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Crypto wallets: What you need to know

From Coinbase to PayPal, crypto owners have more options than ever for safely securing their digital currency.

Crypto prices appear to have an unstoppable upward trajectory. With Bitcoin and Ethereum hitting all-time highs again this month, more people are investing their money in digital currencies. And they have a wealth of options to keep their investments safe.

Cryptocurrencies are stored in what’s called a wallet, which has a private key associated with it, similar to a password. The easiest way to get your coins in a wallet is on the cryptocurrency exchange you used to buy your currency (think Coinbase or Gemini). But more mainstream companies, like PayPal and Robinhood, have also added options to buy, sell and store crypto.

Coinbase cryptocurrency trading market
James Martin/CNET

Crypto owners who want complete control over their investments can also rely on digital wallets managed by software locally on a user’s own device. For an extra layer of security, you may consider using what’s known as a cold wallet, which is essentially a local device like a hard drive that’s not connected to the internet.

Companies like Trezor and Ledger make special drives specifically for cryptocurrency wallets. The companies say sensitive information isn’t exposed even when the devices are plugged into your computer (just don’t lose the device, or the key needed to access the data on it). Check out the video above for an in-depth look at how all these options work.

Andy Altman is a producer covering all things science and tech. He led production on CNET's award-winning limited documentary series "Hacking the Apocalypse". He also created and co-hosts our video series "What the Future". Before joining CNET in 2014 Andy spent ten years as a TV news producer, earning a local Emmy award and multiple Emmy nominations.
Richard is a Senior Producer at CNET.