We bang this drum a fair bit here at the Coin Bureau, but in case you haven’t heard, here’s how the tune goes: if you’re serious about keeping your crypto safe you should be thinking about storing it in a wallet of some kind. The larger your holdings are, the more pressing a concern this should be.
Yes, exchanges have beefed up their security protocols in the wake of past hacks and branches, and the best ones now insure their client funds as a matter of course. But despite these precautions, there is no substitute for using a reputable wallet and holding those all-important private keys yourself. A few weeks ago we looked at the best hardware wallets currently on the market, but there are software options out there as well.
Software wallets are installed as apps on your phone and so have the benefit of being with you all the time. You’re unlikely to find yourself out and about and unable to trade. While not quite as secure as hardware devices, the best of these are still a better option for storing your crypto than on a centralised exchange.
Today, we’re going to take a look at Trust Wallet, one of the most recognisable and popular software wallet options. We’ll run over the specs, take a look at what it can do and weigh up its pros and cons. You should by the end have a good idea of whether or not this mobile wallet is an option for you.
The Nuts and Bolts
Trust Wallet is a decentralised, mobile cryptocurrency wallet that supports over 160 digital assets and allows users to stake their coins to earn interest. It also offers a built-in Web3 browser that gives users access to decentralised applications (DApps) built on the Ethereum platform.
It was originally designed to hold ERC20 and ERC223 tokens, but now also holds those built on other blockchains, including – of course – Bitcoin. Coins can be bought through the native decentralised exchange (DEX) that runs through Trust Wallet’s collaboration with the Kyber Network.
The Trust Wallet app is available as a free download for both iOS and Android. Much of its functionality can be attributed to the fact that its code was written in the native languages of each platform: iOS’ Swift and Android’s Java. The app runs on iOS 10.0 versions or higher and Android 5.0 and up.
The code is entirely open-source, so those developers, security experts, or indeed anyone else who might be interested in poking about under the hood are free to do so if they wish. The platform is audited by security firm Stateful, whose report can be read here.
Two other key features of Trust Wallet are focussed on user privacy and security. It doesn’t ask for any KYC when setting up a new account and, as a non-custodial wallet, does not store any user data. It also allows users to store their private keys locally on their devices, rather than on Trust Wallet’s own servers.
The user interface is clean and straightforward, making it easy to download, set up and get started. This has seen Trust Wallet accrue 5 million users to date, helped in large part by its ongoing partnership with Binance, announced back in July 2018.
This partnership with the biggest name in the crypto space – and its deep pockets – is sure to keep users flocking to Trust Wallet and will almost certainly fuel the development of further features on the app.
In terms of fees, Trust Wallet is completely free to download and to use, with no initial payments or subscription services. The only costs incurred are gas fees for processing transactions: these are paid either to miners or to those proof-of-stake chains that charge them.
The app allows users to add extra security in the form of a pin code or fingerprint scanning. These can be activated through the setting function in the app. There is not yet an option for two-factor authentication.
Finally, there’s the question of backup, which Trust Wallet has addressed through the use of a 12-word recovery phrase. When setting up their wallet address, users are given one of these phrases to write down and store securely.
In the event that anything goes wrong, this can be retrieved and entered to recover access to the account. It goes without saying that this should be written down and stored with the utmost care as a priority when going through the setup process.
Trust Wallet is the brainchild of Viktor Radchenko, a US-based Ukrainian software developer who first heard about cryptocurrencies in much the same way as most of us did: through the use of Bitcoin on the darkweb.
However, it was through Ethereum that his interest in crypto began to gather pace. He cut his teeth developing an app to help truckers find parking and other amenities, while at the same time diving ever deeper into the crypto waters.
Viktor began developing Trust Wallet as a means to hold the growing number of ERC20 tokens that he was acquiring through ICOs. Work began on the project in 2017 and it quickly became the focus of all his efforts.
The functionality with ERC20 standard tokens attracted thousands of early users in a short space of time. The wallet’s growing popularity then caught the attention of Binance, who acquired the project (and its parent company Six Days LLC) for an undisclosed sum back in 2018.
As with any self-respecting crypto project, much of the focus is on mass adoption through ease of use. Viktor himself has stated that ‘letting people buy cryptocurrency with a credit card or bank account is essential for crypto adoption’ and Trust Wallet has held true to his vision in this regard. The app has put plenty of work into making its user interface easy to use and accessible to all.
The Trust Wallet app is available from either Google Play or the App Store. Once downloaded and installed you’ll be given the option to either import an existing wallet or create a new one. If you select the latter option, you’ll be given your 12-word seed or recovery phrase.
