How to find a safe, secure and user-friendly wallet for storing and managing IOTA.
IOTA aims to provide an infrastructure to enable transactions between devices on the “Internet of Things”. The platform’s native token is the IOTA cryptocurrency, which is also one of the world’s top 20 biggest digital currencies by market capitalization at the time of writing.
If you want to buy IOTA, you’ll need to find a secure wallet for storing your holdings. However, there’s only a limited range of wallets available, so read on to find out which IOTA-compatible wallet is right for you.
Compare wallets for IOTA
What to look for in an IOTA wallet
If you’re searching for an IOTA wallet, you’ll need to consider the following criteria:
- IOTA compatibility. Don’t assume that any wallet you choose will automatically be compatible with IOTA, as you’ll need to find a wallet that specifically supports this particular cryptocurrency.
- Ease of use. Sending, receiving and storing cryptocurrency can be a confusing proposition, so make sure any wallet you choose has a simple and easy-to-understand user interface.
- Security features. Check to see what security features are included with the wallet, such as the ability to always retain control of your private keys.
- Backup options. Can you create a backup of your private keys so that your funds can be recovered if you’re ever unable to access your wallet for any reason.
- Customer support and ongoing development. Research the team behind a wallet to find out whether the wallet is continually being developed and improved. Also look into your options for accessing customer support, and whether the support team has a good reputation for providing prompt assistance.
4 wallets for storing IOTA (MIOTA)
Ledger Nano S
- Strong security and ease of use
- It’s not a free wallet, setup can be time consuming
At the time of writing, the Ledger Nano S is the only hardware wallet on the market that offers support for IOTA.
The Ledger Nano S is a USB that connects to your computer to create a safe environment for cryptocurrency transactions.
In its simplest form, this safe environment uses a screen which lets you see what you’re transferring to and where, and makes use of a physical button that needs to be pushed to initiate a transaction. This is to prevent someone from remotely stealing funds.
The downside to this level of security is that it doesn’t come for free. The Ledger is so far only compatible with one IOTA software wallet – the IOTA Trinity wallet, which will also need to be downloaded if you want to use the Ledger for IOTA.
GUI Light Wallet
- Good option for beginners, fast and simple setup
- Not the most user-friendly wallet around
This lightweight wallet is incorporated into IOTA’s graphical user interface (GUI) and allows fast access to your IOTA holdings.
After downloading the wallet, you’ll be able to choose whether you want to run a full node or a light node – selecting a light node is recommended for beginners, as it allows you to use IOTA without the need to find and connect to neighbours via a static IP.
The setup process is simple and straightforward, allowing you to connect to a public node. The GUI Light Wallet interface looks easy at first glance, and the wallet runs on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. Your private key also remains in your possession at all times.
However, this wallet doesn’t have a great option for user-friendliness, while even the choice between a light and full node during the setup process may be confusing for cryptocurrency newcomers.
Nostalgia Light Wallet
- Fast access to IOTA
- Complicated, hard to understand for beginners
If you don’t want to use the GUI or your computer to run a full node, another option is to use the Nostalgia Light Wallet.
This allows you to modify the Nostalgia code to connect it to a server on which IOTA is running. To do this, you can use a software called Text Wrangler.
The full process is explained in this IOTA tutorial, but it’s likely to be too complicated for tech novices, who may want to explore other options.
Storing IOTA in an exchange walletAnother option you may want to consider is storing your IOTA in an exchange wallet. While this is a convenient option if you’re preparing to make a trade, ensuring fast access to your funds, it can also be a risky move. With exchange wallets, private keys are usually kept by the exchange, not by you, so you don’t have full control over your coins. It’s also worth pointing out that exchanges are common targets for hackers, so many cryptocurrency users believe it’s safest to transfer your holdings to a secure wallet.
IOTA Wallet (Android)
- Convenience, ease of use
- High volume of user complaints, no iOS app
It’s reasonably easy to interact with and you’ll be able to start sending and receiving IOTA tokens quickly.
Other features include QR code support, a seed generator, seed password protection and the ability to view your current IOTA balance in a range of currencies. A live Tangle explorer with search function is also included.
However, the app is only available on Android devices and is still in the beta testing phase. It has also received several complaints regarding a number of bugs. To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, at the time of writing (06/03/2018) there were 374 1-star Google Play user reviews, out of a total of 883 reviews.
New wallets on the way
Compared to some other cryptocurrencies, the choice of wallets available for IOTA is quite limited. However, there are some new offerings on the way soon:
- Trinity. Previously known as the UCL Wallet, the Trinity Wallet is being developed by University College London student Charlie Varley. This wallet is in beta testing at the time of writing, and can be used to hold and move funds, including through the Ledger Nano S hardware wallet, although its full features are not yet available.
- Nelium. Nelium is a frictionless IOTA wallet designed to be as simple and user-friendly as possible. Set to be released on Android and iOS devices, it was in beta testing at the time of writing.
- CarrIOTA. Another project currently in development, CarrIOTA is designed as a finance manager for IOTA. Its developers claim it will allow users to manage a single wallet, a household or an entire business.
Tips for securely storing your IOTA
To safeguard your crypto funds as best as possible, remember the following simple tips:
- Make a backup. Backup your wallet so that you can always recover your funds if something goes wrong.
- Create strong passwords. Make sure your funds are secured by a unique and strong password. Instead of using your regular password that’s also attached to a stack of other accounts, look to create a long password full of a host of different characters.
- Update your antivirus protection. Update your antivirus software and malware protection on any device you’ll be using to access your wallet. This can provide an important safeguard against hacking attacks.
- Don’t share your private keys with anyone. Private keys are what you use to access your crypto coins and tokens, so store your keys somewhere safe and make sure never to share them with anyone else.
- Research first. Before choosing any wallet, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched its reputability and its security features. It’s also a good idea to monitor cryptocurrency news sources for details of any new wallet launches or existing wallets adding support for new currencies.
At the time of writing, the author holds IOTA and XLM.