Compare Bitcoin Online Wallets

Find the most secure bitcoin wallet online, instantly.

Keeping your bitcoins in an online wallet means you can access them anywhere with an internet connection. We'll take you through all your options.

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What should I look for in an online wallet?

When getting an online cryptocurrency wallet you'll want to find one with good security and backup features. Wallets that hold coins online are often the best option for storing smaller amounts of bitcoin to trade on exchanges, but make sure your coins will be secure if the provider unexpectedly shuts down or gets hacked.

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Finding the best online BTC wallet in 2018.


What is an online bitcoin wallet?

Also known as a web wallet, an online wallet is a way of storing your bitcoin on the internet. In other words, it’s a wallet that runs on your browser, just like a website. Online wallets are regarded as more vulnerable to hacks than other types of wallet, but they are very convenient as you can access your wallet anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.

How do online bitcoin wallets work?

Web wallets are designed to be very user-friendly. You begin with signing up with your preferred provider, which is simple and quick. You will then access your account with a username and password. Sending or receiving bitcoin is easy, because all you need is your wallet address (for receiving money) and the address you want to send bitcoin to (for transferring out).

So they’re like online banking?

Yes, online wallets are very much like online banking portals for bitcoin. Like online banking, you can log on with your password and carry out transactions, see your balance, and look at your transaction history on the website of your wallet provider.

What other types of wallets are there?

When it comes to bitcoin wallets there are a number of options from which to choose:

  • Mobile wallets – These are wallets stored on your mobile phone in the form of an app. They make it easy to spend and transfer your bitcoin on the move.
  • Desktop walletsDesktop wallets work through software that you download onto your computer. Once you have installed a wallet client you can use its interface to store and transfer coins, as well as check your balance.
  • Hardware wallets – Regarded as the most secure wallets around, hardware wallets are electronic devices specifically designed for storing cryptocurrency. They allow you to store your coins completely offline.
  • Paper wallets – Like hardware wallets, paper wallets allow you to store your coins offline. These DIY wallets are literally printed on paper after you have generated a wallet address and private key through an online service.

Are online wallets free?

Yes, online wallets are completely free. All you need to do is choose your preferred provider, sign up, and start using your wallet.

Are there additional fees with online bitcoin wallets?

There are no additional fees that you have to pay to the provider in order to use your online wallet. However, there’s a small transaction fee charged when you spend bitcoin (but not when you receive it). These transaction fees are to pay the miners who verify the movement of bitcoin on the blockchain. Typically these are very low, usually around 0.2mBTC (which means two thousandths of a bitcoin – under £2). Most wallets will also give you an option of paying a higher amount in order to motivate miners to verify your transactions faster.

What are the best online bitcoin wallet providers?

There are many different web wallet services to choose from, here’s a small selection of some of the best known:

  • Blockchain – One of the most widely used providers, Blockchain’s online wallet can hold bitcoin, ethereum, and bitcoin cash, and exchange between them within the wallet.
  • Strongcoin – Stongcoin advertise themselves as the longest running bitcoin wallet, having launched in 2011. Their focus is on security, using what they call a ‘hybrid wallet’ as it encrypts your keys before they’re saved on Strongcoin’s servers. They also allow you to print your entire account history and information as a PDF.
  • Xapo – The primary focus of Xapo’s wallet is security – so much so they call it a ‘bitcoin vault’. If you’re looking for the safest way to store your bitcoins online, then it’s worth having a look at Xapo.
  • Coinbase – Probably the best-known exchange out there, Coinbase’s online wallet allows you to exchange and hold many different coins in the same place and has one of the most user-friendly interfaces around.
  • Binance – Like Coinbase, binance’s online wallet is integrated with its capabilities as an exchange, meaning you can hold and trade a wide variety of coins – even more than you can on Coinbase in fact.
  • Bittrex – Another exchange with an integrated wallet, Bittrex is a place where you can trade and store hundreds of different coins.
  • Gatehub – Gatehub’s wallet is also attached to its exchange, on which you can track the value, trade, and hold almost any coin.

