The Best Ethereum ERC-20 Wallets of 2022

  • November 23, 2022
  • 22 Min Read

The Ethereum network now hosts over one million transactions daily, and with ETH serving as the primary gateway to DeFi and decentralized apps, a secure-yet-capable wallet becomes must-have equipment. We compare the best Ethereum wallets to discover which wallets deliver the features users demand.

The 6 Top Ethereum Wallets of 2022

  • MetaMask: Best browser Ethereum wallet
  • Argent: Best ETH wallet for dApp integration
  • Gnosis Safe: Best multi-sig Ethereum wallet
  • Ledger: Best ETH hardware wallet with mobile access
  • Trezor: Best ETH hardware wallet desktop app
  • Coinbase: Best no-frills ETH software wallet solution
Wallet NameSeed Phrase LengthSecurity FeaturesInterfaceCompatibility
MetaMask12 wordsPassword, Seed phrase, Biometric login (mobile)iOS/Android, Chrome/Firefox extensioniOS, Android, Mac/PC/Linux with Chrome or Firefox
Argent12 words (Argent X Web extension); none on mobile2FA, Multi-sig, Wallet lock, Biometric login (mobile)iOS/Android, Chrome/Firefox extension (Argent X)iOS, Android, Mac/PC/Linux with Chrome or Firefox
Gnosis SafeN/APassword, Multi-sigiOS/Android, Web app, Mac/PC/Linux appiOS, Android, Web app, Mac/PC/Linux
Ledger24 wordsPassphrase (25th seed word), 2FA, Multi-sig (supported wallets)iOS/Android, Mac/PC/Linux appiOS, Android, Mac/PC/Linux
Trezor12 words (Model T) or 24 words (Model One)2FA, PIN or Passphrase, Multi-sig (supported wallets)Mac/PC/Linux app, Web app (Chrome desktop and mobile)Mac/PC/Linux, Mobile web app
Coinbase12 wordsPassword, Seed phrase, Biometric login (mobile)iOS/Android, Chrome extensioniOS, Android, Mac/PC/Linux with Chrome
DeFi-nition

ERC-20: ERC stands for Ethereum Request for Comments, a system that tracks suggested changes to the Ethereum network’s capabilities. ERC-20 identifies the specific proposal and token standard that adds support for a wide variety of ETH-based tokens.

MetaMask

Difficulty level: Beginner/Intermediate

Seed Phrase LengthSecurity FeaturesInterfaceCompatibility
12 wordsPassword, Seed phrase, Biometric login (mobile)iOS/Android, Chrome/Firefox extensioniOS, Android, Mac/PC/Linux with Chrome or Firefox

With a reputation as a do-nearly-anything utility wallet, MetaMask has become a trusted favorite for the Ethereum community. Launched in 2016, this versatile wallet provides a gateway to DeFi and web3 apps with support for Ethereum and ETH-based tokens. If needed, you can also connect MetaMask to other networks, including Polygon and Avalanche.

MetaMask offers both mobile apps and a web extension, the latter of which is available for Firefox or Chromium-based browsers. This combination provides access to mobile and desktop users, helping MetaMask reach an estimated 30 million users monthly.

You can store and send ETH as well as ERC-20 tokens and ERC-721 non-fungible tokens (NFTs). But MetaMask cannot send NFTs minted with the newer ERC-1155 standard, although it can store them. Additionally, if you need to store Bitcoin or similar crypto assets not based on ERC-20 or ERC-721, you’ll need a separate wallet for those tokens or coins.

With support for multiple wallets, you can create wallets for distinct uses, giving each wallet a unique name.

In addition to mobile apps for iOS and Android, MetaMask offers a Chrome extension and Firefox extension, making MetaMask available on nearly any device.

MetaMask ETH wallet

Pros

  • Supports Ledger and Trezor hardware wallets
  • Browser extension to support nearly any computer
  • Easy-to-use interface

Cons

  • Hot wallet connected to the internet
  • Largely limited to ETH and ETH-based tokens
  • Sometimes-cryptic UI messages

Security Features of MetaMask Wallet

  • Password: Lock your MetaMask wallet with a password in your browser or mobile device to prevent someone else from making transactions.
  • Seed phrase: A 12-word seed phrase lets you restore your wallet or share the same wallet on multiple devices.
  • Biometric login: Choose a fingerprint login over a password on mobile devices.

