When entering the crypto space, choosing a crypto wallet is one of the first decisions you must make. With so many different blockchain networks and providers, it can be difficult to know the best crypto wallet for your needs.
Whether you’re a beginner buying Bitcoin (BTC) for the first time or a crypto veteran bridging over to a new network, having the right crypto wallet in your virtual pocket will significantly improve your experience.
You’ll need to ask yourself some important questions. Do you expect to be interacting with DeFi and NFTs regularly? Or are you more of a set-and-forget investor looking for impenetrable crypto storage? Do you need a mobile wallet for crypto trading on the go, or will a simple desktop wallet app do the trick?
This article aims to guide you through the labyrinth of choices, shedding light on the best crypto wallets available today. We’ll dive into what makes a wallet reliable, secure, and user-friendly and explore the top contenders in both software and hardware categories.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Crypto Wallet?
- Best Software Crypto Wallets
- Best Hardware Crypto Wallets
- Pros and Cons of Cryptocurrency Wallets
- On the Flipside
- Why This Matters
What Is a Crypto Wallet?
A crypto wallet is your gateway to the world of digital currencies. In the same way your physical wallet holds your cash and cards, your crypto wallet stores your digital assets on the blockchain.
In the simplest terms, a crypto wallet is a secure digital tool that allows you to send, receive, and store cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), and other altcoins and NFTs. Imagine it like a bank account for your crypto assets that is fully owned and operated by yourself.
It keeps track of your digital assets, enabling you to monitor your balance, process transactions, and even participate in more complex blockchain activities, such as staking or interacting with decentralized applications (dApps).
Many people don’t realize that the term ‘storing’ in the context of digital wallets is somewhat of a misnomer. The truth is cryptocurrencies aren’t really ‘stored’ in a wallet. Instead, they exist on the blockchain, and your wallet merely holds the private keys – like a digital, cryptographic password – that allow you to access and manage your assets on the blockchain.
This means that even if the crypto wallet you’re using suddenly stops working, you can still access your account and control your digital wealth.
What Should I Look for in a Crypto Wallet?
When choosing a crypto wallet, there are several key factors to consider. After all, your crypto wallet is the custodian of your digital assets, and its selection should not be taken lightly. Here are some critical aspects to keep in mind:
- Security – Obviously, security is the top priority. A wallet must provide robust security features to protect your assets. Look for wallets that offer two-factor authentication (2FA), multi-signature transactions, and strong encryption. You should also ensure that the wallet provider doesn’t store sensitive data, like your seed phrase, on centralized servers, which might be vulnerable to hackers.
- Control – Most crypto wallets will give you full control over your private keys. These keys are like a digital code that gives you access to your account and funds on the blockchain. Having control over your private keys means full ownership of your assets.
- User Experience – The wallet should be user-friendly, especially if you’re new to cryptocurrencies. A clean interface and simple functions will make your crypto journey smoother and more enjoyable.
- Compatibility – Whether you prefer to manage your assets on a desktop, a smartphone, or a hardware device, your crypto wallet should accommodate your preferences.
- Blockchain integration – No one wants five different wallets for different networks. The best crypto wallet will be compatible with different operating systems, devices, and blockchains. If you plan to deal with multiple cryptocurrencies, you’ll need a wallet that supports a wide range of digital assets, not just Bitcoin and Ethereum.
- Backup & Restoration – You never know what can happen, so it’s important to look for wallets that provide easy backup and restoration options. This feature can be a lifesaver if your device gets lost, stolen, or damaged.
- Community Trust & Reputation – The wallet’s reputation in the crypto community can indicate its reliability and performance. Reading user reviews and expert opinions to gain valuable insights is a good idea.
Hardware Wallet vs. Software Wallet
Crypto wallets typically fall into two groups: hardware and software. Each comes with its own advantages and considerations and is better suited to different crypto users.
Hardware wallets are physical devices designed to securely store your private keys offline, away from internet access. This form of ‘cold storage’ makes them highly resistant to online threats such as hacking and phishing attacks.
Generally speaking, hardware wallets are considered the most secure way to store cryptocurrencies, especially for large amounts. On the other hand, they’re more expensive than software wallets and can be tricky to set up.
Active users may not be as convenient for frequent trading or fund management because you need to connect them to a computer or mobile device to access your assets.
On the other hand, software wallets are applications that can be installed on your computer or smartphone. They store your private keys on your device or, in some cases, on a remote server.
Software wallets are ‘hot wallets’ connected to the internet. This makes them more susceptible to online threats but offers greater convenience for regular users. Software wallets generally boast more user-friendly features and integrations than their hardware cousins.
Moreover, most software wallets are free to use, although you will still need to pay gas fees and transaction fees when executing on-chain transactions.
