7 of the Best Ethereum Wallets [The Ultimate List]
In this article, we are going to be reviewing the seven best Ethereum wallets of 2019.
In this list, we will be dealing with a mix of hardware, desktop, mobile, and paper wallets. If you want a more in-depth explanation of these different wallet types, then check out the guide here.
Ethereum is one of the most critical projects in the cryptospace. Vitalik Buterin’s brainchild creates a decentralized internet, wherein developers from all over the world can develop their dApps. To power this platform, Ethereum fuels itself by using the native Ether (ETH) tokens.
Ether like Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies uses private and public keys for transactions instead of a bank account. The device/software which stores both these keys and allows you to send and receive Ether is called an Ethereum wallet.
7 of the Best Ethereum Wallets
#1 Ledger Nano S
Ledger Nano S is a widely-used hardware wallet developed by the French company Ledger. A hardware wallet is a type of cryptocurrency wallet where you can store your private keys in a secure physical device. At the heart of Ledger’s innovation lies a distinct operating system called BOLOS, which they integrate to a secure chip for their wallets.
The cryptocurrencies stores in the wallet are stored offline, so they can’t be hacked. If you are not that well-versed in coding and technical details, the hardware wallet is a great way to store the majority of your cryptos.
In terms of hardware, the Ledger Wallet Nano is a compact USB device based on a smart card. It is roughly the size of a small flash drive, measuring 39 x 13 x 4mm (1.53 x 0.51 x 0.16in) and weighing in at just 5.9g.
Ledger Nano S Package
Ledger Nano S comes in a neat little package which contains the following:
- Ledger Nano S
- 1 micro-USB cable
- Lanyard for wearing the device around the neck
- One keychain and a keyring
- Recovery sheet for writing down the seed keyword.
Activating Ledger Nano S
To activate the Nano S, you need to connect it to the computer via the USB cable. When you choose the option to create a new wallet, you will need to confirm the PIN code. You must remember the PIN code because you will need to remember it each time you connect your Nano S.
When you had opened the package, you’d find a piece of paper that looks like this:
These 24 words will be your private key. You will need to write down your words in the same order that they are given to you. In case you ever forget your pin, in order to recover your wallet, they will ask you questions like:
“Enter the 17th word in your recovery sheet.”
Ledger Nano S Supported Coins
As per Ledger’s website, the Nano S natively supports 1184 coins. These include most of the major coins like:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Binance Coin (BNB)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Ethereum Classic
- Ripple (XRP)
- Tether (USDT)
- Tron (TRX)
Ledger Nano S Pros and Cons
- The setup is pretty simple and straightforward.
- Ledger Nano S is capable of running third-party apps and currently, as per the site, there are 18 installable apps.
- Ledger Nano S supports a vast variety of coins.
- Integrates with a large number of software wallets.
- It is a very affordable hardware wallet ($59), giving a very high-value proposition.
- The entire recovery process can be done from the device only without even connecting it to a computer.
- Features Ledgers secure chip technology.
- Pretty inconspicuous looking since it resembles a simple pen-drive. Plus, it is pretty lightweight, so can be easily carried around.
- Not an open-source hardware.
- The recovery sheet can be stolen or replicated if enough care isn’t taken.
#2 Trezor One
Trezor was the first legitimate and secure Bitcoin hardware wallet. The wallet was built by SatoshiLabs and was truly pioneering, in every sense of the word. It is not as inconspicuous looking as Ledger since it looks like a small calculator with an OLED screen. You can use the Trezor wallet with Android devices and with apps such as Trezor Wallet, Mycelium, and Multibit HD. Trezor builds an isolated environment for offline transaction signing. Trezor minimizes the risk of private key discovery, even if the PC is infected by malware.
Every single Trezor wallet has a PIN code which never leaves your wallet. This simple feature makes sure that even if the computer that the wallet is using is compromised, your PIN will not get stolen. The PIN system in Trezor also has an inbuilt system that prevents any brute-force attempts. After each incorrect guess, the waiting time between the guesses is raised by a power of two. Making 30 guesses will take as much 17 years.
The entire wallet is backed up with the 24 words generated on setup. The original 24-word seed is generated using RNG (Random Number Generator) from the device and the computer. The seed is generated offline and displayed on the wallet’s screen, which ensures that the seed is never on an internet-connected device. If you ever lose your Trezor wallet, then you can simply recover it with the 24-word seed and passphrase.
