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Kc  · 09/01/22

Altcoin Wallets: Tried and True. Unhosted wallets for 2022 crypto world (NFTs, DeFi, Staking)

Altcoin Trading Blog
 
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Note: This article contains affiliate links.

Lets kick this article about altcoin wallets right off with the obligatory reminders. Apologies if these are not new to you.

  • For hodlers: It is not a good idea to keep your cryptocurrencies on an exchange.

Does it sound like FUD. Well, exchanges are targeted by cyber criminals more than individuals, they hold larger amounts of crypto. DeFi is the primary target since its inception and crypto exchanges are no longer run by amateurs, but it is a plain fact that one of the latest exchange hacks happened in early 2022 when AscendEX lost 77 million dollars. In the past, we had the Tether hack in 2017, the DAO hack in 2016 and the infamous Bitfinex hack in 2016.

  • For traders: It is not a good idea to send cryptocurrency from one exchange to another.

Crypto exchanges are not banks. If you send LTC, let’s say, from your Bitstamp account to your Bitfinex account, it has a regulatory impact. Bitstamp would do what normally only companies with banking license can do: They would be sending your money on your behalf between two financial institutions.

Exchanges detect such transactions and may trash them. You can go spend months dealing with customer support to retrieve your funds, sure. But you might have better things to do.

  • For everyone: There are ongoing phishing attacks looking for any popular crypto wallet owners.

This post lists out some useful habits to build to protect yourself against phishing because way too many people still fall for it even though they know they shouldn’t click on anything without thinking first.

Altcoin Wallets: Top Of The Market

 

Ledger wallets are the most popular hardware wallets. Trezor develops technically really interesting products with Shamir seeds and all, but ultimately, Trezor wallets are so expensive and not getting any cheaper as time passes.

More in sync with everyone’s preferences in the recession, Ledger in 2022 released a new version of the Ledger wallet - the Nano S Plus. This model is very much like the old Ledger Nano, except it has much larger storage capacity. On the Nano S you won’t be able to run more than 3 crypto wallets at the same time.

The Nano S Plus can take 100 of them at once, at a prize point that is only a tad over the Nano S and not almost twice as much like the Nano X. So this is great for all your DeFi trading and staking needs.

Needless to say, Ledger Nano S Plus promptly went out of stock a few weeks after launch.

You might also try your luck with a local authorized reseller and buy your Ledger Nano S Plus there. Always check that your reseller is authorized by Ledger, though. Just click through to the official list at Ledger’s website and find a store near you.

Ledger Nano X: The best choice (and always in stock)

Everyone’s Favorite Commercial Altcoin Wallet is and has been the Ledger Nano X.

The market has spoken. Ledger Nano X can be called the best cryptocurrency wallet that’s currently out there. It has limitations, but for the day to day use it has everything you need as a trader or hodler.

Go to Ledger   Deals from Black Friday

  1. Ledger Supports Staking

    You can stake from a Ledger wallet, too, although Exodus may be better for that. We have a full guide on crypto staking wallets, pools, providers and exchanges.

  2. Ledger Supports NFTs

    If you trade or collect NFTs, you can store them on your Ledger wallet. You can use the Exodus or Phantom wallet apps as a UI but still store your private keys on Ledger. It’s a bit more secure than storing your keys on your laptop, and you’ll get a nice NFT gallery. Ledger.com provides a guide on how to store NFTs here.

  3. Good compromise between security and usability

    Ledger Live app: Control your assets and wallet updates through the dedicated Ledger Live application. The app alerts you on updates, so you can safely disregard any update alerts you will get per email. This protects you from phishing.

    For BTC and LTC, both legacy and segwit address are supported. You can generate and access all address formats in Ledger Live.

  4. Easy Coin Control tool for BTC’s fungibility

    All Ledger wallets suppport Coin Control.

    Coin control is a tool implemented in the Ledger Live application. It lets you choose which incoming transactions to spend from when you are sending money out.

    This way you can separate your KYC and non-KYC purchases of crypto, even if you mixed then up and sent them all to the same address.

