In 2021, there were a reported 200 million Bitcoin wallet users alone. Those numbers are growing—and not just with Bitcoin. Ready to access crypto and the world of decentralized finance? The right digital wallet will open new, unlimited potential for you and your funds.

A crypto wallet stores your private keys that enable you to access your crypto. These keys are unique to you and important to keep safe. Because crypto itself is stored on blockchain—rather than your wallet—the private keys prove your ownership and identity. These keys are also what allow you to make transactions; with them you can send, receive, and spend cryptocurrencies. And that’s just the basics of what your crypto wallet can do.

Types of Digital Wallets

  • Hardware wallets: Keys are stored on a small device similar to a thumb drive or USB that’s kept safe and connected to a computer only when using your crypto or making transactions. They offer a balance of security and convenience.
  • Online wallets: Keys are stored in an app or software that you can access with a mobile device or desktop. They typically require two-step encryption, and are most convenient to use—not unlike the interface for online or mobile banking.

There’s a wide range of options available for you to choose from. As with traditional online banking, it’s important to find a digital wallet that suits your needs. Take into account your experience level and crypto activities, as well as what features you want in terms of security, convenience, customer support, and access.

How to Set Up Your Wallet

Different categories of wallets have different set-up processes, but after you’ve found the right crypto wallet, getting started is simple.

  • Hosted wallets: These are popular and easy to use, especially for beginners. All you have to do is create an account on a crypto platform or exchange and purchase crypto using your debit card. It will appear automatically on the platform’s hosted wallet. A third party hosts your wallet (and your crypto) for you, so if you forget your password, it’s possible to reset it and regain access. It also means that you need to trust the platform. With hosted wallets, you can send and receive crypto, and sometimes earn through staking—but you won’t be able to access all of crypto’s other features.
  • Non-custodial wallet: Instead of relying on a third party, you remain in complete control of your crypto. Download a wallet app and write down your private key as you create your wallet. While the app provides the software, you’re responsible for keeping your key in a safe place—lose it and you lose your crypto. Not only can you transfer crypto to your wallet address and others’ wallets, but you can also connect to and explore decentralized apps (dApps).
  • Hardware wallet: As the name suggests, these are physical objects, so you have to buy one to begin. The advanced security they offer comes with a price tag—they can be expensive compared to other wallets. Once you receive your hardware, follow the instructions to download the accompanying software and set up your account. Again, you’ll only connect your wallet to your computer or mobile device when you want to use your crypto. If you lose the hardware wallet, you can use your private key for recovery.

Benefits and Uses of your Crypto Wallet

Crypto wallets go beyond traditional ideas of storing money, and they even transcend the features of online banking. Storing, sending, and receiving crypto is just the start. With your wallet you can securely manage your digital assets in one place, engage in near-instant and borderless transactions, browse dApps, and shop anywhere crypto is accepted. All while enjoying unparalleled benefits:

  • Personal protection: Just like your wallet holds your private keys and not your crypto itself, the same is true for your personal information. Instead of putting sensitive details on the web, your private keys keep your information secure and  protected from hackers and data collectors.
  • Complete control: Your wallet functions as your identity on the blockchain. No more creating new passwords for every single site, just one secret phrase that controls all of your accounts. Your private keys are your log-in, password, and proof of ownership all in one. And with non-custodial wallets, you remain in control of your funds, so you can swap wallet providers at any time—meaning your wallet can evolve as you do.
  • Unlimited possibilities: Crypto is revolutionizing the web as we know it, and the right digital wallet is your key to unlocking the decentralized web. Explore dApps, make investments, store NFTs. What can you do with your crypto wallet? Anything you want.

Build your Wallet with Rise

The freelance economy isn’t just booming—it’s transforming. With the growth of crypto and the arrival of Web3, it’s time to leave behind old ways of work. At Rise, that means embracing blockchain technology to give independent contractors and businesses the right tools to prosper.

That’s why we created Rise Pay, designed to streamline administrative tasks and simplify payment processes.

Our Web3-enabled platform allows you to connect any wallet that works on Arbitrum, so you can easily receive Stablecoin payments and make investments with your earnings—all in one place. And because your private keys act as your virtual identity on the blockchain, you can securely sign contracts and agreements knowing that your personal data is safe. Once connected, your wallet:

  • Gets tied to a RiseID, your unique identifier on the blockchain
  • Can receive & store funds
  • Can initiate actions, which require signatures, like creating pay schedules and approving payments
  • Puts you in complete control

Setting up your wallet on Rise is effortless. Whether you simply need to connect an existing wallet or need to find resources to create one, we’ll guide you through every step. Plus, users also have the option to create a Rise Security Key—as easy as setting up a password. We know more and more talented workers are transitioning to freelance so they can take back control of their schedules and their work. Shouldn’t the same be true for your earnings? Get started today on Rise.

Continue to the next blog in this series: Blockchain 101, Part 3 | Crypto Basics for Your Business