Just like with cash, Wallets are where you keep your Bitcoins. There are 3 types of wallets we will cover on this site: Online wallets, SmartPhone clients, and the official Bitcoin client. Each one has their own associated pros and cons. This table may help you decide how you want to proceed:

Type Pros Cons
Online Wallet
  • Extremely easy to get started.
  • Very intuitive to use.
  • Convenient access from a trusted computer or browser enabled phone.
  • StrongCoin allows you to encrypt your online address with a password.
  • A significant portion of your Bitcoin’s security rests at the mercy of the service provider. Since the Bitcoin’s keys are secured by the service provider, they could theoretically disappear if their site gets hacked or an insider runs off with them.
  • InstaWallet does not use passwords to protect your balance. It relies solely on your ability to protect your wallet’s web address. This requires you maintain some sort of password protection on your physical device, restrict physical access to that device, and only store a low value of a typical daily allowance in your account.
SmartPhone Wallet
  • Convenient access.
  • Very intuitive to use.
  • Point of Sale transactions at supporting merchants.
  • Requires a SmartPhone with WiFi or cellular data service.
  • May affect data plans.
  • Takes a long time to synchronize the Blockchain. No known way to make this process quicker.
Full Featured Client
  • Ultimate security potential.
  • Wallets can be taken offline for ultimate protection against malware.
  • (Coming Soon) Bitcoin keys can easily be imported/exported and traded outside of the Internet for maximum Anonymity.
  • Can be difficult for inexperience computer users to install.
  • Takes a long time to synchronize the Blockchain. It is possible to speed up this process if you are technically inclined.
  • Blockchain required a significant amount of data storage.