    Learn about coin control in the glossary.

Should you get Nano X or Nano S?

Ledger were the pioneers of supporting altcoins, and you will find most new cryptocurrencies are implemented quickly. It’s part of their ethos. You will get over 100 supported cryptocurrencies on any model of Ledger wallet: All the big crypto, all the dino alts, most of DeFi, most of NFTs. Full list of supported coins at Ledger.com.

Ledger Nano X is better than Ledger Nano S for active alt coin traders because of its larger memory capacity. A Nano X can house private keys of many more cryptocurrencies than Ledger Nano S.

On the other hand, Nano X is vastly more expensive. If you only want to get the better model for the increased storage capacity, try to get your hands on the Nano S Plus.

The Nano S Plus has big enough capacity but no extra frills, which makes it cheaper.

Ledger Wallets: What you need to know before you buy

  1. The bad: 2020 data breach

    In 2020, Ledger company suffered a database breach that leaked emails and physical locations of customers. Since second half of 2020, there has been an ongoing phishing attack directed to the leaked e-mail addresses.

    To protect yourself:

    • Use a package drop-off location, not your home address. Ordering to your office building is a better option.
    • Order from a disposable email address.
    • Instead of from ledger.com, buy your Ledger Nano X from a small, local, authorised reseller instead: Once again, here is the list. Resellers cover smaller part of the market and are less appealing to cybercriminals.
  2. The ugly: Don’t buy full price

    Both Ledger Nano S and Ledger nano S get cheaper in bundle packs by 2 or 3 and during Black Friday.

    Bundle offers are available throughout the year from the official Ledger store (sadly, not via resellers).

    The best deals do come around Black Friday but Ledger runs some sort of deal at most times of the year. You just need to look for it in the e-shop.

  3. The good: Memory size

    Ledger Nano X and Ledger Nano S Plus have larger memory capacity than Ledger Nano S. That means you can easily hold dozens of alt coins on a single Ledger device with those models.

    If you only want to hold 1-3 cryptocurrencies, save your money and buy the cheaper Nano S. There’s not much difference between the two other than in design and memory size.

Summary

  1. Supported Coins: Most - BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, ZEC & more; also all ERC20 tokens, SOL tokens and any unexotic NFTs
  2. Segwit addresses: Both native and nested Segwit wallets (bech32 and P2SH) supported as subaccounts in Ledger Live
  3. Staking directly in wallet
  4. Easy coin control
  5. No message signatures

Get Ledger Nano X   Get Ledger Nano S Plus   Get Ledger Nano S

Easy-to-use & Free: Smartphone Crypto Wallet Apps

Top multi-coin wallet apps available for iPhone and Android:

Exodus Multicoin Wallet and Staking Wallet

exodus wallet

Get it at exodus.com

Exodus is a multicoin wallet for deskop and smartphone with an integrated swap exchange inside the app.

In its desktop version, Exodus supports staking directly from the wallet.

Exodus is well time-testedm, and currently your best option for a free multicoin wallet:

  • Exodus provides a staking wallet to earn income from PoS cryptocurrencies (Tezos, Cosmos, VeChain)
  • The amount of supported coins is the largest (130 cryptocurrencies in 2021).
  • Exodus supports Monero.
  • For Bitcoin, both legacy and segwit addresses are supported You automatically get a pair of legacy (1-address) and segwit addresses (bc-address, bech32 native segwit) so that you can always withdraw no matter what address type your exchange supports.
  • The customer support is great and you get a status page to check in case your app gets sluggish.
  • There is a swap exchange inside the app.
  • Exodus also integrates with hardware wallets (Ledger, Trezor).

exodus wallet

The Exodus wallet app is super user-friendly. It won’t let you do anything too technical, but it is great for beginners. You can even stake your PoS altcoins through Exodus without any technical understanding.

