Wallets are used to either store your cryptocurrencies safely off of exchanges or to let you use decentralized applications more easily.


A Wallet lets you store, send, and receive digital assets like cryptocurrencies and NFTs - kind of like how you sign a receipt after using a credit card.

<aside> 💰 In web3, there are two types of wallets to know:

Cold Wallets are not connected to the internet which makes them more secure but less convenient. Examples are the Ledger Nano S or Trezor Model T

Hot Wallets are connected to the internet and let you use decentralized applications making it more convenient to use your crypto. Examples are MetaMask or Phantom.


We’ll focus on hot wallets for the time being, as they’re the most widespread option around

Before wallets, you had to give your private key to every decentralized application (or dApp for short) you wanted to use. This is like giving every grocery store your bank account password to pay for groceries. It meant that any dApp could drain your wallet at any time. Not good. Hot wallets like MetaMask let you sign transactions individually with an easy-to-use interface, giving you more control over your money.

When first creating a wallet, the app will give you a string of words to write down somewhere. This is your private key. If it is a hot wallet, you need to install the browser extension from the extension store. For example, to install Metamask on Chrome, you would go to the Chrome Web Store.


A string of words is easier to remember and replicate than a string of random letters and numbers. Remember it and keep it safe! Anyone who has it can drain your wallet. Hot wallets save space on your computer too. Without one, you would have to download the entire blockchain before you send/receive transactions. A wallet sends your transaction through another computer instead. A hot wallet is not as safe as a cold wallet, but it is more convenient.

<aside> 🔐 It is a good habit to use a hot wallet like MetaMask exclusively on one browser you only use for wallet activities. For example, I only use Brave with my Metamask wallet, and only use my MetaMask wallet on Brave. This way, no other tabs, cookies, or trackers can snoop on what I am doing. Second, use a VPN to prevent people from linking your public wallet address to your computer’s IP (which has your location).


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