One of the biggest explosions into the top 10 crypto market cap is Solana, the most menacing "ETH Killer" out there amongst the pile of candidates that are chomping at the bit. Since its meteoric price rise in June 2021, there has been a huge interest in the project and what it could bring to the future development of the crypto world.
Before the horrendous FTX collapse and the exit of capital from the Solana ecosystem, it sat comfortably at the #5 position, having flipped Cardano to be the second-biggest Layer 1 project after Ethereum. That led to those SOL tokens starting to get just a bit precious, and as many still feel the future for Solana looks bright, you NEED a proper SOL wallet to hold those tokens.
This article describes the top 7 Solana wallets:
In the meanwhile, plenty of projects on the Solana ecosystem beckon you on a shopping spree of sorts, whether it's to stake them or use them for buying NFTs or playing games. While you're taking your sweet time to decide what to do with the tokens, they need to be in a snug, warm and safe wallet to rest themselves in before some of them get sent out to be put to work. Better still if the wallet allows staking, like the hotel that's internally connected to the mall. They'll never be exposed to the inclement weather when going to work!
Assuming you haven't found a nice home for them yet, maybe this article would be able to help you in your house-hunting mission. Even if the tokens have moved in, a leaky roof or a drafty window might force you to send them packing to a better abode. Or you could even be like me: find the house first before buying the tokens.
Right then, let's proceed onwards.
The Phantom wallet is a native Solana wallet designed exclusively for the Solana ecosystem. It can be thought of as being like the MetaMask for Solana. It is non-custodial, i.e. you safeguard your own assets and be your own bank, and works on known browsers such as Chrome, Brave (crypto-friendly with a Chrome base), Firefox and (Microsoft) Edge.
The design is user-friendly, clean, and simple. Don't be fooled by its simplicity because it packs a number of features:
- Swap tokens with instant prices and low gas fees through its integration with Raydium, Solana's version of Uniswap. Tokens supported include SOL, USDC, USDT, ETH, BTC, renBTC. Transaction fee is 0.85%.
- Store your NFTs and collectables in a separate section in the wallet. It's worth noting that NFTs listed on a marketplace will not show up here. These NFTs are placed in an escrow account until they are sold or delisted.
- Integrates with the Ledger cold wallet to provide added protection for your SOL.
- Stake SOL within the wallet by selecting a validator to stake your tokens with. The APY usually ranges from 5-6% for the majority of them with a handful falling below 5%. Staking is like lending someone your tokens. You still own them while they are being staked.
- Supports SPL tokens that are used in Solana's DeFi applications. These tokens are like the ERC20 tokens in the Ethereum blockchain.
There are a few things to take note of that may or may not be a risk:
- The password phrase for the wallet is a 12-word seed phrase. Most wallets use a 24-word seed phrase. More words equal a higher level of security.
- The wallet only exists in the form of a browser extension, and on mobile.
- It allows all tokens in the wallet to be staked without accounting for the transaction fees that could arise. This puts users in the situation of having to add more tokens in order to unstake in the future.
- Popular validators are listed first by default which may be more expensive validators while the more rewarding ones are down the list. Users need to really do their homework first before deciding on which validators to stake with.
If you are interested in Guy's take on the Phantom Wallet, feel free to check out his beginner's guide.
Developed by Solana Labs, Solflare is one of the first wallets designed for the Solana ecosystem. Its popularity is neck-and-neck with Phantom and it bests Phantom in supporting more platforms. Aside from the browser extension, it also has its own mobile app.
The wallet has identical functionality to Phantom when it comes to swapping tokens, storing visual and audio NFTs, integrating with Ledger for extra security, and staking SOL. However, it also has a few twists of its own:
- When it comes to swapping tokens, this works on the web application and browser extension.
- An upcoming integration with the Solrise investment platform allows users to manage their investment funds through the wallet. This is quite a handy feature, especially considering that both products are built by the same team.
- Unlike the 12-word mnemonic phrase used by Phantom, Solflare uses a 24-word mnemonic phrase, making it a more secure option.