Can online wallets hold multiple cryptocurrencies?

Yes, you will find online wallets, such as Blockchain, that support a variety of different cryptocurrencies – including Ethereum and bitcoin cash. The widest variety of coins, however, will usually be able to be held in web wallets that have integrated exchanges, such as Coinbase.

So online wallets can be connected to exchanges?

In some cases, online wallets are exchanges. If you use an option such as Coinbase, you can not only store your coins, but also buy and trade other cryptocurrencies that are then automatically held in the wallet. Other online wallets that hold multiple currencies will often allow you to transfer different currencies between each other (for instance changing bitcoin into litecoin) within the wallet.

Can I back up an online bitcoin wallet?

Yes, but exactly how will depend on your chosen platform. As a web wallet is like an online account, each company will have security features that allow you to gain access in case you forget your password. Wallets such as Blockchain allow you to set up your recovery seed and enter the 12-word recovery phrase when you lose your password in order to create a new wallet with your balance. Others such as Coinbase have an option for resetting your password, where you get an email with a link to set up a new password. Just to be safe, its better you write down your password somewhere and keep it safe in case you ever forget it.

How to set up an online wallet

Setting up an online bitcoin wallet is much like registering for an account on any other online service. Every provider will be slightly different, but usually this is how it will go:

  1. Select the online wallet provider you want to use.
  2. Go to the website and click ‘sign up’ or ‘register’.
  3. Fill in your details (usually this will be your first name, last name, and email address) and agree to the terms and conditions.
  4. Set up your password. Sometimes you do this on the registration page, and sometimes it’s through a link in your confirmation email. Make sure you set your own secure password as it is what will protect your bitcoin wallet.
  5. (Optional): Download the mobile app offered by the wallet provider so you can access your coins on the move.
  6. Set up any additional security features offered by your web wallet provider (e.g. a recovery seed).
  7. Transfer bitcoins into your wallet using the wallet address.


What are the risks of using an online wallet?

Web wallets are the least secure type of wallet and are not recommended for storing anything more than a small number of bitcoins. The major risks associated with them are being targeted by hackers, as their servers will hold the information of a lot of different bitcoin wallets. This isn’t to be alarmist, all online wallet providers will have strong security, but the risks are there.

And what are the advantages?

The main advantage is being able to access your bitcoin wallet anywhere and on any device, provided you have an internet access. Also, the fact that many online wallets are exchanges means you can change your coins into other cryptocurrencies and react quickly to market fluctuations to cash in on the profits.

Should I use an online bitcoin wallet?

It depends. Yes, if you want to be accessing your coins quickly for the purpose of making payments and exchanging; no, if you are looking for a safer option to store a large amount of coins. If your goal is long-term investment, you are better off with a hardware or paper wallet. An online wallet is only recommended for holding a small amount of bitcoin.

How do I find the best online wallet?

Right here. We have reviewed all the options to help you narrow down to the best online wallet for your needs. Go ahead and read through our reviews to find your perfect web wallet.

Should I use an online wallet?


Advantages

  • You'll be able to access your bitcoins from any device connected to the internet
  • Online wallets are often connected to exchanges, which makes trading your coins easy
  • There's no need to download any software
  • Bitcoin online wallets are free to use

Drawbacks

  • Your wallet will be hosted on a remote server
  • Online wallets aren't recommended for storing large amounts of cryptocurrency
  • You run the risk of your provider shutting down or being hacked

The best bitcoin online wallets.


1
£2
BTC
ETH
LTC
BCH
  • Secure vault storage
  • Digital currencies covered by insurance
  • Manage your assets using a mobile app
2
£2
BTC
ETH
NEM
DASH
  • Supports multiple cryptocurrencies
  • Easy to use and manage
  • Highly secure
3
-
BTC
ETH
LTC
XRP
  • Integrated with exchange and card
  • Can spend cryptocurrency in real world
  • Holds lots of crypto and fiat currencies

Frequent questions.


Are online wallets supported by all browsers?

