Have you ever spent hours perusing forums, digital wallet websites, and articles trying to pick out the best digital wallet in which to store your cryptocurrency? Maybe you currently store everything cold and never touch your crypto for purchases? Or perhaps you keep everything on an online exchange and haven’t even thought about using your crypto for daily purchases? No matter what position you may be in, the technology for convenient, secure, and practical digital wallets is finally here. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect digital wallet to use for everyday purchases then this article is for you. If you are a diehard crypto investor who wouldn’t ever dream of spending their currency, read on anyways, you just may realize that the era of convenient digital currency has finally arrived.
Perks of Paying Directly With Cryptocurrency
As we’ve brought up before, the way that people are spending money is going digital. And although cryptocurrency fits like a glove onto the hand of a digital spending world, it is still common for users to be forced to convert their crypto back into fiat before they can actually use it. Whether you are trying to pay a merchant, pay back a friend, or even pay an employee, if your money is in crypto then you are losing out by constantly converting it back into fiat.
The problems presented with relying on fiat to underwrite crypto supersedes the usefulness of crypto itself:
- Conversion Fees – Why pay to convert your crypto to fiat when the crypto itself covers the cost of what you are buying? What makes this even more silly is when the receiving party then uses that same money and converts it back into cryptocurrency. The lowest markets offer conversions of around 0.25%, but those exchanges aren’t available worldwide.
- Cashing Out to Fiat – Whether you are on a cold storage wallet, an exchange, or keeping your crypto somewhere between, cashing out is always a nuisance. Through an exchange, like GDAX for instance, cashing out can take upwards of 3 business days.
- Anonymity – Cryptocurrency, at its core, is an anonymous currency that can be exchanged without knowing who or where the other party is. However, when you connect a bank account to a crypto exchange you’ve lost that anonymity in the event of government seizures, hackers, and data leaks.
- Taxes – We would never recommend skipping taxes, but if you are constantly converting between fiat and crypto you are paying extra taxes over and over again (since BTC is treated as property instead of currency, according to the US government). Do you pay extra taxes when you withdraw money from an ATM and deposit it into the bank? No.
You may be thinking that spending crypto would be great if only more places accepted it as payment. But times are changing, and major companies are starting to get on board with accepting BTC, LTC, ETH, Bcash, and other altcoins. Microsoft, Newegg, Overstock, and other major retailers have hopped on the cryptocurrency train, and considering that Shopify gave all of its users (75,000+) the option to accept BTC, you’ll find that the opportunity to rely only on crypto is increasing. Now that you know you can spend crypto in more and more places everyday, it is important to learn how you can spend it safely.
Features of the Ideal Cryptocurrency Wallet
Akin to physical wallets, there are definitely superior and inferior varieties that exist in the world. Carrying a ball of cash in your pocket without any sort of organization is far less secure than a wallet with a chain attached to your belt loop. Sure, carrying cash in your pocket serves the same purpose, just as many cryptocurrency wallets fulfill the basic purpose of storing coins, but why settle for less in a wallet when there are great options available to you?
There are five basic key features that the ideal wallet should meet:
- Supported Cryptocurrencies – Does your chosen wallet support BTC? Great. What about LTC, ETH, Bcash, all other generic ERC-20 tokens, etc? There are over 1,500 cryptocurrencies at the moment with more added all the time, and having a wallet that can support every coin and token that you want to store is key.
- Available platforms – We all have different phones these days, and you should expect the wallet you choose to at least launch on IOS and Android. If your wallet has a browser option as well, even better, especially if it gives you the ability to lock your wallet in the event of losing your phone.
- Security is crucial – Hacks happen, unfortunately, but if a company isn’t learning from its mistakes and upgrading its code then it has no excuses. Check the history of the wallet you choose; does it have a history of negligence, known bugs, or potential problems?
- Fees – Fee schedules can be complicated and often confusing. Make sure that there is a clear fee schedule so you can understand where your money is going. Will you be paying fees when making payments/withdrawals/deposits? If you are paying a merchant, make sure you understand if they will pay the network fees or if you will be responsible for them. Cryptocurrencies aren’t free to use, given the nature of the network, so expect some fees for now when paying with cryptocurrency.