The choice between a hardware wallet and a software wallet is a personal one. For most people, it comes down to a trade-off between security and convenience.
A hardware wallet may be the best option if you hold large amounts of cryptocurrency as a long-term investment. However, a software wallet is probably more suitable if you frequently trade or use cryptocurrencies for daily transactions.
Most serious crypto enthusiasts, DeFi users, and NFT collectors opt to use both. It’s common to have a hardware wallet for your long-term holdings and the bulk of your digital wealth while using a smaller software wallet for crypto trading, staking, and interacting with dApps.
Best Software Crypto Wallets
Let’s dive into the real reason we’re here and break down the best crypto wallets available in 2023. First up, software wallets. These sleek and stylish applications have emerged as a popular choice for their convenience, user-friendly interfaces, and versatility.
Rabby Wallet is a rising star in the world of software crypto wallets. While it may not be as well-known as some of its counterparts, it has quickly gained recognition for its frictionless interface and robust functionality.
Designed by the Debank team, Rabby Wallet offers a seamless experience for interacting with all EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) blockchains directly from your web browser. It supports a wide array of cryptocurrencies and NFTS, making it an excellent choice for those dealing with multiple digital assets.
To make things even easier, Rabby automatically recognizes which blockchain you need to connect to, depending on the dApp you’re using. All other crypto wallets demand that you reconfigure and reconnect your application whenever you change the network. This feature alone helped Rabby win the hearts of thousands of DeFi users.
Security is a top priority for Rabby Wallet. It provides users with full control over their private keys, ensuring that you alone have access to your digital assets. On top of that, it employs advanced encryption techniques to protect your information from potential threats.
The icing on the cake is Rabby’s warning systems. Blockchain transactions are notoriously complicated to understand for beginners, making it difficult to detect scams and malicious contracts. To combat this, Rabby will give you a simplified breakdown of what happens in your account before you sign anything. It also warns you of any potential dangers before you connect to a new dApp for the first time.
Thanks to its seamless user interface and commitment to blockchain security, Rabby is easily one of the best crypto wallets in the space.
- Unmatched user experience and seamless network-swapping
- Robust security features
- Simplified explanations for transaction events
- Supports all EVM networks
- Web-browser only
Ah, the ol’ reliable. MetaMask is a stalwart in the world of software crypto wallets and is often the first crypto wallet newcomers create. MetaMask has worked hard over the years and has earned a reputation for its reliability and comprehensive feature set.
As both a browser extension and mobile app, MetaMask provides a bridge between traditional web browsers and EVM Networks. MetaMask boasts fluid integration with Ethereum-based dApps. This makes it an ideal choice for users looking to explore the world of decentralized finance, play blockchain-based games, or interact with Ethereum-based NFTs.
Another convenient feature, MetaMask allows you to buy crypto directly within the platform using your credit card and lets you scan QR codes to input public keys quickly. This can make it easier to quickly send your assets to a crypto exchange if you need to sell your crypto back to a fiat currency.
As you’d expect, security is a big focus for MetaMask. It encrypts your private keys and stores them on your device, ensuring that you have full control over your digital assets.
- Long-standing reputation
- Simple, easy-to-use interface
- Greater composability and configuration options
- Supports all EVM networks
- Available on Android, iOS, and as a browser extension
TrustWallet has carved out a niche as one of the most reliable and user-friendly mobile wallets in crypto. Acquired by Binance in 2018, TrustWallet has grown in popularity due to its robust security features, broad cryptocurrency support, and seamless user experience.
TrustWallet is a multi-currency, non-custodial wallet supporting many digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and thousands of ERC-20 tokens. The platform is a versatile choice for users who deal with various cryptocurrencies.
Featuring a built-in Web3 browser, TrustWallet allows users to explore decentralized applications directly from the app. This includes access to various decentralized exchanges, lending platforms, and other DeFi services.
Like most crypto wallets, TrustWallet gives users full control over their private keys, which are stored on the device rather than on a central server. Additionally, the wallet offers a backup facility for easy recovery.
- User-friendly interface
- Owned and operated by Binance
- Supports multiple networks, including Bitcoin
- Available on Android, iOS, and as a browser extension
4. Unisat Wallet
Unisat Wallet is a relatively new entrant in the crypto wallet space, but it has quickly gained attention for its unique features and user-friendly interface. Designed as an open-source Chrome extension, Unisat has catapulted into the limelight thanks to its fast integration of Bitcoin Ordinal NFTs and BRC-20 tokens.
