out how these people do it:http://lifeonbitcoin.com
I suggest you have a small percentage of your bitcoin in the cloud on an exchange so you can quickly purchase bitcoins.
Next you should have a mobile phone wallet so you can make mobile peer-to-peer transactions.
Next, you should have an off-line computer storing the majority of your funds.

Day trader:

Have an exchange account for your “hot” funds while trading between all the alt coins.
Next, take your earnings that you want to keep and take them off-line to a dedicated computer.

Bitcurious?

If you have less than $500 dollars worth of bitcoin, which is less that 1.0 BTC as of 12/30/2013, then consider keeping it in trusted cloud service such as Coinbase.

Bitcoin Wallet Options:

Computer hard drive wallets

Mobile phone wallets:

iPhone (limited functionality due to Apple’s restrictions):

Android:

 “Cloud” wallets

Paper backup wallets

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