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Desktop Wallet Meaning

Jan 2, 2024 | Updated Jan 2, 2024
A desktop wallet is a computer program or software cryptocurrency holders use to store and manage private and public keys. It is downloaded and executed on a personal computer.

What is a Desktop Wallet?

A desktop wallet defines a software application that is installed and operates on a desktop computer. It is a type of software wallet since it requires a connection to the internet. 

Typically, cryptocurrencies never leave the blockchain. Thus, instead of storing digital assets, desktop wallets allow users to store and manage their private and/or public keys, which facilitates access to their cryptocurrencies.  Hence, they only provide an interface to interact with the blockchain that hosts the digital assets. 

They work in a similar way to mobile wallets, which are also a type of hot wallets that are rather more convenient. They are considered less convenient due to their lack of portability. However, they can be easily integrated with corresponding mobile wallets.

Most desktop wallets are often non-custodial wallets, in that the holders are usually in complete control of their private keys. Thus, users directly manage and control the transfer of their cryptocurrencies rather than delegating the duty to a third party, such as an exchange.

Hardware wallets are also non-custodial and are known for their superior security. Do desktop wallets share the same advantage? 

Unlike hardware wallets that hold private keys in an offline environment away from the Internet, desktop wallets still require an Internet connection. The internet factor makes the crypto wallet susceptible to malware attacks, hackers, and other online threats. For instance, a malicious hacker can access the holder’s private keys through phishing attacks. Technically, if your private keys fall into the hands of a malicious actor, they gain control of your crypto funds on the blockchain. 

Examples of desktop wallets include Exodus, AtomicDEX, Guarda, and Electrum.

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