In the ever-evolving and still largely uncharted crypto world, your wallet is your fortress, safeguarding your cryptocurrency holdings and providing access to the endless possibilities of decentralized finance. With various options available, two prominent names often stand out: MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet. In this article, we'll explore their security measures and features, helping you make an informed choice for your crypto investing needs. Whether you prioritize user-friendliness, privacy, or advanced functionalities, we've got you covered!
As you embark on your crypto investing adventure, let's take a closer look at the MetaMask vs Coinbase Wallet showdown and find out which one offers better security and features for beginner and veteran crypto enthusiasts alike.
What are crypto wallets?
Before we move to the MetaMask vs Coinbase Wallet comparison, let's first have a quick refresher on cryptocurrency wallets, their purpose, functionalities, and the various types available.
In essence, a crypto wallet is a hardware device or software application that serves as a secure cryptographic safe for storing, sending, and receiving digital assets. When a user creates a crypto wallet, the wallet generates a pair of cryptographic keys: a public key, which functions as the wallet's address and is visible to others, and a private key, which is kept secret and serves as the owner's digital signature necessary for initiating transactions on the blockchain.
The user's private keys should be stored securely with multiple backups and never shared with anyone, as losing or compromising them can result in funds being lost forever. Fortunately, most popular cryptocurrency wallets offer convenient ways to generate, manage, and back up private keys, such as mnemonic phrases, social recovery, or encrypted files.
Naturally, crypto wallets come in various forms, each catering to different user preferences and needs, and can be broadly categorized into two main types: hot wallets and cold wallets.
Cold Wallets: These are hardware wallets or paper wallets that store private keys offline, offering a high degree of security since it's virtually unreachable to online hackers. Cold wallets are ideal for long-term storage of significant cryptocurrency holdings that aren't moved too often.
Hot Wallets: These are software wallets that are connected to the Internet and are best suited for frequent trading and transactions. Such wallets offer convenience and advanced features such as portfolio analysis, staking, and built-in swaps, but may be more susceptible to cybersecurity threats. It's crucial to keep in mind that both MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet are examples of hot wallets.
Now that we have a clear understanding of crypto wallets and their significance for the Web3 ecosystem, let's explore how MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet compare in terms of fees, unique features, and security layers to help you make an informed choice for managing your crypto assets.
What is MetaMask?
Founded in 2016 by ConsenSys, MetaMask is the most popular Ethereum wallet that can be accessed as a browser extension (available for Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Brave) or a mobile wallet (available for both Android and iOS devices).
MetaMask is a user-friendly wallet with a simple and intuitive interface that makes crypto equally accessible to both beginners and experienced cryptocurrency users. Both mobile and desktop applications allow for the creation of multiple addresses under one secret recovery phrase, and each one can be imported to multiple devices as well.
At the same time, the intuitive simplicity of MetaMask under no circumstances means they don't take the security aspect seriously: quite the contrary, the wallet places a strong emphasis on users' safety. A 12-word secret recovery phrase users generate during wallet creation serves as a backup in case they need to recover their accounts. Private keys are stored locally on the user's device, adding an extra layer of security. Furthermore, MetaMask is an open-source wallet, which means that its code is publicly available on GitHub and any member of the community can review it and contribute to the development.
One of MetaMask's standout features is its integration with Ethereum-based decentralized applications. Users can seamlessly connect their wallets to DApps and interact with multiple decentralized exchanges, blockchain games, and NFT marketplaces.
Overall, MetaMask is the best cryptocurrency wallet for Ethereum ecosystem enthusiasts, boasting top-notch security and a friendly interface. Furthermore, despite being a hot wallet, MetaMask also supports hardware wallet integrations for devices like Ledger or Trezor, offering an extra layer of protection for the most cautious investors.
MetaMask wallet: pros and cons
- User-friendly interface
- DApp integration
- Secret phrase recovery
- Support for multiple Ethereum testnets
- Integration with hardware wallets
- More opportunities for customization
- Limited to Ethereum and EVM-compatible blockchains
- No built-in exchange
- High transaction fees on Ethereum
- Requires an internet connection
What is Coinbase Wallet?
Now that we had the comprehensive rundown on Metamask wallet, let's take a closer look at Coinbase Wallet and how it compares to its rival.
Coinbase Wallet, formerly known as Toshi, is a mobile cryptocurrency wallet and decentralized application browser created by Coinbase, one of the largest and most reputable cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.
Like MetaMask, it's a non-custodial hot wallet available in two formats: as a browser extension and a cross-platform app for mobile devices. For browsers, however, it supports only Chrome and Brave, in contrast with more options provided by MetaMask.
Coinbase Wallet can be linked to an existing Coinbase exchange account, allowing users to easily transfer funds between the wallet and the exchange. However, it's important to note that this connection is optional, and users can maintain full control over their private keys even if they link the wallet to Coinbase. Unlike MetaMask, however, Coinbase Wallet is not fully open-source: while certain components of the wallet, such as software developer kit (SDK), are indeed open-source, the complete source code is inaccessible to the general public.