Working with Trezor
So, after connecting with your chosen interface, you will notice this in your laptop:
You will have to enter the PIN which will be randomly generated by your wallet every single time and will be displayed on the screen of your wallet like this:
The number will randomly generate for every single transaction. This gives an added layer of security to your cryptocurrency. In case, you have some keylogger in your computer recording your activities for malicious purposes they won’t be able to get access to your wallet because the pin will keep changing.
After you have put in your PIN, you will have to put your passphrase which is known to you and only you. When you are done, you will gain complete access to your wallet and you can send/receive funds as and when you please. If you are sending someone money, your Trezor will ask for your confirmation by showing this message on its screen:
You can cancel or deny the transaction.
Trezor Supported Coins
As per Trezor’s website, they support 1064coins. These include the following:
- Ripple (only Model T)
- Bitcoin Cash
- Ethereum Classic
Trezor Pros and Cons
- Extremely simple to use.
- Very sleek design.
- Can be used on all devices provided the platforms are compatible (Windows, Mac OS X or Linux).
- Never exposes your private key.
- Randomly generated pin code keeps the device safe and secure.
- Costs $75.
- Not as inconspicuous-looking as Ledger Nano.
Metamask gives their users a software which doesn’t only allow them to serve Ether and other ERC-20 assets but also allows them to interact with Ethereum Dapps. The best part, they can do it right in their browser. Metamask can be easily installed as a Google Chrome extension or Firefox add-on. The setup is relatively easy to do.
Once you have installed the app, you have an Ethereum wallet built right into your browser, which can store all ERC-20 tokens as well. For developers, Metamask can interact with various Ethereum test networks so it can be a handy tool.
Metamask and Abstraction
One of the most important factors in the future mainstream adoption of decentralized applications is abstraction. So, what is abstraction? Let’s take an example.
When you want to use a car, you simply turn the key in the ignition and jumpstart the engine right? You don’t need to worry about how the fuel is getting ignited and how it is starting up the engine. You also don’t need to worry about how the engine is interacting with the rest of the car’s components to make it run. All that you need to care about is that once you turn the key, the car will “switch on.”
When it comes to Ethereum and decentralized applications, using them should be as easy as turning the key. If they are complicated to use, then the mainstream audience will simply shun them. Metamask plays an important role here by providing abstraction and lowering the barrier-to-entry in the following ways:
- Anyone who has the Metamask extension will be able to access Ethereum dApps directly from their browser. This automatically opens them up to a lot more users.
- Using Metamask, you don’t need to download the full Ethereum node to operate it. This makes it a lot more user-friendly.
- Metamask provides users with a secure identity vault, which allows anyone to manage identities across different websites. These identities can be easily used to sign blockchain transactions. All this is provided via an easy-to-use user interface.
- It has an intuitive UI which allows you to switch easily between a test network and the main Ethereum network.
- The user’s private keys are password encrypted and stored on their machine, which they can export any time.
Setting up Metamask
Setting up Metamask is pretty straightforward. Let’s go through the steps. Firstly, you will need to go here and add the chrome extension.
After attaching Metamask to your browser, you will need to create your wallet to hold your cryptocurrencies. To do this, click on the Metamask logo in the upper right-hand corner of the Chrome browser. Following that, you will need to read and agree to a bunch of terms and conditions.
Following that, you will need to enter a password and create your wallet by clicking on “Create.” Now you’ll observe a set of 12 “seed words” for your vault. You will need these words to access your vault. You will now click on “Save Seed Words as File” and copy the “MetaMask Seed Words” file which will be downloaded to a safe place.
You have now set up your Metamask wallet.
While you will be in the Ethereum mainnet by default, if you want to experiment with Metamask, you can switch to one of the testnet networks. You can do this by clicking “Main Network” in the left-hand corner of the wallet pop up screen, and selecting one of the testnets such as Ropsten Test Network or Kovan Test Network.
By choosing one of the testnets, you can buy and send “test Ether” from a faucet and start your experimentations with the Ethereum blockchain.
Metamask Pros and Cons
- It is extremely user-friendly.
- Very helpful for developers who are trying to use Web 3 to build on Ethereum.
- There is no need to download a full node.
- It is easy to manage multiple wallets and switch between main and test networks.
- Requires user to be somewhat knowledgable of the Ethereum network.
- Not as secure as hardware and paper wallets for long-term holding.