- Availability – Can you access your wallet offline, online, via WiFi, through Bluetooth, NFC (near-field communication), facial recognition, fingerprint scan, etc? Being limited to one single data connection heavily impairs the practicality of a digital wallet, so search for a wallet that allows access through a wide array of methods.
Top Wallet Contenders
With the large assortment of wallets available, it can be easy to get caught up in the quantity rather than the quality. We’ve taken the time to study the three leading cryptocurrency wallets and rate them against the aforementioned features.
Xapo and Coinbase are both leaders in the cryptocurrency exchange markets, which makes them easy starter wallets for users who may already be using their exchanges for buying/trading cryptocurrency. While FiiiPay is making waves in the realm of merchant payments, they offer a different perspective on a wallet since they are completely decentralized and exist on their own blockchain.
Xapo provides support for BTC, and although they offer up to 150 fiat currency options, you are limited to only one cryptocurrency. The Coinbase wallet supports all the same currencies that the coinbase exchange does, and although better than Xapo, it is still limited to 4 (BTC, LTC, BCH, ETH, ETC). The clear winner here is FiiiPay, which supports over 1,500 different cryptocurrencies as well as a large variety of fiat currencies.
Best – FiiiPay
Coinbase, FiiiPay, and Xapo are available on both Android, iPhone, and through an Internet browser. Although FiiiPay is available through a dongle as well, that tech can only be used when paired with the FiiiPOS.
Best – TIE
All three use similar technology for securing funds kept in the wallet, but Coinbase is the clear leader in community trust here. FiiiPay’s founders have learned the importance of security first hand, when their previous company suffered huge losses after the rewards system was hacked. With FiiiPay they’ve taken every precaution to learn from their mistakes, and having already dealt with hackers and attacks in the past gives them knowledge and experience to repel them in the future. Coinbase, on the other hand, has managed to thwart all attacks so far, while Xapo doesn’t have as much community acceptance but has also experienced no obvious security blunders in their service.
Best – Coinbase
Xapo allows for payment to merchants through the same way you’d pay anyone, by entering a BTC address or scanning a QR code. You can send money to people in your contacts list, and the associated fees are similar to the ones you’ll find on their website. Coinbase also allows QR code scanning, as well as payment to their approved merchants (Coinbase Commerce) – there is no charge for the latter. These Coinbase Commerce transactions are not on a blockchain since they take place on Coinbase’s internal servers. FiiiPay allows for sending to any merchant with a FiiiPOS, as well as any merchant that can accept BTC. Their fees range between 2-5%, but the bonus is that they are almost instantly recorded on the blockchain and immutable.
Best – Coinbase/FiiiPay (FiiiPay for ensuring decentralization in payments)
FiiiPay allows for offline, Bluetooth, NFC, dongles, facial recognition, and more in payment options both through their app and through FiiiPOS systems. Even when completely offline a user can connect to a FiiiPOS station with NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 to exchange data and capture payment requests. Coinbase and Xapo are both dependent on the app for sending/receiving money, and although Coinbase allows for payment at merchants you have to have data and access to your device. Although digital wallets are dependent on the battery of your device, they shouldn’t be dependent on the data connection of your device as well. Too often when travelling, we find ourselves without cellphone reception, but that shouldn’t limit the user’s ability to access their money.
Best – FiiiPay
Every user has their own desires, needs, and wants, but when it comes to objectively looking at what each of these three different wallets offers it’s clear to see that FiiiPay ranks highest. Coinbase and Xapo are too centralized still, depending on their own exchanges to fuel their wallets and insisting on keeping transactions off the chain and on their personal servers.FiiiPay is the only one of these three options that is genuinely on a true blockchain (and thus immutable and transparent), and the fact that they excel in a variety of other services is just a bonus.
As always, make sure to do your own research when choosing a place to store and spend your money. No matter what your choice is, we are just happy that spending cryptocurrency in the real world is finally becoming a reality.