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Crypto wallet: A guide to use this tool in a Web3 experience

Crypto wallet: A guide to use this tool in a Web3 experience

A Crypto wallet is the gate Web3 experiences. In the exciting world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, crypto wallets play a crucial role in securely managing your digital assets and interacting with the decentralized web.

To understand what it is about, it is essential to go through the fundamentals of crypto wallets, their functionalities, and the various types available. The importance of wallets in the context of Web3, where decentralized applications, NFTs and innovative financial systems are to be highlighted as well.

What is a Crypto Wallet?

A crypto wallet, short for cryptocurrency wallet, is a digital tool or software application allowing individuals to securely store, manage, and interact with their cryptocurrencies and digital assets in general. More than that, it offers features such as transaction history, balance tracking, and integration with decentralized Web3 platforms. It serves as a virtual wallet where users can store their private keys, which are essential for accessing and conducting transactions with their digital assets on various blockchain networks.

It operates on the principles of cryptography, ensuring the secure storage and transfer of cryptocurrencies. This consists of two essential components: the public key and the private key. The public key is know as the wallet address, similar to a bank account number. A wallet is used to send and receive funds. The private key, on the other hand, is a unique confidential code or password that grants access to the wallet and allows the owner to sign and authorize transactions.

When sending tokens, a user’s private key digitally signs the transaction and broadcasts it to the blockchain network. The network then records the transaction, updating the balances in both the sender’s and recipient’s addresses. This means a crypto wallet do not really physically hold cryptocurrency like common wallet holds cash. Instead, they retrieve and display the balances in a user’s addresses from the public ledger, while also securely storing the private keys required for making transactions.

Key takeaway: While crypto wallets provide a high level of security, users must also take precautions such as backing up their private keys and enabling additional security measures like two-factor authentication to safeguard their funds.

What are the types of Crypto wallets?

Crypto wallets come in various forms, including software wallets, hardware wallets, and online wallets. Software wallets are applications that can be installed on computers or mobile devices, while hardware wallets are physical devices designed specifically for storing private keys offline. Online wallets, also known as web wallets or cloud wallets, are accessible through web browsers and are typically provided by cryptocurrency exchanges or third-party service providers.

Hot Wallets and Cold wallets are more used to designate the types of Crypto wallets. These wallets differ primarily in their connection to the internet. Hot wallets are connected to the internet, while cold wallets are offline. As a result, funds stored in hot wallets are more easily accessible. Hot wallets encompass online wallets, whether mobile, web-based or desktop. In hot wallets, private keys are stored and encrypted within the app itself, which remains online.

A cold wallet on the other hand operates entirely offline, prioritizing security over convenience. It provides a high level of protection against potential threats. An example of a physical medium used for cold storage is a piece of paper or an engraved piece of metal. Cold wallets include paper wallets and hardware wallets. A paper wallet involves writing down or printing the private and public keys on a physical medium.

Being an external device, a hardware wallet is often in the form of a USB or Bluetooth accessory, designed to securely store a user’s keys. To authorize a transaction, the user must physically press a button on the device, preventing malicious actors from gaining control. For cryptocurrency assets that don’t require immediate access, the recommended practice is to store them offline in a cold wallet.

In many ways, this method is considered safer than keeping funds in a hot wallet because remote hackers cannot access these keys, protecting them from phishing attacks. However, there is a risk of the paper being destroyed or lost, potentially leading to irretrievable loss of funds. The decision to use hot or cold wallets depends on individual preferences and needs. It is common for cryptocurrency holders to maintain multiple wallets, including both hot and cold ones, to address their specific requirements.

Hard wallet such as Ledger brands - type of Crypto wallet

What about Custodial and Non-Custodial Wallets?

Web-based crypto wallets usually are custodial wallets. This means they are renowned for their convenience and user-friendly nature, making them popular among both novice users and experienced day traders.

The distinction with custodial wallets is that users relinquish full control over their tokens. In custodial wallets, the exchange holds the private keys necessary to sign transactions on behalf of the users. This setup requires users to place trust in the service provider to securely store their tokens and implement robust security measures. These measures often include two-factor authentication or 2FA, email confirmation, and additional biometric authentication methods like facial recognition or fingerprint verification. In many cases, exchanges mandate the completion of these security measures before allowing users to conduct transactions. To add a layer of security, a portion of the funds is often moved to the company’s cold wallet, which is stored offline and protected from online attackers.

In contrast, non-custodial wallets provide users with complete control over their funds as the private key is stored locally on their device. Hardware wallets are inherently non-custodial since the private keys are stored on the device itself. Software-based non-custodial wallets, such as the DeFi Wallet, also exist. When setting up a non-custodial wallet, users are prompted to write down and securely store a set of 12 randomly generated words called a recovery, seed, or mnemonic phrase. This phrase serves as a backup or recovery mechanism in case the user loses access to their device.

