Bitcoin is no longer alone: There are many more so-called altcoins, which are also supported by hardware wallets.
Bitcoin is currently the best-known cryptographic currency, also known as virtual money, with the largest market capitalization. Bitcoin is decentralized, which means that there is no owner or central control, as is the case with traditional currencies by the banks.
Transactions are sent in a cryptographic form and processed and verified by miners using computers. All Miners combined make up a huge computing power that makes Bitcoin what it is.
All transactions are stored in the block chain. This can be imagined as a list of all transactions ever made. By the fact that this blockchain can be viewed and downloaded by every user, manipulation of transactions is impossible.
Bitcoin is an open source code that has already been adapted by many other Altcoins. It also stipulates that there will never be more than 21 million bitcoins.
While the technical aspects of Bitcoin seem to be very confusing for experienced computer scientists, especially at the beginning, the different types of wallets are quickly known. For this purpose, it is not necessary to fully understand Bitcoin. But you should take a good look at the wallets to make sure you don’t lose your cryptocurrencies. That’s why I list the main categories of wallets here.
At the beginning we have the Bitcoin Online Wallet: Here you can usually create an anonymous account, whereby an address pair is automatically created. You can access your wallet from anywhere via a browser. Please note that both the owner and other users can access your private keys through security vulnerabilities, as these are stored by the website operator. Therefore, this type of wallet should only be used for small amounts and treated like cash.
Next, we have a so-called software wallet. You install software on your end device, where a key pair is also generated. This variant is a little bit safer, but viruses and malware still expose you to the danger of losing your bitcoins.
And last but not least, we have the safest way to store bitcoins: The Bitcoin Hardware Wallet. With this device listed above, the private keys are stored in a secure element that no one has access to. The transactions are automatically signed and approved by you via the firmware on the hardware wallet. This protects you from all dangers.
Many people who think of the physical wallets presented here think primarily of the cryptocurrency bitcoin. However, new models are no longer limited to one cryptocurrency.
Other popular cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin like Monero, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, Dogecoin and others have been represented on the popular hardware wallets for a long time. And there are regularly official extensions of the manufacturers, as well as extensions to open source models created by the community.
However, with these unofficial enhancements, you should first deal with the extension extensively in order to avoid possible misuse. For this purpose, an internet search or a short support request to your manufacturer is recommended.
A lot of information about hardware wallets can be found in the Bitcoin Wiki, but so far only in English.