- Its staking function prevents the user from staking 100% of their tokens, accounting for the inevitable transaction fees accompanying this action.
Based on the points above, I would say that Solflare is more suitable for those looking to get more out of a wallet than just the basics. The team behind it is as solid as it comes, which means that the wallet is fairly secure and there is strong support from the community on Discord.
The ELLIPAL Titan sets the gold standard for air-gapped hardware wallet security and boasts the most extensive support for altcoins among all hardware wallets currently available. Notably, it offers comprehensive support for over 10,000 coins and tokens, including Solana
Renowned for its robust security features and user-friendly design, the ELLIPAL Titan provides a secure and intuitive solution for storing and managing cryptocurrencies. Its interface caters to both novice and experienced users, ensuring easy navigation and efficient management of digital assets.
By adhering to rigorous security standards, the ELLIPAL Titan effectively safeguards against hacking attempts and ensures the secure storage of cryptocurrencies. Its offline cold storage mechanism guarantees complete isolation of private keys from online connectivity, bolstering security measures.
Functioning more like a smartphone than a traditional hardware wallet, the ELLIPAL Titan offers a user-friendly experience for individuals familiar with smartphone usage. Additionally, it features a companion mobile app that serves as a powerful tool for crypto management. With the ELLIPAL Titan, users can seamlessly engage in various activities such as transfers, exchanges, staking, and crypto purchases. Furthermore, it supports the storage of NFTs and provides access to a wide array of DApps, all while keeping the Titan and private keys in an offline state.
An added advantage of the ELLIPAL Titan is its compatibility with Wallet Connect, a platform that facilitates the connection between wallets and DApps. This integration enables ELLIPAL users to conveniently interact with popular third-party DeFi and crypto platforms. To delve deeper into the features and benefits of this leading air-gapped wallet for altcoins,
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4. NGRAVE Zero
The NGRAVE Zero is likely the most secure wallet on the list if not the industry. Boasting higher security certifications than both Ledger and Trezor and without pre-installed private keys, users can rest easy knowing there is no backdoor and that they have truly sovereign control over their assets.
NGRAVE's primary objective is to provide users with full control over their assets, ensuring no backdoors exist due to the absence of pre-installed private keys. The wallet is certified with the highest security rating of EAL7 and is also ROHS and CE-certified, enhancing its credibility in the crypto storage space.
The device is pocket-sized, with a touchscreen, high pixel density, a camera, and a fingerprint sensor. It is water and dust-resistant, tamper-proof, and constructed with military-grade materials. The ZERO also comes with an app, the NGRAVE LIQUID, available on iOS and Android which securely initiates, manages, and signs transactions.
One of the unique features of NGRAVE ZERO is that it's air-gapped, meaning it never comes into contact with the internet, Bluetooth, mobile networks, or any other network connections. This provides an additional layer of security against hacking attempts. The wallet relies purely on QR code technology and a corresponding mobile phone app to send and receive transactions, ensuring that the private keys never interact with the phone.
Regarding security, NGRAVE ZERO is the first hardware wallet in the world that is EAL7 certified. It has a biometric fingerprint scanner for optional additional security that can be enabled to access the device and/or confirm transactions. The device and corresponding app are pin-protected. The ZERO also has a light sensor built-in to generate the most secure private keys on the planet, known as the “NGRAVE Perfect Key”
However, despite its high-grade security features, the NGRAVE ZERO comes at a higher price point, which may not be feasible for all users. Also, it is still a work in progress when it comes to asset support and DApp integrations, as these features are currently being added and improved, so the current functionality of the wallet and integrations are limited.
Fun Fact: The team that created the ZERO worked with Jean-Jacques Quisquater, a leading figure in cryptography and hardware security for over 50 years. He is a Belgian cryptographer and professor at the University of Louvain. Jean-Jacques received the RSA Award for Excellence in Mathematics in 2013, and the ESORICS Outstanding Research Award. Not only that but he was actually cited in Satoshi's original Bitcoin Whitepaper, it doesn't get more prestigious that than.
