What is a crypto wallet?

3 min read

A private key is cryptographic code represented as a string of letters and numbers, similar to a password. In cryptocurrency, private keys are used to sign transactions, approve interactions with smart contracts, and prove ownership of a blockchain address. Crypto wallets store your private keys, keep them secure and accessible and allow you to send and receive cryptocurrencies.

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Crypto wallets come in many forms, from hardware wallets like Ledger & Trezor, to mobile apps like Trustee Wallet, to browser extensions like Frame or MetaMask. Hardware wallets are typically USB devices connected to your computer via a cable. Hardware wallets contain private keys and are password secured, and you must enter your password to sign transactions and interact with smart contracts.

Mobile wallet apps offer crypto users a user experience similar to banking apps in that you control your funds through a mobile application. Typically, mobile apps are less secure than using a hardware wallet. Browser extensions, like Frame or Metamask, reside in your internet browser and offer higher ease of use, with the downside of being less secure, than a hardware wallet.