Local Bitcoin Wallet: What You Need To Know
What is a local bitcoin wallet? When people search for local bitcoin wallets, they could actually mean different things. A local bitcoin wallet could mean the bitcoin wallet offered by the bitcoin exchange LocalBitcoins.com, or, it could mean a bitcoin wallet that's not web-based.
Local Bitcoin Wallet: LocalBitcoins.com's Web Bitcoin Wallet
LocalBitcoins.com is a bitcoin exchange where you can buy and sell bitcoins. Unlike other bitcoin exchanges such as Coinbase, Bitfinet, Bitstamp etc., LocalBitcoins.com is actually an OTC (over the counter) bitcoin exchange/marketplace, where people do peer-to-peer bitcoin trading.
Many people find LocalBitcoins.com is very convenient because it has some nice features. For example, you might need to provide a government ID in order to open an account or trade bitcoins. Also, LocalBitcoins accept many more payment options than other bitcoin exchanges, including Paypal, credit card, gift card and even cash. With LocalBitcoins, you can even buy bitcoins in China using Alipay and WeChat.
LocalBitcoins does offer a bitcoin wallet for its users to send and receive bitcoins. However, for the time being, it's bitcoin wallet is web-based. If you are looking for a mobile bitcoin wallet offered by LocalBitcoins, it still not available yet. Let's hope someday LocalBitcois can offer a mobile bitcoin wallet.
Local Bitcoin Wallet: Non-Web Based Bitcoin Wallets
Web-based Bitcoin wallets, such as Localbitcoins' wallet and other bitcoin wallets such as Coinbase, Blockchina.info etc., offer some advantages, including the convenience to access and use etc. However, the disadvantage of web-based wallets are also obvious: if the website is down, you won't be able to access your bitcoins. Also, since your bitcoin private key is usually saved on the web wallet's server, if the server is hacked, you might end of losing your bitcoins.
To improve security, many people recommend so-called cold wallets, meaning that you store your bitcoins in a place that's normally not connected to the internet and thus cannot be easily hacked.
When it comes to cold bitcoin wallets, the most simple (and inexpensive) solution is a paper wallet, meaning that you print out your bitcoin's address and its private key on a piece of paper and then save the paper in a secure place such as a safe.
Bitcoin hardware wallet is another option for cold wallet. In this case, you need to buy a piece of hardware, which in most cases look like a USD drive. Then you can set up it as your bitcoin wallet. The hardware wallet is usually stored offline in a secure place. When you need to do some bitcoin transactions, you then plug it in a computer and use some software to do the transaction. The most popular bitcoin hardware wallets include Trezor and ledger Nano.