The crypto market has since gone from an emerging market to a well-established market. Everyday, new coins are birthed with different values and utilities, new DeFi (decentralized finance) projects are launched, and new NFT projects are released to the market.
If you’re new to the crypto market and in need of a way to store all of your assets, a crypto wallet is an important tool to have. With so many wallets out there, though, choosing the best wallet for your needs can feel exhausting.
In this article, we go over two of the best and most popular online wallets in the crypto space right now, MetaMask and Coinbase. What are they? What features do they boast? How secure are they?
We’ll be going over all these and more. First, though, consider why your choice of a wallet is almost as important as your choice of crypto investments.
- Why Your Choice of Wallet is Important
- What is MetaMask?
- How To Get Started With Metamask
- What is Coinbase?
- How To Get Started With Coinbase Wallet
- Who is MetaMask for?
- Who is Coinbase Wallet for?
- MetaMask vs Coinbase at a Glance
- The Verdict
- MetaMask vs Coinbase FAQs
Why Your Choice of Wallet is Important
With the explosion in the overall value of the crypto market continuing at pace, keeping your assets secure is a priority. Unlike the traditional financial market, the responsibility for the security of your crypto asset rests squarely on your shoulders.
Although there are several ways you could go about protecting your asset, the most important of them all is probably via a wallet. This makes your choice of a wallet a truly critical decision to be weighed carefully.
But a crypto wallet today is more than just a digital device for storing, receiving and sending crypto. It can serve as your gateway into the decentralized finance (DeFi) space, and determine the ease with which you connect with other decentralized applications (dApps).
Crypto wallets also support different blockchains and – as a result – different kinds of tokens, boast different levels of accessibility, and enjoy different levels of security. So, taking the time to select your desired wallet is a great use of your time as a crypto investor.
Ready? Let’s now consider two of the best wallets out there.
What is MetaMask?
MetaMask is an open-source cryptocurrency wallet founded in 2016. Originally designed as a browser extension for Chrome, Brave, Edge, and Firefox browsers, it also has a mobile app today, making it accessible on any device, anywhere.
A multi-cryptocurrency wallet, MetaMask offers users a gateway to multiple cryptocurrencies and blockchain apps. In addition to storing their tokens, MetaMask users can buy, send, and trade their tokens either directly or by connecting to third-party apps via the built-in Web3 browser.
The built-in browser ensures seamless connection for users looking to access dApps and decentralized exchanges (DEXs) on the Ethereum blockchain. This means you can access your tokens on your dApp of choice without having to exit your wallet.
MetaMask is particularly recommended for its security. Despite being an online wallet, the app has no access to users’ data or assets. Private keys and passwords are stored locally to ensure you alone can access them. This makes it a more difficult app to hack.
Although it was designed primarily for the Ethereum blockchain, MetaMask also supports other networks. Amongst these are Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, Fantom, Harmony ONE, and Arbitrum. It also supports Bitcoin.
Pros of MetaMask
Ease of Use:
MetaMask boasts a self-explanatory, minimalist design of animations and characters. While it may not be the simplest wallet app out there, it is fairly intuitive for crypto beginners to use whether they’re moving tokens around or interacting with dApps.
MetaMask is a member of the Hierarchical Deterministic family of wallets. This is a kind of wallet where both the private keys and passwords to the wallet are stored on the user’s local device. To access the wallet, you MUST have access to both its password and private keys.
Fee and Costs:
MetaMask is a fee-to-use crypto wallet that doesn’t charge you for using any of its features. Considering it’s an Ethereum-centric wallet (compatible with only Ethereum networks), you can still expect to pay transaction fees (known as ‘gas fees’), but these won’t be collected by MetaMask.
MetaMask is a versatile wallet that’s easily accessible on both mobile and desktop. It supports browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Brave, and mobile apps for Android and iOS. This makes it very easy for users to interact with other Web3 applications.
MetaMask boasts over 250 integrations in the wallet app. This includes Transak, a crypto payments processor that allows users to buy crypto using their credit cards. There are also integrated DEXs and dApps serving to make crypto transactions a lot easier.
MetaMask is an open-source non-custodial wallet. As an open-source software, it has an active developer community constantly contributing to upgrade its features.
Cons of MetaMask
MetaMask supports over 150 different cryptocurrencies and tokens. However, its support for networks outside of Ethereum remains very limited, often requiring you to manually add your desired token (without any guarantees).
How To Get Started With Metamask
Review the tutorial below or check out our guide to setting up a Metamask wallet.
What is Coinbase?
The name ‘Coinbase’ is more readily associated with the centralized exchange (CEX) of the same name. In 2018, however, Coinbase Exchange launched the Coinbase Wallet, a non-custodial wallet that doesn’t require a Coinbase account to function properly.
Coinbase Wallet offers users a safe and easy way to store and trade their crypto assets. Like MetaMask, Coinbase was originally a desktop app available as a browser plugin for Google Chrome and Brave browsers. Today, it also boasts a mobile app for Android and iOS.
