Not every bitcoin user is going to want to keep all of their bitcoin on a mobile wallet and not everyone is ready to commit to purchasing a hardware wallet until they have a better understanding of how bitcoin works. For those users, a desktop wallet is a great middle ground with an interface that is both easy to use and understand.
What Is A Desktop Wallet?
Desktop Wallets are software downloads that run on your desktop or laptop computer. They are non-custodial since they store the private keys on your device but that does not mean that they are immune to being hacked. Since desktop computers are able to connect to the internet, it is possible that if your computer becomes infected with malware such as a keylogger, your bitcoin could be stolen. One of the primary reasons why we suggest that you use a hardware wallet is that they protect against malware like keyloggers.
Why Use A Desktop Wallet?
Desktop wallets are a great medium between a full hardware wallet device and mobile wallets. Since not everyone is comfortable keeping all of their bitcoin on a device that is constantly connected to the internet and that is easy to lose or have stolen, desktop wallets are a great option.
Ease of Use
Desktop wallets are also easy to use since they use a full sized keyboard and screen. It is not always easy to conduct complex transactions on a tiny little screen and transactions can often be “fat finger’d” on a tiny mobile wallet keypad and you run the risk of sending the wrong amount of bitcoin or possibly send to the wrong address. Sending bitcoin to the wrong address is called “burning” bitcoin since it is almost certainly gone forever.
Seed Phrase Recovery
It is also much easier to recover a wallet from a seed phrase when you are using a full sized keyboard instead of a tiny touchpad on a mobile wallet. It’s important to note that using a desktop computer to recover a wallet using your key phrase is how keylogger malware is able to steal your bitcoin. Some hardware wallets protect you from this since they use a key cipher on the hardware device itself that scrambles the letters you type on your keyboard.
The Difference Between Desktop Wallets and Hardware Wallets
Hardware wallets almost all require some sort of dedicated application that operates on a desktop computer. So, although you may be using a hardware wallet device, you will probably still need to use a desktop to send any outgoing transactions.
Desktop wallets do not require an additional piece of hardware. They are just software applications that are downloaded from the internet and installed directly on your desktop or laptop. In the future, certain desktop wallets may become the dedicated application for making outbound transactions from a hardware wallet device.
Exodus wallet is the absolute cleanest interface of all of the desktop wallets. Exodus has done more to bring new users into the bitcoin space by making bitcoin easy to use. It is both intuitive and has some absolutely amazing design elements behind it so it is a great option for users who are new to sending and receiving bitcoin.
Exodus also has support for multiple cryptocurrencies so if you would like to hodl more than just bitcoin, you can easily do so without having to download all sorts of other wallets and managing lots of private keys.
Exodus also has a built-in exchange feature that allows the user to exchange bitcoin for other digital assets that may do things that bitcoin is not yet able to do.
Exodus supports BIP 32 and BIP 39. It may also support other BIPs in the future.
More information on Electrum wallet is coming soon.
Atomic wallet is a newer wallet but is focusing on the functionality of atomic swaps rather than just being a wallet. Not only does Atomic have support for more than 50 assets but they appear to be the only desktop wallet that is working to implement atomic swaps. Only time will tell.
Atomic wallet currently supports BIP 32 and BIP 39 for bitcoin transactions.
We will work to get more information on Atomic wallet as soon as we can.
More information on Guarda Wallet is coming soon.
Jaxx has been in the wallet space for a while and in 2018 they launched a new desktop wallet that has support for more than X digital assets.
Jaxx for desktop supports BIP 32 and BIP 39.
Desktop wallets may not be for everyone but if you are more interested in HODLing for longer periods of time rather than short-term spending, a desktop may be the best option for you. Desktop wallets also provide the ability to hodl multiple digital assets without the need to store a multitude of private keys.
As always, we strongly suggest that you use a hardware wallet for hodling large amounts of bitcoin and if you need quick access to them with a “full size” interface, send from your hardware wallet to a desktop wallet for easier spending. Stay safe out there.