Our take on ZenGo
The bottom line:
Looking for a wallet? While there’s plenty of choices out there, some are more user-friendly than others. That’s where ZenGo comes in: it’s a wallet that focuses on powerful crypto support without requiring a lot of effort.
On ZenGo's website
In 2021, scammers snatched over 14 billion dollars from the crypto world at large; security is of the utmost importance when it comes to this market. So, when we got a chance to realistically review ZenGo and found their claim to fame is security, we were intrigued.
ZenGo Wallet’s primary feature is that it doesn’t require long seed phrases. If you’re just hearing the term, let us fill you in: a seed phrase is a random string of words designed to ensure that you are the only one that can access your wallet. Lose the seed phrase, and your crypto is inaccessible as well.
We took ZenGo for a test drive, and came away with some interesting insights.
- ZenGo wallet uses facial recognition to further secure your account, a 3FA (Three-Factor Authentication) approach.
- The wallet app allows for both crypto-to-crypto transfers and fiat-to-crypto purchases, as well as crypto-to-fiat withdrawals.
- It is possible currently to stake Tezos, with other proof-of-stake crypto tokens coming soon.
What is ZenGo?
The ZenGo Wallet is a crypto wallet app that focuses on being the leading wallet in the crypto ecosystem that is truly keyless. In other words, you don’t need a recovery phrase to use the app or to keep your crypto tokens secure.
ZenGo uses backup to Google Drive or iCloud to help secure your recovery file for future access, as well as smartphone-based facial recognition. The app can hold multiple crypto assets, with more assets coming soon.
How does ZenGo work?
As mentioned earlier, ZenGo is all about making the most common tasks in crypto a lot easier. Here’s a few things that you can do inside the ZenGo wallet:
- Ethereum wallet: Buying, holding, and swapping Ethereum for other crypto is a breeze.
- Earn interest: ZenGo partners with Nexo to make earning interest on crypto tokens easy.
- Stake crypto: Right now, the only available crypto for staking is Tezos, but more proof of stake tokens are on the way.
- Store NFTs: Eager to have a holding place for your NFTs as well as crypto tokens? No problem; you can use WalletConnect to connect directly to marketplaces like OpenSea.
ZenGo pros and cons
- Excellent user interface
- Easy connection to DApps
- Stake crypto for rewards
- High minimums
- Missing some super popular tokens
- Verification required
ZenGo notable features
Is ZenGo the most complicated wallet out there? Absolutely not. Thankfully, this is by design: without having to worry about private keys or other security concerns, users can just go about trading crypto as they see fit. Here are a few of the key features that came to our attention as we gave the app a real test drive:
Excellent User Interface
The user interface is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a clean, bright interface that makes it easy to navigate around the app. Everything you need is on the bottom; simply tap where you want to go next. You’ll most likely spend a lot of time in the “Actions” section, where you have buttons to tap for buying, selling, and trading crypto. You can also connect to DApps in this section.
Easy Connection to DApps
If your web3 app of choice supports WalletConnect, you can easily connect ZenGo Wallet to the app you want. Not having to worry about connecting/disconnecting issues makes ZenGo a great choice for transferring crypto or working with select DApps.
Stake Crypto for Rewards
Currently, you can stake Tezos tokens for rewards within your ZenGo wallet, all without paperwork or a lot of extra steps. Staking directly helps the health of the blockchain you’re staking on, so it’s a pretty big deal that ZenGo allows you to handle this without hassles.
ZenGo potential drawbacks
No wallet is perfect, and while ZenGo definitely caught our attention for its user-friendliness and obvious catering to crypto newbies, there are some potential drawbacks that should be taken into strong consideration before downloading and using the wallet heavily.
High minimums for fiat-based crypto purchasing
Compared to other places to buy crypto with fiat currency, ZenGo’s in-app purchasing has fairly high minimums compared to some centralized platforms to buy crypto, like Coinbase. For example, to buy Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), or Bitcoin (BTC), the minimum is $80.
When I contacted support, they explained that the higher minimums is due to the cost of the transaction itself. In other words, since there are costs involved in the conversion from fiat to crypto, the minimum trade has to be higher to offset the costs.
This isn’t the end of the world, but it stands out as a con for the wallet given how it’s marketed as being very user friendly. People new to crypto may not want to put $80 (or their country’s equivalent) into a new wallet. .
Still missing some big crypto tokens
While the list of supported crypto assets is fairly long and includes some classic tokens, the list is still missing some big ones. For example, Cardano (ADA) and Solana (SOL) aren’t supported yet, nor is Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or Hadera Hashgraph (HBAR). Not having support for Avalanche (AVAX) is also troubling since it’s one of the tokens behind a growing movement for scalability and sustainability.
