A bitcoin wallet is a piece of software that holds your private keys and through that controls your bitcoins. A bitcoin wallet is typically an open source piece of software that has been peer-reviewed by the community as a whole.
There are a few different types of wallets that let you hold your bitcoins. The first is a Web Wallet, where you let a web service hold and control your bitcoins. Please be advised that you trust the security and integrity of the web service, not to steal your bitcoins and in general to keep them safe.
So if you want to be in total control of your private keys and by extension, your bitcoins, we recommend that you use one of the following wallets:
• For iPhone: Breadwallet
• For Android phones: Mycelium
For laptops or desktop computers, you have a few viable options to choose from. First, you will need to decide if you want to run a full node or a thin client, but if you want to get started in a fast and easy way, we recommend that you go ahead and use a thin client.
• Thin Client: Electrum
• Full node: Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin XT or Bitcoin Ultimate
Breadwallet, is a what is called a HD wallet, provided by Breadwallet.com
This wallet is what we at WeMoveCoins recommend for smaller bitcoin amounts if you want a bitcoin wallet installed on any iOS device.
Mycelium is a what is called an HD wallet, provided by mycelium.com
This wallet is what we at WeMoveCoins recommend for smaller bitcoin amounts if you want a bitcoin wallet installed on any Android device. Mycelium has been around for ages, and have time and time again, shown that they deliver a stable product on the cutting edge of security and technology. This wallet can further integrate with the Trezor hardware wallet, to let you manage all your bitcoin storage trough the app.
A web wallet, is a description for a hosted bitcoin wallet, being a wallet hosted, secured and stored under the custody of the web wallet provider.
Examples of these wallets are sites like:
Bitcoin exchanges further operate web wallets to facilitate trading for its customers. Examples of exchanges are sites like:
Throughout history, there has been a lot of examples of web wallets losing client funds. The most famous example was the bankruptcy of Mt.Gox, the biggest exchange at the time. We are not yet sure if the exchange was hacked or if the owners simply stole the 500 million USD worth of funds that were held at the exchange at the time of the shutdown. On a smaller scale, we saw the precursor to the now seed funded startup Coinify, BIPS loose approx. 1 million in funds after their service got hacked.
Our best advice is therefore to follow this simple rule:
If you don’t control your private keys, you don’t own your bitcoins
At WeMoveCoins, we, therefore, recommend that you use a bitcoin wallet, where you are in full control of your private keys and by that extension your bitcoins. Please see our bitcoin wallet section for a recommendation as to what bitcoin wallet to use.
After you have setup the bitcoin wallet of your choosing, go ahead and buy your first bitcoins here.