If you’ve made the decision to buy some cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, etc. you may now be asking yourself how to store the digital currency. Well that is when a wallet (not those leather ones) come in use.

In digital world a wallet is a software program where cryptocurrencies are stored. Technically it is a collection of private keys or software used to manage those keys, authorize transactions on the network and access digital coin address of a user. The four main types of wallet are desktop, mobile, web and hardware. And factors to consider when choosing a wallet include (but not limited to) security, anonymity and control.

Desktop wallets are installed on a desktop computer and provide the user with complete control over the wallet. A few known desktop wallets are Bitcoin Core, MultiBit, Armory, Hive OS X, Electrum, etc.

Mobile wallets overcome the handicap of desktop wallets, as the latter are fixed in one place. Once you run the app on your smartphone, the wallet can carry out the same functions as a desktop wallet, and help you pay directly from your mobile from anywhere. Thus a mobile wallet facilitates in making payments in physical stores by using “touch-to-pay” via NFC scanning a QR code. Bitcoin Wallet, Hive Android and Mycelium Bitcoin Wallet are few of the mobile wallets.

As for web wallets, they allow you to use Bitcoins from anywhere, on any browser or mobile. The selection of your web wallet must be done carefully since it stores your private keys online. Coinbase and Blockchain are popular web wallet providers.

A hardware wallet is a physical electronic device, built for the sole purpose of securing digital currencies. The core innovation is that the hardware wallet must be connected to your computer, phone, or tablet before bitcoins may be spent. Hardware wallets keep private keys separate from vulnerable, internet-connected devices. The three most popular and best Bitcoin hardware wallets are Ledger Nano S, KeepKey and Trezor.

Ultimately, the choice of wallet will come down to an individual user’s preferences. Whatever you decide, keeping your wallet safe is very crucial.