This is not a wallet that’s going to allow crypto enthusiasts to fly under the radar. If you want to transfer out larger amounts of crypto to fiat currency, you’re going to have to go through various levels of verification.
For some, verifying isn’t really a big deal. If you’ve used centralized exchanges, then you’re already accustomed to showing a copy of your government-issued photo ID. But if you’re looking to go under the radar, ZenGo isn’t going to allow you to do that.
ZenGo security features
- No private key needed. ZenGo uses two secret shares powered by high-level mathematical calculations in order to keep your wallet safe forever, with no single point of failure.
- Zero access to your funds, period. ZenGo can’t touch your crypto at all, so you never have to worry about your wallet sabotaging you from the inside.
- Easy backup and restore options. If you need to move ZenGo from one phone to another, all you have to do is download the app again and scan your face.
- Guaranteed access to your crypto, even if the company closes down. The concept is called Chill Storage, and it’s designed to ensure permanent access to your crypto in the event the company shuts down for some reason.
- Open source means open examinations. ZenGo’s source code is open source, meaning that anyone can not only see exactly how it works, but the codebase can be audited by anyone.
- Regular professional audits. ZenGo is audited by outside professional firms, ensuring that the app is truly living up to its claims of greater security.
What really separates ZenGo from other wallet options is that these features are worked seamlessly into the app itself.
There’s no expectation for the user to maintain any security protocols; it’s all handled automatically. Instead of one private key, the secret shares protecting your crypto are on your phone and on ZenGo’s servers.
All of these security measures are happily going on in the background, leaving you free to focus on your crypto, just the way it’s meant to be. I found that it was quite easy to go through the backup process, and it worked seamlessly with Google Drive when I used my Galaxy Android phone to test it out.
How to set up your ZenGo
ZenGo is really trying to knock down some big barriers in crypto, including getting started. What this means is that setting things up isn’t hard at all, even with the absence of a recovery phrase.
Here’s how to get things in motion:
Step 1: Download the ZenGo app to your smartphone
ZenGo is a smartphone based app, so you’ll need to either go to the App Store for the iOS version, or the Play Store for the Android version. Search “ZenGo Wallet” and it pops right up.
Step 2: Set up recovery kit
Instead of private keys, ZenGo works off of a concept of a recovery kit. You’ll need to agree to a scan of your face, as well as having your recovery file synced to Google Drive (or iCloud on the iPhone side of things).
Step 3: Let your recovery file sync
Step 4: Buy or transfer in some crypto
The actions section is laid out so cleanly:
Step 5: Connect some DApps
OK, here’s where ZenGo really gets slick and interesting to me: WalletConnect. This connects you to great DApps like Decentraland and Curve Finance. What if you wanted to hook up your shiny new wallet to Curve.Fi?
Check it out:
Select “Wallet Connect”. It’ll pop up with a QR Code you can scan in the ZenGo app.
You’ll know it’s successful when it looks like this:
What Happens When You Need Support?
So, ZenGo has live chat, which is better than having to just submit support tickets. As mentioned in the “Pros and Cons” section, buying crypto directly within the ZenGo universe with fiat currency is costly. The minimums are much higher. Not wanting to part with too terribly much for a test run, we decided to reach out to support.
We thought it was great for ZenGo to have all of the common beginner questions already preloaded. But we wanted to talk directly to a human, so that’s the option we tapped.
We simply asked about the high minimums for buying crypto directly in ZenGo with fiat currency. This was the official answer:
Curious, we decided to click over to Benxa and see if the minimums would be lower than $85.
If we wanted to buy some Tether (USDT) with USD, it will look like this:
Just enter in your own wallet address, and Banxa can take care of it. It’s a $50 minimum instead of an $85 one, which isn’t enough of a difference for me to use an entirely different site. So just plan to either buy crypto from a place with lower fiat onramps, or just directly transfer in the crypto you have stored elsewhere. Either path is perfectly fine!
We found that support was fast, helpful, and friendly. What’s not to love about that?
Final thoughts on ZenGo
ZenGo is definitely changing the game in terms of security. Removing seed phrases is a game changer, especially for people new to crypto wallets. For the seasoned crypto user, ZenGo fits well into a wallet rotation (multiple wallets keep from having all of your eggs in one basket), with a clean interface that makes moving crypto around a breeze.
It isn’t all roses, of course: the high cost to buy crypto with fiat currency means that it wouldn’t make sense to toss other options out the window. Overall, ZenGo is definitely worth checking out and using.
Frequently asked questions
How secure is ZenGo Wallet?
What platforms can I use ZenGo Wallet on?
What crypto can I hold with ZenGo Wallet?