How to set up Exodus for the first time

  1. Launch the wallet as any other app, there is no user sign up. You can start by recovering a wallet from seedphrase but you don’t have to.
  2. As there are over 100 altcoins supported, you need to enable wallet functionality for coins you want to store.
  3. Altcoin wallets are generated for you without giving you their seed phrase yet.
  4. To backup your seedphrase, navigate to the backup section of the app and write down the seed phrase it shows you.
  5. The only owner of your private keys is you. Without the seed phrase backup, Exodus cannot recover your cryptocurrency. Do not forget to back up your seed phrase!

exodus backup

Stablecoins supported by Exodus

Exodus wallets are under ceaseless development, new cryptocurrencies as well as functionalities are added all the time. At the moment, the stablecoins supported by Exodus are the following:

  • USDt (Tether) in ERC20 transport protocol
  • USDC (USDCOIN)
  • TUSD (TrueUSD)
  • GUSD (Gemini Dollar)

stablecoins in exodus

The nice touches you get in every Exodus wallet

  • The BTC wallet in Exodus can generate new BTC addresses after each receiving transaction, so that you don’t reuse addresses and don’t have to worry about coin control
  • The Exodus app supports passcode lock and, if your device supports that, fingerprint lock.
  • the staking through the desktop add-on goes to Exodus’ own pool with better rates than what you often get on exchanges.

exodus add-ons

Summary

  1. Supported Coins: BTC, ETH, ERC20 tokens, Tezos, EOS, XRP, TRX… = 110 cryptoassets in total
  2. Segwit addresses: BTC Native segwit supported (bech32 wallet)
  3. Staking available from wallet
  4. No advanced functions (coin control, message signatures)

Jaxx Multicoin Wallet

jaxx

Get it at jaxx.io

Jaxx is still one of the most popular multicoin wallets these days is Jaxx. It is available as browser extension, desktop app and mobile app.

Jaxx wallet is user-friendly and good for beginners:

  • You launch the wallet as any other app, no user sign up.
  • Wallets are automatically generated for you. No seed handling right at the start.
  • To see your private keys (seed phrase), you need to run backup. Backup options is available even if you do not have any crypto in your wallet yet. You will find the Backup option under Settings on the right hand side.
  • The only owner of your private keys is you.
  • Do not forget backing up your seed phrase!

Since Jaxx 1.2 you get Shapeshift exchange integrated within the wallet.

Summary

  1. Supported coins: BTC, ETH, ERC20 via MyEtherWallet, ETC, DASH, LTC, REP, RSK, ZEC… = 90 cryptoassets in total
  2. Segwit addresses: Not supported (legacy wallets only)
  3. No advanced functions (coin control, message signatures)

Blockchain.com Wallet for BTC, ETH and XLM

If you only need to store BTC, ETH and XLM, the simplest smartphone app for you is the blockchain.com wallet (formerly blockchain.info).

  • The smartphone app can be unlocked with PIN or fingerprint.
  • You automatically get the Blockchain.com web wallet access. It is a web wallet, which is less secure, but it has several levels of MFA (multi-factor authentication) and a whitelist option.
  • The Blockchain.com wallet offers ID verification option for your account. Verified users get access to airdrops, fiat-to-crypto exchange and ETH staking wallet.

Be careful though: The blockchain.com wallet is the favorite target of imposter attacks. Always double check you are downloading the app from developer company Blockchain Luxembourg SARL.

Summary

  1. Supported Coins: BTC, ETH, XLM
  2. Segwit addresses: Not supported (legacy wallet only)
  3. No advanced functions at all (coin control, message signatures)

Special cases: Single-Coin Crypto Wallets

There are two reasons to use a single coin wallet:

Your coin is too novel to be implemented in multicoin wallets…

…Or you want top notch privacy and security.

Some really novel cryptocurrencies were not supported by the popular multi-coin wallets like Jaxx or Exodus for the longest time, because they run on a ledger that is too difficult to integrate.

These usually have their own dedicated wallet apps for desktops and smartphones.

We will also mention two Bitcoin-only wallets that implement special privacy features. These choose not to implement altcoin support in order to keep their security tighter.

