One of the first, and arguably most important decisions you will make with Bitcoin is which wallet you will use to store those Bitcoins and make purchases. As wallets are open for any developer to create, you are given a huge choice, and so it is important to work out exactly what you want from your wallet provider.

To understand what it is you need, it is important to know what your wallet will actually do. The coins are officially stored on the blockchain; however, the wallet is what you use to access them. You have a public key which can be published anywhere online and is how you receive money. Your private key is used to access your coins and send them across the web, and so this is more secure.

The first question to consider is the type of machine you are most likely to use when accessing your coins. Some systems will work only on the main operating systems, such as OSX, Windows, and Linux, whereas others are more suited to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. A web based is simple to set up although not as secure as some other options, so this could be ideal for a beginner with smaller amounts of BitCoin. If you do choose a web based wallet, it is important to ensure the security offered is a little more than average, such as two-factor authentication and it is probably best when just starting out, to choose a provider that is well known in the community.

If you are handling a lot of coins, you can store them offline in cold storage which ensures they cannot be hacked. For all their pros, one con of Bitcoins is the fact that any coins stolen through hacking are almost certainly gone permanently.

The important thing to remember is that everyone’s Bitcoin needs are different and you have to research and find out what is best for you. For example, if you know that you will only be using Bitcoins casually on a low-value level, you can choose something convenient, but compromise on security. For those more serious about Bitcoin mining with higher values of coins, you may wish to look at something with higher security that may take longer to set up and require a little more technical knowledge, but it will be worth it in the long run.