While the Maxis might disagree, Unisat Wallet’s commitment to the emerging Ordinal and BRC-20 ecosystem has made it one of the best Bitcoin wallets in the space. The Unisat site also hosts a BRC-20 and Ordinal NFT marketplace, making it the ultimate one-shop for the Bitcoin ecosystem and eclipsing old favorites like Mycelium and Electrum.
If that wasn’t enough, Unisat also supports Bitcoin’s Lightning Network giving it additional utility as a scalable peer-to-peer payments platform.
Following the example set by Satoshi Nakamoto, Unisat Wallet is completely open-source, making way for community-driven improvements and transparency.
- Bitcoin wallet with cutting-edge, innovative features
- Supports Ordinal NFTs and BRC-20 tokens
- Integrated with Bitcoin lightning network
- Web Browser only
5. Exodus Wallet
Exodus Wallet has earned a reputation as one of the most visually appealing and user-friendly software wallets in the crypto space. Exodus supports a vast array of cryptocurrencies available on both desktop and mobile platforms, making it a versatile choice for users who deal with multiple digital assets.
Where Exodus Wallet shines is in its intuitive, user-friendly interface. The wallet’s interface is clean and straightforward, making it easy for beginners and experienced users to navigate. Exodus also provides a portfolio section allowing users to track their crypto assets’ value in real-time.
Exodus Wallet also includes a built-in exchange feature, allowing users to swap one cryptocurrency for another directly within the wallet. This eliminates the need for an external exchange for basic trading, providing a more seamless user experience.
To make crypto newbies feel more secure, Exodus Wallet also provides a one-click recovery system, making it easy to restore your wallet if your device is lost or damaged.
- Sleek and simple user-experience
- One-click recovery system
- Supports in-app crypto purchases
- Available on iOS, Android, and desktop
6. Phantom Wallet
Solana fans, this one’s for you. A pioneer in its own right, Phantom is the best crypto wallet for exploring the glitz and the glamour of the Solana ecosystem. But that’s not all; Phantom recently extended support for Ethereum and Polygon following the migration of the Degods and y00ts NFT collections to their respective new networks.
Phantom Wallet integrates swiftly with decentralized applications on the Solana network, benefiting from the top Ethereum-Killer’s blistering speed and low fees. This allows users to explore DeFi on the network and opens up a world of possibilities in Solana’s thriving NFT space.
Like most software wallets, Phantom Wallet also includes a built-in exchange feature, allowing users to swap one cryptocurrency for another directly within the wallet. If Phantom has one flaw, they have been slow to integrate support for the new SPL 2022 token standard, although this is technically still a beta product.
- Leading Solana-based wallet, recently added support for Ethereum and Polygon
- Designed for scalability, with Solana’s fast transactions and low gas fees
- Supports in-app token swapping and NFT integrations
- Available on iOS, Android, and as a browser extension
7. Crypto.com DeFi Wallet
Crypto.com DeFi Wallet is a solid choice for those who want to dive into decentralized finance while enjoying a trusted exchange’s security and customer support. If you couldn’t guess, this wallet is brought to you by Crypto.com, one of the leading crypto exchanges in the industry.
The wallet supports all your favorite coins, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Crypto.com Coin (CRO). Users can also send crypto at their preferred confirmation speed and network fee, providing greater transaction flexibility.
Unlike most software wallets on this list, the Crypto.com DeFi Wallet boasts a few extra security features tied in with a user’s exchange account, such as two-factor authentication and biometrics. While most users will appreciate this, some detractors might argue it’s not completely decentralized.
- Basic wallet features and a smooth interface
- Boasts integrations with the Crypto.com exchange
- Supports multiple currencies and blockchain networks
- Extra security features, like two-factor authentication
8. Coinbase Wallet
Coinbase Wallet is a product of Coinbase, one of the most well-known cryptocurrency exchanges globally. As a standalone app, it offers a range of features that extend beyond the capabilities of the main Coinbase platform.
Like everything Coinbase does, customer experience and simplicity are of paramount importance. The application is easy to use, even if you’ve never heard of common terms like a seed phrase or paper wallet.
Courtesy of its ties to the Coinbase exchange, the wallet also includes a backup feature, allowing you to easily recover your wallet if your device is lost or stolen.
- Designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind
- Smoothly integrates with your Coinbase account
- Multi-chain wallet that supports a wide variety of crypto assets and NFTs
- Extra backup features
Best Hardware Crypto Wallets
While software wallets offer convenience and ease of use, hardware wallets are the go-to choice for those prioritizing security, especially for storing large amounts of cryptocurrencies.
These devices, often called ‘cold wallets,’ store your private keys offline, providing an unmatched level of security against online threats. Let’s explore some of the best hardware wallets in 2023 that have proven reliable and secure for storing digital assets.
