In-Depth Review of the Four Most Popular Mobile Crypto Wallets
Slowly but surely, Bitcoin is proving pundits wrong. As the years go by, Bitcoin is making steady progress to dethrone the traditional currency. For example, in Venezuela, due to hyper-inflation, a lot of people have begun converting their funds into crypto – primarily Bitcoin. For those looking to offshore, to put their money into long-term storage, to save their money from a crippling economy, or to just avoid taxes altogether; converting funds to Bitcoin, and crypto in general, might be a good choice.
But before you decide to join this Bitcoin bandwagon, you need to first find the right crypto wallet for you. The main task of a typical crypto wallet is to make it possible for users to send and receive crypto, to show latest market price, and to allow users to store their crypto safely and securely for a short to long period of time. To put it in simple words, a crypto wallet acts just like a typical bank account. To send a payment via etransfer for example, you need an email address. To send a wire transfer, you need the huge block of information provided to you by the other side. Similarly, when sending crypto from one wallet to another wallet, you will need a receive address and will need to share with the other person a TX hash (in order for them to see that the payment has been sent). Easy-peasy right? Of course, it is. Keep in mind though that there isn’t just ONE crypto blockchain platform for all. All crypto wallets are different when it comes to the blockchain. Some use decentralized blockchain technology, some use centralized technology, and some used hybrid blockchain technology. Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks. I won’t be talking about Ledger’s and Trezor products in this quick review – just four mobile crypto wallets that I have recently used. I will try my best to state more pros than cons.
In most crypto wallets, you receive access to your own Private and Public Keys (sometimes, depending on the wallet, the company also stores a duplicate of your Private and Public keys for “safety” of your account). “What is a private key?” you might ask. A private key is essentially a password. It’s a form of cryptography that allows a user to access their cryptocurrency in the platform. This was developed for security reasons, and essentially, you aren’t able to withdraw the coins to a receive address without having the private key with you upon sending. There is also a public key that allows users to receive different forms of crypto into their account. Both the private key and the public key are created once the user creates their first transaction with crypto; and both are very important parts of your wallet’s security. If it’s a bit confusing, remember that “public” is for depositing and “private” is for withdrawing and both are needed to make your wallet secure.
For those that want some more information on private keys when it comes to digital wallets, Investopedia writes:
“A digital wallet stores the private key of a user. When a transaction is initiated, the wallet software creates a digital signature by processing the transaction with the private key. This upholds a secure system since the only way to generate a valid signature for any given transaction is to use the private key. The signature is used to confirm that a transaction has come from a particular user, and ensures that the transaction cannot be changed once broadcasted. If the transaction gets altered, even slightly, the signature will change as well.”
For this article, we can assume that you have at least some basic understanding of how blockchain and how crypto wallets work. However, not many people know which wallets are right for them. Some Bitcoin and blockchain wallets work for some, while for others, they aren’t the right fit. It’s essentially like purchasing a car; a Ford Fiesta might be good for some, but for others, a Honda Civic is a better choice. All about preference.
Due to the fact that we’re all constantly on-the-go, I have decided to provide you with four mobile crypto wallets (available for both iOS and Android) that I personally like and have used, and also one that I created myself (throughout all of 2018) with my team as a comparison. I will be doing my best to make it as least bias as possible and, in the end, your opinion shouldn’t only be around these four wallets; you should constantly be educating yourself and building a good portfolio of wallets that you’d want to use. Then, after doing some investigating, pick the one right for you.
The List of the Four Most Preferred Mobile Crypto Wallets Begins!
Anyways, let’s begin. Let’s dig in to see some of the most popular mobile crypto wallets on the market that I would recommend to others.
Jaxx Liberty was launched in 2014 by a company named Decentral Inc. It is Canada’s leading blockchain company and has built a solid reputation throughout the past couple of years.
