Desktop Bitcoin & Crypto Wallets


desktop wallets bitcoin

Desktop wallets are a great option for anyone sending frequent Bitcoin payments from their computer.

In this post we will cover some of the best bitcoin desktop wallets and help you decide which is right for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Our top pick for a desktop bitcoin wallet is Wasabi Wallet.
  • Large amounts of bitcoin should not be stored on a desktop wallet.
  • All of the wallets listed on this page can be made secure by using them with a hardware wallet.

Samourai Wasabi

Wasabi wallet is a desktop (as well as mobile) wallet designed around maintaining privacy through advanced features such as Coinjoin and tor routing.

Supported Platforms: macOS, Linux, Windows

  • Open Source
  • Full Segwit support
  • Coinjoin functionality
  • All traffic routed through Tor
  • Connect to full node
  • Works with Ledger, Trezor and Coldcard hardware wallets
  • Advanced features make this not a beginner wallet

Specter Specter

Specter makes multisig wallets on desktop a total breeze. You can use this easy and intuitive desktop wallet software to connect all your hardware wallets so that you have multiple keys protecting your Bitcoins! The simple interface and fast setup means anyone can hold coins like a true pro.

Supported Platforms: macOS, Linux, Windows

  • Open Source
  • Multisig made easy
  • Connect Ledger, Trezor, and others
  • Connect to full node
  • DIY hardware compatible
  • OSX, Windows, and Linux compatible
  • Overkill for small amounts of Bitcoin

Ledger Live Ledger Live

Ledger Live is a little bit different than all the other desktop wallets on this list. That's because you actually need a Ledger hardware wallet for it to work. This makes it by far the most secure desktop wallet on this list, but it also means that using it isn't exactly 'free'.

Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux

  • Most secure
  • Easy to use
  • All crypto in one dashboard
  • Compatible with Ledger Hardware Wallets
  • Supports BTC, ETH, LTC, and hundreds of other coins
  • Must buy a Ledger hardware wallet to use
  • Confirming transactions can be confusing for new users

Blockstream Green Blockstream Green

Blockstream Green is one of the most unique and secure desktop wallets on the market. It uses a 2-of-2 style backup so if you ever lose your backup, you can use any two factor authentication to recover it. It's also super simple to set up and requires no registration other than an email address. You can even store your Liquid assets on Blockstream Green now.

Supported Platforms: macOS, Linux, Windows, iOS, Android, F-droid

  • Easy to set up
  • Excellent fee estimation
  • Two-Factor multi-sig
  • Multilingual
  • Great support
  • Some features are advanced for beginners
  • Using two-factor recovery can be confusing
  • Only Android version works with hardware wallets right now

Electrum Electrum Read Review

Electrum is one of the oldest and most trusted Bitcoin wallets on the market. It also sports advanced features for privacy and fee settings.

Supported Platforms: macOS, Linux, Windows, Android, Python


There are a lot of fake versions of Electrum out there. Make sure you verify you are installing the real Electrum.

  • Connect to full node
  • Compatible with most hardware wallets
  • One of the oldest Bitcoin wallets
  • Works with Ledger, Trezor, Keepkey, Bitbox, Coldcard
  • Open Source
  • More advanced wallet not ideal for beginners
  • iOS version widely considered inferior to Android version
  • Traditional stock dashboard may distract from crypto-only holders

Bitcoin Core Bitcoin Core

Bitcoin Core is a Bitcoin full node wallet, meaning it downloads the entire Bitcoin blockchain. It is the most private Bitcoin wallet although it takes patience and quite some time to setup. You also need a reliable internet connection, as well plenty of bandwidth and hard drive space.

Supported Platforms: macOS, Linux, Windows

  • Full node required
  • Great for Bitcoiners with no other coins
  • Compatible with most hardware wallets
  • Developed by some of the best devs in the crypto
  • Works with Ledger, Trezor, Keepkey, Bitbox, Coldcard
  • Bitcoin Only - no altcoin supported
  • Basic wallet with limited features


How to Add Funds to Your Desktop Wallet

bitcoin wallet icon

Now that you have chosen a wallet, let's transfer some funds into it.

