Web3 – What’s in Your Wallet?

What’s a wallet? Why do I need one?

In Web3 a wallet is used to buy and sell magic internet money – Bitcoins, Etherium, etc – and of course to collect all the cool NFTs we’re gonna scoop up. 😎

We can also use it to login to Web3 apps and websites (sometimes referred to as decentralized apps or dApps).

Yes, the end of usernames and passwords is in sight.

If Web3 gives us nothing else…

Now a Web3 wallet is a little different

​Your actual (real wallet? IRL wallet? 😂) wallet contains money, maybe a driver’s license, and even a stamp card for a free bagel on your next visit.

But a Web3 wallet?

It doesn’t have any of those things inside. In fact, it’s mostly empty.

It really just holds one thing – a private key. 🔑

All of our coins, NFTs, and other goodies actually live on the blockchain – that public ledger thing we’ll talk more in the future.

Now if we wanted to send some Bitcoins to a friend we’d actually just update the blockchain to indicate that they are now the proud new owner of said Bitcoins.

We wouldn’t send anything.

To update the blockchain though, we’d have to use our private key in our wallet to sign a transaction.

You can think of your private key like your signature on a contract.

Now I share this little non sequitur to illustrate two things:

  1. There’s no money in the banana stand a Web3 wallet. 😁
  2. A private key is super important and needs to be kept safe. If it fell into the wrong hands someone could take all our coins! ​

    Okay – so where should I start?

    Here’s three suggestions to get you going depending on how deep you want to go down the rabbit hole:

1 – If you don’t own any crypto at all

​I recommend buying a little crypto on Coinbase, Venmo, or even CashApp. You can buy as little as a few dollars worth.

These apps are user friendly and are great if you just want to buy and sell crypto and learn the basics.

All three options are known as custodial wallets. That’s because they’re guarding your wallet, and thus private key.

2 – If you want to explore NFTs and dApps

​If you’re ready to go a little deeper, a free wallet like MetaMask is a good place to start.

MetaMask is popular, supported by just about every dApp, and available as a simple browser extension (you can use it in Chrome, Firefox, etc) and as a iOS or Android app.

Unlike Coinbase, Venmo, or Cash App, MetaMask is a non-custodial wallet. That’s because your private key is stored on your device and guarded by you.

3 – If you own a good bit of crypto

​When you really start to grow your crypto holdings or NFT collection you’ll want to consider adding an extra layer or two of security.

A hardware wallet, like those made by Ledger, is a great place to begin and starts at just $59.

A hardware wallet like Ledger is also non-custodial. It’s up to you to protect your wallet and private key. Many people keep their hardware wallet in a safe.

Finally, some wallet lingo

​A few words you’ll come across as you go down the 🐰 🕳

Here’s your takeaway:

​A Web3 wallet lets you buy and sell crypto and sign into dApps and websites.

Oh and never ever share your wallet seed phrase or private key with anyone. 😅