How I Store and Spend Cryptocurrency in a Standard ‘Everyday’ Scenario
In this post, I will explain how I store and spend Cryptocurrencies, in a secure, efficient, reliable and easy to use manner.
The way I store and use money is typical of most people:
- Storage for Daily Spending (over the period of a month)
- Storage for Long-Term saving
This table shows how I handle these actions with conventional money and Cryptocurrency:
Explanation of Hot Wallets, Cold Storage and Private Keys
The 3 things you have to keep in mind when thinking about storing your Crypto Currencies are:
- Hot Wallets
- Cold Storage
- Private Keys
The Hot Wallets and Cold Storage are used to store your Cryptocurrency in a secure manner. You should do these in conjunction with taking ownership of the Private Keys — whoever owns the Private key is the person who actually has control of the Cryptocurrency.
What is a Hot Wallet?
They have a direct connection to the Internet. They can be a website, or a program that runs on a PC or mobile phone.
What is Cold Storage?
They do not have a direct connection to the Internet. They can be a hardware device or non-electronic device (such as paper).
A Cryptocurrency Private Key is used to ‘open’ the wallet (by which I mean the place where the Cryptocurrency is stored — i.e. Hot Wallet or Cold Storage), in order to extract the Cryptocurrency. If you share the Private Key with someone else, they could potentially take all of the Cryptocurrency out of the wallet.
The Private Key comes in two forms — digital and also as a set of 12 or 24 randomly generated English words.
Whenever you create a new wallet, you are given the option to make a note of 12 or 24 randomly allocated words. This is a human readable version of your private key. With this, you can create a new wallet and import your old wallet into the new one.
Note that when you have a Hot Wallet that is hosted on a Website, you are not the sole owner of the Private Key — the owners of the website have access to the Private Key. Because your Private Key is not 100% under your control, your wallet (and any Cryptocurrency within it) is not 100% under your control, therefore, you should limit the amount of Cryptocurrency that you hold in this wallet to a minimum value and storage duration, in order to minimise risk of theft.
What if I lose my Hot Wallet or Cold Storage Device?
If you lose a Hot Wallet or Cold Storage device (e.g. the website is unavailable, you lose your phone on the train, your hardware device fails, your dog eats your piece of paper, etc.), you can recover your wallet in full, quickly and easily, with the 12 or 24 English word version of your Private Key.
When recovering a wallet you don’t have to recover it like for like version of the wallet (e.g. you can recover a Hot Wallet from your phone onto another application on your phone, another application on another phone, a Cold Storage device, etc.)
The Tools I use to Store and Spend Cryptocurrency
Daily Spending (over the period of a month)
Visa Prepaid Card
I have a TenX card. It is a Visa Prepaid card that can be used globally, anywhere you see the Visa symbol (shops, restaurants, banks, ATM’s, etc.).
The TenX costs are:
* Please be advised that some ATMs may charge their own fees — TenX has no control over those fees and they are excluded from the €2.75 EUR fee that TenX has in place. ATM fee is the equivalent of the €2.75 in the currency of the transaction
It also provides a 0.1% return on all spending.
What I like about this card is that unlike other Cryptocurrency Prepaid cards that are currently available (e.g. bccpay, Upay and Mona.co), it stores your Cryptocurrency in BitCoin at a variable rate, which means that its value can go up or down. I take the risk that BitCoin will go up in the long-term. The other Cryptocurrency Prepaid cards lock your rate in when you transfer money onto them, so your holding will not go up or down.
The TenX wallet is accessible via the website and the companion app - you can pay and receive from either (or from the Visa Prepaid Card of course). The currencies currently supported are BTC, ETH, LCN and DASH.
Remember that TenX hosts the wallet, which means that they host the Private Key, so you can’t consider your money in there to be 100% safe. Because of this, I will only put onto it my predicted spending amount for up to 1 month.
With hot wallets, the Private Key is stored on the app on the phone, so it is very safe, although not as safe as Cold Storage.
Because I have the TenX Prepaid card, I use the TenX mobile app on my phone. I use it when want to temporarily hold Cryptocurrency whilst mobile, as I might not always have quick and easy access to my Cold Storage device.
Before I switched to the TenX app, I used the Copay app (which I was happy with).
I store the bulk of my ‘available’ money in a Ledger Nano S, which is a Cryptocurrency hardware wallet from LedgerWallet. One of the things that makes it secure is that in order to authorise payment, you need to press physical buttons on the device — this performs an action that cannot be performed by software, which means that it is safe to use, even on a computer that is riddled with malware.
It is inexpensive, small and lightweight, so can fit in your bag or on your keyring.
So this is what I do right now. This whole Cryptocurrency thing is still very new and is only going to get easier, faster, more decentralised and more secure across all platforms in the future.
For information on cryptocurrency, check out my website https://www.selfcrypto.com/