Best Cardano Wallets: Top 6 Places to Safely Store ADA

Last updated: Sep 08, 2023
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Cardano (ADA) is one of the more popular projects in the crypto space, with a goal to build the next-generation blockchain, often called blockchain v 3.0. 

It's been compared to Ethereum because it has the ability to support smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps). CoinGecko lists Cardano (ADA) as a top-10 crypto.  

As a result, there is a need for secure ADA wallets.

In this post, I will be taking a look at the best Cardano wallets and give you some top tips to safely store your ADA.

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Top 6 Cardano Wallets

Unlike many of the ERC-20 tokens and Bitcoin forks, you have less selection than with these cryptos. However, there are a number of open-source and third-party wallets that have stepped up to the plate and integrated ADA.

This selection of the "best" wallets is based on a number of factors including security, ease of use, developer support and community support. There may be other wallets that we do not mention so you will have to do your own research on them.

Anyways, with that out of the way, let's get on the ADA wallets (order of preference).

1. Ledger Nano (Hardware Wallet)

For the most secure storage of your ADA (or any crypto for that matter), nothing really beats a hardware wallet. This is a device that will keep your private keys in a secure offline environment and will always ensure that even when signing transactions, they are not exposed to hackers/malware.

Ledger is one of the most well-known producers of hardware wallets for cryptocurrencies. The company has been around since 2014 and is based in France. There are two models of Ledger Nano. You have the Ledger Nano S which is the base model and the Ledger Nano X which is the advanced model.

The Nano S is a less expensive and simple option for you to hold your ADA. In addition to this, the hardware wallet supports over 300 other coins and tokens. The Nano S comes with a simple LCD screen that you can interact with the Ledger Live software on your PC via a USB cable.

However, there are some limitations with the Nano S. Prime among them is the fact that you can only have a certain number of wallet apps on the device at the same time. If you are looking for a slightly better option then you can opt for the Ledger Nano X.

Ledger Nano X ADA Wallet
Get your Ledger Nano X Today

The Nano X was released in the middle of 2019 and offers a whole host of other features. These include things like Bluetooth capability and the ability to install up to 100 apps on the hardware device. The Nano X also has support for some other coins that you cannot get on the Nano S device.

Beware ⚠️: Only buy your Ledger Nano device from the official Ledger store. There is no way of verifying that a third party seller has not tampered with the device.

Both wallets work easily by plugging them into a USB port on your computer, and the Nano X can also sync with your smartphone so you can manage your coins anytime and anywhere. Both hardware devices include two-factor authentication and an easy-to-use interface.

When setting up either wallet, you’re able to set your own secure PIN, and private keys are generated using a secure 24-word seed. In addition, the wallet also comes with a Chrome extension that can be used in a browser, and both wallets are compatible with the third-party Yoroi and AdaLite wallets.

2. Trezor Model T (Hardware Wallet)

The Trezor Model T is the other popular hardware wallet, and it is an upgraded version of the original Trezor Model One. It has support for Cardano’s ADA coin, as well as hundreds of other altcoins. It costs $219 and can be bought directly from Trezor.

Trezor was one of the very first hardware wallets and has been developing hardware wallet solutions for over five years. The wallet was developed by Satoshi Labs which is a company that is based in the Czech Republic.

Like its rival, Ledger, the Trezor is a small device, similar in size to a flash drive, and it uses a small OLED screen for authorizing transactions. However, the Trezor Model T has a colour touch screen which could facilitate easier coin management.

Trezor Model T Cardano ADA
What's included with the Trezor Model T. Image via Trezor

Given that this is a hardware wallet, the private keys are kept on the device and they are never exposed to hackers. The Trezor Model T connects to the Trezor Bridge which is installed on your laptop with a USB cable. Then, once connected to the bridge, you can use the Trezor Chrome extension to manage your assets.

3. Daedalus Wallet (Desktop Wallet)

Daedalus is the official wallet created by the Cardano developers. The wallet is secure, and built on top of Electron, an open-source development platform.

Daedalus is a full-node desktop client, which means you need enough space on your PC to download the entire blockchain and enough patience to wait for the blockchain to download and synchronize.

Daedalus Wallet Cardano ADA
User Interface for Daedalus on Windows & Mac. Image via IOHK

You can run this wallet on the three major desktop operating systems – Windows, Linux and macOS. Unfortunately, there is no support yet for Android and iOS mobile operating systems.

Open Source 👨‍💻: One of the main benefits of Daedalus is that it is open source. This means that you can take a look into the source code behind the Daedalus wallet and confirm the robustness of the code. Many in the crypto community believe that the scrutiny from an open-source community means stronger code.

It should also be noted that the Daedalus wallet includes the functionality to create a paper wallet, thus putting your ADA into cold storage easily. We will touch on how to make a Daedalus paper wallet below.

4. AdaLite Wallet (Web Wallet)

The AdaLite wallet is a lightweight web-based wallet that was previously known as the CardanoLite. It is fast, secure and can be used to access your ADA in several ways.

The AdaLite wallet was created with security in mind of course, but the developers were also aiming to create a wallet that was more user-friendly. Using the AdaLite wallet doesn’t require any downloads, installations, or registrations. Simply point your web browser to the AdaLite URL.

