Cryptoware can be divided into two primary categories: wallets and miners.

Hardware Wallets

Standard hardware wallets

Hardware wallets are the safest way to store your private keys and keep your cryptocurrency holdings safe. The two most popular hardware wallet brands on the market today are Trezor and Ledger.

Advantages of Hardware Wallets

  • Immune to computer viruses
  • Keys stored on a protected area of the microcontroller device – prevents plaintext removal
  • Interactive – easier to use than paper wallets

Disadvantages of Hardware Wallets

  • Price – hardware wallets cost upwards of $50 USD

Other types of wallets exist such as internet connected staking wallets for staked cryptocurrencies like NXT but they are essentially small internet connected computers rather than a hardware wallet just for keys.

Mining Hardware

  • Central Processing Units (CPU) – the primary chip in a personal computer, not very effective compared to more specialized hardware
  • Graphical Processing Units (GPU) – most commonly used to mine newer less popular algorithms, NVIDIA and AMD
  • Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) – common for SHA-256 (Bitcoin), Scrypt (Litecoin)
  • Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) – less common, require advanced programming skills in low-level programming languages