Ethereum, the blockchain platform that allows smart contracts, is becoming more and more popular. Since the beginning of 2017 the price has spiked from $8.22 to around $50. I’ve covered how to buy Ethereum in a previous post but that’s only part of the process. Today I want to cover 5 different types of Ethereum wallets so you will know where to store your Ethereum.
Ethereum is a very technical currency (even more than Bitcoin), therefor most wallets out there aren’t newbie friendly. I will go over them from the simplest to the most complex so you can choose the one that is best suited to your knowledge level.
Coinbase’s Ethereum wallet – The simplest option
Coinbase supplies an Ethereum wallet as well as a Bitcoin wallet. Coinbase’s wallet is simple to set up and very easy to use, however it has a few limitations you’ll need to be aware of:
- The company holds the private key of the wallet for you. This means you’re not in control of your funds and Coinbase can decide to shut down your account if they want to. There were cases in the past that Coinbase shut down user accounts do to illegal activity.
- The Coinbase ETH wallet doesn’t support ETC (Ethereum Classic). For a simple explanation about ETC vs ETH read this post.
Once you open a Coinbase account you’ll immediately see an ETH wallet appearing under the “accounts” tab.
You can then enter your ETH account and click on “wallet address” in order to get your Ethereum public address.
Click here to check out Coinabase’s ethereum wallet.
Exodus wallet – The desktop option for increased control
Exodus is a Bitcoin and Altcoin desktop wallet with beautiful design and an intuitive interface. I’ve reviewed the wallet in the past and thought it was one of the best I’ve found so far. When it comes to limitations for exodus keep in mind that it’s not 100% open source. Many components inside Exodus are open source, but not all of them. This means that the code doesn’t get reviewed in full by the community.
Also the wallet is currently available only in a desktop version (no mobile version yet). Like Coinbase, Exodus does not support ETC only ETH. However, unlike Coinbase, Exodus is an independent wallet that stores the private key on your machine and not on any external sever. This means you have full control (and full responsibility) for your coins.
Exodus allows you to accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Dogecoin and Litecoin. Just go to “Wallet” and choose the cryptocurrency you want. Afterward click on “Receive” to view your Ethereum address.
Click here to view Exodus for yourself.
Jaxx Wallet – The new kid on the block
While I haven’t fully reviewed Jaxx yet (I plan to do so next week), from my first impression it seems to be a very good Bitcoin and Altcoin wallet for all your devices (desktop and mobile). Similar to Exodus Jaxx provides a simple and intuitive interface for many altcoins.
Unlike most other wallets out there Jaxx supports ETH and ETC. Also, your private keys are never shared with Jaxx’s server and are safely stored on your machine. Jaxx is not open source but the code is freely available on the wallet’s website which makes it a bit more accessible for review.
In order to receive Ethereum with Jaxx just make sure you have that currency set up when you first install the program. Then choose the currency on the top bar and you will see your Ethereum address right below.
Click here to check out Jaxx for yourself
ETHAdress – The cold storage option
For those of you who wish to store Ethereum offline you can print out an Ethereum Paper wallet. ETHAdress is an open source project that will create Ethereum paper wallets for you. Simillar to BitAddress.org, the site will create a private and public key pair with the click of a button. You can then print out this information and store it in a safe place so no external hacker will be able to get your coins.
One more option that’s available is to encrypt your private key so that if you or anyone else wants to use the coins they will need to know the password to decrypt it.
You should NEVER share your private key with anyone. In the image above my private key is publicly exposed but it’s because there are no coins in this wallet. The minute someone knows your private key he has control over your coins.
Using ETHaddress will probably be a relatively secure way of storing Ethereum. However, ETHaddress can be used only with ETH (not ETC). Also, if you ever want to send your coins to someone else you will need to import the keys into an online wallet (e.g. Exodus, Jaxx) and only then you will be able to use them.
Click here to visit ETHAddress.
MyEtherWallet – A web interface for Ethereum
MyEtherWallet is a website that allows you to create, send and receive Ethereum without it having any control over your private keys. When you first enter the site you can choose if you want to generate a wallet, send Ethereum or a variety of other options.
If you generate a wallet the site will create a public-private key pair which will be protected by a password of your choosing. You will then get a downloadable file with that key pair for future use. Whenever you will want to send Ethereum from this file you will need to upload it to the site and supply the password.
Click here to visit MyEtherWallet.
Bonus option: Hardware wallets – Best security (for a price)
If you’re serious about securing your altcoins I suggest storing your Ethereum on a hardware wallet. However these hardware wallets aren’t free and cost anywhere between $50-$100 (shipping not included). Today’s leading hardware wallets TREZOR, Ledger and KeepKey all supply you with the option to store Ethereum on them. Instead of explaining about each one I’ll just link to my previous reviews on the wallets:
Personally I use a TREZOR but all three are excellent choices for maximum security.
Ethereum wallets are still in their early days
Even though Ethereum has been around for a few years, as you can see from the variety above it’s not as popular as Bitcoin (yet). However, since Ethereum’s price is on the rise lately I guess we will be seeing more Ethereum wallets and exchange support for this currency soon.
At the time of writing there are also several exchanges that support Ethereum (e.g. BitPanda, Cex.io and more) however I don’t think it’s a good option to use them as wallets, that’s why I didn’t cover them in this post.
If you’ve had any experience with the wallets above or any other Ethereum wallet not mentioned here I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.