As mentioned already, make sure you note this down carefully and take care to store it somewhere safe. You’ll then see a checkbox saying: “I understand that if I lose my recovery words, I will not be able to access my wallet.”
If you want to add crypto to your wallet then simply log in to the wallet and tap the “Receive” button. A QR code will appear for you to scan, or you can copy your wallet address. Paste the address into the other wallet’s receiver address section. The “Transactions” tab will show you which ones have been completed.
Sending crypto is just as straightforward. Once in your wallet, tap the “Send” button, then copy and paste the address of the receiving wallet. That done, type in the amount to be sent and tap the “Next” button. Once you’re happy that all the details are correct, hit “Send” and you’re good to go.
A big part of Trust Wallet’s appeal is its ease-of-use and intuitive interface. A lot of effort has gone into this aspect of the app and user reviews regularly focus positively on it.
The staking of crypto (derived from the term “Proof of Stake”) involves the creation of new blocks via a consensus algorithm. These new blocks are then added to the blockchain.
New transactions can be validated on the blockchain by coins staked by holders. The number of staked coins determines the number of transactions that can be validated. Staking locks the coins into a wallet for a prescribed period of time, with more coins (a bit like interest accruing) added to the wallet as a reward. As with interest, the more you stake, the more you get back.
So, if you want to earn interest from your crypto holdings, or are keen to have a say in how the networks of particular currencies are governed, then the staking function that Trust Wallet allows is something you should definitely explore.
Not all coins support staking, though the list is growing. At some point in the future, both Ethereum (ETH) and Cardano (ADA) will become available for staking, having switched to using Proof-of-Stake (as opposed to Proof-of-Work) systems.
There are other staking coins out there, though when or if they become available to stake through Trust Wallet is as yet unknown. If you want to learn more about them and the staking process itself, then my colleague Steve took a deep dive into the subject back in April.
This is one of the newer features on the Trust Wallet app and one that looks set to grow and grow over the next few years. It’s fully mobile-optimised and was created to provide an easier-to-use option to Metamask.
There is an ever-expanding list of DApps being built on Ethereum, with a range of uses and functions. Recent additions include the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) which gives access to blockchain domains to make the sending and receiving of crypto a whole lot easier. Others such as Uniswap, Zerion, Aave and Compound cater to all aspects of the growing Decentralised Finance (DeFi) sector.
There are also gaming platforms which promise crypto-based rewards and others such as KnownOrigin which let you start collecting rare digital art. Trust Wallet gives its users easy access to all of these through its app and will doubtless be at the forefront of driving adoption in this sphere.
Trust Wallet test out and vet any new DApps themselves before integrating them onto the platform. It also supports a DApp marketplace, where developers can put their efforts out for others to test and evaluate.
If you’re having problems then there is the obligatory Help Centre option, accessible via the “Settings” section of the app. Here you’ll find FAQs and troubleshooting guides, which are fairly exhaustive.
If you’re still struggling then you can open a support ticket to get in touch with them directly. Having taken a tour through various forums it does appear that responses to the tickets can be on the slow side.
It’s hard not to like Trust Wallet and its faults are few. It’s easy to download and get started with and that user interface really does make using it as straightforward and these things need to be. Then there’s that huge range of supported assets: if you can’t store your coins then you’ve managed to get your hands on some pretty niche crypto.
Staking is becoming increasingly important to many crypto holders, as awareness of it and its benefits become more widely known. Trust Wallet has done a neat job of anticipating this demand and its staking function gives it a useful edge over other wallets that don’t yet give their users the option.
The ability to access DApps through the app is another far-sighted move which will have long-term benefits as the field expands and DeFi’s upward trend continues. For some, the DApp ecosystem can feel a little limited (how many cute collectables do we really need, after all) but you can be sure that developers are coming up with plenty of new ideas.
And speaking of developers, they will be reassured by Trust Wallet’s open-source software that allows them to check out the codebase for themselves. Openness and transparency are two key components of blockchain and DeFi and it’s great to see a big name buying into this philosophy.
It’s hard to quibble with Trust Wallet’s fee structure (or lack thereof) and for those seeking privacy, the lack of KYC and the non-custodial nature of the wallet will tick the right boxes. If we’re going to split hairs, then it would be good to see two-factor authentication added for additional security.
And last but by no means least there is that partnership with Binance. To have the biggest exchange and one of the most recognisable brands in the crypto space adopt Trust Wallet as its official partner is a vote of confidence that speaks volumes.
If CZ and co are happy to put their faith in Trust Wallet then the rest of us should feel comfortable doing so too. It will be fascinating to see what other features Trust Wallet rolls out over the coming years and, with Binance behind them, you can imagine that the development team are well funded and motivated. The future looks bright.
Featured Image via Trust Wallet & Shutterstock