Ethereum Wallets

Quick Comparison Table

Name Mobile / Desktop Trezor-Compatible Open Source? Runs In Tails? Runs In Debian? Signs Trx On An Air-Gapped System? Requires Full Sync? Seed Password? Notes
Exodus Desktop No No No 1 Yes No No Yes It has a very nice UI and is very easy to use.
MetaMask Desktop No Yes ??? Yes No - requires network No Yes This is really the best open source tool I've found with lots of security concerns.
Mist Desktop No Yes I don't think so. Yes I think. Yes No I like that this is the official Ethereum wallet but I hate "full" wallets.
MyEthereumWallet (MEW) Desktop Yes Yes Only in 3.2 2 Yes Yes No Yes This is very popular but from a security perspective is just a hot mess.
Jaxx Desktop No No No 3 Yes No No Yes Seems very similar to Exodus.
TrustWallet Mobile No Yes n/a n/a n/a No No This seems to have a very nice UI and is very easy to use.

Details

Exodus

Overview

So far this is my favorite wallet because it's so easy to install and my wallets can be restored from a seed phrase. This makes it really easy to back things up in a secure way while also being very easy to restore.

It's no Electrum, but as of 1/2018, it my favorite wallet for storage of Ethereum.

Pros

  • Very easy to install, and it runs on Mac, Windows and Linux.
  • It works with every currency I care about.

Cons

  • Closed source
  • Doesn't allow me to run a cold wallet.
  • Requires a network connection. I therefore can't use it on an air-gapped machine.

MetaMask

Overview

You can't really use Ethereum these days without using MetaMask at some point. It's a requirement for Cryptokitties and it's by far the best "light", open-source wallet available.

My only beef with it is accessible by every web site that you visit. Also, it has to run within a web browser process. So there is a very large attack surface there. Also, I still don't know how to encrypt my keys on disk if I wanted to.

So security is scary, but usability and transparency are excellent. I'll try not to keep too much Ether in this wallet.

Mist

I like that this is the default wallet, but I really don't like that I need a full copy of the blockchain to use it. Downloading this copy can be extremely difficult. For example, I've been waiting to download it for a week now and it's still not done. I've heard stories of others waiting closer to a month for everything to sync.

Since I'm having so many issues just downloading the blockchain I've decided put evaluating this client on the back burner. Maybe things will get easier in the future.

Also, it doesn't seem to offer a seed phrase to backup your private key. This may be a deal-breaker for me.

MyEthereumWallet (MEW)

Overview

This looks like the easiest tool to use with the most security gotchas. Apparently you can avoid some of these issues by running a local, static copy of the code but it still makes me feel like I'm walking on eggshells.

It's appealing to me because I can apparently use it on an air-gapped Tails system, but it seems to be very picky about the version of Tails I can use. The latest version as of 1/3/2018 has issues for example, and it's difficult to download older versions of Tails that do supposedly work.

Jaxx

This is very similar to Exodus, only slightly harder to use. It also appears to have features that Exodus does not, but not anything that I think I would need.

TrustWallet

This is by far the best wallet that I've found for my phone. I love that it's open source and that it doesn't require any signup, which is exactly how it should be.

It doesn't have a ton of features right now but I'm hopeful for the future.

Fun note - one of the founders of the app helped me with a CryptoKitties issue on the app's Telegram forum. He was super helpful.

Footnotes:

1

Crashes on startup with a lib error.

3

Can't be configured to use a socks proxy.

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