2017’s Best Bitcoin Desktop Wallets – 4 Wallets Reviewed (Mac, Windows, Linux)

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Today’s post is about the best Desktop wallets available for storing your Bitcoins. Desktop wallets are wallets that store the private key for your Bitcoins on your hard drive. By nature, desktop wallets are more secure than mobile wallets (since they’re harder to steal).

If you’re new to the world of Bitcoin and wallets please watch this video before reading any further:

 

Of course desktop wallets are still considered “hot wallets”, since they are connected to the Internet. This makes them inherently insecure. However, for small amounts of Bitcoin or altcoin they are a good solution.

For large amounts of Bitcoin ALWAYS use cold storage wallets like a paper wallet or a hardware wallet. Today I’m going to review 4 different desktop wallets that work on all 3 major operating systems – Mac OS, Linux and Windows.

Electrum – The All Around Winner Bitcoin Desktop Wallet

It took me a while to start using Electrum, but once I did, I never looked back. I’ll start with the downside – Electrum is ugly. The interface looks like a 90’s version of Windows. Also, if you’re completely new to Bitcoin I have the feeling you’ll get lost pretty quickly due to the unfriendly interface.

Electrum desktop wallet

However, once you get over the interface issues, Electrum is one of the most robust, effective and secure desktop wallets out there. Also it’s open source, meaning many people have taken part in reviewing and composing the code. This reduces the chance of malicious code inside the software to practically zero.

In times when the Bitcoin network is “crowded” and transaction fees can skyrocket, Electrum is one of the few wallets that allows you to replace the fee you’ve set to an already broadcasted transaction. This feature is very handy when you can’t get your transaction to confirm.

Additional features include address tagging, fee adjustments, encrypting your wallet and signing / verifying messages (this is an advanced feature).

Bottom line, this is an excellent wallet. If you understand Bitcoin good enough to use it, go for it. Electrum is available for Mac, Windows and Linux.

Visit Electrum’s Website     Read our full Electrum Review

 

Exodus – The dumbed down, pretty Bitcoin desktop wallet

If you’re just getting started with Bitcoin and you’re still trying to wrap your head around everything that’s going on, Exodus has got you covered. Exodus launched on July 2016 and since then has gained some serious momentum.

exodus desktop wallet

Again, I’ll start with the downside – it’s not open source. This means that the developers can potentially insert malicious code into the software without you knowing about it. And of course, when it comes to money, having a closed source program can raise some concerns. However, since I suggest you use desktop wallets for small amounts of Bitcoin in any case (closed or open source), then this is not a big issue in my book. I never put an amount I’m not willing to risk in any hot wallet (desktop, mobile or web).

Exodus also allows you to hold a variety of altcoins such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash and more. The interface is super easy to understand and even total newbies will get the hang of it. If you find electrum to daunting, this is a great alternative. Exodus is available for Mac, Windows and Linux.

Visit the Exodus Website     Read our full Exodus Review

 

Multibit HD – The Old Reliable HD Desktop Wallet

Multibit has also been around for a long time. The wallet has a simple interface and allows you a variety of features such as fee control, signing messages and hardware wallet support.

Multibit hd

It’s not the prettiest of wallets but it definitely gets the job done and then some. Multibit also supports 40 different languages so if English is not your native tongue you can always change the interface. Multibit is open source and available for Mac, Window and Linux.

Visit the Exodus Website     Multibit Review coming soon!

 

Bitcoin Core – A full Bitcoin node wallet for hardcore Bitcoiners

All of the wallets we’ve covered so far are known as SPV wallets or lite wallets. This means that they don’t have a full copy of the blockchain in order to verify transactions – they relay on other computers on the network to give them transaction information.

Bitcoin Core is a full node Bitcoin wallet. This means that once you download the wallet you will also download the whole blockchain to your computer. This can get really messy as the blockchain’s size is over 130GB and can take some time to download.  However, once the Blockchain is downloaded you can now independently verify transactions on the network and do not need to trust anyone else in the system.

bitcoin core

In all honesty, I don’t think it’s worth the hassle. You can gain some educational value by completing this process, but for day to day transactions and use of Bitcoin SPV wallets are just fine. Bitcoin Core is available for Mac, Windows and Linux.

Visit the Exodus Website     Bitcoin Core Review coming soon!

 

Bonus option – Armory

Armory is a well-known and trusted brand when it comes to Bitcoin security, though the wallet is usually best for more advanced users. If you are looking for a wallet that emphasizes safety and security, Armory should make the short list as the wallet features a variety of encryption and cold-storage options.

Bitcoin Armory

Armory is among the most respected brands when it comes to Bitcoin security.Armory is available for Mac, Linux, Windows Ubuntu and RaspberriPi.

Visit the Exodus Website     Armory Review coming soon!

Ofir Beigel

Owner at 99 Coins ltd.
Blogger and owner of 99Bitcoins. I've been dealing with Bitcoin since the beginning of 2013 and it taught me a lesson in finance that I couldn't get anywhere else on the planet. I'm not a techie, I don't understand "Hashes" and "Protocols", I designed this website with people like myself in mind. My expertise is online marketing and I've dedicated a large portion of 99Bitcoins to Bitcoin marketing.

12 Comments

  1. I personally use Jaxx, I used Exodus for a long time, but I changed my PC and didn’t know how to take my wallet with me and so i tranfered all to my Jaxx wallet and I love that I can have it on my phone as well!

  2. Newbie on the block. I’ve done the lessons, Ofir, but I’m missing something. I’m in Australia and decided to use Independent Reserve as my exchange and a Ledger Nano S for my wallet. So, who provides the Private and Public keys and do I get the wallet first so that Independent Reserve have an address to forward the Bitcoins to?

    • Ofir Beigel on

      You got it Cliff!
      You first get the wallet that generates the private key and Bitcoin address, and then you give the Bitcoin address only (not the private key) to the exchange.

    • Zsofia - 99Bitcoins support on

      Hi Eyram, the purpose of Bitcoin is as for any money to be a medium of exchange.

    • Zsofia - 99Bitcoins support on

      Hi Kenny, Blockchain wallet is one of the most popular one on the market. It is a hybrid wallet – meaning the company stores your Bitcoins online but they do not have access to your private keys. If you are new joiner to the Bitcoin world, it is definitely a good choice to start.

  3. Multicoin and multi-function are what people are after. You have a point in whether a wallet is open-source or not but being able to trade into different fiat currencies on the fly (especially for those in Europe) and the ability to exchange different altcoins is what a majority of the people are looking for (imho).

    So far Exodus and the Bitshare wallets are riding on top. To be honest I’m still playing with the features of the Bitshare wallet and the ability to set the price of the altcoin that you wish to purchase it at (like a Limit Order on a real exchange) is a fantastic surprise to see inside a wallet! That’s one function I wish could be set at Shapeshift or Changelly.

  4. Great review! I will say that I had multiple desktop wallets and it was getting rather difficult to remember how to access each one. It brought real peace of mind when I finally got a hardware wallet (Trezor) and put the majority of my coins in cold storage!

    It seems a lot of people are buying bitcoins for the purpose of trading–does 99 Bitcoins already have a review of different cryptocurrency exchanges?

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