Cardano (ADA) is one of the more popular projects currently in the space that is trying 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). Given this intense interest in the project, Cardano’s native ADA is constantly in the top 20 on CMC.
As a result, there is a need for secure ADA wallets.
In this post, I will be taking a look at the top 6 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 ERC20 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 to the plate and integrated ADA.
This selection of the “best” hardware wallet is based on a number of factors including the security, ease of use, developer support and community support. There may be other wallets that we do not mention so you will have to DYOR on them.
Anyways, with that out of the way, let’s get on the ADA wallets (order of preference).
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 amoung 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.
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.
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 a unique, 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.
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 €149 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, the 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, with the Trezor Model T has a colour touch screen which could facilitate easier coin management.
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.
Unfortunately, if you were looking for a cheaper option than the Model T, the entry level Trezor (Trezor Model One) does not support Cardano ADA. In fact, unlike the Ledger Nano devices, there are a number of coins that the Model One does not support which the Model T does.
Daedalus Wallet (Desktop Wallet)
Daedalus is the official wallet created by the Cardano developers. The wallet is secure, built on top of Electron, which has been proven over the years as 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.
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, but the developers are working on releasing these mobile versions. Also in development is the ability to stake ADA in the Daedalus wallet, and earn more ADA from your staked ADA.
Another planned feature is support for Bitcoin and Ethereum Classic, and the ability for developers to create third-party applications to add new functionality to the wallet.
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.
AdaLite Wallet (Web Wallet)
The AdaLite wallet is a light-weight web-based wallet that was previously known as the CardanoLite. It is fast and 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.
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.
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.
Finally, the AdaLite wallet is also compatible with both the Trezor and Ledger hardware wallets, and with the Daedalus desktop wallet, so you can use it to access your funds in many places.
Something that you should take into account with the Adalite wallet is that when Staking is finally supported on the Cardano network, you cannot use this wallet to earn staking rewards. This is because it is a “lite” wallet which does not download the whole blockchain and hence can’t sync up to stake.
Atomic Wallet (Desktop & Mobile)
For those of you who are looking for a free multicurrency cryptocurrency wallet to store your Cardano ADA then you could try the Atomic Wallet. This is a third party wallet that has support for over 500 different coins and tokens.
This wallet is also supported on multiple devices and operating systems. For example, it is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. This means that you can operate the wallet on both your home computer and also no a mobile device.
There are a whole host of other features that the Atomic wallet does include. For example, they have support for Atomic Swaps for supported coins. Those coins that are not supported can use the ChangeNOW or Changelly integrations. So, if you want to buy ADA right there in the wallet without first transferring to an exchange, you have this option.
The Atomic Multicurrency Wallet. Image via Atomicwallet.io
You also have fiat integrations with this wallet which means that you can use credit cards to buy crypto right there and then. Of course, these credit card fees are pretty high so you should take note before you consider whipping out that plastic.
Although the Atomic Wallet seems like it could be a great alternative for your Cardano, it is unclear whether this will allow you to stake your ADA on the network when this launches – don’t want to miss out on those juicy staking returns.
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:
- Download and install Daedalus;
- Once installed launch Daedalus and click “create a paper wallet certificate”;
- A dialogue will open allowing you to click “Save PDF for printing”;
- After saving the PDF another dialogue is generated asking you to verify the printed certificate;
- You’ll receive a twenty-seven word recovery phrase, with eighteen 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’;
- The next screen asks you to complete the certificate. Click ‘Continue’;
- Next, you’ll set your password recovery phrase, check the checklist, and click ‘Continue’ once more;
- Finally, you will see a screen that says “Paper Wallet Certficate” where you can click ‘Finish’ to generate the paper wallet.
The printed paper wallet looks like this:
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.
And there you have it, my list of the top 6 best Cardano wallets where you can store your ADA. If you wan’t the safest option, then you can’t beat a hardware wallet. Of course, Daedalus is open source and will allow you to stake when the network goes live.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a highly functional multicurrency wallet then you can opt for the Atomic wallet. And finally, for quick storage of ADA for a long term hodl then you can always opt for the paper wallet option – simple yet relatively safe (if done correctly).
Of course, irrespective of which wallet you do 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 the Atomic wallet then you need to make sure that your PC 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.
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