Stellar Lumen (XLM) Explanation
Lumen (XLM), the native cryptocurrency of the Stellar network, is creating quite a buzz in the crypto-market, thanks to Stellar’s recent tie-up with IBM (NYSE:IBM).
The original name for Lumen in 2014 was “Stellar” but, in 2015, the name was changed to Lumen to avoid confusion between the currency and the network itself.
You can’t hold a lumen in your hand, because they are built into the network. But you can store them in Lumen wallets, also called XLM wallets.
Before we dive into which are the best Stellar Lumen wallets, it’s important to understand why lumens need wallets in the first place.
How to Store Stellar Lumens Safely
People are concerned about how to store lumens. But I firmly believe that the concern should be more about how to store lumens safely. While the most convenient place to store your lumens is on the exchange itself, it is definitely not the safest.
Leaving your lumens on the exchange is dangerous because your coins are now in the trust of someone else. Since that “someone” might not be working in your best interest, your lumens could be subject to one of the many hacks that have targeted cryptocurrencies. (Source: “5 Tips for Storing and Sending Lumens Safely,” Stellar Community, last accessed December 27, 2017.)
Agreed, your lumens might be worth just a few dollars today, but—with the way Stellar is growing—they could be worth a lot more in the near future.
The only way to keep your lumens safe is to be the only one to have access to the private key of the address where your lumens are stored. In other words, not on an exchange.
Once your lumens are safely held in your own wallet, make sure you have at least one backup of the private key. Ideally, keep your backups in different places, so, if you lose one computer on which the key is backed up, you can always retrieve it from another backup. (Source: Ibid.)
Remember, if you lose your private key, you lose all your lumens. Period.
And yes, it’s best to keep knowledge of your lumens to yourself, away from prying eyes. As with any currency, crypto or otherwise, the more people who know about your coins, the bigger the chance of them being stolen.
Types of Stellar Lumen Wallet
As with any cryptocurrency, lumens can be stored in personal digital storages called wallets. The different types of wallets to store lumens are Lumen desktop wallets, Lumen mobile wallets, and Lumen online wallets.
Lumen Desktop Wallet: As the name suggests, these wallets can be stored on your desktop computer. Based on the desktop, these wallets are further sub- divided into Mac wallets, PC wallets, and Linux wallets.
- Mac wallets: Stellar Desktop Client and Stargazer.
- PC wallets: Stellar Desktop Client, Stargazer, Ledger, and Stellar Portal.
- Linux wallets: Stellar Desktop Client, Stargazer and Stellar Portal.
Lumen Mobile Wallet: These are wallets for people on the move; they enable access to lumens from mobile phones. Since they are based on the smartphone, these wallets are further subdivided into “Android” and “iOS.”
- Android wallets: Lobstr, Centaurus, and Stargazer.
- iOS wallet: Lobstr.
Lumen Online Wallet: Though these wallets are personal wallets, they are more prone to being hacked than the desktop and mobile wallets because they are online.
Online wallets include Ledger, eBitGo, Stronghold, BlackWallet, StellarTerm, Lobstr, LuPoEx, SAZA, Stellar Portal, Stellarpay, Papaya, and Luuun. (Source: “Choose your Lumen Wallet,” Stellar, last accessed December 27, 2017.)
The following chart will give you a quick overview of currently available Lumen wallets.
Best Stellar Lumen Wallets, with Reviews
Since there are so many wallets out there, a new investor might get confused. So, based on popularity, here are five of the best wallets, with short descriptions of each.
Stargazer: This wallet is applicable both for mobile (Android) and desktop (Mac, PC, Linux) storage of lumens. The big advantages of this wallet are that it accommodates multiple accounts, multiple assets, multiple networks, and multiple languages. The developers behind this wallet have a simple vision: raise the bar for what a wallet is, without adding too much fluff.
Ledger Nano S: This popular hardware wallet has earned quite a reputation for offering robust safety features for storing cryptographic assets and digital payments. The wallet connects easily to any computer via the USB port. One of the best features of the wallet is its OLED display that helps the user double-check and confirm each transaction with a single tap.
Centaurus: This open-source wallet has the distinction of being the first Stellar wallet on “Google Play.” When you first start up with this wallet, the app creates your Stellar address, at which you can receive lumens. The advantage of this wallet is that it displays account balances and it allows manual lumen transfers (by pasting an address) or digital transfers (by scanning a QR code). And yes, the wallet accepts cross-currency payments
Lobstr: This wallet is a very secure and smart way to store and transact lumens. It has a very clean and easy-to-use interface, and its unique e-mail notification feature is a welcome addition that helps simplify the whole experience. Other great advantages of this wallet are its built-in XLM price converter and its robust anti-fraud measures. This wallet is available as a web app, but it also supports mobile storage on Android and iOS apps.
StellarTerm: This wallet is a Web-based trading client that has a 100% ability to interact with the Stellar distributed exchange. It is a great wallet for newbies looking for a safe and easy way of trading on the Stellar network. With this wallet, one can exchange currencies, view account balances, and see popular exchange markets. (Source: Ibid.)
Though the above Stellar Lumens wallet reviews single out five of many available wallets, if I had to pick my best XLM wallet, I’d pick Lobstr.
Normally, I’d have gone for my default choice and picked a hard wallet like Ledger, but, as Ledger has only been recently added to the Lumens wallet list, I’ll wait for a little longer before I switch my loyalties.
As for Lobstr, as safety is my biggest factor while choosing wallets, Lobstr’s robust anti-fraud measures make it come closest, in terms of safety, to hardware wallets. And the fact that Lobstr is good for both mobile and Web swings the needle in its favor. Having said that, I’ll give Ledger Nano S a second look a few months down the line.