In this brief walkthrough, we will show you how to add funds to your desktop wallet

For you to add funds to your desktop wallet, you will need to buy some cryptocurrency from an exchange and transfer it to your desktop wallet. Most desktop wallets do not have exchanges native to it.

You’ll need to choose an exchange that services your country and/or state. The best place to do that is to go to our exchange finder.

After you have bought your crypto, you’ll need to send it to your wallet. To do that, do the following:

1. Open your wallet and find an option to “receive”

2. Copy the address given

3. On your exchange where you bought your coins, select the “send” option.

coinbase home page

Above screenshot is from Coinbase.

4. There should be a field to input your wallet address copied in step 2. Paste it there.

coinbase input address

5. Confirm you want to send your coins.

After that, you should receive a confirmation with a transaction ID of some kind. Here is what that might look like.

transaction id
What a transaction ID looks like (the number starting with "804")

Hardware Wallets: A Great Addition to Desktop Wallets

ledger nano s green

With funds in your desktop wallet, its time to take your security to the next level.

The best way to do that is with a hardware wallet like a ledger or Trezor

Desktop wallets have the advantage of being free and easy to use. However, using a desktop wallet also poses many dangers to your coins.

Making sure your coins are not stolen through malware or ransomware is difficult to avoid on a desktop wallet.

malware ghost on motherboard
Malware and Ransomware on your computer can result in stolen coins

This is where hardware wallets come in. Hardware wallets are never connected to the internet. They store the private keys and sign transactions you send to them. You verify the transaction on the screen of the hardware wallet, and hand off the signed transaction back to interface on your desktop or mobile phone.

ledger and trezor hardware wallets
Some of our favorite hardware wallets.

Hardware wallets are a great way, then, to keep your coins safe if you want to use a desktop wallet. Instead of housing the coins on the desktop computer, you store them on the hardware wallet and the desktop just acts as your UI to control the hardware wallet.

You can learn more about each of the hardware wallets we recommend below:


ledger nano x folded

Ledger Nano X

  • RELEASED: 2019
  • PRICE: $150
Trezor One


  • RELEASED: 2013
  • PRICE: $119

Security Tips for Desktop Wallets

shield with checkmark icon

Now that we've got our desktop wallet set up with a hardware wallet, let's explore a few additional points on security.

PINs, VPNs, and Steel wallets are great additions to our security stack.

Always set up a PIN to protect your funds

Make sure your desktop wallet is protected by a 4 to 6 digit PIN number. Much like your bank account, most wallets have a PIN password that is the absolute minimum when it comes to protecting funds you keep on your wallet. This prevents someone who has your phone from accessing the coins and sending them to another wallet that they own.

hardware wallet pin number
Setting up a PIN is a minimal requirement when it comes to mobile wallet security.

A PIN is not very strong security, but it’s good enough to prevent most people who have temporary access to your unlocked phone from taking your money.

Store your recovery phrase on something that is water and fire proof

All the desktop wallets on this list support BIP39 seed words, otherwise known as ‘recovery phrases’. If your phone is lost, destroyed, or stolen, you can use this phrase to recover your funds to a new device.

However, most people write down these words on a piece of paper. When their home catches fire or is flooded, they lose the device and the backup to the elements. You should therefore consider a steel backup device like the PrivacyPros Billfodl.

billfodl in fire
The Billfodl protects your funds from fire and flood.

DO NOT store a lot of coins on your desktop wallet

We’ve mentioned this before, but its worth repeating: you should treat your desktop wallet the same way you treat your real world wallet. You wouldn’t carry every dollar you own in your pocket. You should also not hold all your coins on your desktop wallet. You need to store them on a hardware wallet.

Which Countries Do Desktop Wallets Support?

Desktop wallets are just software so they work in any country.

Use a VPN when transacting on an desktop wallet

man holding mobile phone with vpn running
A VPN shields your IP address from leaking.

When making Bitcoin transactions on your desktop wallet, it is a good practice to use a VPN. This prevents your ISP or hackers listening in on your connection from tying your IP address (and therefore your personal identity) to your Bitcoin transactions. It’s a good privacy practice that is cheap and easy to implement.