When using Jaxx for the first time, the main thing that will that stands out is Jaxx’s super simple interface. In fact, its interface is so simple that a novice trader can start using it without undergoing any training or going through any tutorial. Offering support to over 70 currencies, Jaxx crypto wallet is available for both Android and iOS devices. It has even launched an extension for Google Chrome users, allowing users to store and send currencies via the web browser. Downloaded over a million times, Jaxx is certainly one of the most popular crypto wallets available in the market.
Jaxx Liberty has invested heavily in its security. All its updates get rolled out only after going through an extensive and extremely rigorous testing phase. This is done in order to assure its users that all their holdings are in safe hands and that the wallet is 100% secure and safe. However, keep in mind that there was news on the market in Q4 of 2017 that Jaxx was hacked and around $400,000 in Ethereum & Zcash was stolen from a user. How could this happen? Jaxx is a hot wallet meaning that it is always connected to the internet. Cold wallet means that the funds are essentially located off the grid. Although there was a vulnerability in the software and it was later fixed, word came out that apparently the team members knew about the vulnerability but did not do enough to fix the problem. What vulnerability? Found out by VX Labs, the attackers were able to extract a users’ 12-words seed. Nonetheless, the team then stated on Reddit that they acknowledged the situation and were working on creating a fix. It’s been 2 years and logically their platform is very secure.
What is a 12-words seed? When you first open the Jaxx wallet, it automatically generates a 12-word seed. This phrase will then be used to create and manage all your digital assets and private keys. Never share this 12-word encrypted phrase with anyone. Jaxx has clarified that they don’t have any access to this 12-word backup phrase and it is not even stored on their server. Therefore, if you lose it, you’re screwed!
The wallet has a lot of cool features, although some known and seen on other wallets: built-in exchange, the ability for you to choose custom fees when sending funds, a QR scanner which allows you to send and receive funds by showing someone your QR code, and the ability to import/export keys & seeds.
In all, I personally liked the wallet, and it’s good for beginners and intermediate users, but the fact that it’s a hot wallet and there has been seen in the past unprofessionalism, from the company’s point of view, when it comes to security; gives me small goosebumps when I contemplate on sending over $5000 in crypto to my account. But again, it’s different for everyone and you should do a thorough investigation before sending money that you can’t afford to lose.
So the Pros:
- Supports over 70 currencies
- Large user base (thus could play a factor in building trust between the user and the company)
- Good wallet to try out if you are a beginner or intermediate user
- Built-in exchange
- The ability to choose custom gas fees
- The ability to access it on a wide range of platforms and devices
- Super simple interface
- Does not collect information about you
- Ability to see market data
- Block explorers
- AES-256 encryption enhanced by 5000 rounds of pbkdf2 password hashing
And the Cons:
- Due to the fact that all cryptocurrency keys are created and held on your local device, you are prone to being hacked and/or if your phone is stolen – you’re in big trouble
- Although ability to choose custom gas fees, sometimes slow wait time for transactions
- External third parties are able to trace your address and see what funds are available in your wallet
- Lack of 2 factor authentication
- Hot wallet
Blockchain Wallet is unarguably one of the most trusted and reputable cryptocurrency wallets available in the industry. Developed by a software development company based in the small European country of Luxembourg, as of now, it has over 34 million active users and over $200B worth of transactions that have taken place via its cryptocurrency wallet. Users are given 100% control over this wallet and the company is taking all possible precautions to protect its users from unauthorized access. The wallet has a clean user-interface and is easy to use. Blockchain Wallet offers support to Stellar (XLM), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin (BTC).
Currently, the company allows users to exchange their crypto for crypto in over 35 countries and supports 22 currencies. If you’re reading this and are located in Spain and don’t know English, don’t worry; they have over 25 languages that they support on the wallet, further delivering ease of use.
In all, I have used Blockchain Wallet numerous times and I personally like the ease of use in the platform, although it did take me 5 minutes to figure out where everything is located, and the range of features. However, due to the fact that its an online wallet, your funds might not be 100% safe. The company pushes you to purchase their Ledger Nano-like product for $60, but even then, no 100% guarantee. I also am a person that prefers to stay off the grid, so the fact that all my addresses are traceable makes me a bit eerie.
