It’s a sticky wicket. The steps involved in setting up a crypto wallet—which you need to receive and send crypto and use dapps—can be numerous and mind-boggling. What to do? A software wallet is a good place to start (a USB stick-based wallet might be safer, but that’s the stuff of another article). Others would argue that all wallets have a usability problem that hasn’t been nailed yet.
But, hell—what if you can’t wait and need one now? We’ve rounded up a bunch of projects that are trying very hard to make it super-easy, but not so easy that someone else can get at your funds.
1. Burner Wallet
“Astonishingly easy,” according to their own blurb, the Burner Wallet is an open-source project aiming to help drive mass adoption of Ethereum in emerging economies. It’s super-quick. A burner wallet is automatically generated when you go to the site, and your private key is stored in a cookie, so it sits there waiting for you, until you “burn” it at the end of the transaction (recommended). If you share an Uber or a pizza with a friend and want to split the cost, you take a picture of their QR code with your phone camera and it will open up a new burner wallet to exchange value with them. Users can even send currency through messaging services like WhatsApp, using a simple link. A burner wallet is analogous to cash—you won’t want to carry too much because it can be lost.
Torus allows you to use social identities (e.g. your Google account) to generate private keys, making it dead easy for new users to access dapps. So, instead of having to download a chrome extension like Metamask, which handles key management and interaction with dapps, a digital identity account can be used to login, and immediately start using the dapp. Based in Singapore, Torus is among the first batch of projects released by Binance Labs.Think of it as a starter wallet aimed at those who don’t want to have to deal with their own private keys, at least not at the start.
Where some wallets make you backup private keys, read cryptic addresses and pay for gas, UK-based Argent promises to simplify all that. Argent is built on smart contracts and blockchain-integrated code to allow users to manage their funds. It relies on so-called “Argent Guardians”—essentially, these are people, devices (a hardware wallet, for instance) or third-party services you already use and trust. You give them permission to help with specific tasks (such as approving a recovery) in a predefined smart contract and they can be added or removed at any time. Argent will also set daily transaction limits, protecting against fraudulent transactions.
But—hey, big spender—what if you need to unload quite a bit in one go? Known as a “premium wallet,” the Casa Wallet may fit the bill (however large). It’s not quite as easy to setup as others on our list because it includes extra steps designed to provide gold-standard levels of security. For instance, Casa requires three of five multi-sig approvals in order to release funds, with one of those keys stored by the company. It’s not a revolutionary concept (the Winklelvii famously used a similar, non-commercial, system to store their funds) but the project is supported by some high profile figures including Jameson Lopp, and its lead designer is Scott Hurff, who’s known for his previous work as a designer for Tinder. But, with annual maintenance fees running into five figures, Casa’s services (including 24/7 phone support) don’t come cheap.
5. Coinbase Wallet
An oldie but a goodie (which is being continuously improved). With the Coinbase Wallet (formerly “Toshi”), there’s no need to set up an account or verify your identity: just pick a username, enable fingerprint or PIN access, and get started. Though it’s developed by Coinbase, the code is open source. Funds stay on the user’s device, and are secured (at least, as much as you trust its biometric authentication technology.) The Coinbase Wallet enables you to manage eth and other tokens, buy and store crypto collectibles , send payments and access leading decentralized exchanges. It also has a built-in “reputation system,” which lets you know whom to trust.
MyCrypto attempts to balance security with usability, providing educational messages that prompt users to act in the correct way. For example, you’re offered different ways to access your wallet, ranging from a hardware wallet, to a mnemonic phrase, and encouraged to choose what’s right for your needs. MyCrypto claims to simplify the process of storing, sending and receiving digital assets, outside of an exchange, and is great for users who like to be meticulously walked through complexities. Originally a forked version of MyEtherWallet, MyCrypto is open-source. Recently, it integrated an eth alarm clock-like feature, which allows investors to schedule their transactions. Nifty.