Cryptocurrency wallets are apps just like those you might run on a smartphone or computer. If you prefer the tactile experience of holding a wallet, you can also buy a physical device that runs a wallet app.
The first cryptocurrency wallet was introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto when he first released the bitcoin protocol in 2009. Bitcoin is the most popular and widely used cryptocurrency, but others building upon its blockchain technology have emerged, and any of them can be stored on a cryptocurrency wallet. Wallets can hold multiple cryptocurrencies.
When you want to acquire cryptocurrency, whether by purchasing it in a currency exchange or receiving it as a gift or as revenue, you direct the sender to a unique cryptographic address issued by the wallet. You might picture your cryptocurrency stored on the wallet the same way files are stored on a USB drive, but, in fact, the information stored on the wallet only points to your cash’s location on the blockchain, the public ledger that records and authenticates all transactions for a cryptocurrency.
Spending with the wallet is as simple as scanning a retailer’s QR code or directing a specific amount of crypto to the retailer’s public address.