What is an Ethereum mobile wallet?
A mobile wallet is an app on your phone that stores your Ethereum and allows you receive ether and transfer it to other wallets. You can usually download the application through the App Store or Google Play (depending if you have an iOS or Android phone), register an account and access your ether anywhere with your mobile phone. All details of this wallet are stored locally on your phone, unlike with online wallets that store your private keys on the host website’s servers, so it’s essential you keep your phone secure.
How do Ethereum mobile wallets work?
Mobile wallets are all built to have very user-friendly interfaces, so sending and receiving ether (the cryptocurrency used on the Ethereum blockchain) is made easy. Your public key can be given to others so they can pay you, and you can also transfer ether to others in the app by entering their wallet address.
Additionally, to make it even more convenient for users, most mobile wallets come with QR-Code technology, which allows you to simply scan the QR-Code of a receiver’s wallet address and make instant payments without having to manually enter their wallet address.
So they’re like regular banking apps?
Yes, they work very similarly, except that your ether is stored directly on your phone. As is the case with a banking app, you can view your transaction history, balance, and make payments or receive money through the Ethereum wallet.
What other types of wallet are there?
There are four main types of alternative ethereum wallets that you can consider. Here’s a brief look into the differences between them
- Online wallet. Also known as a web-based wallet, this is a wallet that allows you to access your ether via a web browser. The private key is usually hosted by your provider, and they are solely responsible for its security. Good examples of web-based Ethereum wallets are MyEtherWallet or Coinbase.
- Desktop wallet. This is effectively a wallet that you can download and install on your PC. It stores the private key on your computer, giving you control of your funds and their security. Examples of good desktop wallets include Exodus, Mist, and Electrum.
- Hardware wallet. This is an electronic device that’s specifically built to hold ether. It stores your private key completely offline, guaranteeing the maximum protection of your coins from online attacks. Some of the most widely-known manufacturers of these wallets include KeepKey, Trezor, and Ledger.
- Paper wallet. This is basically a piece of paper with both the private and public keys of ether addresses printed on it. Just like the hardware wallet, it keeps the ether completely offline, making it a great choice for those looking to hold their coins for long-term. Some of the best places that allow you to create a paper wallet include ETHAdress and WalletGenerator.
How are Ethereum mobile wallets different to online wallets with mobile apps?
Online wallets are like accounts, where all your information is stored remotely and password protected. Online wallets with mobile apps are like mobile banking apps, where you can see, send, and receive funds on your app. No information is stored on your mobile app if you have an online wallet.
On the other hand, mobile wallets physically store your private keys and wallet addresses on your mobile device. In this way, instead of being like a banking app, a mobile wallet is the bank – your funds are stored directly on the device. This gives you complete control of your account.
When it comes to keeping your coins safe, mobile wallets are more secure than online wallets because you’re storing your wallet information offline. However, as your device is connected to the internet it’s still not as secure as a hardware wallet. Your phone could be infected by malware or targeted by hackers, so it is important to utilise all of a wallet’s security features.
What are the best Ethereum mobile wallet providers?
There are lots of options to choose from when it comes to Ethereum mobile wallets. Here are some of the best around:
Formed by a group of engineers in 2008, Mycelium is one of the most popular wallets for iOS and Android devices. It currently integrates with Ledger, Trezor, Coinapult, Glidera, and Cashila wallets.
Formerly BreadWallet, BRD is a Zurich-based mobile wallet available for both Android and iOS devices. It supports Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin, as well as multiple ERC20 tokens.
Formerly known as Airbitz, Edge is a wallet known for an easy interface. It was launched in February 2018 and currently supports five cryptocurrencies.
This is a cryptocurrency wallet that allows you to fund your account with fiat currency and then invest in Ethereum and 24 other cryptocurrencies all in one place. The wallet also allows you to exchange between cryptocurrencies.
Created in 2014 by Anthony Diiorio Ethereum co-founder, Jaxx is a wallet that runs on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows platforms, which allows you to store over a dozen cryptocurrencies.
Important note: Coinbase is not a mobile wallet. It is an online wallet that has a mobile app.
Are Ethereum mobile wallets free?
Yes, Ethereum mobile wallets are free to download and use. All you need to do is go to Google Play Store or App Store and download your preferred wallet app and register for an account.
Are there additional fees for using Ethereum mobile wallets?
Technically, yes. When you conduct transactions through your wallet, you will incur a network transaction fee, which is used to reward miners for verifying transactions on the blockchain. These fees are referred to as ‘gas’ and are usually under £1 worth of ether. Some wallets give you the option to pay higher or lower gas fees, which correlate to faster or slower transaction speeds.
Can I back up an Ethereum mobile wallet?
Yes, by noting down your ‘recovery seed’, you can effectively backup your Ethereum wallet. A recovery seed is simply a string of words that you can generate yourself or that are generated by your wallet app, allowing you to access your wallet’s funds on another device at a later date in case you lose access to your wallet.
How to set up an Ethereum mobile wallet
Each individual ethereum mobile wallet will have its own steps to set up, but generally this is what to expect:
- Choose the right Ethereum mobile wallet for you.
- Go to the Google Play or App Store and download the app.
- Open the app and you’ll usually have the two options: ‘create new wallet’ and ‘recover wallet’.
- Click ‘create new wallet’ and follow the steps. Usually this will involve setting up a PIN or password, and revealing your recovery seed (you must write this down as it enables you to back up your wallet).
- Note: If you don’t get asked to set up a recovery seed, then find out how to set one up manually within the app or what other features your chosen walled has in order to create a backup.
- Once you’ve set all of this up, you’ll be able to use your wallet. Go to your details to find out the wallet address and transfer your ether into your new mobile wallet.
What are the risks of using an Ethereum mobile wallet?
Generally, mobile wallets are more secure to use in comparison to online wallets, and here are a few reasons why:
- Being connected to the internet. Since your mobile device will usually be connected to the internet, you might be vulnerable to attacks by viruses and malware, meaning you have to stray away from dangerous websites.
- Losing access to your phone. Because all your funds are stored on one device, This makes it incredibly vital that you protect your wallet recovery seed locked to access funds on your device, as otherwise losing access to your phone will also mean losing complete access to your funds.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that mobile wallets are unsafe. Most of them encrypt your private key and store it locally on the device. Regardless, it is advised that if you have a substantial investment you want to store long term, you consider options such as a hardware wallet for maximum security.
And what are the advantages?
On the other hand, mobile wallets carry signifiacnt advantages such as:
- Control over your security. Because the details of the wallet are stored on the mobile phone (a local device) and not by an online wallet provider, you have complete control of your private key and its security
- Convenience. This is the best thing about mobile wallets. Accessing your wallet to pay or receive ether while on the move like you would on your regular banking app is very convenient.
Should I use an Ethereum mobile wallet?
Well, if you’re looking to access your ether regularly, either for making payments or trading, or looking to hold a small amount of ether, then yes, an Ethereum mobile wallet would be a great choice. If your goal is the storage of ether as a long term investment, consider going for even safer choices such as paper and hardware wallets.
How do I find the best Ethereum mobile wallet?
You can find them right here. We have narrowed down a list of the most reliable and reputable Ethereum wallets and reviewed them for you to help you make your decision for what provider is best for you.