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Cryptocurrency

The Best 5 Bitcoin Wallet Security Options

Bitcoin wallets have been around since the inception of Bitcoin. But, many users continue to lose their private keys and have trouble with keeping their Bitcoin secure and easily accessible. There have been many new creations in the Bitcoin world from hardware wallets to online wallets. Many users still choose the traditional style of keeping their coins on their desktop computer, and that’s perfectly acceptable. However, large investors have been inclined to hold their Bitcoins in more expensive options, such as a Trezor. Here, we review each of the many options available to the end user for keeping their Bitcoins secure. We want to help users find the best bitcoin wallet for themselves, so that they can continue to help Bitcoin grow while keeping their own coins safe.

Online Bitcoin Wallet

The most popular widespread option is the best bitcoin wallet online. It provides the convenience of worldwide accessibility with the best security you can get. The upside to having your coins stored online is that the user can access them from anywhere in the world, from any phone, laptop, or desktop computer. In addition, the most recent innovations are fully-featured in providing users with multi-signature options. Users can adjust the fees they want to include in the wallets just like they can with fully featured desktop options. They’re fast, safe, and hip. What more could you ask for?

An online bitcoin wallet keeps your coins in the cloud
An online bitcoin wallet keeps your coins in the cloud

However, all of these pros come at a cost. The biggest risk to investing in Bitcoin with an online wallet is one of reliability. What if there is an Earthquake where the servers are located? This would cause Bitcoin nodes, servers, and online services to temporarily stop functioning. As a result, Bitcoin users may have trouble temporarily accessing their BTC. Furthermore, they also only run on only a few nodes, leading to a greater centralization of Bitcoin. After all, decentralization is the primary purpose of BTC in the first place.

Desktop Bitcoin Wallet

The bread and butter of Bitcoin. Traditional Bitcoin users since the early days have used desktop bitcoin wallets. Even though people are moving towards cloud services, desktop wallets still have their space among dedicated hardcore Bitcoin enthusiasts. It’s no secret that big-time developers choose desktop bitcoin wallets as they allow testing their applications in a local environment. It’s absolutely necessary for developers to test their programs locally rather than in production environments. Desktop wallets also can be accessible while offline, though it wouldn’t be possible to broadcast transactions across the network’s blockchain. Now, if you’re just a regular user who has no interest in developing software for BTC, this likely isn’t the top option for you. An online or hardware option will better suit most players in the market.

Hardware Bitcoin Wallet

A hardware Bitcoin wallet has become the leading choice for huge investors in BTC. The top industry leaders include the Ledger Nano and the Trezor. Basically, a hardware wallet is just a computer, but is built specifically for the purpose of generating keys for Bitcoin, as well as sending transactions across the network. Some do believe that Trezors and bitcoin-wallet.net may be hte best bitcoin wallet. With this, hackers cannot easily break into your wallet by means of keylogging your desktop computer. However, it is possible for the hardware wallet you received to have issues. Who knows if you received a bugged wallet or a safe one?

Trezor - Hardware Wallet
Trezor – Hardware Wallet

Since the hardware wasn’t designed by the user, there’s always the risk of the third party creating a malicious piece of hardware. It’s profitable for hackers to target companies who create financial tools for Bitcoin, and it won’t be surprising to hear about companies exploiting or being exploited by hackers who choose to manipulate the hardware of wallets. Certainly, there lies a massive risk in trusting the tools you were given.

Mobile Phone Bitcoin Wallet

Your iPhone can use Bitcoin!
Your iPhone can use Bitcoin!

Lastly and rightly so, mobile wallets have been somewhat of a useless innovation in Bitcoin. People simply don’t enjoy sending and receiving from their phone’s application when most payments are made from the computer. There is no inherent advantage from a mobile platform to a web-based online platform. It’s not surprising then, that few users actually choose to use mobile applications. Furthermore, apps on the Apple store easily get approved without any code audits. Stick with the online bitcoin wallet platforms.

Cryptocurrency

Securing Ethereum Online with a Wallet

An online Ethereum wallet is vital to securing your digital currency.  It secures your digital coins by utilizing highly advanced algorithms and safety measures.

