The first wallet I used was the official Ethereum wallet - Ethereum + Mist I like the wallet is has all the bells and whistles and for that reason I do not recommend this wallet if you just want to own some Ether right now. Ethereum is very different to bitcoin. The first thing about Ethereum is that it is not just a digital currency. It is a blockchain-based platform with many aspects. It features smart contracts, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and it uses its currency called Ether for peer-to-peer contracts.
Ethereum’s smart contracts use blockchain stored applications for contract negotiation and facilitation. The benefit of these contracts is that the blockchain provides a decentralized way to verify and enforce them. Thus enabling you to create applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference. Ethereum’s smart contracts aim to provide greater security than traditional contracts and bring down the associated costs.
The smart contract applications are powered by ether, Ethereum’s blockchain based cryptocurrency. Ether, as well as other crypto-assets, are held in the Ethereum Wallet, which allows you to create and use smart contracts.
You as Joe Public just want an easy way to buy, store and send Ether.
Enter the world of Jaxx, I ended up using this wallet for my Ethereum storage. It is incredibly easy to set up on your phone, tablet, desktop or Apple device. I installed it on my phone first and then paired it with the desktop app and it worked seamlessly.
All keys are created on your local device and never sent to any servers. This means you have full control of your wallet and Jaxx neither holds nor has access to your funds.
Before I ended up with Jaxx I tested Coinbase as well. Coinbase supplies an Ethereum wallet as well as a Bitcoin wallet. Coinbase’s wallet is simple to set up and very easy to use, however it has a few limitations you’ll need to be aware of:
- The company holds the private key of the wallet for you. This means you’re not in control of your funds and Coinbase can decide to shut down your account if they want to. There were cases in the past that Coinbase shut down user accounts do to illegal activity.
- The Coinbase ETH wallet doesn’t support ETC (Ethereum Classic).
Another wallet that I tested was the Exodus wallet, Exodus is a Bitcoin and Altcoin desktop wallet with a beautiful design and an intuitive interface. When it comes to limitations for exodus keep in mind that it’s not 100% open source. Many components inside Exodus are open source, but not all of them. This means that the code doesn’t get reviewed in full by the community.
Also the wallet is currently available only in a desktop version (no mobile version yet). Like Coinbase, Exodus does not support ETC only ETH. However, unlike Coinbase, Exodus is an independent wallet that stores the private key on your machine and not on any external sever. This means you have full control (and full responsibility) for your coins.
Even though Ethereum has been around for a few years, as you can see from the variety above it’s not as popular as Bitcoin (yet). However, since Ethereum’s price is on the rise lately I guess we will be seeing more Ethereum wallets and exchange support for this currency soon.
I am sure @BitcoinZAR will be able to give some feedback on what hardware wallets to use for storing Ethereum.