Crypto Wallets: Hot Vs. Cold
It might seem hard to invest in cryptocurrencies at first. After all, it is a new technology
compared to fiat money and traditional stock investments. However, once you know how it
works, not only is it easy to access, but you can also use different methods, platforms, and tools
based on your needs and level of expertise. We need to start by considering crypto wallets, as they will be your private points of access to your assets on the blockchain.
Crypto Wallets 101
Before we start our guide to crypto investment, we need to know what a few terms mean and
how they differ from each other. For example, crypto wallets do not actually hold
“crypto coins.” Instead, they hold passwords (or “keys”) that let people access their assets,
which are kept on their respective transaction ledgers, also known as “the blockchain.”
If you want to be paid in crypto for goods, services, and gifts, you will need to give an address.
This is usually a long string of numbers and letters unless you choose a username or web3
address that is easier to remember. For instance, Ethereum holders can request an Ethereum
Name Service (ENS) domain.
The wallet also digitally signs transactions on your behalf using your private key to prove that
you own these assets. It then sends the transaction to the network so that it can be added to the
blockchain and completed.
Online-based Crypto Transactions
The easiest way to invest in crypto is by acquiring a software wallet via a cryptocurrency
exchange service. Most of them, like Coinbase and eToro, are pretty easy to use and have a
similar user experience to other online banking and investment services. These are also known
as “hot wallets” because they are connected to the Internet.
Before you choose an account, make sure to look at their list of available currencies and see if it
supports the one or ones you want to invest in. Some companies will give you extra benefits.
For example, if you hold certain assets on Coinbase, you can earn up to 5.75% APY.
It is recommended that when you set up your software wallet on your mobile device, you add an
extra layer of protection, either using Face ID or a six-digit passcode. It is also very important
that when you backup your account, you write down the secret recovery phrase the app will
show on your screen, because this is the only way you will be able to recover your funds if you
lose access to your phone.
Once you have set up your wallet, you will need to add fiat currency funds. You can do this
through a bank deposit, by linking your account to your bank, or by sending a transfer through
an outside website or a specialized store.
Finally, you will be able to invest your money in one or more assets on your website. You can
do it by hand or, if it’s linked to your bank account, it can invest a certain amount each week on
Invest in Crypto, The Hard(ware) Way
On the other hand, while they may be easier to use, software crypto wallets bought through
cryptocurrency exchange platforms online may be more sensitive to cybersecurity threats, and
the money you input may not be easy to withdraw due to crises and unexpected circumstances.
Celsius halted all withdrawals, transfers, and exchanges last month because of “extreme market
Hardware crypto wallets may give better control over assets. These are physical devices that look like
USB storage devices or external hard drives, but all they do is store keys and sign transactions.
They are simple because complexity increases susceptibility. This simplicity also prevents them
from connecting online or using other programs on their own, giving them the term “cold
storage” against cloud-based “hot wallets.”
To access your hardware wallet, connect it to your computer and use a “bridge” application.
This desktop program lets you sign and broadcast transactions without revealing your private
keys. All you need to do is to make sure the transaction on the hardware wallet’s screen
matches the one shown on your bridge.
To set up your hardware wallet, write down the series of words you see on your wallet’s start up
screen. This is a seed, or mnemonic phrase, and it will restore any private key your wallet
produces. As with software wallets, keep this phrase safe and private offline, because whoever
gets this phrase will obtain your assets.
You can compare hardware wallet brands by features like mobile phone access and supported
cryptocurrencies. A very popular one is Ledger, with sales multiplying over four times after
Celsius filed for bankruptcy. Other well-trusted brands include Trezor, SafePal and BC Vault.
Rest assured, your seed phrase is interoperable with many wallet brands, so you can retrieve
your assets if a brand is discontinued.
To avoid tampering, buy the wallet from the company’s website. Your gadget should randomize
the seed phrase, so if the seller includes a printed seed, ignore it since they may be trying to
steal your money. Protect it with a PIN in case your device is stolen, so nobody else has access
to your seed or your funds.
Hot or Cold Crypto Wallets?
If you are just getting started, an online or hot wallet may be easier to use to invest in smaller
sums of money and learn about the trade in the process. Alternatively, if you have a stronger
knowledge of tech and are looking into going crypto for the long run, we recommend you go for
But in conclusion, whatever method you choose, safety is the most important factor. Write down
that seed phrase, invest only with well-trusted companies and stay up to date with the latest
news and trends.