How you can secure your Ether

Secure Vault
Secure Vault

We all know that securing your Ethereum is a very complicated and often difficult task. Even more so than buying it, because of the importance of security. Nowadays, there are many slow and unreliable exchanges online. It is highly recommended to use a good online service that has basic features with maximal security.

There are many highly advanced hackers on the web. If you’ve never been hacked, you’ll likely have a false sense of security and won’t understand how important it is to secure your coins properly. The most balanced way of storing your Ethereum is by using an online wallet service, mentioned above. However, highly advanced users and developers may opt for an offline service.

The Online Method

Online wallets provide a combination of convenience and security. You can download the wallet’s private public key data from the site, and use that when you need extra security. The only disadvantage is that online wallets can have downtime, which makes it important to back up your wallet data from the site. There’s a number of choices out there, and we recommend ethereum-wallet.net as they’ve been up for quite a long time and is trusted within the community.

For highly technical and advanced users, feel free to read on! There’s the offline option, but it will cost you 100GB of space and hours of time.

The Offline Method

You can generate a private-public key pair online by using the service mentioned in the first paragraph – ethereum-wallet.net. After generating this data, put some Ethereum onto it (public key) and then use a good method securing it.

For some users, they may decide to write the key down on a piece of paper and put it in a safe. This method is good in that it is as secure as your safe. However, safes are not fully invincible. Realistically, anyone who has knowledge of the safe can break in by using physical explosions or cracking methods. The better method is to encrypt the data on a flash drive, and remember the encryption password. You can even throw the flash drive into a safe for extra security!

However, it is a bit more complicated. You’ll need to use an open source encryption method that isn’t tainted by the NSA. We can never be too careful around the government’s encryption techniques, as the NSA have been known to plant backdoors in their code. It’s possible that SHA256 is not actually secure.

But first, if you don’t already have Ethereum

Whether it’s Bitcoin, the famed king of cryptocurrency; or Ethereum, the coin that’s up and coming as a large competitor to Bitcoin: you can buy these incredibly easily now. Users will often need to research a bit on how to acquire the currency, because there’s a lot of roadblocks and regulations for individuals depending on the country that they reside in.

ShapeShift is a good exchange
ShapeShift is a good exchange

After all, USA is not the center of the world – it is however, easy to get coins here. For international users, options include LocalBitcoins, Kraken, Coinbase, Shapeshift, and etc.

Digital Signatures

Sigsafe Digital Signature Abstract

I wanted to share a project I’ve been working on.  It’s called “sigsafe” and it is an electronic key tag that signs bitcoin transactions over a non-exploitable air gap.  The device is probably too simple to be considered a hardware wallet; instead, it’s more like a paper wallet that can produce ECDSA signatures.  The device has both high-security applications such as implementing a cold/hot wallet system where the cold wallet can only send coins to the hot wallet, and low-security applications such as a “tap and pay” tag for purchasing retail items at PoS terminals.  Because the device uses the NFC standard, it is highly interoperable with existing phones, laptops, PoS terminals, and other RFID readers.  In fact, when HTML5 browsers begin to support the Web NFC API, it should be possible to create webpages that request signatures from the sigsafe to complete an online payment or to login to a website using the bitID protocol and a single tap.

Here is a link to the white paper: http://sigsafe.ca/sigsafe.pdf

Abstract. A small electronic key tag for signing bitcoin transactions over a non-exploitable air gap is described. The tag communicates via a simple protocol with a NFC-enabled host, harvesting power directly from the NFC electromagnetic field and eliminating the need for a battery. After receiving a signature request from a host device, the tag checks the request against a set of rules and signs the transaction, provided none are violated. User-defined signing rules permit various levels of security from none (sign all requests), to locking the spend addresses, limiting the value of transactions, and requiring a password from the tag’s owner or cryptographic authentication from the host. Malware, hackers or thieves cannot feasibly extract the private keys even with physical access to the tag. A tag manufacturer could store a funded private key within each device sold, with a rule to produce only bitcoin-signed messages, as a proof-of-intent bond to earn customers’ trust.

Also posted on https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=610453.0