All recommendations are for Bitcoin.
Most secure: A hardware wallet like the "Trezor" or "Ledger". Good balance of security and usability. Gives you a backup phrase in case the device is lost. Backup phrase fits on a piece of paper, can be made as secure as required. Keep backup phrase in multiple locations.
Cheap and secure: (encrypted) paper wallets generated from https://www.bitaddress.org , with backups stored in multiple locations. Bad usability, but can be made as secure as you want/require.
Easy, reasonably secure, not for large amounts: "breadwallet" for iOS/Android. OSS, user friendly, but not recommended for long-term storage. As most modern wallets do, this one also gives you a backup phrase to be stored on paper.
As for exchanges, I'm in Europe and trust bitcoin.de.
On Reddit there have generally been no major complaints about Bitstamp, a few about Coinbase, and a lot about Kraken.
Ledger Nano S - https://amzn.com/dp/B01J66NF46/ $146.50 | referral: http://amzn.to/2eYkJSQ
You may find better prices (back ordered) on their respective sites linked elsewhere on this thread.
How should I secure my coins once I've bought them?
Really securing coins is hard and requires up most attention. The easiest way to get started is to purchase a hardware wallet. I recommend Trezor but you may also use a Ledger. These wallets supports a few other coins aside from Bitcoin such as Litecoin, Dash, Ethereum.
As for Ethereum, the Trezor wallet works well with Myetherwallet, a web wallet for Ethereum which you can secure your own private keys. This private key can reside in your hardware wallet in which you use to sign transactions. This very same wallet is also used to store all ERC20 tokens.
I've heard that paper wallets are good too but I have no idea how to use them. It would be great if you (or anyone) can help me with the process of using them.
Create unsigned transaction(online).
Sign it (offline).
Broadcast it (online).
Do NOT store your coins on an exchange. You do not actually own the coins unless you control the private key. Use a hardware wallet. Some options include the Trezor, Ledger, and KeepKey.
Also, ShapeShift is a good exchange for converting between various cryptocurrencies.
2: Backups, lots and lots of backups. And update the backups EVERY time you do a transaction!!!!
3: Keep your coins in multiple "batches", so if you lose one, you don't lose all.
4: Keep most of your coins offline. A bootable USB key is a good idea to reduce hack surface. Divide up the coins on multiple removable USB keys that you normally keep removed. (And USB keys can and do fail, so don't forget those backups.)
5: If you encrypt your wallet write the password down!! Your attack vector is hackers on the internet - they can't see the postit on your wall (if they are in your house you have bigger problems). But your family will appreciate the ability to have the money in case of problems. (Or if you decide to not do anything with coins for a year or two, then want to get back into it - you'll probably not remember the password. There are far too many people who lost their coins because of encryption.)
If you send coins your wallet generates a new key for the remaining coins.
At that point your old backup is useless - it has a key that no longer works.
And yes, people have lost coins because of not knowing this.
> droffel: Hardware wallets use the BIP32 spec to implement "Hierarchical Deterministic" (HD) addresses. Using a single seed phrase (stored internally on the device, and also written down external to the device, neither copy should ever be online), you can generate an infinite number of addresses for your wallet. Every time you request a payment, you get a different address to send to, there is no address reuse (unless you or someone else chooses to send funds to an address that has already been spent from).
Ask HN: Does anyone know what's going on at Coinbase? | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5427985 (March 2013)
The ideal destination for your coins post trade in order...
1. Hardware wallet if supported.
2. Carbon Wallet for multi signature bitcoin, https://carbonwallet.com
3. A non custodial wallet such as blockchain or strongcoin wallet.
BTC/ETH/USD Exchange: Coinbase --> GDAX
Other Coins: Bittrex/Poloniex
Hardware Wallet: Ledger Nano S
Best way to secure them: don't buy them.
Another advantage is that you can buy Bitcoins from most countries in Latin America by credit card.
If you invite a friend to buy at least US $ 100 in one of the criptomonedas they give you $ 10 in Bitcoins to you and your friend.
They are the best to store and I recommend them since they are the ones I use.