Last updated on March 17th, 2015 at 11:10 pm
All Bitcoins must be held in a “wallet”, so if you are going to trade, you are going to need to find a wallet. There are many options for Bitcoin wallets. Some of them are free, and some of them charge fees.
The oldest and perhaps most widely used wallet is Bitcoin QT. This system has proven to be very secure and reliable, but it takes up a lot of memory (currently close to 8GB) because you must download the entire blockchain. Bitcoin QT also features few features and some people have complained that it is not very user friendly. “Armory” is a popular and highly secure alternative to Bitcoin QT, but it also eats up a lot of memory and may strain your hardware.
Popular light weight alternatives include MultiBit and Electrum. These clients are often favored by users because they do not use up as much space on your computer. They are also very secure systems and are generally regarded as user friendly. We won’t make the choice for you, but make sure you closely consider which wallet to use!
Some paid services will allow you to store your Bitcoins through their service. These services usually require minimal memory space and can often be accessed from a variety of platforms and devices, including your PC, smartphone, or tablet. These web wallets can be dangerous, however, because if the money goes missing, you may not be able to recover your funds. In 2011 an online wallet called MyBitcoin suddenly went offline. When the site reappeared a few days later, the owners claimed that they were hacked and half of all funds were stolen. Many users claim that the owners themselves stole the money. Terrible for the users who lost money, but a life lesson for the rest of us!