Here at Token Metrics, we understand that our most valuable asset is you, our audience.
With your help, we have put together a guide to the Top 3 Crypto Wallets of 2021, as voted upon by you.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the Moon Awards.
What is a Crypto Wallet?
The use of a crypto wallet is a crucial first step to using Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency in circulation. Crypto wallets are software programs that store the public and private keys necessary for trading various cryptocurrencies through the blockchain.
Think of a crypto wallet like you would a bank account, as the two are very comparable. Just as your bank account serves as an interface to the conventional monetary system, a crypto wallet operates in the same way.
The private and public keys stored within a crypto wallet serve as nodes that allow the wallet holder to send and receive crypto tokens along with monitoring account balances. What makes a crypto wallet different from a bank account is that it does not store currency, only records of transactions.
The wallet only stores transaction records because cryptocurrencies do not exist in any single location or physical form. There are only records of transactions on the blockchain. That is why it is unnecessary to store your coins, as what needs to be secured are the private keys that give access to the transaction records.
Types of Crypto Wallets
There are two main types of crypto wallets available to the crypto community, hardware wallets and hot wallets.
Hardware wallets are physical storage devices built for the sole purpose of securing cryptocurrency. These wallets are more commonly known as cold wallets as with cold storage; the wallet exists on a platform that is disconnected from the internet.
By being disconnected from the internet, cold wallets are safe from cyber-attacks and other vulnerabilities internet-connected wallets are susceptible to. For transactions to occur with a cold wallet, the crypto wallet must connect with your computer, phone, or tablet before sending coins.
The downside to cold wallets is that they must be purchased, and they can be challenging for new users to understand.
On the other hand, hot wallets are crypto wallets that run on internet-connected devices. Since hot wallets generate your private keys on an internet-connected device, they are not as secure as a cold wallets. This statement is not to say that hot wallets are unsafe, as many hot wallets go to great lengths to ensure security. Hot wallets just can not be considered 100% secure like cold wallets.
Despite being less secure than cold wallets, hot wallets do have some advantages. Hot wallets are very convenient as spending and receiving payments is very easy and fast. Hot wallets are also an easy way to store cryptocurrencies for both old and new users.
It is recommended only to keep small amounts of crypto in hot wallets and instead use cold wallets to store large amounts of crypto.
Top 3 Crypto Wallets of 2021
“Ledger is the most popular hardware wallet in crypto at the moment, and deservedly so.”
– Ian Balina, Founder and CEO of Token Metrics
Taking the top spot with a little under 42% of the total vote is Ledger. This result comes as no surprise as Ledger is the industry leader in hardware wallets.
The two hardware wallets that Ledger offers are the Ledger Nano S and the Ledger Nano X. Both the Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X are roughly the size of a flash drive and include the Ledger Live software. With this software, Ledger supports over 1,200 crypto coins and even supports coin staking.
The difference between these two cold wallets comes in terms of price and additional features.
The Ledger Nano S is the base model for Ledger wallets as the Nano S only supports up to 20 different currencies at a time and sells for $59. The Ledger Nano X Serves as an impressive upgrade from the Nano S, and the price reflects it. The high-end Nano X sells for $119 but supports up to 100 different currencies at a time while also being Bluetooth enabled.
One downside of owning a Ledger wallet is that it does not have an incorporated crypto exchange. By not having this feature, you must use another platform along with your wallet to trade your cryptocurrencies, which can be inconvenient.
“I have been a MetaMask user since 2017 mostly because it was the easiest way for me to invest in ERC20 ICOs. Now I keep ETH in my MetaMask for gas when doing transfers, staking, or yield farming. If I have any ERC20 tokens that are sitting idle, I keep them in my hardware wallet to ensure max security and peace of mind.” – Sam Monac, Chief Culture Officer, Token Metrics
Arriving in a very close 2nd place with just under 32% of the total vote is the crypto wallet MetaMask. This result is certainly no surprise as MetaMask is arguably the most popular hot and DeFi wallet out there.
MetaMask is a browser extension that allows you to run Ethereum-enabled apps and websites while also storing your Ether and hundreds of other ERC-20 based tokens, including NFTs. All of this is available through your browser of choice, whether Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.
MetaMask is quick and easy to install, and while not for total beginners like Coinbase, it still has an intuitive interface. There is a MetaMask mobile app available as well! The downside to this wallet is that you can not store Bitcoin on it as Bitcoin is not an Ethereum based token. Instead, you must use wrapped Bitcoin.
With the recent DeFi craze, MetaMask has become increasingly popular as it allows users to interact with the Ethereum ecosystem, which hosts various decentralized applications without having to download the entire blockchain on your device.
MetaMask also has fantastic encryption technology which securely stores passwords and private keys in each user’s device.
“Getting your private keys offline is important, especially if you want to hold your cryptocurrency for long periods. Trezor is a good cold storage option to store your private keys offline.” – Sam Monac, Chief Culture Officer, Token Metrics
Coming in 3rd place is the original crypto hardware wallet, Trezor. Trezor was the first-ever commercially available bitcoin hardware wallet and is Ledger’s main competitor in the crypto wallet market.
While Ledger is a newer cold wallet and has a sleeker design, Trezor has a more proven track record in crypto security. The trade-off of this proven track record is that a Trezor wallet does not come with all the bells and whistles that come with a Ledger wallet.
One security factor unique to Trezor is its randomized pin code generator required before use. This additional layer of security allows a Trezor wallet to be protected from malware and keyloggers.
The two cold wallets offered by Trezor are the Trezor One and the Trezor Model T. The Trezor One is the more standard hardware wallet, while the Trezor Model T is the premium option.
The Trezor One supports over 1000 different cryptocurrencies and costs $55. Trezor’s Model T packs all the features and support found in the Trezor One while adding even more enhanced features.
The Trezor Model T supports all the cryptocurrencies found on the Trezor One but also adds Ripple, EOS, Cardano, Monero, Tezos, and Ontology to its supported coins.
The Model T can be purchased for $169.99 and comes with a full-color touchscreen and a microSD card to store passwords.
It is important to note that, unlike Ledger, all Trezor wallets have an incorporated exchange. This feature means that with a Trezor wallet, you do not have to look for an exchange to trade your coins. You can instead trade your tokens conveniently from your wallet.
Honorable Mention: Trust Wallet
“Trust Wallet was acquired by Binance exchange in late 2018; It is one of the most dynamic cryptocurrency wallets in the industry. It offers diverse functions such as storing and staking crypto assets.” – Diego Lara, Partner, Token Metrics Ventures
Rounding out the nominees is the mobile app Trust Wallet. Trust wallet is a change of pace from the other honorees in that it is a hot wallet designed for mobile users.
Trust Wallet is a mobile app designed to allow the user to send, receive, and crypto with a focus on simplicity. Trust Wallet supports over 1,000 coins as it supports all significant blockchains in the Ethereum network and works with any ERC20, BEP2, and ERC721 tokens.
Trust Wallet’s dedicated support to Ethereum is not to say that the wallet is limited to only tokens on the Ethereum network as it supports many cryptocurrencies outside of Ethereum’s ecosystem.
With being a hot wallet, there are some benefits to Trust Wallet that are not available with a cold wallet. The most significant difference is that Trust Wallet is free to use and download. You only pay the transaction fees when using its built-in exchange.
Another unique benefit of Trust Wallet is its ability to interact with decentralized applications (dApps). Trust Wallet allows users to interact with dApps directly through the wallet app with its Web3 browser.
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