It is important to note that anyone who possesses the seed phrase can gain full control of the funds in the wallet. Losing the seed phrase means losing access to the funds. So it is vital to keep the seed phrase in a secure location and avoid storing a digital copy of it anywhere. Printing it out on a public printer or taking a picture of it should be avoided.

How to get started with a Crypto Wallet

A Web3 wallet serves as the gateway to managing web3 assets and experiencing the benefits of Web3 technology. Web3 assets are digital goods that are decentralized and secure, offering brands a transparent and reliable means to manage resources. By owning a web3 wallet, users get access to various digital currencies, loyalty programs, and rewards systems made by brands. These assets can be used to foster more engaging customer experiences and enhancing brand loyalty. With a web3 wallet, brands gain the ability to participate in the Web3 ecosystem, leveraging the power of blockchain technology to create innovative solutions.

Choosing the Right Web3 Wallet for Your Needs

Selecting the right Web3 wallet depends on various factors, such as the user’s experience level, security requirements, and the specific types of tokens or assets they intend to store. For what it is, any user should  ensure the wallet can ideally integrate with the marketplaces from which the user intends to buy digital assets. A good Web3 wallet should provide a user-friendly and intuitive interface, making it easy to set up and navigate. More than that, users should opt for wallets that supports multiple devices and offers real-time transaction synchronization for added convenience.

Recovering Access to a Crypto Wallet: Backup and Restoration Techniques

Even though prevention is always better than cure, recovering access to a crypto wallet is a crucial aspect of wallet management. Here are some techniques to help regain access to a crypto wallet:

  • Backing up the wallet: Before encountering any issues, it’s important to regularly back up your wallet. Most wallets provide a feature to generate a recovery phrase or seed phrase, which consists of a series of words. An advise is to write down this phrase and store it in a secure location, preferably offline. This recovery phrase acts as a backup that can be used to restore your wallet in case of any mishaps.
  • Restoring from a recovery phrase: When an access to a wallet is lost, it can be restore using the recovery phrase. Install the wallet software on a new device or the same device after a reset, and choose the option to restore a wallet. Enter the recovery phrase in the correct order, and your wallet will be restored, providing access to your funds.
  • Hardware wallet recovery: When using a hardware wallet, such as Ledger or Trezor, they often have a recovery process. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to restore your wallet using the backup seed phrase. This process typically involves connecting the hardware wallet to a compatible software wallet and initiating the recovery procedure.
  • Contacting wallet support: In some cases, when encountering difficulties during the restoration process, reach out to the wallet’s support team for assistance. They can provide guidance and troubleshoot any issues you may be facing. Make sure to provide them with relevant information about your wallet and the steps you’ve already taken to recover it.
  • Seeking professional assistance: If unable to restore your wallet or access your funds, consider consulting with a professional cryptocurrency recovery service. These services specialize in assisting individuals who have lost access to their wallets or forgotten their passwords. They advice is to stay cautious when selecting a service and ensure they have a reputable track record.

Metamask as an example of non-custodial wallet interface

Navigating the Crypto Wallet Ecosystem: Coinbase Wallet, WalletConnect, MetaMask

It’s important to note that crypto wallet ecosystem is very vast, and there are numerous other wallets available, each with its own unique features and offerings. When choosing a wallet, consider factors such as security features, compatibility with the tokens you plan to hold, ease of use, and community reputation. Understanding the various options available and their specific strengths is the right way to select a crypto wallet that aligns with your needs and preferences.

Coinbase Wallet: It is a popular choice for beginners entering the crypto world. It offers a user-friendly interface and seamless integration with Coinbase, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges. Coinbase Wallet supports a range of digital assets and provides a secure storage solution for your cryptocurrencies. It also enables easy access to decentralized applications, allowing the user to explore the exciting possibilities of the Web3 ecosystem.

MetaMask: This is a widely recognized and widely used crypto wallet that has gained popularity among Web3 enthusiasts. It is a browser extension wallet that acts as a bridge between your web browser and the Ethereum blockchain. MetaMask allows the user to interact with decentralized applications, manage their Ethereum-based assets, and securely store their private keys. Its interface and extensive support for Ethereum-based tokens make it a choice for many users in the Web3 community.

WalletConnect: Open-source protocol, this one facilitates secure communication between decentralized applications and mobile wallets. It enables users to connect their wallets to dapps without compromising their private keys. By scanning a QR code or clicking a deep link, users can establish a secure connection between their wallet and the dapp they wish to interact with. WalletConnect supports various wallets, including MetaMask, Trust Wallet, and many others, making it a versatile solution for accessing the Web3 ecosystem.