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I haven't yet traded any cryptocurrencies. I'm planning to buy BTC through Coinbase then exchange BTC for a small amount of XRP.

The main reasons for going with Coinbase is it's safe, well regulated and I'll always want an account there. For XRP, I'll use changelly.com since they are popular, have low fees, and haven't been hacked (yet).

A big concern is safety. Coinbase probably has a good wallet but I'd like to use a hardware wallet since I'll be using other exchanges for various alt coins not offered on Coinbase. I don't really trust other exchanges and hence the hardware wallet.

Is a hardware wallet the safest option in this case? Are there any issues using it at Coinbase and Changelly?

Do I still need to setup wallets at exchanges I'm using?

When using a hardware wallet, from what I understand, you plug it into your computer via USB and do whatever transaction at whatever exchange. Once complete, you unplug it. From this, it basically can't ever get hacked?

  • I think you're slightly misunderstanding how a hardware wallet works. You cannot have your coins simultaneously stored on a hardware wallet, and accessible to trade on an exchange. You can store your coins on the hardware wallet, but then if you'd like to trade, you'll have to send a transaction depositing them to your exchange of choice. When done trading, you'll request a withdrawal to return the coins back to your hardware wallet. – chytrik Apr 2 '18 at 4:55
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Hardware wallets are easy-to-use ways (compared to paper wallets (hard to use) and software wallets (not as safe as hardware wallets)) of being in control of your private keys hence the safest and the easiest way of using and storing cryptocurrencies.

When you use a (traditional) exchange as a wallet, you won't be in control of your private key so the exchange can steal your funds or get hacked and lose them etc.

There are decentralized exchanges where you don't need to deposit your funds (thus you don't need to trust, a.k.a trustless) like RadarRelay. You can use them with software wallets and some of them with hardware wallets directly.

Don't forget that cryptocurrencies' reason of existence is being trustless, don't hand over your funds to anyone, always be in control of your private keys.

  • I'll start with Coinbase, since I'd like to initially buy BTC. I'll use their wallet. Once the Ledger wallet comes in, I can move everything out of the Coinbase wallet onto Ledger. Security issues solved. As for RadarRelay, it's only ETH right? Seems a bit useless if so. – 4thSpace Apr 1 '18 at 21:37
  • RadarRelay let's you trade dozens of ERC20 tokens, not only Ether. There are other decentralized exchanges as well, not just RadarRelay. – ferit Apr 1 '18 at 21:45
  • Doesn't a hardware wallet defeat the purpose of something like RadarRelay since you don't ever have anything on an exchange? – 4thSpace Apr 1 '18 at 21:47
  • @4thSpace No, you still need decentralized exchanges to exchange in trust-less fashion. Hardware wallets let you transact not exchange. – ferit Apr 1 '18 at 22:02
  • So instead of transferring BTC to something like www.bitfinex.com and then buying XRP, I could use RadarRelay and go straight from my hardware wallet -> BTC -> XRP? Guess I'm still not getting it. – 4thSpace Apr 1 '18 at 22:18

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