Crypto Hot Wallets Explained

Hot wallets are prone to online attacks, but there are measures you can take to stay safe. Read on to learn more.

Josiah Makori
By Josiah Makori
Head and shoulders photo of Michelle Meyer
Edited by Michelle Meyer

Published August 19, 2022.

A crypto hot wallet is an online vault that connects to various blockchains to allow users to manage their digital assets. The different types of hot wallets are popular because you can get them for free or at lower prices, they're easy to set up, and assets are quickly accessible, making them convenient for active crypto users, like day traders.

You can install hot wallet software on your computer or smartphone, or access it through a web browser without downloading. They guarantee some level of security but be vigilant against online attacks.

How Do Hot Wallets Work?

To receive crypto, you must have a wallet to facilitate blockchain transactions. However, all crypto wallets don’t physically store digital assets—they simply offer the tools necessary to manage, transfer, and receive crypto through blockchain transactions. Therefore, they act as the interface for accessing your digital assets.

To acquire crypto, you receive private keys that give you access rights. They let you manage your account, view balances, execute transactions, etc. As such, these keys act as your banking pin. On the other hand, you need a public key to receive crypto without revealing your identity. A public key resembles your bank account number. Both public and private keys are kept in wallets.

The Security of Hot Wallets

One of the most significant risks of crypto hot wallets is the security breaches of private keys, which are kept online and in wallet browsers. Your online habits greatly affect the safety of your wallet.

A hot wallet server, where user verification takes place, forms a single-point-of-failure, increasing the chances of seizing your personal information and online spoofing. Hackers who gain access to your login details may steal your crypto. Therefore, it’s advisable to hold only a small number of assets in a hot wallet and the rest in a cold wallet.

Crypto exchanges are highly compatible with most hot wallets and they have extra levels of security in place, like Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Biometric Identification, to protect their users’ private keys from unauthorized individuals. Therefore, ensure you leverage these extra security measures to protect your hot wallet.