So in a way, a crypto wallet is more like online banking, allowing you to keep track of your balance and access the digital assets that you own. As the cryptocurrency landscape evolves, staying informed and adapting to new developments is vital. We encourage readers to further explore this topic and continue learning about the various aspects of cryptocurrency storage and management.

Technically, you don’t have to keep your crypto in a cold wallet or get a hot wallet if you plan to buy or sell cryptocurrencies. Many crypto exchanges allow you to store your coins within a wallet on the exchange. Some like Robinhood and PayPal even enable customers to trade crypto within their existing accounts. Here’s a closer look at crypto wallets and exchanges and how these platforms can help you store, send and receive cryptocurrency.

Pros and cons of using a crypto wallet

Cryptocurrency wallets put a priority on user privacy and control over their assets and private keys. They provide offline storage solutions, like hardware wallets, to increase protection against internet dangers. In contrast, exchanges keep customer cash in centralized wallets, which makes them more vulnerable to hacking and security breaches. Users’ assets must be protected by the exchange’s security procedures. In essence, a cryptocurrency wallet is software that enables users to store digital assets like NFTs or other cryptocurrencies. Your access to your cryptocurrencies is provided by private keys, which act as master passwords in crypto wallets.

wallet vs exchange

If you’ve ever bought, sold, traded, swapped, spent, sent or received cryptocurrency, the transaction was executed using a wallet or exchange whether you knew it or not. Although at times intertwined, wallets and exchanges are not the same thing. Hardware wallets are widely considered to be the most secure way to store crypto because they aren’t connected to the internet and therefore aren’t vulnerable to cyber attacks. There are also paper wallets, which are simply printed pieces of paper with your keys on them, often in the form of a QR code.

Hardware Wallets

When sending or receiving money, certain wallets, however, may impose transaction fees. On the other side, trading commissions are how cryptocurrency exchanges make money. They impose costs for carrying out trades, which might differ depending on elements like trading volume and order type. Users should take these costs into account when deciding whether to store their crypto in a wallet or trade on an exchange. A cryptocurrency wallet mainly focuses on safely handling and keeping digital coins.

wallet vs exchange

And this brings us back to the issue with using a crypto Configuration Management Activity storage already discussed. If your wallet is on an exchange, you don’t control the private keys—the exchange does. And that introduces the problem of trust that digital currency is supposed to do away with. That’s why using your own wallets, maintaining multiple wallet backups and keeping them secure offline is a must for anyone seriously investing in crypto.


The two main options for crypto storage and trading are cryptocurrency exchanges and crypto wallets. But what exactly is the difference between the two, and which one is better for your needs? This comprehensive guide will walk you through the key distinctions, pros and cons, and top options to help you make the right choice. An application that enables a user to store all of their cryptocurrency is known as a cryptocurrency wallet.

However, this constant connectivity makes them more susceptible to cyber-attacks and unauthorized access. Lastly, always remember you’ll ultimately need both of these services to make the most of your cryptocurrency experience. So, we mentioned before that a Bitcoin wallet is a software program in which you store Bitcoin. To understand what a Bitcoin wallet is, it’s important to understand what Bitcoin is and how it works. Caution signs include anonymous teams, lack of public track record, too-good-to-be-true returns promised, missing security features, and poor or no customer support.

Step 2: Record your new wallet address (or addresses)

In July 2019, Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Bitpoint lost about $32 million in user funds due to a hack. A cryptocurrency exchange is a platform where you can buy, sell, and trade various cryptocurrencies. These crypto exchanges will store your crypto for you unless you decide to withdraw it. For example, you can buy Bitcoin with US dollars on a crypto exchange, and you can keep your Bitcoin on that exchange. You could also convert some of your Bitcoin to another cryptocurrency, like Ethereum, or you could eventually withdraw it to an external wallet or convert it back to USD.

wallet vs exchange

Often confused – particularly by novice traders – one of the most crucial things to learn and understand is the difference between a crypto wallet and exchange. If you are new to cryptocurrency and still learning how to invest in Bitcoin and other currencies, you might be better off keeping part of your funds in an exchange wallet. You can quickly trade digital funds and it makes the process much easier to manage and oversee. In fact, major exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase will set up your storage automatically.

Crypto Wallet Security experienced a hack in January 2022 but said no funds were compromised. For security, DeFi Wallet’s features entail two-factor authentications (2FA), password encryption and biometric authentication. Renata is a seasoned financial market expert with over 30 years of experience in journalism and content creation, primarily focusing on the financial market. Crypto wallet versus exchange is a battle that has been raging for a while. Often, people use these two terms interchangeably, but they are two distinct entities. Mobile apps like Trust Wallet and Coinbase Wallet provide easy access on the go.

Exchanges offer convenience, especially for users who trade frequently. Having crypto stored on an exchange simplifies trading; it eliminates the need for transferring assets between different wallets. Exchanges also provide additional services like market analysis, trading tools, and sometimes staking options.

Once the account is set up, the exchange generates a unique wallet for the user, which acts as a digital storage for their cryptocurrencies. So, while exchanges offer higher usability and convenience, wallets provide superior security, privacy and control over your assets. With the exponential growth of decentralized platforms, wallet convenience and functionality continues to improve as well. However, security and control over their assets is far more important than convenience for most cryptocurrency users. This makes wallets the better long-term storage solution despite the usability gaps compared to exchanges.

Investment Goals

Finally, there’s also a wallet address – a shortened, easier version of your public key – that you can use to receive funds. A Bitcoin exchange is a website or service that lets you convert “fiat currency” like US dollars and Euros to Bitcoin. These websites also let you convert that Bitcoin back to US dollars or your fiat currency of choice. In other words, exchanges buy and sell Bitcoin at the current market rate. A Bitcoin wallet actually contains one or more private keys that allow you to sign transactions.

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