It’s time to talk about wallets. No, not that thing made of imitation leather that you fold up and put in your back pocket. But, of course, everything else is already digitized today, so why not wallets?
However, we're talking about an electronic wallet that fits a particular function. Specifically, we’re talking about the world of cryptocurrency. That’s why today we’re exploring Ethereum wallets, what they are, and which ones are the best Ethereum wallets that 2024 has to offer.
What Is Ethereum, Anyway?
According to Investopedia, Ethereum is defined as “…a platform powered by blockchain technology that is best known for its native cryptocurrency, called ether, or ETH, or simply ethereum. The distributed nature of blockchain technology is what makes the Ethereum platform secure, and that security enables ETH to accrue value.”
The Ethereum platform, launched in 2015, supports not only ether, but also a network of decentralized apps known as dApps. Smart contracts, self-executing contracts with its terms of agreement written directly into the code, got their start on the Ethereum platform. Whereas the Bitcoin blockchain exists solely to support the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, Ethereum wants to be more. Ethereum is angling to become an electronic, programmable network that supports numerous applications beyond cryptocurrency.
As of January 2022, the Ethereum cryptocurrency’s market value is second only to Bitcoin. That’s a healthy position to be in when it comes to the world of cryptocurrencies.
So, What Is an Ethereum Wallet?
The short answer: Ethereum wallets are applications that allow users to interact with their Ethereum accounts. The slightly longer answer: Many banks and other financial institutions have apps that customers can use to conduct banking transactions with their mobile devices. Consider Ethereum wallets as the cryptocurrency counterpart of those banking apps.
However, mobile banking apps are optional. You can get along fine without them and still access your account through more traditional mundane methods (but why would you want to?). Furthermore, the nature of Ethereum requires a wallet for you to move funds and manage your ETH.
Wallets come in four forms:
- Physical Hardware: These are highly secure wallets that let you keep your cryptocurrency offline.
- Mobile Applications: These resources let you access your funds from anywhere.
- Web Wallets: As the name implies, web wallets allow you access to your crypto account through a web browser.
- Desktop Applications: You can access your accounts and manage your funds via Windows, macOS, or Linux if you have a desktop system.
You can swap wallet providers whenever you like, and many of them let you manage several Ethereum applications at once from one application.
And speaking of the Ethereum wallets, let’s look at the best offerings for this year.
What Are the Best Ethereum Wallets for 2024?
Trezor Model T
Let’s begin our list with the oldest Bitcoin hardware wallet, arguably considered the best Ethereum wallet available.
- Main Highlight: It’s all about security. The PIN never leaves the wallet, and this extra layer of protection makes it more difficult for hackers to access your funds.
- Additional Features: Trezor is a hardware wallet that stores your funds on a USB flash drive. It supports over one thousand cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Dash, and Ethereum Classic. But it doesn’t support Ripple, Monero, Cardano, or Tezos. Trezor is compatible with Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.
- Drawbacks: However, Trezor isn’t ideal for quick trading due to its enhanced security.
CryptoWallet was designed to address the problems presented by other wallets. It includes banking services such as a debit card and an IBAN.
- Main Highlight: CryptoWallet is a free mobile wallet that’s easy to use.
- Additional Features: CryptoWallet lets users buy real goods and services with their cryptocurrency via the wallet’s debit card. It can also support multiple tokens in one secure wallet.
- Drawbacks: On the downside, users can’t control their keys in CryptoWallet.
This wallet is is one of the best Ethereum wallets for network newbies. This browser extension lets you access Ethereum's blockchain via Google Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi, and Mozilla Firefox.
- Main Highlight: This is a free web wallet that lets you access your wallet via your browser.
- Additional Features: The wallet is linked to the Coinbase and ShapeShift exchange.
- Drawbacks: Although MetaMask is convenient once it’s running, it’s a little tough to set up.
Ledger Nano X
The Ledger Nano X is an advanced Ethereum wallet that offers security usually only found in custodial cryptocurrency wallets. The Nano X are devices you plug into your computer, like a USB flash drive. After you install the software, you can use it to store cryptocurrency.
- Main Highlight: Security is the main sell here, like the Trezor Model T. Hackers can't crack these wallets unless they have their backup password, known as the seed phrase.
- Additional Features: This wallet is a hardware wallet, and it supports a variety of cryptocurrencies including Ethereum.
- Drawbacks: Users may find the setup and usage a bit tricky. It also takes time to move funds from the wallets to the cryptocurrency exchanges, so forget about rapid trading. Also, the user has no backup if they lose the seed phrase, and if they lose the wallet or it gets ruined, the funds are gone.
Here’s another one of the best Ethereum wallets that’s great for beginners. It’s a relatively new entry into the Ethereum wallet field but has numerous features that help increase its visibility in the market. In addition, this wallet is easy to set up and use.
- Main Highlight: Exodus is a free desktop app that comes with a mobile application as well. It’s compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- Additional Features: The wallet supports many cryptocurrencies and offers customer support and crypto exchange via the built-in Shapeshift exchange. Exodus can also synch with your Trezor portfolio.
- Drawbacks: But Exodus is a bit light on the security side, as it has no 2FA security measures in place. The app also doesn’t support fiat currencies such as pounds or euros.
Mist the official Ethereum wallet, built by the cryptocurrency’s creators. Unsurprisingly, it’s considered one of the best Ethereum wallets available today.
- Main Highlight: This desktop wallet is open-source, and considering it’s been developed by Ethereum’s creators and recognized as one of the better wallets out there, that’s quite a bargain.
- Additional Features: Mist’s creators have integrated it with ShapeShift, and you can use the wallet to buy ETH with BTC or fiat currency with no hassles.
- Drawbacks: However, you must install Ethereum’s full node before using Mist, which means putting over 1TB into your device. Since it synchs with the Ethereum blockchain, it takes longer to load. Also, it only supports ETH and ERC20.
We finish off our list of the best Ethereum wallets with MyEtherWallet, another Ethereum wallet that’s been around for a while. MyEtherWallet offers support for hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor. In addition, your funds are stored on your computer instead of on a server.
- Main Highlight: MyEtherWallet is an open-source product that’s easy to use, well-supported, and comes as a mobile and desktop application.
- Additional Features: Since your funds are stored on your computer instead of off-site on a server, MyEtherWallet offers a more secure non-custodial solution.
- Drawbacks: MyEtherWallet is for ether and ERC20 tokens only. It doesn’t support other coins. Unfortunately, this wallet also has no customer support if you lose your funds. That means users must be careful with their recovery passwords!
So, which of the wallets on this list is best? That hinges on how much you want to spend, what you want to use it for, and how technical-minded or experienced with cryptocurrency you are. If you want something easy to use, minimal cost (as in, free!), and you don’t need bells and whistles, consider CryptoWallet or MetaMask. However, if you want to spend money, go for the Trezor Model T or the Ledger Nano X.
It comes down to personal taste, but this article at least narrows down the field considerably, making a choice easier.
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