Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are proving to be one of the stand-out success stories for blockchain, with multiple use cases across, art, gaming, metaverse applications, investment and more. Since NFTs are fundamentally different to ordinary crypto tokens, ordinary crypto wallets aren’t well-suited to managing them. For that, you’ll need something purpose-designed for the job.
What is an NFT wallet?
Regular tokens like BTC, ETH, USDT, or USDC, are “fungible”. They act as currencies or commodities, assets that may have millions or billions of units, which are all the same. A crypto wallet simply needs to display how many units of an asset you own, allow you to send and receive them, and maybe use them with various DeFi dApps.
NFTs are different. These are unique or limited-edition, indivisible digital assets that represent digital art, characters or items from P2E games, metaverse properties and resources, and much else besides.
An NFT wallet needs to do more than enable you to send and receive tokens. It needs to list your NFTs and ideally display them graphically. As well as an image, there will probably be metadata attached, describing the NFTs characteristics and comparative rarity. The wallet should have a way to buy NFTs on different marketplaces, and list NFTs you own for sale. It may even allow you to use your NFTs inside certain games and metaverse applications.
What features should an NFT wallet support?
With that in mind, any good NFT wallet should have the following features:
- Excellent security. This isn’t specific to NFT wallets. It should be a concern when downloading any crypto wallet. Still, NFTs can be extremely valuable, and security should be your #1 priority.
- A great user experience. You might be sorting through dozens or hundreds of NFTs, depending on how far down the rabbit hole you go. Make sure your wallet makes life as easy as possible when browsing, comparing, buying and selling NFTs.
- Marketplace support. Check that you can use the wallet with your favourite NFT marketplaces, whether that’s sites like OpenSea and Rarible, or the marketplaces built into P2E games like Axie Infinity.
- The right chains. Large NFT ecosystems now exist on many different blockchains. Check your wallet supports the ones you want to use.
- The right devices. Some wallets can only be used on desktop or mobile. While you might be happy with that, both have their place, so check which platforms the wallet can be used with before you get started.
Top NFT Wallets
Just as there are many regular crypto wallets, there are many that can be used to manage NFTs. They each have their strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. Here are six of the most popular.
MetaMask is the gold standard of DeFi wallets, with over 30 million monthly active users. It takes the form of a browser extension and has become the default means for users to engage with dApps and Web3 services. Whenever you visit a Web3 enabled site and access blockchain services, you’ll get a prompt to allow the site to connect to MetaMask, and further prompts to approve transactions.
MetaMask is also a great option for managing your NFTs. You won’t be able to view them within the wallet itself – MetaMask doesn’t work like that. But it does allow you to connect to sites like OpenSea, which will display the NFTs associated with your account, let you list them for sale, and so on. You can switch chains easily, and generate multiple addresses for each chain if you prefer to keep your NFTs in a separate account.
Since almost every DeFi user will have MetaMask installed already, and it’s a well-established, secure wallet, it’s a solid place to start.
While MetaMask is a browser extension designed for engaging with Web3 dApps, Trust Wallet is available for mobile only. It’s Binance’s official wallet, which means that – although you can use it with multiple blockchains, including Ethereum – it’s a good choice if you’re looking at NFTs on Binance Smart Chain.
Trust Wallet has its own dApp browser that allows you to buy NFTs from marketplaces right from your mobile. There’s also a built-in exchange, so you can swap BEP20 and other tokens – all of which makes it super convenient for trading crypto and NFTs on the move.
Some wallets aim to do everything, or offer very broad functionality. AlphaWallet seeks to provide more focused functionality for a segment of the market. It’s a mobile-only, Ethereum-only wallet that is designed to be easy for developers to customise, allowing them to launch their own wallet products quickly. It also has built-in support for NFTs and blockchain games, which have emerged as one of the killer use cases for NFTs. It also enables users to access OpenSea and a number of other services seamlessly. The UX isn’t as slick as some other options on the market, but the white-label aspect means it will appeal more to developers and crypto startups.
Coinbase is just about the biggest and most trustworthy name in the crypto space, and as you’d expect, their wallet is top notch. While you can keep cryptos on your Coinbase exchange account, this is a self-hosted wallet that lets you manage tokens on multiple chains, and NFTs on Ethereum.
The app can be used in conjunction with Coinbase’s browser extension, which is a little like MetaMask, and allows you to buy and sell NFTs from Web3 marketplaces. The wallet itself also has an integrated browser that can be used to engage with approved dApps.
One thing you won’t be able to do is integrate the wallet fully with your Coinbase exchange account – as a centralised service, that won’t play nice with your non-custodial wallet. You can, of course, move tokens easily between the two, so it’s not too much of a hardship.
Like Coinbase, Crypto.com is one of the giants of the blockchain space – a well-established, reliable exchange service with over 50 million users and billions of dollars in daily trading volumes. As well as their hugely popular crypto trading app, Crypto.com have a thriving NFT marketplace and their own NFT wallet.
The Cryrto.com DeFi Wallet, as it’s called, also supports 100+ cryptos, so it’s more than just a way to manage NFTs. It’s a non-custodial wallet, meaning you’re in full control of your crypto (and sole responsibility rests on you for keeping your private keys backed up and safe).
One of the ways in which the app excels is the way it displays your NFTs, with featured ones at the top and then the rest below, grouped as collections. Another neat feature is the ability to create an image for social media from your NFTs, so it’s easy to use your most prized NFT as your profile picture. What’s more, if you’re holding crypto on the wallet as well as NFTs, you can use it as a savings account and earn income on your tokens.
If you’re looking for a wallet that does it all, Math Wallet might be in the running. It’s a multi-platform, multi-chain wallet that goes above and beyond compared to some of the other options on the market. One of its biggest draws is its support for over 100 blockchains, plus cross-chain transfers. It’s available for web, desktop and mobile, and also has integrations with a number of hardware wallets for ultimate security.
Like many other wallets, Math has a DeFi browser that allows you to interact with NFT marketplaces. Unfortunately, the user experience isn’t as polished as it might be, and some features are still in development. This means you’ll probably opt for Math Wallet if the NFTs you want are hosted on an unusual blockchain that other wallets don’t feature.
The great thing about wallets is that you don’t have to opt for just one. Try out several until you find the right fit for you.
As a starting point, MetaMask is always a strong choice. There’s a reason it’s the default way to interface with DeFi dApps and NFT marketplaces. If you’re looking for a mobile wallet rather than (or as well as) a desktop browser extension, then Coinbase is a very solid option. It doesn’t have the same range of functionality as some other wallets, but what it does have is extremely user-friendly, secure, and reliable.