Cryptocurrency storage: on an exchange or in a wallet?

Cryptocurrency storage: on an exchange or in a wallet?

Marcin Woźniak November 27, 2022
7 min read

There are some key differences between cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges that investors should be aware of. First, security levels differ significantly when storing bitcoin on an exchange versus a hardware wallet.

Secondly, the technical know-how required also varies depending on the solution chosen.

After the collapse of the world’s second largest exchange FTX, trust in exchanges for storing crypto-assets is increasingly being questioned.

Whether this is justified or not is difficult to answer unequivocally. Furthermore, there are several pros and cons associated with using each type of storage option.

So, what is the best way to store your cryptocurrencies?

Ultimately, it depends on your individual needs and preferences. In this post, however, we will examine the main differences between cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges, so that you can make an informed decision on which option is right for you.

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The difference between storage in a cryptocurrency wallet and in a cryptocurrency exchange

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With the growing popularity of the cryptocurrency world, people are starting to invest in digital assets.

But if you are new to the world of cryptocurrencies, you might be wondering what exactly a cryptocurrency wallet is and how it differs from an exchange.

Cryptocurrencies are often bought and sold on exchanges – platforms where you can buy, sell or trade cryptocurrencies with other assets, such as fiat currencies (USD, EUR) or other digital tokens, such as Ethereum.

Cryptocurrency wallets act as a storage device for your cryptocurrencies – similar to the way a real wallet stores its notes and coins.

What is a cryptocurrency wallet?

So,  you need a special place to store all their private keys (representing the ownership of specific units of currency), so that only you can access them to spend them.

For this reason, holding wallets for self-storage is considered a best practice in the industry. A cryptographic wallet is a device that proves that you are the owner of your private keys. The private key is like a password that allows users to access their funds, while the public key allows others to send money to them.

Cryptocurrency wallets can come in different forms: some are designed for desktop use, while others are more suitable for mobile devices; even hardware wallets that look like USB sticks!

What is a cryptocurrency exchange?

A cryptocurrency exchange is a platform that allows you to buy, sell or trade digital assets in various cryptocurrencies.

These exchanges usually offer various functions, such as an integrated wallet, a variety of payment methods and sometimes even a debit card, so that you can use your digital assets to make purchases in the physical world. An exchange is a place where one can buy, sell or trade crypto assets. Cryptocurrency exchanges act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers. They usually charge a fee for their services.

Explore the best 5 crypto exchanges in Europe.

The difference between a wallet and an exchange

When talking about cryptocurrencies, many terms are used that can be confusing to people who are new to this field. Two of these terms are ‘wallet’ and ‘exchange’. It is important to understand the difference between them, because they are not the same thing. A wallet is simply a place where you store your cryptocurrencies.

You can think of it as a bank account, but the only owner of the account is you, not your bank. An exchange, on the other hand, is a place where you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies. You can think of a stock exchange where you can buy and sell shares in a company. In simple terms -> a wallet serves to store your coins and an exchange serves to buy and sell them.

Key takeaway: cryptocurrency wallets hold the private keys which allow you to access your cryptocurrencies, while cryptocurrency exchanges allow you to buy, sell or trade cryptocurrencies.

It requires technical know-how to safely store Bitcoins

He can store his bitcoins on an exchange, in an online wallet or in a hardware wallet. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

If you are looking for the most secure way to store bitcoins, you should consider using a hardware wallet. Hardware wallets are physical devices that store your private keys offline and out of the reach of hackers. The downside is that they can be expensive and sometimes difficult to set up. Another option is to use an online wallet service, such as Binance or eToro.

These services allow you to store your coins securely, without worrying about losing them if something happens to your computer. However, it is important to understand that these services are custodial and do not have full control over your private keys.

This means that if the company fails or gets hacked, you are likely to lose all your coins. Overall, however, these services should be considered safe places to start learning about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investments, as they offer a good combination of security and ease of use.

This suggests that cryptocurrency exchanges offer custody of its coins, but only digital wallets allow you to have full control of your private keys.