Frequently Asked Questions

question and answer icon

Below are some of our most asked questions by readers.

If you're wondering about a topic on this page, odds are we have the answer here.

desktop icon

When should I use a desktop Bitcoin wallet?

If you’re on your computer a lot and don’t need super secure storage, a desktop wallet is a good choice.

hardware wallet icon

Do desktop wallets work with hardware wallets?

Yes, many desktop wallets allow the user to utilize a hardware wallet as the signer of transactions. This means that the private key is not help on the computer the desktop wallet is installed on.

Instead, the private key is held on a hardware wallet, and the desktop wallet is used as an interface for the hardware wallet. The desktop wallets sends transaction data to the hardware wallet to sign off on. If you’ve ever used Ledger Live, this is essentially how it works as well.

ledger live on a laptop
Ledger's Desktop wallet manager application, Ledger Live

safe icon

Can I store large amounts of bitcoins in a desktop wallet?

You can, but this isn’t recommended.

If you want to use a desktop wallet but need to store large amounts of Bitcoin, its best to utilize a hardware wallet to sign transactions for the desktop wallet (as mentioned above).

KeepKey, TREZOR, and Ledger Nano X all work with Electrum. TREZOR One and Model T and the Ledger Nano S and X all work with Copay.

copay app settings
The copay app settings for adding a hardware wallet for multisig

Setup is very easy and you can have your hardware wallet securely signing transactions via your desktop wallet in just a few minutes.

desktop announcement

What’s the difference between a desktop wallet and a web wallet?

Web wallets are more like accounts. A web wallet makes you set a passwords which it uses to encrypt your wallet on the web wallet server.

Desktop wallets are actual apps that are installed on your computer.

free icon

Are desktop wallets free?

Yes, all desktop wallets are free. Hardware wallets are the only type of wallet that costs money.

thief icon

If someone has access to my computer can they access my bitcoins?

It depends. Many desktop wallets encrypt your private keys and request a password to decrypt it every time you open the wallet. This means that you need to enter a password in order to send bitcoins from most desktop wallets.

backup icon

How do I backup my desktop wallet?

Most wallets generate a seed on setup. You write this seed down on a piece of paper and it can be used to restore your wallet if you lose your computer of have it stolen.

more than one desktop wallet

Can I use more than one desktop wallet at a time?

Yes, of course. We suggest trying many different desktop wallets and then deciding which one has the features you’re interested in.

aqua wallet logo

What is the difference between Blockstream Green and Aqua?

While both of these Bitcoin and Liquid wallets are made by Blockstream, only Blockstream Green is available for desktop. Aqua is only available as a mobile wallet on IOS (Android version available late 2021). The other difference is that Blockstream green uses a 2-of-2 multisig to protect your coins from hackers. Aqua is a single signature wallet, meaning anyone with access to your phone (either physically or remotely) could steal your coins. In exchange for the increased risk, the wallet is easier to use.

Aqua is new, and if you have an iOS device, it can be a great addition to Blockstream Green Desktop.

Blockstream Jade wallet logo

Does Blockstream Jade work with Blockstream Green Desktop?

Yes, you can now use the Blockstream Green app on your desktop to set up your wallet on your Blockstream Jade hardware wallet!

blockstream jade with mobile device
Article Sources

BuyBitcoinWorldWide writers are subject-matter experts and base their articles on firsthand information, like interviews with experts, white papers or original studies and experience. We also use trusted research and studies from other well-known sources. You can learn more about our editorial guidelines.

  1. Wasabi Wallet - Open Source Code,
  2. Specter Wallet - Open Source Code,
  3. Electrum Wallet - Open Source Code,
  4. HackRead - Fake Electrum Wallets,

About the Author

jordan tuwiner

Jordan Tuwiner is the founder of He studied computer science at Towson University and holds an online degree in trading & cryptocurrency. Jordan has been writing about Bitcoin since 2015. His work has been featured in The Guardian, International Business Times, Forbes, VentureBeat, CoinDesk and many other top Bitcoin media outlets.

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