Careful ⚡: Web Wallets are not the safest out there because they are susceptible to phishing attacks by hackers. Hence, you have to make certain that you are visiting the correct URL (https://adalite.io).

When you create a new wallet with AdaLite you will get a 12-word mnemonic phrase. Keep this phrase safe, it is the key to your wallet, and if you lose it you also lose access to all your funds.

ADAlite Wallet UI
User Interface of the ADALite wallet. Image via Adalite wallet

The reason is that AdaLite is a self-hosted wallet, so your private keys remain only in your possession. Not even the AdaLite website holds any of your data. And there is no backup of your wallet of funds kept there either.

Pro Tip 🤓: Given that Adalite operates solely in the browser and never interacts with a server, you can also use it while disconnected from the internet. This is perhaps also a safer option in case there was ever a situation in which hackers compromised the AdaLite source code. Merely navigate to the website and then disconnect your internet.

Finally, the AdaLite wallet is also compatible with both the Trezor and Ledger hardware wallets and the Daedalus desktop wallet, so you can use it to access your funds in many places.

In order to stake, you need to transfer your funds from the old Byron address format to the new Shelley address format. Transactions that will do this automatically can be created easily from the staking interface. AdaLite is running its own staking pools with a 3% fee.

5. Exodus Wallet (Mobile & Desktop)

The Exodus wallet has earned a prominent reputation as one of the premier third-party multicurrency crypto wallets in the market today. Notably, they have a fantastic range of cryptocurrencies, including Cardano (ADA), which is available for trading and staking within Exodus.

exodus wallet.jpg
The Exodus Homepage. Image via Exodus

Excitingly, Exodus has established a partnership with Trezor, enabling users to leverage the security of the Trezor device while enjoying the user-friendly Exodus interface and mobile convenience. This combination offers the best of both worlds, combining hardware-level security with an intuitive front end.

One of the standout features of the Exodus wallet is its exceptional user experience. Its remarkably intuitive user interface facilitates swift and hassle-free coin management. Moreover, the availability of round-the-clock customer support further enhances the overall user experience, ensuring prompt assistance and addressing any inquiries.

The Exodus wallet caters to a wide range of users, being compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems, along with iOS and Android. 

Feel free to check out our Exodus wallet review for more information and find out why it makes our list as a top mobile wallet.

6. Cardano Paper Wallet (Paper Wallet)

You can use the Daedalus desktop wallet to also generate a paper wallet if you’re looking for the security offered by this form of cold storage. You can then store this paper wallet in a secure offline location like a bank vault for long-term hodling.

To create a paper wallet using Daedalus follow these steps:

  1. Download and install Daedalus
  2. Once installed, launch Daedalus and click “create a paper wallet certificate”
  3. A dialogue will open allowing you to click “Save PDF for printing”
  4. After saving the PDF another dialogue is generated asking you to verify the printed certificate
  5. You’ll receive a 27-word recovery phrase, with 18 words printed on the paper wallet, while the final nine will need to be recorded by you. View the checklist, check them all off and click ‘Continue’
  6. The next screen asks you to complete the certificate. Click ‘Continue’
  7. Next, you’ll set your password recovery phrase, check the checklist, and click ‘Continue’ once more
  8. Finally, you will see a screen that says “Paper Wallet Certificate” where you can click ‘Finish’ to generate the paper wallet

The printed paper wallet looks like this:

Daedalus Paper Wallet
The Printed Paper Wallet from Daedalus. Image via IOHK

The paper wallet feature improves security as the printed certificate cannot be cached by the printer or compromised in some other way. Paper wallets can be restored and brought back online with Daedalus.

Of course, there are other risks that come with paper wallets that you have to take into account. These are risks that come with the physical nature of it. It can be lost, stolen or destroyed. So you should only go with a paper wallet if you are going to place it in secure cold storage.

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Conclusion

And there you have it, my list of the best Cardano wallets where you can store your ADA. If you want the safest option, you can't beat a hardware wallet.

If you prefer a highly functional multicurrency wallet then you can opt for Exodus. Finally, for quick storage of ADA for long-term HODL, you can always opt for the paper wallet option - simple yet relatively safe (if done correctly).

Of course, irrespective of which wallet you decide to store your Cardano in, you have to be sure that you are taking the right precautions. If you are using the Daedalus or any PC-based wallet, ensure your device is free of malware and you install anti-virus software.

If you are going to opt for the simple web wallet in Adalite, then you need to make sure that you are going to the right site and are not on a phishing page. And of course, with all of these storage options, be careful of who you tell. Nothing can protect you from physical extortion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Buy Cardano (ADA)?

Most reputable exchanges list Cardano (ADA) including:

Are ADA Wallets Safe?

Your wallet's safety comes down to the chosen Cardano wallet type. Generally speaking, the safest Cardano wallets come with cold storage. However,  this safety comes at a cost of reduced convenience.

Steve Walters

Steve has been writing for the financial markets for the past 7 years and during that time has developed a growing passion for cryptocurrencies.

Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

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