Posts Tagged ‘Bitcoin wallet

We often get asked about hardware crypto wallets and what we would recommend and yet we have not covered that topic much, so it is about time we do it. There are pretty much 3 main products on the market that have been available for a while and have proven to be a reliable and most of all secure solutions for storing your crypto coins. These three manufacturers of hardware crypto coin wallets are: Ledger, Trezor and KeepKey and which of them you choose is often more of a personal preference.

The one we actually prefer and use is the Ledger Nano S, though the company also makes Ledger Blue, a more powerful, bigger and feature rich device that of course also costs more. We have not used or even tried the Blue model yet, so there isn’t much that we can talk about it at this point and it is also currently out of stock at the official website, so not easy to get at the moment. Anyway, one of the main reasons why we have opted out for the Nano S is the very compact size of the device, it is the smallest of all of the options with pretty much the size of a regular USB flash drive.

The Trezor wallet called also the Bitcoin Safe is the most common alternative of the Ledger Nano S, it is available in Black and White color and comes at almost the same price. Trezor is also working on a new improved model called Model T, though that one is not freely available for sale, currently still fulfilling pre-orders at the moment apparently. The Third option in the form of the KeepKey hardware wallet is probably the least popular of the three options, but that does not mean it is inferior to them. It is a bit different in how it looks, offering a more modern clean and sleek design and very similar functionality as the others at pretty much the same price point.

We are not trying to do a review of the different crypto hardware wallets covered here, we are just pointing the options available, so you can take a look at them and decide which one better suits your needs. Again, we use the Ledger Nano S, but that does not necessary mean that it will be the one you will like the best or that it will be the optimal solution for your needs. Just take a look at the available options and see what works best for you, they all work for all of the main crypto currencies, but there are some differences in the level of support of not so popular and newer ones.

What you need to be extra careful with is where you purchase your hardware wallet from, the best solution would be to go directly from the official website getting it from the manufacturer of the device. You can also check the list of official resellers and purchase from any of them, especially if you have a local company that sells them, just make sure they are listed as official reseller. It is not wise to look for a cheaper price and purchase from eBay or any other unofficial source as there could be unpleasant surprises that you get along with your hardware wallet. When you get the hardware wallet make sure it does not come pre-initialized with any printed security key or something like that, you need to initialize and generate the private key yourself on the device (if not sure you can always do a reset before you start). If the device comes already initialized (it should not come like that!) somebody else probably already has your private key and can use it to steal the coins you store and we are pretty sure you don’t want this to happen.

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We’ve received our International Bitcoin Debit Card that is linked to the free Xapo online Bitcoin wallet and Vault and we were very eager to test it out. Earlier this month we’ve tried out the Xapo Online Bitcoin Wallet service and you can read our first impressions here, though the thing that we were most interested in was the ability to link your Bitcoin wallet to an International Debit Card and use the card as any normal debit card, but when you pay with it or withdraw money they are converted instantly from your Bitcoins in the wallet. Xapo has apparently partnered with My Choice as a physical card provider and the card we’ve got is not yet a Xapo branded one as apparently all of the earlier cards are, though in the future they should come as Xapo-branded International Bitcoin Debit Card and not as you see on the photo above a generic debit card with a VISA logo on it. The card we’ve got is with 3 years validity and comes with both magnetic stripe and a chip, but no contactless payment option is supported.

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Do note that Xapo is still in beta testing with their debit cards and have not yet launched the card publicly. You can currently pre-order your card and thus get in the list for an invitation to get it when it becomes officially available, though there may be some options to get is faster such as the one available for EU users if they purchase some BTCs from Xapo via a bank transfer. Once you receive your Bitcoin debit card you need to activate it first via a special website or by calling a dedicated phone number and also get your PIN code (can be done over the phone only!). This is done through the My Choice’s website, though once you activate the card it will be automatically linked to your Xapo wallet, so don’t worry when you see that you have 0 balance in your My Choice account. It is completely normal to see a zero balance in USD or EUR as you actually do not have anything inside the card, when there is a request for a transaction it automatically converts Bitcoins from your Xapo wallet to cover the needed amount. This happens instantly, so there are no additional delays or things that you need to do in order to use the card, you can use it as easy as like any other debit card. There is also no difference to the merchant you are paying when you use a normal debit card or the Xapo debit card linked to your online Bitcoin wallet as the merchant gets the requested amount in the local currency in both cases.