When it comes to hardware wallets, Ledger is the first thing that comes to mind. Known for its robust security features and sleek design, Ledger offers two main products: the Ledger Nano S and the Ledger Nano X.
Both devices provide top-notch security by keeping your private keys offline and isolated from potential online threats. They each support a wide array of cryptocurrencies, making them a versatile choice for users with various digital assets.
The Ledger Nano S is a compact and lightweight device, making it a convenient and portable option. It supports over 1,100 different cryptocurrencies, providing flexibility for users.
The Ledger Nano X, on the other hand, is a Bluetooth-enabled device that allows for secure wireless transactions. It has a larger screen than the Nano S and supports more applications simultaneously, providing an enhanced user experience.
To make the most out of your Ledger Wallet, you’ll need to download Ledger Live. This companion application allows you to manage your assets, perform transactions, and track your portfolio’s real-time performance.
For all its fanfare, Ledger is not without its faults. A recent revelation sparked controversy when it was announced that Ledger’s recovery service could comprise the integrity of your seed phrase. This raised some decentralization concerns amongst users, who felt betrayed by one of crypto’s most reputable companies.
- Trusted and reputable brand in the crypto space
- Stores private keys offline for added security
- Supports thousands of cryptocurrency assets
Trezor is a heavyweight in the realm of hardware wallets. Known for its pioneering role in creating the world’s first cryptocurrency hardware wallet, Trezor offers two main products: Trezor One and Trezor Model T.
Like Ledger, both Trezor devices are designed with security at their core. They keep your private keys offline, providing an added layer of protection against online threats. They support thousands of crypto assets, meaning you’ll always have a home for your digital assets.
Trezor One, the company’s flagship product, offers a straightforward and secure way to manage digital assets. It features a small screen for verifying transaction details and two buttons for manual confirmation, providing a simple yet effective security measure.
The Trezor Model T, on the other hand, is a premium device with a touchscreen interface for improved usability. It also includes advanced features such as a built-in SD card slot for data encryption and support for more cryptocurrencies.
One of the standout features of Trezor wallets is the Trezor Suite, a desktop and browser interface that allows you to manage your assets, perform transactions, and track your portfolio’s performance.
- A pioneer in crypto security
- Offline private key storage, protecting you from online hacks
- Enormous range of supported cryptocurrencies and NFTs
Pros and Cons of Cryptocurrency Wallets
Cryptocurrency wallets, whether software or hardware, come with their own set of advantages and considerations. Understanding these can help you make an informed decision about which type of wallet is best suited to your needs.
- Full Self-Custody – Crypto wallets give you full control over your digital assets. You can send, receive, and store cryptocurrencies at your discretion without relying on intermediaries.
- Secure – Both software and hardware wallets employ various security measures to protect your assets. These include encryption, two-factor authentication, and offline ‘cold storage’ of your private keys in the case of hardware wallets.
- Wide range of supported assets – Many wallets support a wide range of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, allowing you to manage various digital assets within a single platform.
- dApp integration – Most crypto wallets allow you to interact with dApps directly, opening up opportunities in DeFi and NFTs.
- Portability – Software wallets, especially mobile and browser-based ones, offer the convenience of managing your assets on the go.
- Backup and Recovery – All crypto wallets provide backup and recovery options, like a seed phrase, allowing you to restore your wallet if your device is lost, stolen, or damaged.
- Security Risks – While wallets employ various security measures, they are not immune to threats. Software wallets, being online, are susceptible to hacking, phishing, and malware is not used carefully.
- Complex – Let’s be honest; the crypto space can feel complicated and intimidating. Some crypto wallets, especially those with advanced features, usually have a steep learning curve.
- Loss of Access – If you lose your seed phrase and don’t have a backup, you can lose access to your assets permanently.
- Device & Blockchain compatibility – Not all wallets are compatible with all devices. Some may only work on specific operating systems or browsers, limiting their usability.
On the Flipside
- Crypto wallets have come a long way in a short space of time. As the space develops, crypto wallets will only become more user-friendly and secure, making onboarding new users to the ecosystem easier.
Why This Matters
Finding the right crypto wallet for your needs could make or break your experience in the crypto space. Whether you’re an avid dApp user who trades crypto regularly or a long-term HODLer, knowing what different crypto wallet providers offer will help you make informed decisions in the industry.
Gas fees are calculated based on the network making the transaction and its congestion levels, so crypto wallets should theoretically charge the same gas fees.
Hardware wallets are generally the safest option because they store your private keys offline, giving you an added layer of security.
You should choose a crypto wallet based on your needs. For example, a hardware wallet is probably your best bet if you’re a long-term holder. Meanwhile, a software wallet will be more convenient if you’re a regular crypto user who connects to dApps frequently.