A bitcoin wallet is the at the foundation of your experience with bitcoin. Due to the necessity to keep your bitcoin safe and secure but still accessible there are many varieties of wallets currently written which put more emphasis on either instant usability or redundancy from backup. Here we list some of the current best implementations for desktop/web based wallets for the average user.
Electrum – Lightweight Bitcoin Client (Desktop)
Electrum is one of the easiest to use, easiest to backup and most elegant solutions to having a desktop bitcoin wallet currently. It comes in two parts, a server side installation and a desktop client, but for most users the desktop side of it is all you will need. It can be run on windows/mac and linux. Upon installing and opening the electrum wallet, you will be presented with a 12 word seed which generates all the addresses used in your wallet. This make long term backups incredibly easy as it requires just writing down or printing out these 12 words for eternal recovery of the wallet should your hard drive become corrupted. This is also one of the easiest ways to store bitcoin long term as it requires little technical knowledge.
Blockchain – Web based bitcoin wallet
Blockchain is currently one of the best implemented web based wallet solutions available. They don’t store a users private keys so have no access to your funds but rather encrypt your wallet’s private key and store it in the cloud and run a service which links between your browser and your private keys. On top of this they offer great security with 2-factor authentication and backups send to your mail box. They have great tutorials and information so check out their pages here for more on wallets/security and bitcoin in general.
Mycellium – Android Bitcoin Client
With the Mycelium Bitcoin Wallet you can send and receive Bitcoins using your mobile phone. It uses super-nodes which means it installs and runs in seconds and doesn’t need to download the blockchain. It also has support for a number of features including restoring bitcoins from backup, a pin code to lock your wallet and supports BIP38 (encrypted)private keys. Some of the newer features of this wallet coming down the line are very exciting including almost instantaneous confirmation of funds transfer through double-spend checking and peer to peer cash-to-coin exchanges.