Comparison: Which are the best crypto wallets (2024)

Comparison: Which are the best crypto wallets (2024)

Browser extensions, mobile apps, Ledger... The Big Whale brings you its independent comparison of the best wallets for storing and using your cryptos.

To live the crypto experience to the full, there is one essential step for users who want to use their assets rather than let them sleep on an exchange platform: send them to a "wallet" in self custody, i.e. a digital wallet over which only the owner has control.

There are two main advantages to this practice.

On the one hand, this limits the risks in the event of the failure of the exchange platform you are using. They are reduced if the company is regulated in Europe (because they have major constraints on deposit management), but the bankruptcy of FTX in 2022 is a reminder that there is no such thing as zero risk.

Secondly, using a wallet is the best way to access decentralised finance applications (DeFi). Some exchange platforms allow you to do this, but very often the number of solutions is limited to staking. What's more, they charge significant fees and in some cases may even keep for themselves any airdrops from projects that reward DeFi users.

For example, it was not possible to receive free tokens from the EigenLayer or EtherFi restaking protocols if you used the Coinbase, Binance or Coinhouse staking tools. By using a wallet, it was possible.

Storing your cryptos in a wallet is an opportunity to fully experience "self custody" and maximise your chances of being exposed to the best innovations.

But as is often the case, there are risks.

Self-custody of your assets is not without its risks.

If you make a mistake, no one will be able to come to your aid. Funds can potentially be lost ad vitam æternam after signing a fraudulent transaction.

And if someone steals the private key that leads to your wallet (a combination of 12 or 24 words or a string of numbers and letters), then they can rob you of everything on it.

Here's a list of reference wallets that The Big Whale is able to recommend.

Also worth reading - Wallets: the big adoption challenge

🖥️ Browser extension wallets

A browser extension wallet is a type of digital wallet that integrates into the toolbar of your web browser such as Chrome or Firefox. Once installed, they add an icon to the browser toolbar for easy access.

They are referred to as "hot wallet" because they remain permanently connected to the Internet, which exposes them to possible attacks. They often display a notification to sign a transaction when you visit a site that has a blockchain infrastructure. It is therefore crucial to check the identity of the site before validating anything on your wallet.

These wallets are undoubtedly the most suitable for using decentralised finance applications, such as staking (Lido), restaking (EtherFi), swaps (Uniswap, Paraswap, etc.), lending (Aave, Morpho, etc.).

When you install them, you'll need to write down the private key that will enable you to recover access to your wallet on a new machine (by changing computer, for example, or simply browser).

Tip: avoid storing it on your computer as much as possible and prefer paper and a safe place to keep it. You can never be too careful.

👉 Rabby, the ultimate on Ethereum

Represented by a blue rabbit, this wallet was created in 2021 by Singaporean start-up DeBank. In just two years, Rabby has become the benchmark wallet for the Ethereum ecosystem.

Rabby shines for its optimal user experience, including automatic detection of the blockchain you need to use when interacting with a DeFi application, but also for the presence of warning messages regarding the transactions you need to sign. For example, you are presented with a notoriety score and a brief explanation of what this signature entails.

A Rabby mobile wallet is also available on iOS and Android since February 2024, but we advise waiting a while before downloading it as it takes several months for an application of this type to demonstrate its resilience.

In our view, its only flaw is that Rabby focuses solely on the Ethereum ecosystem. Admittedly, that's already a lot, as more than 100 blockchains use the Ethereum virtual machine (Binance Chain, Arbitrum, Optimism, Polygon, etc.), but it's regrettable that ecosystems such as Bitcoin or Solana are not included.

To download it, it's here.

👉 MetaMask: the historical reference on Ethereum

It is the historical wallet of the Ethereum ecosystem and the most used (30 million active users).

Ultra-dominant, it nonetheless lags far behind in terms of user experience when compared to Rabby.

It will appeal to the more expert users, however, as it is possible to set a huge number of parameters. For example, you can add networks other than Ethereum (such as Bitcoin or Cosmos) via its 'Snaps'.

To download it, go here.

A mobile wallet is also available on iOS and Android.

👉 Coinbase Wallet: the most versatile

Don't make the mistake: the wallet developed by Coinbase isn't just for customers of the US exchange platform.

While the integration with Coinbase is naturally optimal, this wallet is an excellent solution for anyone wishing to interact with Bitcoin, Ethereum and all the blockchains in its ecosystem, Solana, Dogecoin and Litecoin.

