Desktop wallets are the most common applications using cryptocurrencies. They enable you to send, receive and store crypto. What are the advantages using a desktop wallet and what are its limitations?
Thin Client vs Full Client
A thin client is a desktop wallet that will not load the whole blockchain onto your computer. Therefore, it will save you a lot of disk space when using such a client. The downside is trust. Most thin clients do not connect themselves directly to the network, but to a specific server. While those servers are considered to be secure, there remains always a little bit of doubt, because they act as single point of failure.
A full client is the classical wallet application. It loads the complete blockchain and takes a lot of space on your hard drive. In return you get the full control over your crypto, since the client will connect directly to the network.
Protecting your Crypto
No matter if you are using a thin or a full client you always need to protect your funds. You can do that by saving multiple copies of your “wallet.dat” (don’t forget to encrypt it with password protection first).
The second option makes use of so-called “Seed Phrases”. Such a phrase is a more or less easy to memorize and usually consists between 12 and 25 random words. With this phrase you’ll be able to restore your access on any computer using the same or similar software that supports the same standard.
That being said, you should keep your phrase in a secure place or even consider to store parts of it in different places.
Things to keep in mind
There is not THE killer app when it comes down to wallets. Its always a compromise between security, use case and convenience. With a desktop wallet you unleash the full power of a crypto.
On the other hand, you have to make plans in case you get hacked, your computer crashes or you loose access to your device. This comes with a lot of responsibilities and you need to make sure that you cover all angles.