A wallet that is installed as software on a computer and considered to be a “hot wallet” if the computer is connected to the Internet. This wallet is considered to be more secure than mobile or online wallets, and it offers the most robust selection of cryptocurrencies that can be stored. Private keys are encrypted and stored locally on your computer by the software. You can send or receive cryptocurrency easily, and some offer exchange functionality.
A commonly used desktop wallet is Exodus, and it is considered to be one of the most secure. The software is self-hosted, making operation fast and the beautiful, intuitive user interface is easy for beginners to understand. A built-in wizard makes setup a breeze on either MAC or PC, the portfolio of assets is easy to manage, and tutorial videos are concise. Exodus is considered a “litewallet” which means it does not require download of the whole Blockchain onto your computer as do some other desktop wallets. An awesome feature of Exodus is the ability to trade altcoins for Bitcoin or vise-versa directly within the application using Shapeshift. While you can’t actually buy coins using fiat currency, there is no verification process or dealing with banks to make an exchange. Exodus encrypts your private keys and transaction data to save them to your computer. No account with Exodus or any other third-party is required. Updates are frequent and conducted within the control panel.
Electrum is a desktop wallet created in 2011 and considered to be one of the most secure. However, it is not the most user-friendly option and can be difficult for non-technical beginners.
A desktop wallet is only as secure as the desktop itself and your security practices! If your computer gets infected with a virus, hacked or experiences external damage, you could lose all your cryptocurrency. Be sure to use a wallet such as Exodus, that allows for recovery if the computer is damaged or stolen.
Choose a desktop wallet that keeps your private keys in an unencrypted form. Best practice for using a desktop wallet is to disconnect from the Internet when not using the wallet and use extremely strong passwords. Keep your OS and your apps updated, avoid visiting suspicious websites or downloading untrusted files, and protect your private keys.