Argent

Difficulty level: Intermediate/Expert

Seed Phrase LengthSecurity FeaturesInterfaceCompatibility
None; Argent is a smart contract wallet.2FA, Multi-sig, Wallet lock, Biometric login (mobile)iOS/Android, Chrome/Firefox extension (Argent X)iOS, Android, Mac/PC/Linux with Chrome or Firefox

With the Argent wallet, you’ll make a leap from trustless, a crypto-community term that refers to not needing third-party authorization, to Trust Lists and Guardians.

Trust lists are user-defined actions within decentralized apps that only require your authorization. Guardians hold the key to all other transactions and are people or wallet addresses that provide multiple signature (multi-sig) security. You can also choose email/text two-factor authentication (2FA) or hardware wallets as Guardians.

Think of the two options as medium security, which only you need to authorize, and high security, for which you require multiple signatures.

Unlike self-custody wallets in our roundup, such as MetaMask, Argent is a smart contract, which works like an if-then statement in programming. If this happens, do that. With Argent, you define the ifs, meaning the situations in which your smart contract wallet can release funds.

As another compelling feature, Argent offers built-in access to an Ethereum layer 2 network called zkSync – but on mobile devices only. Using zkSync is orders of magnitude faster and cheaper than using Ethereum mainnet and allows you to use your ETH more efficiently.

Buy or trade crypto from within the app with built-in integration with dApps, such as SushiSwap. You can also put your crypto to work on DeFi apps like Yearn.finance without leaving the Argent wallet app.

Note: Argent only supports ETH, ERC-20 tokens, and ETH NFTs.

Argent wallet is built for speed in authorized transactions but moves stubbornly slow when making security-related changes like adding a new dApp to a Trust List, a process that takes a week. With over 10 million active users, a sizable part of the ETH community appreciates Argent’s measured approach to security.

Argent ETH wallet

Pros

  • Seed phrases replaced by trusted Guardians
  • Diverse DeFi ecosystem at your fingertips (mobile)
  • Fast and affordable Layer 2 transactions

Cons

  • No link between mobile and browser extension
  • zkSync Layer 2 only available on mobile devices
  • Network fees to set up on zkSync

Security Features of Argent Wallet

  • Guardians: Argent’s multi-sig security uses Guardians, which are people or other authentication methods you designate.
  • Two-factor authentication: Choose text or email as additional authentication.
  • Biometric login (mobile): Use fingerprint login on supported mobile devices.

Gnosis Safe

Difficulty level: Intermediate/Expert

Seed Phrase LengthSecurity FeaturesInterfaceCompatibility
N/APassword, Multi-sigiOS/Android, Web app, Mac/PC/Linux appiOS, Android, Web app, Mac/PC/Linux

Like Argent’s mobile wallet, Gnosis Safe is a smart contract wallet that builds its security around multiple signatures for transactions. Unlike Argent, which takes diverging paths with the Argent mobile wallet and the Argent X web extension, you can expect Gnosis Safe to work similarly whether using the mobile app, web app, or Mac/PC/Linux app. However, the web app offers the most functionality.

Gnosis Safe supports several additional networks, including Polygon, BNB Smart Chain, and Optimism, in addition to Ethereum. But to use these chains you may have to use a bridge that brings your ETH to or from the other chains. For example, you can use Optimism and the OETH token by bridging from Ethereum to Optimism. On the Ethereum network, you’ll find support for ETH-based tokens and NFTs.

With an estimated $90 billion in assets stored in Gnosis Safe, this wallet solution has become a popular choice for everyday users as well as large decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), like Uniswap and Aave.

While not the easiest (or cheapest) wallet to set up, Gnosis wallet brings a wealth of features, including a built-in selection of web3 apps, all centered around multi-sig security. When building your wallet, you choose which addresses own the wallet and how many signatures are required to complete transactions.

