At the time of this writing, we have on record there being 160 bitcoin exchanges and 80 bitcoin wallets available to bitcoin users on the market.
The reason partly for their being so many bitcoin wallets on the market is because many bitcoin exchanges have native wallets as part of their service. We realized early on that exchanges although their primary service was to offer the buying and selling of bitcoin, a byproduct of that was letting users store bitcoins natively on their platform; hence, many exchanges are also bitcoin wallets.
We wrote early on in a help page explaining what a bitcoin wallet is,
It’s possible that some bitcoin exchanges come with wallets to store bitcoins that you buy through the exchange.
This statement holds true to this day, as many exchanges are both exchanges and wallets. We mention this because recently some exchanges and wallets have come under scrutiny for having less than good user privacy due to their wallet infrastructure, which was highlighted in the OBPP report.
The most widely used example of this type of scenario is with Coinbase. Coinbase is one of the most well known and new-user-friendly bitcoin platforms on the market. They started out as a wallet, and quickly turned into an exchange. Their focus clearly has changed into being an exchange, but they still have wallets as a service, so although they are an exchange they are a wallet too. Until they competely remove all possible wallet offerings from their services, they will always be a “wallet.” That day may never happen, but Coinbase is working toward it.
Any product that lets you store, send, and receive bitcoin is a Bitcoin wallet. You still need to address consumer privacy. 2/
— Kristov Atlas (@kristovatlas) February 29, 2016
Blockchain.info engineer Kristov Atlas tweeted a couple of weeks ago, that any product that let’s you store, send, and receive bitcoin is a Bitcoin wallet; this aligns exactly to how our philosophy has been since the beginning. And exchanges that offer native wallets as part of their infrastructure should be transparent with their users that they are a wallet too, and also should take on more responsibility to ensure user privacy standards are up to par.