MyMonero Lightweight Wallet

Get it at mymonero.com

MyMonero has been long endorsed on the Monero’s official website (getmonero.com).

MyMonero was originally only available as a web wallet. In 2020 you get the monero web wallet and a desktop/smartphone app.

The MyMonero wallet is super simple.

  • To use it, you don’t have to sign up. Just access the app or website and start the mnemonic phrase generation.
  • The mnemonic phrase is your private key.
  • Your private key is not stored anywhere on the server, you are its sole owner. The danger is, you need to type in your seed into the web interface to access your wallet.

If you don’t want to use MyMonero, you have other options - read here.

IOTA Trinity Wallet App

Get it at trinity.iota.org

Trinity is a relatively new release, and the first IOTA wallet that works without weird high-tech settings hacks. Trinity is the official wallet for IOTA and it is a desktop and smartphone app.

Using Trinity is easy and great for beginners (not that you’d have much choice though) but you can still enable advanced, more technical mode.

  • The app starts with the option to either use a private key or to generate a new one.
  • If you are generating a new key, Trinity will force you to write it down and then TYPE IT BACK instead of copypasting it. This is good for security (but a pain in the a$$ because IOTA seeds are not mnemonic).
  • The sync of the transactions is a bit sluggish but in general there is less of the problem with vanishing histories that we knew from previous IOTA wallets.

In-depth guide: How to secure your IOTA wallet.

Samourai wallet - BTC wallet app for privacy

Get it at samouraiwallet.com

Samourai is a privacy-focused Bitcoin wallet with bitcoin mixing capability “coinjoin”.

This is not a post about Bitcoin wallets, and Samourai will be an overkill for traders who just need something easy to move money around.

But there are certain situations that would warrant the use of a wallet like Samourai.

Exchanges like Coinbase and Kraken check for the history of the coins you deposit and will make you trouble if your bitcoins were on the darknet or a casino site before.

These policies may cause you trouble when you try to take profit from crypto you earned trading on no-KYC exchanges, such as (formerly) BitMEX, Bitfinex or OKEx.

That’s when you could use Samourai wallet and it’s Staggered Ricochet function.

Coldcard mk3 - BTC hardware wallet for security

coldcard mk3

Get it at the official coinkite store

Coldcard is one of the less mainstream but more secure bitcoin wallets.

This is an altcoin trading website, but if you have a stash of BTC for the long run that you don’t trade with, consider giving Coldcard a shot.

It’s one of the wallets that solves the real issues. The hardware is put together with some sense, the chip has a secure element, the device is compatible with all usual app wallets.

coldcard security

What’s the secure element good for?

Secure element encrypts what is stored in it. That means that without the PIN there is no access to the seed.

Even in case of brute-force, sec chip only gives you 13 tries before bricking itself.

And then in Coldcard particularly, there is one more layer for the case that the sec chip would have a vulnerability discovered: Coldcard encrypts the contents of the sec chip with an additional key stored in a different part of the hardware.

Five dollar wrench attack protection

The best of Coldcard, though, is the suite of tools it provides for duress situations.

  1. Duress PIN

    Coldcard has the option to set up a second PIN number. On entering it, the device will load a different wallet, which is however generated from the same seed as your real wallet.

    You can access it whenever and even send some money in and out of it to make it look genuine.

  2. 25th word This is a feature known from Trezor wallets. Using BIP39 seeds of 24 words, there is an option to set any number of additional words that will generate distraction wallets.

    This is also useful as separate financial accounts if you want to use Coldcard in business.

  3. Brick-Me PIN Upon entering a brick-me PIN, the device destroys its sec chip and is rendered worthless.
  4. Brick-Me Countdown In addition to manually entering a brick-me PIN, you can set a timer for it. This is NOT a dead man’s switch: Once set, you can’t break the countdown once it’s started.

    It is meant to be a device for plausible deniability - you submitted a functional device, you were not present when it broke down.

The latest model, Coldcard MK3, is available at the CoinKite store with a 5% off for payments in BTC.

What to Choose: Hardware Wallets or Desktop and Smartphone Wallets?