Gnosis Safe ETH wallet

Pros

  • Support for multiple crypto networks
  • Multi-sig with two or more wallet owners
  • Built-in dApps (web app and desktop)

Cons

  • Network fees to set up your safe
  • Lengthy setup process
  • Cumbersome recovery process

Security Features of Gnosis Safe

  • Password: Password protect the app for privacy.
  • Biometric login: Mobile devices can use fingerprint login.
  • Multi-sig: Secure your ETH with multiple signatures required for transactions.

Ledger

Difficulty level: Beginner/Intermediate

Seed Phrase LengthSecurity FeaturesInterfaceCompatibility
24 wordsPassphrase (25th seed word), 2FA, Multi-sig (supported wallets)iOS/Android, Mac/PC/Linux appiOS, Android, Mac/PC/Linux

As a hardware wallet combined with an app, Ledger’s wallet, called Ledger Live, pairs with one of Ledger’s well-known devices that connect to the software either wirelessly or through USB. To authorize a transaction, you use the button interface on the Ledger hardware device.

You can add additional security, such as a passphrase that makes your seed phrase more secure, turning your Ledger into a veritable fortress for your crypto assets. And you’re not limited to Ethereum. Ledger supports 100+ cryptocurrencies, including ETH, BTC, XRP, USDT, and more.

While Ledger can support multiple cryptocurrencies, for ETH transactions, you’ll still use the Ethereum mainnet, giving you secure storage for ERC-20 tokens and ETH-minted NFTs. Currently, Ledger Live, the software that drives Ledger’s hardware devices, does not support Ethereum side chains, such as Optimism.

With over four million users, Ledger enjoys wide acceptance, but for many users, the primary value comes in Ledger’s interaction with other wallets. For example, you can use a Ledger hardware device with MetaMask or Coinbase wallet, bringing cold-storage security to these popular hot-wallet solutions.

Ledger’s current lineup includes the Nano S Plus and the Bluetooth-enabled Nano X.

Ledger ETH wallet

Pros

  • Choose from 3 different Ledger devices
  • Secure your favorite hot wallet
  • Restore your wallet if you lose your device

Cons

  • Limited app storage
  • Not mobile friendly
  • Spendy for top models

Security Features of Ledger Wallet

  • Hardware authentication: Rather than use an always-connected hot wallet, Ledger hardware devices use cold storage, with keys stored offline.
  • Passphrase: Define your own passphrase to make your 24-word key 25 words.
  • Multi-sig: Use your Ledger as one of the signatures for multi-sig with supported wallets.

Trezor

Difficulty level: Beginner/Intermediate

Seed Phrase LengthSecurity FeaturesInterfaceCompatibility
12 words (Model T) or 24 words (Model One)2FA, PIN or Passphrase, Multi-sig (supported wallets)Mac/PC/Linux app, Web app (Chrome desktop and mobile)Mac/PC/Linux, Mobile web app

As the world’s first crypto hardware wallet, Trezor is known for innovation and remains one of the most popular hardware wallets for Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies.

Trezor offers a powerful software package, called Trezor Suite, that lets you manage your device as well as your ETH and ERC-20 tokens. To manage NFTs, however, you’ll want to pair your Trezor device with another software wallet, such as MetaMask. This step can also safeguard other assets in hot wallets.

Trezor Suite currently offers desktop apps for Apple, PC, and Linux, all open source, as well as a full-featured web application. A mobile app for Android is under development. The suite supports 10 accounts for each cryptocurrency you hold.

An available feature unique to Trezor lets you route communications through The Onion Network (TOR), a worldwide network of relay computers that enhance privacy and security. Adding to security features, Trezor’s flagship Model T features a built-in PIN pad and supports Shamir Backup, a time-tested way to encode and split your seed phrase into multiple recovery shares.

Trezor hardware wallets make a solid pick if you hold more than one type of cryptocurrency, and are a popular choice for both the Ethereum and Bitcoin communities.

