A wallet is a software program where you can store your bitcoins. Due to the ease of use, the most popular are online bitcoin wallets. Online wallets are also called web wallets. These wallets run in your internet browser, just like any other website.
Beside online bitcoin wallets, you can also choose from other types. Desktop wallets sit on your computer. There are also bitcoin wallets that are available on mobile devices only, but most of them are web-based or combined. The safest wallets are those that are offline, often called cold storage or bitcoin hardware wallets. Paper wallets are also very safe if you can keep a piece of paper in a safe location.
Bitcoin wallets come in many different varieties. Many times with trade-offs between ease of use, security and advanced features. Most only require an email address and a password to create an account. Web wallets usually provide a simple and straightforward user experience. Some are just websites that merely offer essential functions of sending and receiving bitcoins and developers try to make these functions as easy to use as possible. Other wallets are feature reach and provide more power and control including advanced options. These can be multi-sig transactions, built-in cryptocurrency buying options or very safely storing bitcoins. All wallets are free to use.
In order to find the best online bitcoin wallet, we did a thorough review by looking at ease of use, security and advanced features for the major web and online wallets.
We think nothing comes close to Coinbase in terms of ease of use. This is a hosted web-based wallet used for sending, receiving and storing bitcoins. You can use it on mobile too as Coinbase provides simple iOS and Android app. The platform is trendy, and it makes owning and managing your coins very simple. They also take standard security precautions with two-factor authentication on log-in and keeping the majority of their coins in offline storage.
The added option is also the ability to simply buy bitcoins by adding a bank account or a credit card to your wallet. That is where they make money since this is a free online bitcoin wallet.
BitGo is known for industry-leading multi-sig security. Among all online bitcoin wallets, this is probably the most secure wallet. BitGo requires two-factor authentication and uses enterprise-grade security measures to ensure full protection of your bitcoins. Despite the increased security, BitGo is still fairly easy to use.
The company also operates a security-as-a-service platform that serves the industry’s enterprise bitcoin wallet with solutions for corporate treasury and key management. Some of the biggest bitcoin exchanges and trading platforms are using their technology.
Recently they started offering BitGo Instant service to other bitcoin-related services. With BitGo Instant service you can deposit or withdraw bitcoins instantly, and that means no waiting for transaction confirmations! Before this, the typical service transaction took a few minutes or more to be recorded in a block by miners. But with BitGo Instant, funds are available immediately.
The downside of using BitGo are fees that we find quite high.
Online Bitcoin Wallets with Multisig
What is multi-sig or multi-signature bitcoin address? There are different types of bitcoin addresses. The ones that start with number 1 only have one private key, and if you have this one key, you can use it to make transactions.
For multi-signature wallets, addresses start with 3. This means that the bitcoin address has several private keys associated with it. You can only execute transactions with the required amount of private keys. In most cases, service providers such as better online exchanges or good trading platforms use a 2 out of 3 multi-sig. It means that outside service has one key (such as BitGo), one key is in a secure offline location, and one is stored at providers servers. At a minimum, two keys need to sign a transaction to execute it.
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With over 28 million wallets, accessible from the web or mobile devices, it’s no wonder they’re one of the most trusted online bitcoin wallets. Integrating advanced security practices into a highly accessible user-interface, Blockchain wallet delivers an online solution for cryptocurrency storage. We also like the flexibility to adjust fees in accordance with your transaction priorities.
Xapo combines the convenience of an everyday bitcoin wallet with the security of a deep cold storage vault. They offer most of the services after verifying your identity. You will be able to buy bitcoins, send bitcoins to other account and transfer your bitcoins to your vault.
With multi-signature address settings, you can easily and securely share a single bitcoin wallet among multiple users. This feature provides a convenient way for bitcoin escrow. It is also convenient for groups like friends, family, and employees to view and access a shared pool of funds. With enhanced approval permission settings, you can ensure that any transaction has to be approved by multiple users.
Xapo was popular in the past, mainly because they offered a bitcoin debit card, but now it looks like they are losing their users as they rather focus on mobile wallets than to online bitcoin wallets.
- There are many other online bitcoin wallets that we did not review yet. You may want to look at GreenAdress, Coinapult and others.
- A definition for bitcoin wallet says, that it is a software program where you can store bitcoins. To be specific, bitcoins are not stored anywhere, but there is a private key (secret code number) for every bitcoin address that is saved in the wallet of the person who owns the balance. Bitcoin wallets facilitate sending and receiving bitcoins and give ownership of the balance to the user.
- Please also note that almost every bitcoin service will already provide a bitcoin wallet. For example, if you buy bitcoin through some exchange, they will put purchased bitcoins into the built-in wallet. However, the major difference between built-in wallets and wallet only services are in terms of security.
- Online wallets are generally considered to be more vulnerable to security breaches than offline wallets.