Pros and cons of using a exchange versus a wallet

Crypto exchange or wallet? Each option has its pros and cons, which you should consider before making a decision. In general, exchanges are less secure than wallets, as they are often a target for hackers.

However, exchanges offer the advantage of convenience and accessibility: you can buy, sell and trade directly on the platform. Wallets require you to store your own private keys (to have more control over your funds), but can be difficult to set up and use. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference: which security levels and features are most important to you? Here are some important features to consider when deciding whether to use a purse or a wallet:


  • Convenient and easy to use
  • Can be accessed from anywhere
  • Fees are often higher than for wallets
  • Are often a target for hackers
  • You control your private keys
  • More difficult to set up and use than exchanges
  • Lower fees than exchanges
  • More secure than exchanges

How to choose the right cryptocurrency storage solution

When it comes to choosing a cryptocurrency storage solution, there are many factors to consider. The most important factor is security, because you want to make sure that your coins are safe.

Another important factor is ease of use, because you don’t want to have trouble accessing your funds when you need them.

There are many different types of wallets available on the market, so be sure to do some research before making your decision.

The first step in choosing the right cryptocurrency storage solution for you is to understand which type of wallet best suits your needs.

If security is your primary concern, a cold wallet, such as a paper or hardware wallet, is ideal.

However, these wallets can be difficult to set up and use if you are not tech-savvy. If convenience and easy access to your funds are more important to you than security, then an online or mobile wallet is more suitable.

These wallets are usually much easier to use, but sacrifice some of the security of an internet connection. Regardless of the type of wallet you choose, always remember that cryptocurrency exchanges are a hot target for hackers, as they store large amounts of money. Another problem is the proof of the assets of exchanges.

In the FTX crash, the problem was not hacking, but mismanagement of assets and misuse of client funds.

As well as a total lack of supervision by financial regulators. For this reason, it is advisable for cryptocurrency investors to keep their coins offline in a personal wallet, instead of holding them on an exchange. And if they keep them on the exchange, they should be under the supervision of a financial regulator. Hardware wallets with a very high level of security are those of Trezor or Ledger wallets.

Frequently asked questions on the difference between a cryptocurrency wallet and exchange

Is it better to hold cryptocurrencies in a wallet or an exchange?

It depends on one’s needs and preferences. If a person is interested in buying and holding digital assets for the long term, then it would be better to keep them in a wallet.

This way, they have more control over their private keys and can avoid the risks associated with trading (e.g. hacks, fraud, theft). On the other hand, if someone actively trades cryptocurrencies or uses them for everyday payments, the exchange may be more convenient. Exchanges usually offer features such as integrated wallets and support for different types of currencies, which make it easier to buy and sell cryptocurrencies quickly.

Are cryptocurrency wallets a better choice than exchanges?

There is no simple answer to the question of the security of cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges. Both have their pros and cons, so it depends on your needs as an investor or trader. If he is looking for security, a wallet may be the best option, as he has more control over his private keys. However, if he is looking for ease of use and accessibility, an exchange may be a better choice. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide which option is best for him.

Is Binance a wallet or an exchange?

Binance is an exchange, not a wallet. You cannot store cryptocurrencies on your Binance account as you would with a software or hardware wallet. When you wish to trade on Binance, you will have to send your cryptocurrency from your personal custody account (wallet) to your temporary exchange wallet on Binance. After completing transactions on Binance, it is important to move the non-exchanged currency to your personal vault. If you want to learn more about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, read ecoinomy. Platform reviews, exchange reviews, how-to guides and much more are offered here. You can also learn about the different levels of security when storing your bitcoins on an exchange or in a hardware wallet.

Dive Deeper into Wallets

Marcin Woźniak

In 2018, Marcin first encountered blockchain technology and Bitcoin, which instantly captivated his interest. He possesses a profound passion for technological innovation and the ongoing digitalization of the financial sector. Marcin eagerly anticipates the transformative potential of blockchain on a global scale and is enthusiastic about contributing to this revolutionary movement.