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The NFT space is booming. NFTs convert real world assets like art, collectibles, texts and even real estate to to digital tokens and store them in blockchains. People are earning in millions by creating (minting) buying, selling and trading NFTs. But for you to participate in this space, an NFT or cryptocurrency wallet is a mandate. An NFT wallet will help you create, hold, buy, sell and trade NFTs in NFT Marketplaces. This guide will take you through the best nft wallets and their features, so that you can decide which one is the best fit for you.
What are NFTs?
NFT refers to Non-Fungible Tokens.
NFTs are digital tokens (cryptographic hash representation)of non-fungible assets. A non-fungible asset is one which is unique in nature and cannot be easily replaced by any similar or dissimilar asset. For example a digital art which has its unique properties and is only one in the whole world. It can be copied but there will be only one original piece in this entire world.
Examples of Non-Fungible assets: digital game collectible, a painting, a Twitter post to real estate. To learn more about NFTs please refer to this guide.
NFTs are securely saved in a blockchain platform. Once saved in a blockchain platform, it cannot be revoked and tweaked (irrevocable and immutable).
A formal definition will be:
A token (in a blockchain) which represents and proves the ownership of any non-fungible asset, or a unique asset is known as a Non-Fungible Token (NFT). These assets can be in the real world (real estate, gold, diamond) or the digital world (digital music, digital artwork, etc.).
Fungible and Non-Fungible Assets:
A Fungible asset is an asset type which can be exchanged for another similar asset for the same value.
For example, a $100 note (asset) can be exchanged with Bitcoin having a value worth $100. Similarly, a $100 note can be exchanged with another $100 note or with two $50 notes.
Another example can be for Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. One can think of exchanging a Bitcoin for the same value of Ether or say any other cryptocurrency having a value equal to that of one Bitcoin.
Examples of fungible assets: cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin, Ether), fiat currencies.
Whereas non-fungible assets are unique with unique properties. They cannot be replaced easily with any other asset in the world.
For example, any car is unique. It has its unique properties. There can be cars of the same model (same year and date too), but still one cannot easily quote that all cars of a specific model and date are of the same value. Hence one of them cannot be easily replaced with another. Proper negotiations can only define the current price of a non fungible asset.
Similarly, any collectible like a painting is also an example of a non-fungible asset. Let’s consider the painting of Monalisa. The original painting is one in the entire world. You can copy the picture, but it will not be the original painting. One cannot exchange easily the original Monalisa painting with any other copied painting. Hence, these collectibles like the Monalisa painting are also non-fungible assets.
Examples of non-fungible assets: house, car, digital art, painting, a recorded song, etc.Fungible and Non-Fungible Assets
What are NFT wallets and why do we need one?
An NFT wallet is a crypto wallet which has built in feature of buying, holding, selling and trading NFTs. All NFT wallets are crypto wallets, but all crypto wallets are not NFT wallets.
An NFT wallet is your bridge to connect to the NFT world. You need to connect an NFT wallet to an NFT Marketplace to perform minting, buying, selling and trading NFTs.
Let us explore it further in detail.
- You need to connect an NFT wallet to an NFT Marketplace (check the definition later in this article) to buy, sell, mint or trade NFTs.
- When you try to mint or create an NFT in an NFT Marketplace (check below for definition), you will need cryptocurrencies (mostly Ether) to pay for various associated fee. Hence you need to buy cryptocurrencies (Ether in most cases) to pay for NFT minting fee. All this is facilitated by a cryptocurrency wallet which can store your cryptocurrencies, connect to the NFT Marketplace to pay the required fee.
- In fact, when your NFT is sold then also you are paid in cryptocurrencies. To realize these payments, a crypto wallet is needed.
Hence a crypto wallet or as we say an NFT wallet is needed to
- Connect to the NFT Marketplace to access NFTs and also mint your own NFT.
- Pay the fee (in Ether or any other cryptocurrency) associated with NFT minting.
- Realize the payments in Ether or any other cryptocurrency when your NFT is sold.
- A wallet will take care of all the technical bits for you and provide a nice user interface for buying, selling, and transferring NFTs or cryptocurrency. Moreover, it can also provide increased security with two-factor authentication, and it provides a convenient way to track your assets across devices.
Note: In most NFT Marketplaces, Ether is accepted as a mode of payment of fee associated with NFT minting.