Hardware wallets are commercial, desktop or phone wallets are free.

But if you are planning to hold an altcoin for more than one year, you should really get a hardware wallet.

You will still need to keep it updated, but in your case you are still getting the best security even from basic setups.

The reason is that your chances of messing up something or getting hacked are minimal if you have the private key on any dedicated device simply thanks to the fact that you don’t use the device on a daily basis.

The easiest black-box choice here is a commercial hardware wallet device. But if you are a geek, you can absolutely have a smartphone wallet on a dedicated smartphone. That is, a device you don’t use for anything else. Using dedicated devices to store crypto is the so-called tiered storage method.

If you want to hodl your BTC holdings only, you can do Electrum wallet on a dedicated laptop.

Ledger Wallet for Altcoins

It seems unbelievable now, but back in 2016 Ledger Wallet used to claim they would not support any altcoins.

They obviously started adding altcoin support to Nano S with the first altcoin bubble in 2017.

  • Nano S is not the best option though, because it has a limited memory capacity and can only hold one or two different crypto wallets.
  • A single Ledger Nano X is way better in this aspect.
  • You might still prefer Nano S if you want to split your holdings into multiple devices. There are bundles available.

Native Support: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Ethereum Classic, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Zcash, Dash, Ripple, Stratis.

Via 3rd party private key management: All Ethereum tokens of the ERC20 standard. All ETH tokens can be managed using Ledger Nano S and Ledger Blue with MyEtherWallet.

On Reddit:

Get Ledger Nano X   Current Bundle Offers

Summary

Supported Coins: Many - BTC, ETH, XRP LTC, XRP, ZEC & more; also all ERC20 tokens

Segwit addresses: Both native and nested Segwit supported (bech32 and P2SH)

Trezor wallet for Altcoins

Trezor is not as popular as Ledger because it’s slightly more expensive and doesn’t do much in the way of marketing. It is technically not a worse choice though. Especially the new Trezor T with Shamir seeds is the bleeding edge of crypto hardware right now.

From the user’s point of view, Trezor utilizes a similar system as the Ledger Wallet.

There is a set of native apps, you are able to manage several cryptocurrency wallets from a web app after unlocking your access with your PIN.

  • TREZOR supports natively: BTC, ETH, DASH, LTC, ZEC…
  • Via 3rd party private key management: Any ERC20 token via MyEtherWallet
  • In total (native + 3rd party), Trezor wallets now support over 1000 cryptocurrencies
  • For BTC and LTC, both legacy and segwit addresses are supported.
  • Trezor wallet does not support staking directly but can be used with an AllNodes one-click app.

Trezor developers take much longer time to implement new features by popular demand - for instance there is no staking directly from wallet and coin control is only to be implemented later in 2021 for the first time.

On the other hand, that can play into some cryptocurrency holders’ conservative approach. It is generally safe to assume that not rushing to implement every new feature makes the device less plagued by vulnerabilities.

Go to Trezor shop   Bundle Offers with CryptoSteel

Trezor Team On Reddit:

Summary

Supported Coins: Over 1000 - BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, ZEC & more; also all ERC20 tokens

Segwit addresses: Both native and nested Segwit supported (bech32 and P2SH)

 

Electrum for Altcoins: Be careful

While Electrum for Bitcoin (https://electrum.org/) is a very safe option, you should be careful with Electrum for altcoins.

The altcoin spin-offs of Electrum are just “forks”. The Electrum code is open-source, which means anyone can create and publish a fork of it. These forks are not affiliated with the original Electrum code or its author.

They can well be full of malware, despite carrying the same “brand” name Electrum. That’s just how open-source software works.

Web Based Multi-Altcoin Wallets

Most web-based wallets, the private keys are stored by a third party. You should not consider these as a safe altcoin storage.

Opt for blockchain.com or one of the multicoin wallets for smartphones like Exodus or Jaxx for a good ratio of convenience and security.

Further reading

This article was first ever published in February 2016 and has been continually updated. Last major update was on .


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