So the Pros:
- Easy to use, clean user-interface
- Although nothing special, the company was founded in Luxembourg (better than somewhere in a remote area…) by an experienced team who knows that they’re doing
- Over 34 million users
- Nodes are able to process a large amount of transactions at once, thus almost no down time
- Secure and users are in 100% control
- Trade currencies in over 35 countries.
- Operates in 140 countries
- Can send/receive funds via QR code or via address
- Has developed a Ledger Nano-looking product which does the same thing as Ledger Nano S
- Low fees, ability to choose what withdraw fee you want to pay (each selection changes receive wait time of the coins)
- 22 currencies supported
- Multi-language support
And the Cons:
- Some users might find it painful having to go through identity verification to access their individual wallets
- Can’t purchase with FIAT directly
- Could be a bit difficult at first for even intermediary users
- Online wallets are generally more vulnerable to security breaches than offline wallets.
- Apparently, customer support is often unhelpful (although that mostly depends on the situation)
- Took a while at first to figure where everything is located
Developed by the company Breadwinner AG, BRD is a popular, European, fully decentralized crypto wallet that allows users to not only send and receive currencies such as Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, and ERC-20 tokens; but also allows users to buy these currencies straight on the mobile app and as well as convert them within seconds!
As stated on their website “We make it easy to purchase bitcoin using a variety of methods, including credit card, in-person purchases at a bitcoin ATM, or a convenience store.”
There are a very little number of platforms out there that allow the user to directly purchase bitcoin and other currencies from the Wallet. Many platforms require you to first go on a Digital Assets Exchange or on a site like Coinbase, purchase Bitcoin, and then send it to your wallet. Because of the additional features of the BRD wallet, this process is easy and is safe to use.
Another cool feature of the wallet is it being fully decentralized and being directly connected to the blockchain. Because of this, there is no account, no password, no id needed to setup the wallet. Just create a PIN, write down the paper key upon setup (in case you lose your phone or uninstall the app) and you’re all set. This feature will allow your funds to be secure and accessible incase you lose your phone.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that your phone is now 100% secure. If you forget your PIN and lose your paper key – then you are screwed, just like with any other wallet.
BRD Wallet has an intuitive, Instagram-like design and simple login features; all available to Android and IOS users. Because of its great FAQ Support Center, it is a great choice for beginners and for those less tech-savvy.
So the Pros:
- Cool design, easy to use
- Allows you to buy and convert currencies
- Fully decentralized
- Great for beginners
- Pin protection
- Support of over 3 coins and 30+ tokens
- No registration or signup
- Touch-ID login option
- No data collected
- New wallet address created automatically for every transaction
- Multi-language support
And the Cons:
- App freezes sometimes
- No 2-factor authentication
- Takes 10 seconds sometimes to sync to Bitcoin network when opening the app
- Buying crypto is done through third party services
- High fees
A mix of new and old technologies with a hybrid blockchain platform developed to make all crypto users’ daily routines easy to do. This crypto wallet is primarily focused on the retail industry and so, as many of you know, using a fully decentralized crypto wallet on the retail level is a pain. Even if you send payments via QR Code, the transaction processing could take up to a minute; and if you’re a business and you have a long line – you’re causing traffic. PTPWallet solves that problem.
The PTPWallet was created by the same team that worked on the development of the social network for the cannabis industry called CannaSOS. PTPWallet is powered by a hybrid platform: decentralized and centralized blockchain technology. You may say, “Ohhhhh its not fully decentralized, my funds will get stolen, prone to hacking, it’s a scam, etc”. Hold up… Just so that you know, almost all the Digital Assets Exchanges out there have a similar hybrid foundation. In the form decentralized technology currently is in, often times it provides slow transaction speeds, it is too transparent, and is prone to hacking and thus not the best for the retail sector. PTPWallet wants to make it comfortable for retail businesses; and in the long run – help increase the amount of businesses using crypto.
“Okay, so what’s so special about this wallet?”. This is the first crypto wallet on the market that offers instant, fully anonymous internal transactions (third parties using platforms like etherscan won’t be able to see what you’re doing inside the wallet). Yes, that is correct, transaction speeds are quicker than it ever has been.
