Desktop wallet — deprecated functionality of Bitcoin Core.

Myth: Desktop wallet is more secure than web wallet.

In the early days of a blockchain, there were desktop wallets for BitcoinCore and web services offering a “web wallet”. Desktop wallets downloaded a blockchain and allowed a user to create a wallet (address), sign and send transactions. In this case, the user owns his private key, thus, owns his Bitcoins and addresses in fact.

Technical background: RPC nodes.

Bitcoin was the very first cryptocurrency and its functional structure lacks some important features. For example, a node needs a private key to sign a transaction and broadcast it to the network. A user have two options: (1) download the blockchain and keep a full node with a desktop wallet at his own machine or (2) trust the node and give it the private key.

Desktop wallets offer extended functionality compared to Web wallets.

This was true at the very beginning of Ethereum. There was a Mist wallet which served as a blockchain interaction tool and offered to create, compile and deploy smart-contracts. There are some important development features of Mist that MyEtherWallet and MyCrypto lacks.

  • Deploying contracts with constructor parameters. (Critical for contract developers)
  • Message System.
  • Wallet encryption functionality that allows to re-encrypt an exported private key into a key-store file format. (Important security feature)
  • Contract deploying with ClassicMask/MetaMask.
  • Array type support for contract calls. (Critical for contract developers)
  • Implemented automated search of known contract addresses for automated ABI loading.
  • Implemented “background node” functionality (interchain services)

You can use a web wallet as your cold wallet.

CEW, MEW and MyCrypto are open-source free wallets that can operate at any environment. A user can download a copy of the wallet’s source code and run it locally at his own machine. A user can connect the ClassicEtherWallet to his local node (Geth or Parity). This is exactly as Desktop wallets work.

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