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Storing your digital assets is a crucial part of your crypto investment journey and non-custodial wallets are becoming more popular as the field of decentralized finance continues to grow. Non-custodial wallets are digital wallets that help users in taking full ownership of their assets. Non-custodial means that the wallet doesn’t have custody of your crypto but rather serves as an interface that helps you to conveniently access it while also enabling third-party integrations.
The main difference between custodial and non-custodial solutions is ownership! With custodial wallets, the company offers services that safeguard and keep your crypto. For example, centralized cryptocurrency exchanges are often custodians, meaning that they store the crypto for you and the private keys are not held by you.
Non-custodial wallets help you retain full ownership of your assets and you are the one who stores your private keys. Needless to say, this comes with its risks and challenges. If you have a non-custodial wallet, you are responsible for protecting your private keys. If you lose your keys for any reason, then you also lose access to your funds and the wallet provider can do nothing to help you retrieve them. Thus, non-custodial wallets are not suitable for anyone who can’t handle the responsibility of safeguarding their private keys.
The Pros and Cons of Non-Custodial Cryptocurrency Wallets
Self-custody wallets have a lot of benefits that crypto users prefer, but they also have some downsides. What you choose entirely depends on your preferences.
Full control of the private keys
Ability to interact with native DeFi applications
No KYC required
Very challenging to use compared to custodial solutions
If you mistakenly lose your private keys you can never access your funds again
Top Non-Custodial Wallets to Consider
MetaMask was launched in 2016 by the leading blockchain technology company ConsenSys. It has grown to become the most popular non-custodial wallet. It is mainly because it was one of the only available options in the massive DeFi boom back in 2020. Over the years, one of the main usage of MetaMask is the integration with the popular marketplace OpenSea for buying and selling NFTs.
MetaMask helps users in creating ERC-20-based wallet tokens and it can also be integrated to function on networks like the BNB Chain, Optimism and Arbitrum. Moreover, the crypto wallet also functions as a browser extension which allows users to interact with dApps built on Ethereum and other EVM-compatible networks. MetaMask takes no ownership or custody of your seed phrase or private keys and provides you with complete authority over your assets.
Do note that MetaMask provides support for the Ethereum blockchain and networks that are built using the Ethereum Virtual Machine. You cannot use MetaMask to store cryptocurrencies such as Solana and Bitcoin.
Trezor is one of the noted noncustodial wallets and has a hardware crypto wallet technology with a good reputation in the industry. Trezor wallets are the only hardware wallets to offer native support for ERC20 tokens. On the other hand, updating the firmware on Trezor wallets often makes the whole wallet be deleted. This could be scary for a new user. However, you can enter your backup phrase and then restore your wallet quickly. Trezor has two hardware wallet devices: Trezor Model One and Trezor Model T.
The Trezor Model T has the same features as the Trezor Model One, except for the large touchscreen, which is a new feature. The touchscreen is a good upgrade as it allows users to enter their seed phrase into a device without going through a computer. The Trezor Model T also supports more coins than the Trezor Model One.
The Trezor Model One is the earliest hardware wallet on the market and yet is one of the most reputable. It features a clean design with a user-friendly interface and supports 1000 cryptocurrencies. The one major altcoin that it doesn't support is Ripple Lab’s XRP.
Ledger is the most popular non-custodial wallet. It is an established and reputable company behind the popular Ledger suite of hardware wallets. You can access your Ledger wallet through Ledger Live, a proprietary desktop app that allows you to send and receive cryptocurrencies and check your balance, giving you complete control of your Ledger devices. Ledger also offers two hardware wallets namely Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X.
Ledger Nano X is the flagship wallet device known for its capability of managing over 100 assets at the same time. It supports 1800 tokens. The Ledger Nano X features an OLED display along with Bluetooth support which helps you confirm your transactions on the go without connecting a USB cable. As for Ledger Nano S, it is a user-friendly interface with a clean design that provides support for a wide array of cryptocurrencies.
Thus, the best non-custodial wallets connect you directly to a non-custodial exchange or blockchain. This gives you complete control over your keys and third-party interference is very less. You also have the freedom of buying crypto directly, thus getting access to more cryptocurrencies.
Note: The above information is not financial advice and investors are encouraged to do their own research.