Where to store IOTA? IOTA Wallet options

Although IOTA is a very good investment and has strong potential, strangely it’s lacking a good, simple to use wallet. It’s actually pretty difficult for an average user to store IOTA away from an exchange, where you buy it. I’ve been trying to find a god way to store IOTA, here’s what I suggest.

UPDATE 11th February 2018 – good news, there’s a new colaboration between the IOTA foundation and the IOTA Trinity wallet. Currently it’s in testing phase, but soon we should get a reliable and hopefully more user friendly IOTA wallet! Judging from the content of above linked article, there’ll be at least 2 months until a live version is released.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: On 19.01.2018, some users who used a scammy website iotaseed(dot)io to create their IOTA wallet seed had their balances stolen. IOTA system wasn’t to blame – it wasn’t hacked or breached. What went wrong was the fact that some users trusted a third party to generate their SEED. Therefore DO NOT TRUST A THIRD PARTY TO GENERATE YOUR SEED! More on it here.

IOTA Wallets

I could only find a few and don’t think any of them are usable. They are either too complicated to use, or they don’t feel solid / trustworthy. Maybe I’m used to a world, where if you google “<insert cryptocurrency> wallet“, there’s quite a few good results. Not in this case – at the time of writing, there’s maybe 1 or (if you lower your standards) 2 wallets that are not BETA and give some level of confidence:

First IOTA wallet is of course their own – available on GitHub.

It looks simple enough, but it’s far from user friendly:

  • you download the file and run it – standard windows installer, that’s ok. You choose whether you want the light or full version (already too complicated for a new user + not much explanation)
  • you launch IOTA wallet – a prompt appears to enter a SEED without any explanation why, what seed – the user doesn’t know that he is supposed to enter a new SEED (a very long and complex password) = create a new wallet. In this case, the seed is your password – you need to type in random letters and then enter them every time you open the wallet – to use it. That’s very clumsy. Usually you have a SEED to recover your wallet – a backup phrase, in case you forget your wallet password. You only use it in case of emergency. To use the wallet, you have a password you can remember.
    • two negatives here – first – no explanation / hints about what you are supposed to do as a first time user
    • second – not the usual password & seed combo you would expect
  • Ok, if you manage to create it, you then want to test your new wallet. Say you click on RECEIVE – an address appears, simple enough, that’s the address you send IOTAs to. But there’s also a button “Attach to tangle”. Again, no popup or info link. I had to google it to find out what it does and no one seems to be 100% sure.

 

When you open the wallet, it takes a few minutes to start (the light version). That’s also not very useful.

Verdict – I am not going to use the wallet to store my IOTAs – I don’t trust it enough. It’s too simplistic and it’s missing key UI features that focus on the user. It gives me a feeling that my IOTAs might end up stuck there for whatever reason. It’s up to you if you trust it enough with your money. To me, it feels too BETA – not ready for production.

Second IOTA wallet is a 3/5 star android BETA wallet – I decided not to test it, but wait for a solid and full version. The reviews say it all – too buggy and pre-BETA (not even ready for BETA testing). The third result also belongs to the same wallet – a site called IOTAWALLET – claiming it’s a simple and clean IOTA wallet. Sounds good, but the website shouts SCAM at me from all places:

  • team members don’t even have their photos there, no LinkedIn links
  • website is a 2hr job one page template, not much thought went into it
  • “Privacy policy” and “Terms of use” links are dead ends
Verdict – stay away until the team gets serious about mass adoption and will start using key standards if they want to gain trust of their users. (Unless you didn’t manage to get an account with Bitfinex before they raised the entry minimum to $10,000 – read below).

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What is therefore the best option to store IOTA?

Keep it where you buy it – best way to store IOTA right now is keeping it on Bitfinex.com. Although it is recommended not to keep your coins on exchanges, what if there’s no other better option? Choose the safest one. Aside from a much better way to store, buy or sell IOTA, you can also lend it and gain a small % more on it – regardless of whether it’s rising or dropping in price. A manual on how to get set up and review of security of Bitfinex is in my article about lending.

IMPORTANT – bitfinex has reopenned registration of new users, but there is a $10,000 minimum. Seems they are big enough to worry about big clients only now and don’t want to be the next Schwab.com of crypto-assets. If you haven’t openned an account before this change, Bitfinex probably isn’t an option to store IOTA for you – in that case, go for the second best option – the original IOTA wallet.

 

In short – Bitfinex isn’t the most user friendly (it’s a full-fledged exchange, so you need to know how to click your way around), but you need to use it to buy IOTA anyway – so it’s automatically stored in the IOTA Bitfinex wallet and it’s easy to sell or send it elsewhere should you need to. Their security is good (two factor authentication, they are the biggest exchange, have been around for a long time, they have been hacked before and handled it well, which I presume would strengthen their security, a recent DDOS attack didn’t do much damage either. The fact that their sign up minimum is now $10,000 means that there are enough big clients who trust them with their money and therefore anyone who managed to get in before this minimum was set should be pretty safe with their small change, like me :). BUT that also means that if you haven’t openned an account before this change, Bitfinex probably isn’t an option to store IOTA for you – in that case, go for the second best option – the original IOTA wallet.

At the moment, Bitfinex will charge you 0.5 mIOTA (about 2 USD at the time of writing) for withdrawal.

Should a better option arise, I’ll let you know ASAP! Just subscribe at the bottom of this page. 

Do you know a better IOTA wallet? Let me know in the comments!

Featured image: Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

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