- It can be a little slow and sluggish at times
Image Credit: Hackernoon
Mist, is the official Ethereum wallet that has been developed by the people responsible for Ethereum themselves. While it makes a lot of sense to use Mist, mainly for smart contract deployment, you must keep one thing in mind. It is a full node wallet, which means you will have to download the entire Ethereum blockchain, which is >1TB.
Mist is available for Windows (both 32- and 64-bit), Mac, and Linux (32- and 64-bit).
Installing the Mist wallet is pretty straightforward. Just click here to go to the GitHub page. There is a Mist version available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. You’ll see this:
Install the wallet version that you want. After installation, you will see this screen, once you open it:
Click on “Add Account” to create your own account. This is when you will be prompted to enter a password. Couple of things that you must keep in mind here:
- Firstly, once set, you will never be able to change your password ever again. So you have to set a really strong password from the get-go and you must always remember your password.
- Secondly, you will need to enter your password as a final confirmation every single time you want to send Ether.
Mist will generate your account for you. You will now be told to wait for some time as the software synced you up to date with the Ethereum blockchain.
After adding your account, you can click on “Accounts Overview” button to look at the accounts that you have registered in this wallet. As of right now, you will only have one account that you just created, which will be your main account. Each account will also have its unique public address.
Transacting via Mist
Use your Accounts Overview to choose the account that you want to transact with. After selecting your account, click on the “send” button:
Mist Pros and Cons
- This is the official wallet built by Ethereum developers.
- The wallet is integrated with ShapeShift.
- The code is open-source.
- Users have full control over their private keys.
- Very easy to buy ETH using BTC or fiat currency.
- Requires you to download the entire Ethereum blockchain, since it is a full-node wallet.
- Only supports ETH and ERC20 tokens.
- Lengthy load times while login since it needs to sync with the blockchain.
- Only available as a desktop wallet.
- Not beginner-friendly at all.
Exodus is a relatively new desktop wallet and in addition to its advanced features, what sets it apart from other wallets is that is very easy to use and extremely intuitive. Any beginner can complete a transaction or operate in an easy to understand step-by-step manner. It supports Windows, Mac OS, and Linux platforms. Exodus now has a mobile app for Android and iOS. It does not have all the coins that are there in the desktop wallet.
Exodus wallet has a built-in shapeshift exchange which enables users to trade between bitcoin and altcoins inside the wallet itself. The desktop wallet clearly showcases the coins you are going to get in the trade in both crypto and fiat values as well as the current spread of the transaction. Additionally, not just Shapeshift, they also have multiple exchange partners (not just ShapeShift), which means they can now offer more exchangeable assets, and the capability to source from various partners has enabled exchanging in Exodus faster and much more reliable.
Though it initially supported about 40 cryptocurrencies, the number has gone up as close to 100 now which includes most major ones such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ethereum Classic, FunFair, Gnosis, Golem, OmiseGo, Qtum etc.
The in-built exchange allows you to convert certain coins to others using a fixed exchange rate:
The coins that you can use to obtain the others are:
- Bitcoin Cash
- Bitcoin SV
- Binance Coin
- USDC Coin
The Exodus Dashboard shows you some basic information.
You will see:
- The total holdings valuation in US Dollar.
- The 24-hour change in the value of holdings.
- The highest balance.
- The age of the portfolio, as in for how long have you had this wallet.
- The best performing asset in the last 24 hours.
- The worst performing asset in the last 24 hours.
When you click on the Wallet tab, you will see the following:
- The wallet shows you how much of the available assets do you have in your portfolio.
- There is also a “Send” and “Receive” button to help you transact with cryptocurrencies.
Exodus security and other features
Being a desktop wallet, Exodus encrypts and stores all your data in your computer hard drive i.e. locally thus you are always in full control of your keys and data. The wallet offers a very simple guide when you want to back up and it does not store your keys on the server during backup.
When you need to restore the wallet, they email you a secure link that is protected by a 12-word passphrase and Exodus key to reactivate your wallet. This passphrase is very important as you will be your only way to get your wallet back in case you have forgotten your password. But if you lose your passphrase, then there is no other way to get access to your account.
Note here that though they take security very seriously, the team is yet to offer the two-factor authentication feature.
Exodus does not require a personal email and therefore, does not store it – a great feature. You may choose to use any email address or none at all. It only needs an email id once for sending the backup link. Privacy is crucial to the Exodus team and therefore, they do not store any customer personal data, not even the email address.
