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What's the Difference Between a Bitcoin Wallet and NOAH

22 September 2022

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What's the Difference Between a Bitcoin Wallet and NOAH
Types of Regular Wallets / Common Concerns / The Differences Don't Stop There—Not Even Close / 

NOAH isn't your typical Bitcoin wallet. If you're new to bitcoin, you may wonder what the difference between a Bitcoin wallet and NOAH is. Here's a quick rundown.

We get how annoying marketing can sometimes be explaining new features that will change how you think about X or revolutionize your use of Y product, especially in crypto, which is rife with new terms that can be difficult to wrap your head around. Foundational to every crypto application, every digital asset, and every transaction on the blockchain is a digital wallet.

Not all wallets are created equal, so we want to walk you through what sets NOAH apart from your standard Bitcoin or stablecoin wallet. And we know—marketing mumbo-jumbo gets tiring. But, you want to know whether or not a product actually solves problems and makes your life easier. So we'll try to stick to the facts.

For a refresher, you might want to take a look at our blog post on custodial, self-custodial, and non-custodial wallets. But here's a quick overview to bring you up to speed:

Types of Regular Wallets


Your typical crypto wallet stores your private keys, which give you access to your cryptocurrencies. These private keys are generated by a mathematical algorithm and encrypted and kept safe in your wallet. If you lose your private keys, you lose access to your cryptocurrencies. It's that simple. However, self-custody is the most self-sovereign form of cryptocurrency ownership because you are the only one with control over your private keys. If you lose your hardware wallet, you can still access your cryptocurrencies by importing your recovery phrase into a new device. Self-custody comes with great responsibility, but it's the only way to truly own your cryptocurrencies.


A custodial wallet is a wallet where the private keys are stored on someone else's servers. That "someone" might be an exchange or any other popular cryptocurrency platform. When you create an account on one of these exchanges and deposit your cryptocurrencies, you're entrusting them with the custody of your private keys. There are several backup methods in case you lose access to your account, but ultimately, the exchange is responsible for the safety of your private keys. They're also responsible for any bugs or glitches that might occur, leading to the loss of your cryptocurrencies.


This is where things get interesting. A non-custodial wallet is where no single entity has the ability to sign on-chain transactions. For example multi-sig wallets have multiple keys distributed among 2 or more key holders. To sign an on-chain transaction with a multi-sig wallet requires multiple keys to be used.

At Noah, instead of using multiple keys we use a a single key but it is split into multiple Key Shards and then proofs of these shards can be used to sign on-chain transactions. Noah’s Wallet, is a little bit special. Under ordinary conditions only you, the Noah Wallet holder, can bring these Key Shards together to sign transactions. You’ll do this by using Strong Customer Authentication and a PIN code. No one at Noah can authorise signing a transaction on your behalf.

Common Concerns

You may be thinking, “Sounds great, but what do you mean by ordinary conditions?”; well, in the event of a disaster that impacts Noah or one of our critical service providers a disaster recovery process is invoked that will disburse your assets into a self-custodial address that you register with Noah. We believe that this unique arrangement gives our community maximum assurance that the assets held in their Noah wallet are under their sole control.

You might think, "What happens if I forget my PIN code?" If you forget your PIN code, NOAH can help you reset your PIN in secure way, giving access to your assets.

That's the benefit of NOAH; we can give you some security and peace of mind while still letting you maintain complete control over your bitcoin stack. We think that's the way it should be. Peace of mind without sacrificing security or control.

The Differences Don't Stop There—Not Even Close

We think non-custodial wallets are the future, but as a company focused on bringing Bitcoin to the next billion people on the planet, we didn't want to stop there. We wanted to build the best possible wallet for our users, so we've packed NOAH full of features that don't exist on other Bitcoin wallets.

Again, we'll stick to the facts—no marketing jargon.

SEND - like any other wallet, you'd expect to be able to send Bitcoin from your wallet to another person or another wallet. But Lightning wallets are faster. Instant, actually. And nearly free. Payments will cost only 1 sat most of the time, which is about 0.02 cents as of this writing (to be clear, that’s 0.02 of one cent, not 2 cents).

REWARDS - we wanted things to be fun and beneficial for our users, so with NOAH, you'll be able to get points for doing things like setting up your NOAH account, learning how to use bitcoin, sending and receiving payments, and much more. In addition, you’ll receive NOAH Points and Badges for all your achievements, all of which will unlock exclusive account benefits.

Of course, you don't have to use these features if you want basic functionality. It's totally up to you how you want to use NOAH. We want to build great things on top of Bitcoin, and we will continue to add more features to the NOAH wallet that we think will help bring Bitcoin to as many people as possible.

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