The beginner's guide to bitcoin wallets
Bitcoin wallets can sound very complicated but they’re actually quite easy to use.
So here are 10 things that we think every beginner should know about bitcoin wallets. No techno-garble or marketing fluff, just simple answers.
If you’ve got more questions, let us know!
1. What is a bitcoin wallet?
Bitcoin wallets are apps or devices that allow you to effectively send and receive bitcoin.
Bitcoin wallets don’t actually store your bitcoin. They store the secret keys that are used to authorize your bitcoin transfer.
Bitcoin wallet security is essential. If someone gets access to your wallet, they could copy your secret keys and use them to steal your bitcoin.
2. Which bitcoin wallet should I use?
There are many different bitcoin wallets available. We usually suggest Wallet of SatoshiLink to: https://azte.co/wallet-of-satoshi or MuunLink to: https://azte.co/muun.
These are both available for iOS and Android. They’re also free to download and easy to use.
Remember: bitcoin wallet security is essential. If someone gets access to your wallet, they could steal your bitcoin.
3. How do I receive bitcoin in my wallet?
Bitcoin wallets generate a unique “bitcoin address” (sometimes called a “public key”) each time you need to receive bitcoin.
Example bitcoin address: bc1qgnsp7dq486mmfelnq6v7yz86tygg7dp7yay82z7f9tf999qjqwzqm6sv9j
To receive bitcoin in your wallet, you’ll need to share your bitcoin address (or a QR code) with the person that’s sending you the bitcoin.
Bitcoin addresses are usually over 30 characters long, so it’s best to copy/paste the address or use a QR code.
4. How do I send bitcoin from my wallet?
To send bitcoin from your wallet, you’ll need a bitcoin address (or a QR code) from the person that you’re sending bitcoin to.
If they share their bitcoin address with a QR code, that may include the amount of bitcoin that they want you to send. Check the amount carefully before confirming the transfer.
Also, remember that all bitcoin transfers are immediate and irreversible. You can’t cancel or reverse the transaction.
5. What’s an on-chain bitcoin transaction?
On-chain transactions use the Main Bitcoin Network to transfer your bitcoin. Transactions can take several minutes to complete and network processing fees can be several dollars.
On-chain transactions are recommended for larger payments and transfers. If you’re looking to make smaller payments and transfers, you should consider using the Bitcoin Lightning Network.
6. What’s a lightning bitcoin transaction?
Lightning transactions use the Bitcoin Lightning Network to transfer your bitcoin. Transactions are completed in a few seconds and network processing fees are typically less than a few cents.
Lightning transactions are recommended for smaller payments and transfers. If you’re looking to make larger payments and transfers, you may want to consider using the Main Bitcoin Network.
If your bitcoin wallet doesn’t support lightning transactions, then we suggest trying Wallet of SatoshiLink to: https://azte.co/wallet-of-satoshi or MuunLink to: https://azte.co/muun.
7. What’s a self-custody bitcoin wallet?
Self-custody wallets store your secret bitcoin keys on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. No one else has access to those secret keys.
Self-custody wallets typically require you to set up a secret “recovery phrase”. If you lose your smartphone or delete your wallet app, you’ll need the recovery phrase to regain access to your secret keys.
If you’re looking for a self-custody wallet, we usually suggest MuunLink to: https://azte.co/muun.
8. What’s a custodial bitcoin wallet?
Custodial wallets store your secret bitcoin keys on central servers that are managed by the wallet developer. The developer and its employees have access to those secret keys.
Custodial wallets don’t require you to set up a secret “recovery phase”. If you lose your smartphone or delete your wallet app, you can retrieve your secret keys from the developer’s server.
If you’re looking for a custodial wallet, we usually suggest Wallet of SatoshiLink to: https://azte.co/wallet-of-satoshi.
9. How do bitcoin wallets actually work?
How does the internet work? How does a car work? How does electricity work? How does the banking system work?
These are all really good questions but you don’t need to know the answers in order to browse the web, drive a car, turn on the lights in your home, or pay with a debit card.
This is a beginner’s guide to bitcoin wallets, so we won’t dive into the underlying technology of how bitcoin wallets record your transactions on the main blockchain or lightning nodes.
10. How do I get started with a bitcoin wallet app?
Here’s how to get started with a bitcoin wallet app in less than 5 minutes.
Step 1: Download Wallet of SatoshiLink to: https://azte.co/wallet-of-satoshi or MuunLink to: https://azte.co/muun.
Step 2: Buy an Azteco bitcoin voucherGo to /buy page. These are available in over 190 countries.
Step 3: Redeem your Azteco voucher to receive your bitcoin in your wallet.
If you’re looking for inspiration on how to use your bitcoin, check out our bitcoin storiesGo to /blog/stories page.
Still got questions?
Check out our Help CenterGo to /help page