Yes, it’s very rare that a web wallet will be incompatible with a browser. You will find that all the major wallets are compatible with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Opera. However, it’s recommended that you keep your browsers updated so that you can benefit from the best security features.

How is an online wallet with a mobile app different to a mobile wallet?

The difference is where the wallet is stored. An online wallet is stored on the company’s servers, and what the app allows you to do is access your wallet anywhere via the internet. A mobile wallet is a wallet that is actually stored on your phone in the form of an app, which only uses the internet to send coins to other wallets.

You will find that most online wallets such as Coinbase and Circle have apps available on Google Play Store and Android Store to install on your device. You can do pretty much anything with the app – from sending bitcoin to viewing your transaction history.

What if I forget my password?

This depends on the provider you use. Web wallets such as Blockchain.info and Strongcoin don’t keep your password, meaning that you would lose all your coins if you forgot your password. Others such as Coinbase will allow you to reset your password and access your account again. Always make sure to take whatever steps are available to create a backup of your wallet with your provider.

What if the company hosting my wallet goes out of business?

As long as you know the public and private keys of your wallet or know the recovery seed, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. You will be able to access your wallet with these details. A wallet is an address that bitcoins are sent to and from. The movement of bitcoin is recorded on the blockchain rather than by your wallet provider, so as long as you have your wallet information it should be possible to regain access to your coins.

What is a bitcoin wallet?

Also referred to as a bitcoin digital wallet, a bitcoin wallet is a program or software where bitcoins are stored. The wallets come in many forms, each providing unique features. There are web based wallets, mobile wallets, and offline based wallets such as paper and hardware wallets.

Why are they called wallets?

Because, just like regular wallets, the purpose of a bitcoin wallet is to store your money. However, a bitcoin wallet does this by recording the movement of bitcoin in and out of itself on a publicly displayed ledger (the blockchain). The wallet facilitates receiving and sending of bitcoins and gives you ownership of bitcoin balance. Although they function similar to a banking app, wallets are not only online; there are options such as hardware and paper wallets that store your bitcoins offline.

How fast are transactions between bitcoin wallets?

Transactions between wallets are technically instant, but it could take a little bit longer for payments to be verified on the blockchain, especially if there are a lot of transactions currently being verified. If there’s a delay at all it’s usually only a couple of hours at most. Generally, fast and secure peer-to-peer transactions are one of bitcoin’s biggest advantages.

What are private and public keys?

A public key is also referred to as a wallet address and is essentially your account number (to use a banking simile). It’s simply a unique identifier for your wallet that’s known to the public. A private key, on the other hand, is like a PIN number: it is the password required to transfer bitcoins out of a wallet. Typically, it consists of a 64-character long code and can be referred to as the ‘ticket’ that allows you to spend bitcoins.

If bitcoin is a digital currency, how can it be stored offline?

Good question. It gets a little technical, but because bitcoins don’t physically exist, they can be stored virtually anywhere (whether online or offline). Ownership of bitcoins is determined by the records on the blockchain, which show exactly where they have been transferred. If, for instance, you have transferred your bitcoins to a wallet and it then goes offline, the location of those coins will still be stored on the blockchain. All you need to know is the wallet address and private key and you will be able to access them at any time.

Can I have more than one wallet at a time?

Yes, you can have as many wallets as you want to, of all types. Having multiple wallets helps make you even more anonymous and it can be a good idea to spread your bitcoin across multiple wallets. It also helps if you have different investment goals: for instance, holding your coins for long-term on a hardware and paper wallet, and trading bitcoin using an online wallet connected to an exchange.

Can I transfer from my bitcoin wallet to my bank account?

No, you can’t. Bank accounts hold fiat currency, whereas a bitcoin wallet holds bitcoins, so you cannot transfer directly between them. To transfer from your wallet into your bank account you’ll have to sell your bitcoins on an exchange and then transfer the resulting money over to your account. Services like Wirex, who are now offering bitcoin debit cards, are making this a much easier process because they allow users to have a debit card that’s linked to a bitcoin and a fiat currency account. You can easily convert your bitcoins to fiat currency before you spend them.

What connection do wallets have to the blockchain?

