Types of Wallets
Now that you have familiarised with what wallet is, lets explore the types of wallets you can use. Please navigate as per below to explore specific type of wallet.
To summarise from end user's point of view, there are primarily two types of wallet interfaces:
Software (Hot) Wallets⚓︎
A software wallet is a digital wallet interface where the cryptographic keys (encrypted) will be stored on the device you're using. Within software wallets, there are mainly two types of wallets as noted below.
A full node wallet runs a complete independent blockchain node and provides capability to operate your wallet by querying the node. An example of such a wallet is Daedalus. There are a few advantages of running such a node:
- The entire blockchain history is available locally to your node, to be able to query as per your needs.
- Your node will validate all blocks as they're created and synchronised to your device, thereby - reducing the trust required to operate on wallet.
- Running a full node - also enhances availability of the blockchain in your geograpical region, providing better latency for block making nodes.
- If there is a feature supported by node, but not yet by a wallet UI - you can directly connect to the node and access the feature.
Alongwith those advantages, running a node automatically means a few responsibilities - which may be seen as a discomfor from end user's perspective - especially if your only usage is making transactions:
- Synching entire blockchain on your device needs time when setting up initially, which could be hours depending on network and disk throughput of the device.
- There are storage, memory and network commitments required to run a wallet connected to full node.
- Full node wallets may not be considered ideal for portable/handheld devices.
Example: Yoroi, Eternl, Typhon, ADALite
A light wallet uses an interface that connects to a remote node for operations - thus, relieving you of the responsibility to operate a full blockchain node. They may be available as browser plugins/extensions, websites or mobile apps. Advantages of using light wallet:
- You do not need to wait for entire blockchain to be synched on your device to start performing operations, as you connect to an already running up-to-date node via your wallet.
- You remain in control of your keys. A common misperception with light wallets is that it is unsafe because your keys are sent over network. Most professional light wallets will ensure that your keys never leave your device, and are always in encrypted state even on your device. To this point, this shouldnt really be a differentiator for you to select between a full node wallet v/s light wallet, they're both as safe as your device.
- You do not need to worry about performing blockchain node upgrades, as this can be done on the server end.
- Light wallets can be integrated easily on portable/handle devices.
- They're typically very lightweight, and do not have high storage/memory or stable network requirements.
For official links about the comparison, kindly visit this support article from IOHK.
Paper (Cold) Wallets⚓︎
Paper wallets are essentially wallets created by software interfaces, but done in such a way that the keys for those paper wallets were never online. These usually provide seeds in two parts - a part printed on paper, and other part with words (in case of Daedalus) or password (in case of Yoroi) that guarantees that even if someone has access to the paper, they wont be able to access your keys. Points to remember:
- The Software creating paper wallet will not have transferred funds to a generated wallet, it has to be a manual action.
- If for whatever reason you decide to restore your paper wallet, your wallet will have been restored on a digital device which is online and would no longer be a "cold" wallet. Thus, it would be best in that case to create a new paper wallet from security point of view.
Hardware (Cold) Wallets⚓︎
Visit this blog from Emurgo for a brief summary of how Hardware Wallets work with Yoroi