Trezor ETH wallet

Pros

  • Priced under $70 (Model One)
  • Supports all ERC-20 tokens
  • Improved anonymity with TOR support

Cons

  • Limited native support for NFTs
  • No mobile app
  • No wireless connectivity

Security Features of Trezor Wallet

  • Shamir Backup: Secure your recovery seed in several disguised parts (Model T).
  • PIN-protected: Lock down your Model T with a security code.
  • Code transparency: Trezor uses widely audited open-source code.

Coinbase

Difficulty level: Beginner

Seed Phrase LengthSecurity FeaturesInterfaceCompatibility
12 wordsPassword, Seed phrase, Biometric login (mobile)iOS/Android, Chrome extensioniOS, Android, Mac/PC/Linux with Chrome

Coinbase built its business on being easy to use and the Coinbase wallet follows suit offering a simple interface with support for ETH, ERC-20 tokens, NFTs, and DeFi. But ease of use doesn’t mean you’ll sacrifice security. Coinbase password protects your app and also supports fingerprint login, while also bringing support for Ledger hardware wallets if you need a more secure configuration.

When connecting to platforms and dApps around the web, you’ll find Coinbase wallet as a commonly supported wallet. An in-app browser on mobile devices lets you shop for NFTs, swap tokens, or leverage the power of DeFi platforms like Aave.

Coinbase wallet supports ETH, ERC-20 tokens, and Eth-minted NFTs, but you can also use your wallet for other Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible networks, such as Binance Smart Chain, Solana, and Polygon Mainnet. As a bonus, Coinbase wallet also supports Bitcoin

Available in over 170 countries worldwide and in 25 languages, Coinbase wallet aims to be accessible while offering a powerful feature set and multi-chain support. Taking ease of use a step further, you can pair your Coinbase wallet with your Coinbase account, making it straightforward to add funds to your wallet.

Coinbase ETH wallet

Pros

  • Chrome extension and mobile app support
  • Convenient built-in dApp browser
  • Pairs with Ledger hardware wallets

Cons

  • Confusing buying process
  • Hot wallet connected to the internet
  • No native cold storage

Security Features of Coinbase Wallet

  • Hardware wallet support: Connect your Ledger to your Coinbase wallet for an extra layer of security.
  • Seed phrase: A 12-word seed phrase lets you restore your wallet to multiple devices.
  • Fingerprint login: Use your fingerprint to authenticate rather than a password.

What Are Ethereum Wallets?

An Ethereum wallet provides a way to view, spend, receive, or send ETH assets on the blockchain. Your ETH, ETH-based (ERC-20) tokens, and NFTs don’t actually live in your wallet. Instead, they exist on the blockchain and your wallet holds the private keys that let you use the assets.

ETH wallets can be either hot wallets, in which the private keys are stored on a device that has accessed the internet, or cold wallets, such as hardware devices that do not connect to the internet.

Because ETH is widely used in DeFi and web3 applications, your Ethereum wallet offers a way to interact with ETH-enabled apps and decentralized finance platforms.

How Ethereum Wallets Work

In the prior section, we discussed how ETH wallets are really a gateway to assets held on the blockchain. Every wallet address uses a public address, which anyone can view on a tool like Etherscan. Blockchain assets aren’t a secret in most cases, although we may not know who owns the wallet address.

However, while anyone can see the assets held by an Ethereum address, only a wallet with the private keys can spend the assets or send the assets to another wallet.

When you use your wallet to send or receive, the transaction is sent to network validators to verify that the transaction conforms to the network protocol. Moving assets around on the Ethereum blockchain has a cost, though. So as you send funds to or from your wallet address, expect to pay a fee that varies depending on network congestion.

An ETH address is just a location on the Ethereum blockchain, like your address at your home.

But instead of 123 Main Street, ETH addresses look like this:

0x9881E02662b26885c4A3B2bB79b71770dB127eA9

Not exactly user-friendly, but the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) aims to give ETH wallets a human-readable identity.

With many wallets, you can name your ETH address in your wallet itself, but that’s only a local change visible to you. With ENS, you can create an alias for your wallet address, so others can send money to your easy-to-remember address.