As a DeFi wallet, the Coinbase wallet doesn’t own the private keys of wallets created in the application. Your private keys are yours alone, leaving your assets entirely under your control. It also implements client-side encryption, with private keys stored on your local device.
The wallet was primarily designed for the Ethereum blockchain, and comes out of the box with support for Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and other ERC-20 tokens. However, it also supports cryptocurrencies on other networks, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and XRP among others.
Pros of Coinbase
Ease of Use:
Coinbase is a fairly easier app to use than MetaMask. It boasts a simplistic, self-explanatory design that beginners will find easy to follow. Its username feature also makes transacting with other app users seamless, and its local currency option makes it easier to track your asset value.
Coinbase boasts a security system that is described by some as rivaling bank-grade security. It allows you to backup your private keys to either Google Drive or iCloud, and requires you to set up two-factor authentication for extra security.
Coinbase is accessible on desktop via browser extensions for Chrome and Brave. It also has mobile apps for Android and iOS devices, enabling you to access your account on any device.
Coinbase is recorded to have over 180 supported tokens across a variety of networks. Although it was originally designed for the Ethereum network, it is a more versatile wallet app that successfully integrates a wide range of cryptocurrencies.
Over 70 integrations in the Coinbase wallet serve to make using the app easier. This includes integrations such as PayPal for crypto purchases and Ether Cards that grant you access to the best deals on the Ethereum platform.
Cons of Coinbase
Cost and Fees:
For all of its features and advantages, Coinbase is an expensive wallet to use. Estimates place the cost of transactions using the Coinbase wallet at almost 4 times the cost of transactions when using MetaMask.
For a wallet tied to the Coinbase brand, Coinbase has done nothing to allay fears of centralization creeping into the wallet. From its fees to its close integration with the exchange, it is certainly one of the most centralized non-custodial wallets out there.
How To Get Started With Coinbase Wallet
Who is MetaMask for?
MetaMask is an attractive wallet for beginners looking to test the waters with crypto. Its lower transaction fees are attractive, and where it was once lacking in payment options for those used to traditional financial systems, it now supports Wyre, Transak, and Apple Pay for crypto purchases.
Despite appearing here as a negative, its focus on the Ethereum blockchain is appealing to Ethereum enthusiasts and developers. It is also completely decentralized, even offering users tips on how to bypass local crypto restrictions (rather than banning their accounts).
Who is Coinbase Wallet for?
Coming from a very well recognized name in the crypto space, the Coinbase wallet had little to do to convince users. Its romance with the centralized Coinbase exchange is great for those who wouldn’t wish to travel too far for transactions.
Coinbase wallet offers users a rich array of payment methods, making it one of the easiest wallets for buying crypto assets. Its supported token list is also more robust and diverse, and it takes extra steps to protect you beyond the actions you take.
Unfortunately, Coinbase commissions and fees can be crazy at times. Its centralized ownership may also pose a problem for investors who love crypto for its decentralized nature. Still, it is a great wallet to use if you’re looking to accumulate more than just ERC-20 tokens.
MetaMask vs Coinbase at a Glance
|Compatibility||Mobile and Desktop||Mobile and Desktop|
|Browser Support||Chrome and Brave||Chrome, Brave, Edge and FireFox|
|Cost and Fees||Expensive||Gas-fee only|
|Network Support||Versatile||Ethereum compatible networks|
|Internal Web3 Browser||Yes||Yes|
Both Coinbase and MetaMask boast very attractive features that make transacting with crypto a lot easier. Although they approach security a little differently, they’re also both as sturdy in their security as can be expected of any hot wallet.
So, which should you use – Coinbase or MetaMask?
The answer to that question will depend on your needs. MetaMask is a cheaper wallet to use which is focused on the Ethereum blockchain. Coinbase is more versatile, but expensive. Be sure to carefully compare the features of both and see which of them best aligns with your investment plans.
MetaMask vs Coinbase FAQs
Is it better to buy ETH from Coinbase or MetaMask?
Depends. MetaMask users have successfully used the “Buy ETH” button on MetaMask to purchase MetaMask via a third-party app like Transak. So far, no problems have been reported with this approach. It’s important to note, though, that geographic restrictions may block your purchase.
Coinbase offers more payment options to users looking to buy ETH. If your desired payment option isn’t available on MetaMask, Coinbase may be just what you need.
Is Coinbase a MetaMask wallet?
No. Coinbase and MetaMask are two very different wallet types. MetaMask was launched in 2016, while Coinbase only launched 2 years later.
Note, however, that Coinbase wallet allows you import any Ethereum-based wallet you may have with another provider. This means you can import your MetaMask wallet into your Coinbase wallet and access both wallets in one place. You can’t import your Coinbase wallet into MetaMask, though.
Is Coinbase wallet safe?
Yes. Despite being a hot wallet, Coinbase adopts the best digital encryption practices to safeguard its wallet. Its security features are enforced at multiple levels, with the app even enlisting a third-party service for encryption purposes. The net value of this is that your crypto assets on Coinbase are secure.