To date, it is the most versatile wallet on the market.

To download it, it goes here.

Also available as a mobile app on iOS and Android, fans of clean interfaces will regret the impressive amount of activities on offer that disrupt the experience.

👉 Phantom: excellent for Solana users

For those who use Solana a lot, the Phantom wallet is probably the best choice among the "hot wallets".

With a very pleasant interface, it even does the job of Rabby (even if it doesn't reach its heights) or MetaMask (which is much more customisable).

Its main advantage is that it supports (in addition to Solana) the Bitcoin, Ethereum and Polygon blockchains.

To download it, it goes here.

A mobile wallet is also available on iOS and Android.

Also read - Solana (SOL): Analysis of a project that's coming back very strong

🔒 Ledger, the benchmark hardware wallet

In contrast to the previous category, physical wallets offer more guarantees in terms of security. They are called "hardware wallets" (because they are based on physical hardware) or "cold wallets" (because they are not continuously connected to the Internet).

The best-known of these are marketed by Ledger, a French manufacturer valued at more than a billion dollars and which claims to secure 20% of the world's cryptos.

Since its creation, Ledger has sold more than 6 million physical wallets embodied by its "Nano" ranges. Taking the form of USB keys, they allow you to interact with almost all the blockchains on the market.

When you want to use decentralised finance applications or simply your cryptos, you need to connect the Nano to your computer with a USB cable or to your smartphone via bluetooth (for the most recent models such as the Nano X or the Stax).

While it's always essential to protect the famous private key in a safe place, nobody will be able to touch your cryptos without the PIN code that you have to physically tap on the Nano's keys to send them somewhere.

In plain English, your cryptos are safe even if your computer or smartphone is hacked. Only the theft of your private key exposes you.

We also appreciate the Ledger Live interface, which allows most major crypto activities (buying, selling, staking, restaking, swaps, etc.) to be carried out within a trusted environment (as they are validated upstream by Ledger's cybersecurity teams).

Several ranges are available: Nano S Plus (€79), Nano X (€149) and Stax (€279, not yet available to order).

The higher the price, the better the experience (particularly with the screen and wireless use).

Note that it is possible to link a Ledger with browser extensions such as Rabby or Metamask to combine the experience of your choice with maximum security.

Also read - Investigation: Ledger, a giant at a crossroads

📱 The best mobile apps

This category is a bit of a departure because the solutions mentioned above also have a mobile app that lets you manage everything from your smartphone (even Ledger as long as you have your Nano close by).

Here, we retain the apps that were designed primarily for mobile and focus on ease of use, while leaving the user in total control of their funds (unlike the apps on the Coinbase or Binance exchange platforms, for example).

👉  ZenGo, the simplest and most secure on mobile

Available since 2019, ZenGo is a little marvel of simplicity and will be very suitable for people who want most of the basic functions.

We like the fact that it offers a recovery system (when you lose your smartphone) via iCloud or Google Cloud and that it relies on facial recognition of the phone to ensure that you are the owner of the wallet.

ZenGo enjoys a certain amount of recognition for its security and is a pioneer among wallets that eliminate the need to retain the private key.

Although thought "mobile first", it allows you to connect simply to any DeFi protocol via WalletConnect.

Supported blockchains: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Arbitrum, Optimism, Polygon.

The only fly in the ointment for ZenGo is that it doesn't support the Solana blockchain.

To download it, it goes here.

👉  DeBlock, the most connected to the traditional world

The latest addition to this comparison, the French application DeBlock is not the most complete solution but has an extremely important advantage: it is connected to a euro account.

In plain English, this allows you to very simply convert your cryptos into euros, and vice versa, without dreading that your bank will close your account because you're investing in cryptos (which happens frequently).

DeBlock also offers a Visa debit card (several formulas from €0 to €14.99 per month).

You could compare this app to Revolut, except that the user retains total control over their cryptos. And we really appreciate that.

In terms of security, DeBlock takes a lot of inspiration from ZenGo and also eliminates the need to keep the private key.

The DeBlock teams have assured us that the wallet will be compatible with WalletConnect in a few weeks' time so that decentralised finance sites can be used.

Unfortunately, very few cryptos are currently supported by DeBlock: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Euro Coin (on Ethereum), USD Coin (on Ethereum) and Tether (on Ethereum).

To download it, it goes here.

In video - Deblock: what's the value of this new banking app? (with Claire Balva)

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