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The Xapo Bitcoin Debit Cards are available in either USD, EUR or GBP currency (you can choose the currency when you fill the form for your card to be sent to you). Here ate the standard fees associated with the international debit card that you will get and that will be linked to your Xapo online Bitcoin wallet. Do note that while there is a monthly service fee included in the chart with the fees, this fee is going to be covered by Xapo, so for the end user there will be no such monthly fee included. Also note that currently Xapo is not charging the planned, one-time ordering fee of $15 USD for the card, while the card is in beta. In the future however this amount will be debited from your Xapo Wallet in Bitcoins when you request to get a debit card linked to your account. As you can see there is a 3% foreign currency conversion fee, so make sure you have the card set to use the main currency you will be using in order to avoid paying that extra fee unless you go abroad and want to pay with the card.

xapo-debit-card-limits

This table shows what are your Xapo Bitcoin debit card limits, by default once you get your card it will be with the Standard limits applied and these are a bit restricting for the total of both POS terminal purchases and ATM withdraws. After you get the card you can upgrade your status to increase limits, and to do so you need to contact Xapo. This is recommended mostly because it removes the relatively small total limits to the lifetime purchases and ATM withdraws you can do via the card. When you make a purchase or withdraw cash via the Xapo Bitcoin debit card you will immediately see the transaction in your online Bitcoin wallet at Xapo, but that transaction will pretty much list that a certain amount of BTC was sent from your wallet. In order to get extra transaction details about the merchant, how much you’ve paid in a local currency and in the card’s currency you would need to login to your My Choice account that you created when you activated your card.

So our first impressions from the International Debit Card provided by Xapo that is linked to your free online Bitcoin wallet at Xapo are very positive. The card is as easy to be used as any other debit or credit card as long as it is not empty in terms of balance, or in this case if you have some BTC in your wallet. Everything runs smooth and problem free when you pay on a POS terminal or withdraw cash from ATM, what you just need to make sure is that you are familiar with the limits and fees associated with the card to save yourself some possible issues in the future, so make sure you read them carefully. We are going to continue using our Bitcoin debit card for different payments to make sure that there will really be no problems doing various payments with it as we expect it to be. This card is really convenient thing to have in your wallet as it saves you the time and extra trouble of sending Bitcoins from your wallet to an exchange to convert them to USD, EUR or GBP for example and then withdraw them to your bank account that might be linked to a debit card that you can use.

To check out the Bitcoin Wallet and BTC debit card services offered by Xapo…

bitcoin-wallet-smaller-transaction-fee

By default the sending of Bitcoins from your wallet is set to use a minimum of 10000 satoshi as a transaction fee in order for your transfer to be processed faster, for bigger BTC transfers the fee also increases. The problem however comes when you want to send smaller amounts of coins such as a few hundreds of satoshi where a fee of 10K satoshi is significant. The latest Bitcoin Core wallet 0.10.0 comes with an advanced menu to control transaction fees and you can take advantage of that easy to use feature to send smaller BTC transactions with lower fees and still have them processed fast. You can of course try to send some coins without any fee, however that may result in very long time needed to confirm the transaction, so it is not recommended, especially if you are paying for something and want to receive the service or goods faster, so you might want to avoid doing that.

One of the ways to save about half of the standard fee and still have the transaction processed very quickly is to use 10000 fee per kilobyte of transaction data, so normally you would pay about half of that for small transactions. It may take just a bit more time to process these transaction than with the normal 1K fee, but they are processed very quickly as well. Alternatively you can go for the minimum possible fee of 1000 satoshi for a transaction, but that could be slow as well, though it is still better than not to pay a transaction fee at all.


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