The blockchain is the technology that records all the movements of bitcoin between wallets. So if you make a transaction from your wallet, the information is recorded and is publicly visible from the blockchain, but not anything pertaining to either your identity or to whom you are sending, or from whom you are receiving bitcoin.

What is a ‘recovery seed’?

A recovery seed is a mnemonic phrase that usually consisting of 12, 18, or 24 words, that allows you to recover your wallet if you lose access to it (for instance if it gets lost/stolen or corrupted, or if you forget your password). Wallet software typically generates this mnemonic phrase and instructs the owner to record it somewhere for future reference. It is advisable to write it down on paper and keep it locked away. If you forget your wallet’s details, or - in the case of paper and hardware wallets - your wallet gets damaged, lost, or stolen, you can use the recovery seed to restore your bitcoins to a new wallet/device that uses the same software.

On a technical level, how do wallet transactions work?

Each wallet has a private and a public key. These work like your PIN and account number in regular banking. If you want to send coins to another wallet, you enter that wallet’s public key (commonly called a wallet address) in the field provided, and then enter the amount of bitcoins you wish to send, and hit ‘send’. The wallet creates a transaction output, which is registered on the blockchain network (with your public address as the transaction input).

The blockchain verifies that transaction and it will display as a transfer of X bitcoins from your wallet address to theirs. Your wallet will then have X fewer bitcoins and your friend’s will have X more. Think of it like wiring money from a banking app; once you send money, the amount is deducted from your balance, which is then credited to the user’s balance.

Do I need a wallet to mine bitcoin?

If you’re mining bitcoin you’ll need a wallet address to receive the transaction fees and block rewards generated by mining. Generally it’s not advisable to have these payments going directly to a hardware wallet as payments are generally small and frequent, which can put strain on the hardware. For mining purposes, it makes sense to use web-based wallets or mobile wallets.

If you are using cloud mining to mine bitcoins, however, you might not need a wallet as all bitcoins are credited in your account hosted by the cloud mining provider. But when you want to move them, you’ll definitely need a wallet.

What is a deterministic wallet?

A deterministic wallet is a wallet that can generate many different keys from a single ‘seed’, allowing you to backup and restore your wallet easily in future without needing to provide any other information. These types of wallets have very solid security features. So long as you have the passphrase, you can generate the key pair from it, making bitcoin storage less of a security concern.

Can I connect my wallet to a bitcoin debit card?

No, not yet. Bitcoin debit cards work by connecting to an account which you load with bitcoin. The cards are accepted on any card-accepting merchants as well as ATMs. We have guides to bitcoin debit and prepaid cards to help you learn about how they work, so be sure to check it out.

Are transactions between wallets irreversible?

Yes, they are irreversible. Once you transfer bitcoin’s ownership to another address, it is recorded within the blockchain ledger, and you lose the permission for moving or retrieving the coins again. Unless the new owner agrees to return your coins, there’s no way to undo the transaction. This means that chargebacks are not possible between bitcoin wallets. If you’re sending money somewhere, make 100% sure you’re sending it to the right address, otherwise you’ll lose your coins.

Can wallets be hacked?

Bitcoin wallets cannot ‘hacked’ in the sense of someone forcing entry into the wallet. Private keys are impossible to guess because they contain random long tail code of 64 characters, unlike regular passwords (if your wallet is on an online platform and only protected by a password it is less secure). What hackers try and do is acquire your private key/password through malware and malicious phishing attacks. They tend to target exchanges to try and get everyone’s details so that they can access multiple wallets. If you are using an exchange, make sure it has with good security features such as 2-factor verification.

Do I have to pay tax on the bitcoins in my wallet?

In the UK, if you make enough profit then yes. If you buy bitcoin and it rises in value it is subject to capital gains tax: you are required to pay tax of between 10% and 28% (depending on your income) on any profits above £11,700. If you made the coins through mining then technically it is classed as a trade and subject to income tax. In other countries, bitcoin’s tax status varies, and governments are still in the early days of figuring out exactly how to collect taxes on bitcoin.

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