The platform also includes a global loyalty program for businesses, referral program, top-notch security, low transaction fees for the services provided, support for over 20 currencies (with the new update coming out, it will support all ERC20 currencies), and if not the most special feature – the ability to send crypto via SMS and email.
The PTPWallet’s team has put a large emphasis on ease of use and on the privacy of the user. The reason why the team decided to implement hybrid technology is because most businesses in the retail industry (and to an extent every business) don’t want to work with technology that makes them have to wait more than 5-10 minutes to process a payment. Imagine even standing at a gas station for 20 minutes, waiting for the Bitcoin transfer to process! Sure, there is the ability of sending funds via QR code, but depending on the connection, even that can take up to a minute. With the centralized component added to the game, the PTPWallet allows users and businesses to send funds (inside the platform) to each other instantaneously. The decentralized aspect comes in when depositing and withdrawing funds into/from the platform.
“How am I secured?”. When creating a wallet account, you need to write down a 6-word passphrase and enter a 6 digit Pin code, which only you know, that is asked every time you send a transaction and open an app. Again, only you know this information, the company does not store your Pin code. Therefore, if someone steals your phone, you have the ability to restore the wallet (using the passphrases) on another device. The wallet will then close on the original device. Hacking also is not possible as once the funds enter the system, they go directly to your address (which is covered up by the company address). Within the platform, if you feel paranoid for some reason, you can open another wallet address and transfer all the funds there. Complete anonymity.
In all, although I am technically the creator and this might sound biased, I use this wallet on a daily basis when doing crypto transactions with other business partners. Although launched in January of 2019, we have already processed up to 100,000 transactions, and have never been “hacked”. I personally have over $10,000 on the wallet, which (believe me) is a lot of money for me, and I am confident in its abilities.
So the Pros:
- Supports a large amount of currencies
- Instant transactions
- Fully anonymous transactions
- Global referral program
- Global loyalty program
- Great for all levels of experience
- Game called Drain the Bank allowing users to take part and win a prize
- Welcome bonus in tokens for opening an account
- Ability to send funds by Email, SMS, and social networks (alongside QR Code and address)
- Passphrase and Pin code protection
- Ability to open multiple sub-wallet accounts for same currency in one wallet account
- 7 rating on Google Play Store
- Soon-to-be released web version
So the Cons:
- Support team might take a bit longer to respond if there is a lot of emails
- Does not currently support multiple languages
- Some might not prefer the green color
- Currently, no function to convert crypto to crypto
- Currently, no function to purchase and sell crypto for FIAT
- Tx fee might be too high for some when withdrawing coins to a wallet not in PTPWallet
Currently, I hold my funds in Blockchain Wallet and in PTPWallet. I have tried Jaxx out and Bread, and I personally do not feel comfortable holding a lot of funds in these two wallets. I hold more funds on PTPWallet than on Blockchain Wallet because it is both a hot and cold wallet (although that doesn’t really matter because no one can trace a transaction to a specific address) and because it allows me to do quick payments for unexpected transactions. Nonetheless, I use Blockchain Wallet when I am sending funds to a person who doesn’t have PTPWallet because the tx fee is less (if it was PTPWallet 2.0, I guarantee the tx fees would be through the roof). If I were to use PTPWallet in that situation, I’d have to pay TX fee and GAS. If it were to do a transaction to someone who also has PTPWallet, then it will be only a small tx fee in the currency of the transaction. This was done in order to stimulate people to facilitate all transactions within PTPWallet.
In all, it’s really up to you. I don’t recommend taking my word for it. I recommend downloading all those wallets, testing them out, getting comfortable with it, and then deciding if you want to hold a large amount of funds in the wallet. Always make sure if they have a 24/7 support team, and to read reviews to see what other people are writing about it.
I hope this was an informative read for you, stay safe and I wish you will find the wallet that suits your needs.
Director, Core State Holdings, Corp.
Founder of PTPWallet