Exodus users also have the option to send funds to and receive funds from smart contracts. For your information, the wallet charges a transaction fee every time your payment is processed, but this goes entirely to the blockchain networks and not to the Exodus team. The wallet always favors speed and reliability over lower fees, and so the fee is adjusted as per the demand in the blockchain network. The wallet does not offer the feature to adjust this fee manually. As for some of the features, the real-time pie chart portfolio Exodus wallet provides is great for calculating and organizing your savings.
Exodus is known for its excellent support team which has been highly rated by the users. Its site has over 100 articles on various topics, explaining the features, fee structure, and how to troubleshoot in detail with 17 other general topics. The site also offers an extensive list of FAQs with videos in case you need more detailed help.
Exodus pros and cons
- The wallet has great design
- The desktop wallet is 100% free to use
- Good privacy and security
- It is engineered keeping beginners in mind therefore easy to use
- Intuitive interface with powerful charting tool at your disposal
- It supports multiple cryptocurrencies
- It has built-in trading and portfolio functions
- Offers automatic fee adjustment
- Offers great help and prompt support
- Exodus doesn’t offer any web interface.
- It has limited security features
- There is no two-factor authentication in offer either
- Not 100% open source
Edge is a mobile wallet which uses client-side encryption to encrypt all of the user’s private data on their device. This means that only the user will be in full control of their digital assets. Edge started out back in the winter of 2014, as Airbitz, a Bitcoin wallet. Since the company invented “Edge Security,” they soon changed the name to Edge.
The wallet supports Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Augur REP and Wings tokens. Point to note, it is the only multi-asset mobile wallet that allows users to add ERC-20 tokens that Edge doesn’t natively support. No fees will be charged for receiving currency into your wallet, although you will need to pay gas fees while sending money.
Setting up Edge Wallet
- You can install the wallet from the Play Store and iOS store.
- When you open the app, you need to choose a username.
- Then you need to select a password which is at least 10 characters long and includes at least one number, one lowercase letter, and one uppercase letter.
- To add an extra layer of protection., you need to set up a 4-digit PIN.
- Finally, you must confirm your account by agreeing to Edge’s terms and conditions.
Edge Pros and Cons
- The interface is very user-friendly and is pretty intuitive.
- Has strong security.
- Supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies.
- Has a built-in exchange.
- Enables users to buy crypto via credit card.
- The code is open-source.
- Doesn’t have a web interface.
#7 My Ether Wallet
My Ether Wallet is a popular Ethereum paper wallet. Paper wallets are an offline cold storage method of saving cryptocurrency. It includes printing out your public and private keys on a piece of paper which you then store and keep in a secure place. The keys are printed in the form of QR codes which you can scan in the future for all your transactions. The reason why it is so safe is that it gives complete control to you, the user. You do not need to worry about the well-being of a piece of hardware, nor do you have to worry about hackers or any piece of malware. You just need to take care of a piece of paper.
My Ether Wallet supports Ethereum (ETH) and ERC20 tokens.
How to create your own paper wallet?
- First, go to MyEtherWallet.com.
- Next, click on the help tab.
- Scroll down and click on option 5:
- Now open the link highlighted here:
- After that download this zip file into your computer:
- Now open the zip file in your computer and click on the index.html file. Before doing that, switch off your internet so that you are offline.
- Now create a new password and generate your wallet, be sure that you are putting in a strong password:
- Now you will have to download your keystore file which is basically your wallet file. Be sure to keep a back up of this file. After you are done with that click on “I understand. Continue.”
- And there you go, your wallet has been generated. What you see here is your private key. DO NOT share this with anyone.
- You should now print your wallet by clicking on the “Print” button. This is what you will get. Notice that you can see both your private and public keys here:
And there you go. That is how you create an Ethereum paper wallet.
My Ether Wallet Pros and Cons
- Free to use.
- The software is open source.
- It is easy to use and understand.
- Has support for offline cold storage transactions.
- There have been some instances of phishing attacks.
- Since this is a paper wallet, the funds won’t be readily liquid.
Best Ethereum Wallets 2019: Conclusion
Let’s summarize whatever we have learned so far:
- Best hardware wallet with most versatility: Ledger Nano S.
- Best Ledger Nano alternative: Trezor One.
- Best Ethereum mobile wallet: Edge
- Best Ethereum browser wallet: MetaMask
- Wallet created by original Ethereum developers: Mist
- Best Ethereum desktop wallet with asset versatility and ease-of-usage: Exodus.
- Best Ethereum paper wallet maker: MyEtherWallet
Let’s take an in-depth look at the differences between these wallets:
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