The Coinbase wallet supports ENS natively but uses Coinbase’s domain name system. For example, your wallet name would follow the following format:

username.cb.id

MetaMask, another popular wallet, supports ENS but does not offer a built-in naming mechanism like the Coinbase wallet. You’ll need to get your own .eth name.

To add ENS support to MetaMask, click on assets in the Chrome extension and then search for Ethereum Name Service.

MetaMask add ENS support

Then, you can visit the ENS dApp to choose your name.

ENS name example

Similar to a website domain name, you register your ENS name for a year, paying gas fees to complete the transaction.

ENS purchase name

And once you complete the transaction, set up a reverse record within the ENS dApp that points your ENS name to your ETH wallet address.

Expect the entire process to take up to 30 minutes due to the number of validations required to confirm the transaction.

How to Get an ETH Wallet

Coinbase and MetaMask wallets offer an intuitive setup process; just remember to note your seed phrase. Let’s look at how to get a Gnosis Safe smart contract wallet instead. We can use MetaMask for wallet owners, however.

Step 1: Visit the Gnosis app to get started

Point your browser to the Gnosis online app.

Gnosis safe download

Step 2: Select a network

We’ll use Ethereum for now, but Gnosis supports several networks.

Gnosis safe choose network

Step 3: Connect another wallet.

Gnosis uses wallet addresses as owners, so you’ll need to connect one wallet address to get started. Let’s use MetaMask.

Gnosis safe connect another wallet

Step 4: Give your wallet a name.

Choose a name to identify your wallet.

Gnosis safe name wallet

Step 5: Assign wallet owners.

You can choose how many owners your wallet will have as well as how many signatures you want for transactions. Here, we chose three wallet addresses and told Gnosis we want 2 out of 3 signatures to approve transactions.

Gnosis safe assign wallet owners

Take note of the network fees required to build your wallet (a smart contract). Because the network is busy, Gnosis estimates that fees will be 0.02868 ETH ($36+).

Gnosis safe network fees

Ultimately, we chose a low-priority transaction in MetaMask and paid a lower fee for the slower transaction.

Gnosis safe low-priority transaction

Advanced users can also choose to use a cheaper and faster layer 2 blockchain, such as Optimism. To do so, choose Optimism (or your preferred network) on the top right menu.

Gnosis safe use Optimism network

MetaMask, which we’re using for signatures, supports Optimism. But you’ll need to use a bridge to bring your ETH over to the Optimism chain as OETH tokens. This costs gas fees as well.

Gnosis safe Optimism bridge

We chose to stay with Ethereum to complete the wallet set up, although OETH transactions are less expensive if you expect to use your wallet for frequent transactions.

Gnosis safe wallet created

Step 6: Check your wallet status.

Visit Etherscan.io to verify your wallet details. Your newly created wallet links directly to the transaction.

Gnosis Safe Etherscan

Step 7: Explore the world of dApps

Open your wallet using the web app or Gnosis software app to explore built-in dApps.


Note: The Gnosis mobile app offers a scaled-down experience.

Gnosis safe dApps

Hardware Ethereum Wallets vs. Software Ethereum Wallets

Earlier, we discussed hot wallets vs. cold wallets, which speaks to the primary difference between hardware wallets (cold) and software wallets (usually hot).

Hardware wallets provide authorization using a device that isn’t connected directly to the internet. This structure keeps your private keys used to send or spend ETH secure.

While hardware wallets offer better security in most cases, they can be less convenient. Support for mobile devices is less common, meaning you’ll need to connect to a laptop or desktop in most situations.

As a solution, some choose to use both types of wallets, but for different activities. For example, you might choose to protect your larger ETH balances with a hardware wallet while using a software wallet for smaller balances and frequent transactions.

Tokens You Can Store in Ethereum Wallets

Many wallets are designed to work with only one type of cryptocurrency or tokens based on that crypto. For instance, ETH wallets typically work with ETH itself as well as ERC-20 tokens and ETH-minted NFTs.