We were so impressed by the NGRAVE Zero that we have a dedicated NGRAVE deep dive review.
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5. Exodus Wallet
Another popular 3rd-party wallet is Exodus Wallet, which you can read more about in our Exodus Wallet Review. When it comes to staking SOL, unlike the other wallets where you can select validators, Exodus defaults to its own validator, known as Everstake. There is also a warmup and cool-down period that comes with staking SOL.
The wallet comes in a variety of platforms for desktop (Mac, Windows, Linux) and mobile. For hard wallet integration, it differs from the rest by integrating with Trezor instead of Ledger.
The Exodus wallet allows users to exchange crypto tokens through its integration with the Shapeshift exchange.
Some of the risks of using Exodus relate to security:
- It uses a 12-word seed phrase, which again, is not as secure as the 24-word version.
- No 2FA is required. The user is advised to backup the wallet's keys for more security.
Exodus is a good option to consider for anyone looking for a multi-coin, multi-functional wallet. As with most hot wallets, small amounts are relatively safe but nothing large to prevent unexpected disappointments.
6. Math Wallet
Slightly less well-known than the others but by no means a laggard is Math Wallet. A multi-platform wallet (mobile, desktop, browser extension, hardware integration with Ledger and WOOKONG Bio) with cross-chain support for more than 50 blockchains, it also has:
- Math DApp - a DApp store that allows users to interact with the services built on the major chains through the wallet.
- MathVault - where staking and DeFi activities take place, including staking SOL. The general APR rates advertised could be up to 30% (although it didn't say which tokens would yield that kind of rate). They also encourage participation by:
- Issuing MATH tokens as rewards. These tokens can be used throughout the MATH ecosystem.
- The friend referral program earns the referrer an extra 20% of the friend's earnings.
- MATHGas - Track the gas fees of major chains through this app.
While the highlight of this piece is about wallets that are good for staking Solana and general usage, it's clear that Math Wallet aims to be much more than just a 3rd-party wallet service. With the variety of services offered, it's very interested in corralling users into its own fold and keeping them engaged as much as possible.
The main risk associated with this wallet is that it's custodial, meaning you don't own the private keys to the wallet.
7. Ledger Wallet
Whether you choose to use Ledger as your main wallet and stake through the extensions available or use a hot wallet with Ledger providing additional security, you can't go wrong with this industry-standard fully non-custodial cold wallet. The Ledger Nano X is the most entry-friendly in terms of pricing but it still packs a decent punch. The Ledger Live app comes with the hardware purchase and is easy to use, which I can attest to since I use it myself.
As far as safety goes, it's one of the best out there with a 24-word seed phrase acting as the gatekeeper plus a regular password for protection. The list of Solana validators is also available for staking selection. The only downside is that you would need to pay money for it. The others are all free of charge. However, given its capabilities, it's as close as having your own bank. I'd say $100 - $200 is a small price to pay for owning a bank. Don't you think so?
If you are interested in exploring Ledger wallets further, feel free to check out our dedicated Ledger reviews:
Having given these wallets the once-over, I'd say that any one of them works well, depending on your needs. If you're only focused on getting the most out of your Solana, then a native wallet might be the way to go. If safety is your number one concern, you can't get any safer than a cold wallet. If Solana is not your main focus and you like having your fingers in as many pies as possible but not the hassle of owning one wallet per token, the 3rd-party ones serve their purpose well.
In crypto, participation is the name of the game. Whatever you do, as long as you're doing something within the range of risk you're comfortable with, that's all that matters.
Frequently Asked Questions
The way you go about choosing a bank to store your money should also be extended to choosing a Solana wallet. Easy-to-use interface, DApps connectivity and stake and earn are just some of the things you should be on the lookout for.
No. Because Solana uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, it cannot be mined.
The two main types are:
- Custodial: These are hosted by companies that provide security and hold users’ private keys.
- Non-custodial: These put you in the driver's seat as you're responsible for all aspects, including security.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.