A complete list of cryptocurrency wallets can be found here: https://en.bitcoinwiki.org/wiki/Cryptocurrency_wallets_list.

As can be verified by the web link, there are many different types of wallets. Pay close attention to the wallets that are uncovered during the investigation. Some wallets only transact in a specific digital currency, and other wallets can store multiple digital currencies. Furthermore, some wallets are designed to transact with multiple currencies and convert one digital currency to another type of digital currency.

Online exchanges, websites where virtual currencies can be bought, sold, and converted, can also offer wallets. Wallets acquired from exchanges can require the individual purchasing them to provide some form of identification. Often, bank accounts, credit cards, or other financial instruments will be connected to the wallet. If the exchange is hosted in the United States, there is a possibility that the exchange would be willing or compelled to aid in an investigation when served by will legal process.

Online wallets are referred to as hot wallets. Seizing agencies should avoid keeping seized virtual currency in a hot wallet as the hot wallet is susceptible to hacking.

Cold wallets are offline storage, usually in devices that resemble a USB drive. It may or may not have the name of the manufacturer on it somewhere. If cryptocurrency is seized and is on a cold wallet, the cryptocurrency should be transferred from that wallet into the seizing agency’s wallet. If the cold wallet is lost, becomes defective, or is seized by law enforcement, a new wallet can be ordered and recreated using the backup seed (King & Warrack, 2018).

Pictured below is something else that investigators need to be aware of: a printout of a wallet or a paper copy of the wallet. It is to be noted that the public and private keys could also only be depicted at the QR code with no other text on the page.

(“bitaddress.org” 2020)


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