Because wallets are purpose-built, sending crypto to an unsupported wallet from another chain can be disastrous. As an example, you can’t send Bitcoin directly to an ETH wallet. Some wallets might let you try, although you’ll lose your Bitcoin in the process.

Most ETH wallets can support a wide variety of ERC-20 tokens, typically including:

  • BUSD
  • MATIC
  • DAI
  • SHIB
  • UNI
  • WBTC
  • LINK
  • APE

Pros And Cons of Ethereum Wallets

Pros

  • Multiple ways to secure ETH
  • Choose from mobile or desktop
  • Choose from hardware, software, or smart contract

Cons

  • Can be difficult to navigate
  • Gas fees make use costly without using a layer 2 network
  • Don’t support non-ETH assets

Ethereum Wallets vs. Bitcoin Wallets

A subset of ETH wallets can support both Ethereum and Bitcoin. But under the hood, these wallets are really multiple wallets, keeping distinct assets in separate wallets. As an example, Ledger devices support both ETH and BTC, but each asset requires a separate app installed on the device to ensure your ETH and BTC have a safe home. As an alternative, you can choose a dedicated Bitcoin wallet to provide more security by compartmentalization.

Currently, Bitcoin doesn’t support NFTs, pointing to one big difference between Ethereum wallets that support NFTs and Bitcoin wallets that do not.

Ethereum Wallets vs. Solana Wallets

Similar to Bitcoin wallets vs. Ethereum wallets, some users need support for Solana. You can choose a multi-chain wallet that supports both, but your use case may benefit from using two separate wallets.

Solana does support NFTs, but a Solana wallet can’t hold ETH-minted NFTs. You’ll need a separate wallet for each, or a multi-use wallet that supports both networks.

How to Choose The Best Ethereum Wallet

Your use case should drive your choice of wallet, and the right answer might be that you need to use multiple wallets.

Here are some considerations to weigh when choosing an ETH wallet:

  • Two-factor authentication: Wallets with 2FA add an extra step, but can keep hackers at bay by requiring input authorization from a device in your possession.
  • Wallet-connect support: Wallet-connect is a well-supported protocol for connecting wallets to platforms and dApps. However, many platforms also support the popular MetaMask and Coinbase wallets.
  • ENS support: Choose a wallet with ENS support if you need to use a human-readable name for your wallet.
  • Token importing: Wallets like MetaMask shine when you encounter a less common token, offering to import the token so you can see and spend your balance.
  • Staking: Many wallets offer staking, a way to earn yield from your ETH or tokens, but not all wallets offer support.
  • Hardware wallet support: Software wallets such as MetaMask and Coinbase wallet can pair with hardware wallets like Ledger.
  • Swaps: ETH life is easier if your wallet supports swaps natively, but in many cases, you can still make swaps through a platform like Uniswap.
  • Multi-sig: A wallet that supports multiple signatures adds a difficult-to-crack layer of security for wallets with larger balances.

Final Thoughts on Ethereum Wallets

Many in the ETH community try several wallets before choosing one that meets their needs. Consider how you’ll use your wallet when making a choice. The most popular wallet might not be a fit. But also weigh your security needs. It may make sense to use multiple wallets, each for a different purpose. You might employ a high-security strategy for larger balances while opting for a more convenient wallet for day-to-day use.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are Ethereum wallets free?

  • How do I restore an Ethereum wallet?

  • Can I have multiple Ethereum wallets?

  • What is the best ERC-20 wallet?

  • Is Coinbase an ETH wallet?

  • Is PayPal an ETH wallet?

  • What is the safest Ethereum wallet?


Contributors

  • Avatar of Eric Huffman

    Eric Huffman is a freelance writer for DeFiRate. In addition to crypto and blockchain topics, Eric also writes extensively on insurance and personal finance matters that affect everyday households.

  • Avatar of Gary Anglebrandt

    Gary Anglebrandt is a US-based editor, copywriter, and communications consultant with a background in business and international news. Beyond the US, he has worked from Seoul and Beijing, and continues to work with professionals based around the globe.