Like MetaMask, Coinbase Wallet relies on a 12-word recovery phrase, ensuring that users can regain access to their funds from any device.
What gives Coinbase Wallet a leg up on its competitor MetaMask is that its support spans far beyond the Ethereum ecosystem: in addition to all EVM-compatible networks, the wallet allows users to store Bitcoin, Solana, Dogecoin, and Litecoin. Not so long time ago, the wallet also supported Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Ripple's XRP Ledger (XRP), and Stellar (XLM), but discontinued its support due to low demand in February 2023.
In summary, Coinbase Wallet is a secure and user-friendly cryptocurrency wallet that should be the top pick for crypto enthusiasts who would like to go beyond Ethereum and EVM-compatible chains. Due to its native integration with the Coinbase exchange, it's particularly suitable for those looking to tap into the fast-paced world of day trading, and its built-in DApp explorer offers a convenient pathway to the world of decentralized finance comparable to the one offered by MetaMask.
Coinbase Wallet: pros and cons
- Non-custodial crypto wallet
- Native crypto exchange integration
- Streamlined user interface
- Backed by one of the most reputable firms in the crypto market
- Support for multiple blockchains beyond Ethereum and its sidechains
- Compatible with Ledger hardware wallets
- Not fully open-source
- One of the most centralized wallets
- Requires an internet connection
- Limited support for NFTs from chains other than Ethereum and Polygon
The next step in our MetaMask vs Coinbase Wallet review is the number of supported crypto & tokens. While both wallets offer safe storage and transfer for all Ethereum-based tokens (ERC-20 standard), and all tokens on EVM-compatible chains, such as Binance Smart Chain and Polygon, Coinbase Wallet edges out due to its support for non-EVM chains and assets, such as Bitcoin, Solana, Dogecoin, and Litecoin.
That being said, Coinbase Wallet users don't have to narrow down their crypto investments to just a couple of blockchains, and what comes next, can enjoy more freedom in navigating the vast crypto ecosystem. On the other hand, MetaMask still leads when it comes to access to the vibrant selection of DApps hosted on the Ethereum blockchain.
The security benefits of MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet are comparable, as both are non-custodial wallets, which means that no one but you can access your crypto holdings. Although both are hot wallets as well, there are safety measures in place designed to minimize cybersecurity threats, such as biometrics or password verification.
Finally, both MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet give users the ability to sync with hardware wallets such as Ledger or Trezor, adding an extra layer of security for the most cautious crypto investors.
Both MetaMask and Coinbase wallets pay a great deal of attention to the UI of their applications, although their approach may be different. Coinbase Wallet, for instance, is tailored for first-time crypto users, with an ambition to be a one-stop shop for web3 newcomers, so its interface is notably simpler and may be more appealing to novice traders. The username feature allows to substitute wallet address with a human-readable alias to receive and send crypto and NFTs. The Community tab also brings a social aspect to crypto trading, with the possibility to add other users in a similar fashion you do on social media (desktop wallet only).
MetaMask, on the other hand, might feel a bit complex for beginners, as it often requires manual configuration for token and chain additions. However, its browser extension is unmatched when it comes to decentralized applications, allowing users to connect seamlessly with just a few clicks.
MetaMask's unique feature is, undoubtedly, its ability to connect users to a plethora of Ethereum-based decentralized applications, serving as a gateway to the web3 economy for millions of unbanked and underbanked individuals. Another thing worth mentioning is its high degree of customization, which would definitely be practical for advanced users, enabling them to connect to different Ethereum testnets and sidechains for developmental and testing purposes.
When it comes to Coinbase Wallet, it's not far behind MetaMask, offering a seamless integration with the user's account on the Coinbase exchange, allowing for convenient transfers while also maintaining complete control over one's private keys. Furthermore, its streamlined interface with social features may appeal to crypto beginners and those who use cryptocurrencies for their everyday purchases.
Final verdict: Should you choose MetaMask or Coinbase Wallet?
Ultimately, the choice between Metamask and Coinbase Wallet boils down to the specific needs of a particular user and their comfort level with certain features. While both wallets offer almost identical functionalities, our MetaMask vs Coinbase Wallet rundown showcased that there are still some slight distinctions that drive some users to make a choice in favor of one or another.
For instance, MetaMask excels in DApp integration and customization options, naturally emerging as a top pick for more crypto-savvy users who are primarily interested in DeFi possibilities offered by a vibrant Ethereum ecosystem. Coinbase Wallet, on the other hand, earns a top spot for its beginner friendliness without a steep learning curve, integration with the exchange, and support for Bitcoin and non-EVM chains.
In the end, users are advised to thoroughly assess their needs and preferences when choosing between the two. We at Coinpaper hope that our comprehensive MetaMask vs Coinbase Wallet review will help you make an informed decision and have a head start in your crypto journey.