Creating an Ethereum Wallet — Which is Best and Where to Start?
Stepping into the world of cryptocurrency and creating an Ethereum wallet opens up an entire universe of possibilities. While some choose to simply invest in currencies like Ether, others have expanded their boundaries and are using their Ether to invest in real-world asset ownership via tokenization.
What Is An Ethereum Wallet?
Cryptocurrency wallets are how users interact with their funds. Wallets are similar to an account with a bank, but with very important differences. Like a bank account, they can receive and send funds and assets that they have inside them. Unlike a bank account, if you lose access to your account, it is gone permanently, along with all the assets inside. There is no central authority to go to, to regain access to your wallet. While self-management of your funds can be liberating, it also comes with the increased responsibility of proper private key management.
A cryptocurrency wallet is two things:
A public address: This is the address that you send funds to.
A private key: This is the secret password that has control over the funds inside a public address.
Think of these things as a mailbox, and a key. You can share the address to the mailbox as freely as you like; anyone can come and drop anything off inside of it. The key is for you, and you alone. Whoever has the key can open the mailbox.
All RealTokens are inside Ethereum wallets. Users who are beginners to cryptocurrency and digital assets may want to keep their purchased RealTokens inside of the wallet that the RealT website generated for them. Those who are ready to take custody of their RealTokens themselves, need an Ethereum wallet they control.
What Ethereum Wallet is Best for Me?
Ethereum wallets come in many forms, each with different tradeoffs.
MetaMask is a browser extension that manages your private keys for you. MetaMask is great for beginners who only hold a small amount of funds and assets. MetaMask makes it very easy for users to send and receive assets, and it is also well-integrated into other Ethereum applications. MetaMask is one of the most-used wallets in the Ethereum world.
MetaMask is considered a ‘hot-wallet’, as it stores private keys on a device that is also connected to the internet. Users who plan on storing large amounts of value and assets inside their wallet may want to consider a wallet-management system that does not have internet-exposed private keys.
Hardware wallets are small devices that look like a USB-stick. Hardware wallets are great for keeping a private key off internet-exposed devices, like your computer, but still allow you to make transactions. Hardware wallets work by keeping your private key inside it, without letting the information about the private key move to the computer. The private key is totally enclosed inside the hardware wallet, and cannot get out. They connect to your computer via a usb-cable, and allow you to make transactions by verifying it on the device.
Hardware wallets are more cumbersome than a MetaMask wallet, but come with increased security around your funds. Applications like MetaMask, MyEtherWallet, or MyCrypto make it easy to use your hardware wallet, by making an easy-to-use interface for your hardware wallet.
The most common hardware wallets are:
Mobile wallets are great for users who want to have full-control with the smartphone. The world of mobile wallets is progressing at lightning pace. New innovations keep coming out each wallet faster than articles can keep up with. Mobile Wallets are great for users who use their phone for financial applications, but also have drawbacks due to their rigidity.
Common mobile wallets are:
Funding an Ethereum Wallet
No matter what kind of Ethereum wallet you choose, you’ll need to fund it with Ether in order to make transactions with it. You can always send any asset to any wallet, but if you want to send tokens out or from a wallet, that address needs to have Ether in it to pay the network fee. There are a variety of websites out there that make the process easy. Many people choose the ever-popular Coinbase, which walks users through purchasing crypto-assets like Ether, Bitcoin, or stablecoins with a debit card or bank account. Other good alternatives are Gemini Exchange or Send Wyre.
Each site has instructions, walkthroughs, and videos that make getting set up easy even for those who are new to Ethereum. Once you’ve created an Ethereum wallet, you’re ready to explore the cryptocurrency world — including entering into the new token economy by investing with RealT.