Cryptocurrency has officially gone mainstream, with more than 25% of Australians owning some type of digital asset. With so much money heading into the crypto industry, it’s super important for Aussies to understand how to store their digital funds securely. Using a high-security wallet is the number one priority for any crypto investor, regardless of the amount of crypto they own.
You might be thinking “eh, I’ve only 50 bucks worth of crypto”… it’s worth remembering that $50 worth of Bitcoin 5 years ago would be going for around $2,500 today. With the number of attempted hacks and dodgy dealings in the world of crypto, having your funds in a secure wallet is by far the most important move you can make from the get-go.
In This Crypto Wallet Article:
What is a Crypto Wallet?
A crypto wallet is a place where you have secure access to your cryptocurrency and digital assets.
Without getting too technical, a crypto wallet doesn’t actually store your cryptocurrency in a new digital space. All cryptocurrencies are stored on their respective blockchain, which is a global decentralised ledger that exists in cyberspace. Your crypto wallet stores the unique address where your cryptocurrency can be found on that blockchain, while also containing the only private key that can access that unique address.
There are two main types of crypto wallets that investors need to be aware of: hot wallets & cold wallets.
A hot wallet is a wallet that is connected to the internet in some way. This makes buying and selling crypto much more convenient. Practically every wallet that you use on a phone or laptop will be a hot wallet.
A cold wallet is a wallet that comes in a physical form and is not connected to the internet. This makes them essentially impossible to hack, which is ideal for investors looking to hold large sums of crypto securely for long periods of time. Cold wallets usually look a lot like a USB stick and work in a similar way.
In this comprehensive review, we will be looking exclusively at hot wallets, and going through absolutely everything you need to know about which hot wallet is best for you and your individual financial needs.
Hot Wallets Explained
Without getting too technical, it’s super important that you don’t get confused when it comes to the different types of hot wallets. Surprisingly, not many crypto investors are aware of, or understand the difference, between the two categories of hot wallets.
Custodial (Exchange-Based) Wallets
If you’ve ever opened up an account with a crypto exchange like Coinspot, Binance or Crypto.com then you already have a custodial wallet. A custodial, or exchange-based crypto wallet is essentially built into the platform or app you use to purchase crypto and doesn’t require any extra steps to set up. A custodial wallet offers the benefit of being extremely user-friendly, as your exchange has “custody” of your wallet, which requires less responsibility from your end in terms of storing passwords and managing security.
Custodial crypto wallets are a great choice for investors who want quick access to buying and selling their digital assets. If you’re opening up your crypto portfolio every day to move things around, offload some Bitcoin in the morning and purchase some ETH in the evening, then having a custodial crypto wallet is probably the best option for you.
A non-custodial crypto wallet on the other hand, usually comes in the form of an entirely separate app or program, and it means that there are some extra security measures built into the wallet.
When you sign up for a non-custodial crypto wallet, you will be asked to write down a “seed phrase” which is a randomly generated sequence of 12 to 24 words. A seed phrase can also be called your “keys”. A non-custodial crypto wallet is more secure because there isn’t a third party that can potentially prevent you from accessing your crypto assets, however if you lose your seed phrase, you lose your crypto.
Most major exchanges now have their own standalone, non-custodial crypto wallets that are semi-integrated into the native exchange. For example, Crypto.com and Coinbase are both major crypto exchanges that have their own, non-custodial wallet apps that are separate from the exchange. Apart from the security benefits, there is also a psychological advantage to having a separate wallet as it makes it harder to “panic sell” and makes it easier to flex those “diamond hands”.
Hardcore cryptocurrency purists are well-known for repeating the phrase: “not your keys, not your coins”, which is essentially saying that unless you have your crypto stored in a non-custodial wallet, it’s not truly yours…
With all this mind, it’s time to take a look at the best exchange-based (custodial) crypto wallets available for Australian crypto investors in 2022.
As Australia’s most trusted and secure crypto exchange, CoinSpot is the top choice when it comes to choosing an exchange-based crypto wallet.
It has undergone the most audits and it’s the only Australian crypto exchange to receive ISO 27001 certification (extremely high information security). CoinSpot is also registered with Blockchain Australia, the Australian Digital Commerce Association and AUSTRAC. All of these organisations work to prevent technical mishaps, financial crimes, scamming and any other unsavoury business from occurring.
Secondly, if you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-use platform, CoinSpot is probably the best choice for you. CoinSpot’s user-friendly design makes it possible for a total beginner to navigate their app with ease.
Finally, CoinSpot’s selection of over 350+ different cryptocurrencies is the largest range in Australia making it a no-brainer for Australian crypto enthusiasts. On CoinSpot, investors can purchase all of the major crypto assets, such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Binance Coin (BNB) as well as a massive range of altcoins.
The only major drawback is that CoinSpot is only available for investors looking to trade in Australian Dollars (AUD).
You can check out our full review of CoinSpot here.
Swyftx is another Australian-owned cryptocurrency exchange with a strong focus on security and user experience. They are an extremely solid choice for any investor looking for a secure and easily-accessible custodial crypto wallet.
The Swyftx platform is beginner-friendly enough for a total newbie to navigate buying and selling crypto with ease, while also offering more technical features for the advanced traders out there.
While Swyftx doesn’t have ISO27001 certification like CoinSpot, they are registered with AUSTRAC and take a series of added measures to ensure that cryptocurrency stored on their exchange remains safe at all times. Like all major crypto exchanges, funds stored with Swyftx are covered by insurance to ensure that investors never lose funds even if the exchange were to be hacked.
Swyftx offers a competitive 0.6% fee on all trades, and have a selection of over 280+ cryptocurrencies for investors to choose from. They offer an advantage over CoinSpot by supporting more deposit features with less fees, allowing Australian investors to purchase cryptocurrency instantly via credit or debit card in AUD.
Crypto.com is a Singapore-based exchange with over 10 million users. The exchange offers a wide array of different blockchain-based products—allowing users to stake their crypto, purchase NFTs and more. Crypto.com is for investors that are looking to do a little bit more than just buy and hold digital assets.
When it comes to your wallet’s security on the exchange, Crypto.com is one of the most secure options that you can find. Crypto.com ensures that 100% of its user’s coins are backed-up in cold storage, meaning that even if the exchange were to be hacked and drained of all funds, every user’s coins would still be completely safe. Crypto.com also has $360 million in insurance against third party theft and potential damage to their cold storage units.
While Crypto.com does charge slightly higher fees than CoinSpot and Swyftx for deposits and various transactions, it makes up for this by offering a series of staking rewards for investors as well added benefits for those who choose to use the exchange’s native cryptocurrency—CRO.
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Crypto.com has also recently partnered with VISA to offer the world’s first cryptocurrency-based debit & credit cards. These cards offer a series of perks, including free Netflix & Spotify as well as VIP airport lounge access for premium cardholders.
Binance is the world’s largest crypto exchange based on both users and daily trading volume. It is well-known for its expansive range of cryptocurrencies, offering 350+ digital assets on the platform. Like Crypto.com, Binance offers an extensive range of blockchain-based products to investors, however, the user interface can be a bit challenging for new crypto investors.
Binance is extremely security-focused and has only ever been the victim of one relatively minor attack in the past. Binance does not disclose what percentage of users digital assets are held offline in cold storage, however, they do state that all user’s funds are completely insured. This means that if Binance were to be hacked tomorrow and you woke up to find your wallet empty, Binance will reimburse whatever you lost.
Binance offers some of the lowest trading fees, especially if investors use Binance’s native tokens: BNB and BUSD. While the exchange has a ‘Lite’ feature that simplifies the layout for new users, Binance also offers the most…