Getting involved in cryptocurrencies is only the first step along a very long path. All newcomers and advanced users need to ensure they use a wallet to control their funds. Several options exist to facilitate that process, although all options need to be considered carefully.
Control Your Keys
Contrary to traditional forms of money where one "shares access" to funds through a third-party service provider like a bank, cryptocurrencies empower the user. All coin holders must hold the private key to whichever type of wallet they are using at the time. Without that private key - or access to it - one cannot spend funds independently.
An exchange wallet, for example, is not ideal. The exchange holds the private keys to the wallet and won't always share them with the user. As such, crypto holders have no direct control over how to spend their funds and always must rely on the exchange's goodwill. It is not a viable long-term solution for those who are serious about cryptocurrencies.
Hardware Wallets Are an Option
The best way to ensure only you have control over a wallet and its private key is by storing it on a hardware device. As computers connecting to the Internet are a target for criminals, other tools exist. A hardware wallet is [usually] a device without an Internet connection, yet one that works with a desktop or mobile application. An excellent way to secure funds and control the private key without exposing any information.
The saying "not your keys, not your coins" is a creed to live by among cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Consumers are not used to taking full responsibility for their finances. It is part of what makes Bitcoin so attractive, yet it also creates a few potential hurdles to broader adoption. Handling a wallet and private key requires adhering to security requirements to keep this information safe from prying eyes. Storing the private key or backup seed can be tricky for those unfamiliar with this industry.
The main benefit of a hardware wallet is how a thief cannot steal funds from it. More specifically, if you lose the device, whoever finds it can't do much with it. That is, assuming they don't know the seed phrase to the wallet itself. Keeping these two separates from one another is an essential security step.
Additionally, obtaining a hardware wallet is an extra cost. Although prices may range from product to product, one usually looks at $100 or more in hardware wallet costs. To some, this is a big expense.
Big Brand or Smaller Brand?
One downside to using a well-known hardware wallet - Ledger, Trezor, or others - is how it can attract some unwanted attention. Many people gladly tell the world how they own a hardware wallet manufactured by a company. This is despite the user experience being far from optimal and novice friendly. For neophytes, a hardware wallet user experience can be pretty daunting, although the overall approach has improved a bit in recent years.
There is always the option to explore more user-friendly wallet solutions that still put the user in complete control. One option is Coin Space, which provides buying, storing and trading functionality through a mobile, web and desktop application. By prioritizing security and anonymity, Coin Space users can control their keys and their coins with ease.
Whichever option one prefers to use, safeguarding the private key to a cryptocurrency wallet is a must. Some solutions make this process more accessible - and less expensive - than others, but there are no wrong choices. A hardware wallet is always a safe bet, assuming one can keep the backup seed in a secure location. The initial investment cost of the hardware is well worth the peace of mind.
Thankfully, some projects show convenience and security can go hand-in-hand as well. Opting for a mobile, desktop or web wallet is always viable if you can take the necessary security practices in mind. Cryptocurrencies don't have to be cumbersome and unintuitive to use, but strict security measures are always advisable.