NFT Marketplace: An NFT Marketplace is a digital platform where your can create, buy and sell NFTs. Think of them as the Amazon of buying and selling NFTs.NFT Marketplace
Some of the popular NFT Marketplaces are OpenSea, Rarible, NFT Gateway, Binance NFT, etc.
Types of NFT Wallets
Software or Hot wallets are desktop or web applications which can buy, sell, store and trade NFTs (and cryptocurrencies also). These wallets keep your NFTs online and hence can be the victim of a hack or malware (though it is not easy owing to the security measures employed by these wallets).
Example: MetaMask, Enjin, Coinbase, etc.
Hardware wallets are the hardware devices specifically built to buy, sell, store and trade NFTs (and cryptocurrencies also) in an offline mode. They store the NFTs offline and hence are free from any online hacks or malwares. Hence, these hardware wallets are ultra secure to keep your NFTs.
Example: Trezor, Ledger.
Pro Tip: Start with Software Wallets and then eventually move to a Hardware Wallet when you hold serious sums of NFTs or cryptocurrencies.Software/Hot Wallet versus Hardware Wallet
Hardware wallets have prices starting $50-$60. Hence in the beginning start with a Hot wallet which are free of cost (can be downloaded in your mobile phone or laptops or desktops or tablets) and eventually as you accumulate large amounts of Bitcoins or NFTs move to a Hardware wallet which will keep them more secure.
Best NFT wallets in 2022
MetaMask is one of the most popular wallets to buy, sell and create NFTs.
- Simple User Interface
- Available as a chrome extension and as a mobile application
- Download it here
- You can create, buy and store your NFTs in the MetaMask wallet
- Manufacturer: ConsenSys
Coinbase is a popular cryptocurrency exchange. In 2021, Coinbase released a wallet also which is a browser extension like MetaMask.
- User friendly interface
- Comes as a browser extension, web and mobile application.
- The mobile application comes with a built in browser to buy NFTs from various NFT Marketplaces
- An added feature of Coinbase is that you can send cryptocurrencies and NFTs to others using usernames rather the public key.
- Coinbase also offers to buy goods and services form your NFTs.
- 2 Factor authentication
- Download here
- It also comes as a web, browser extension and mobile application.
- Download here.
- A built in browser will allow you to view different NFT Marketplaces.
- Offers staking, swapping
- Offers its own utility token
This is mobile only and Ethereum only wallet, though it specifically focusses on NFTs and blockchain gaming space.
- NFT focused wallet. The wallet has a section dedicated to NFTs and gaming tokens only. Gaming tokens are the native tokens of blockchain based games like Axie Infinity (AXS), The Sandbox (SAND), Enjin Coin (ENJ), Decentraland (MANA), My Neighbor Alice (ALICE).
- Simple user friendly interface.
- Built-in browser to explore NFT Marketplaces
Another popular crypto wallet that allows you to buy, sell, and trade in NFTs.
- User friendly.
- Store and manage your Bitcoin, Ethereum, and hundreds of other cryptocurrencies—and build a collection of rare NFTs.
- Allows biometric signature to sign in and approve transactions.
- Create as many wallets as you need. Understand it in this way. You can create as many accounts (public keys) as you want to. One account or wallet can only be used to buy and store cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, etc. Another one can be used to buy NFTs and yet another one to buy, sell, trade gaming tokens like Axie, MANA, ENJ, ALICE, etc.
- Get it here.
Good for trading crypto and NFTs.
- One of the most trusted and secured wallet to store your NFT.
- No need to submit any personal information while signing in.
- Buy cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain and Coin (BNB), Litecoin and many more using credit card also.
- Available as Web and mobile application
- Built in browser for Dapps.
- Get it here
As I mentioned earlier, one should start with a Software wallet and as he/she accumulates some serious amount of NFTs or cryptocurrencies, switch to a hardware wallet for security. A hardware wallet is much more secure as your NFTs and cryptocurrencies (their Private Keys to be precise) are stored offline. Hence they are protected from any online hacks and malwares.
But a hardware wallet like a Trezor and Ledger Nano does not directly support NFTs. You need to buy NFTs using a software wallet like MetaMask and then transfer these NFTs to your hardware wallet.
Till now most hardware wallets supports NFTs created in the Ethereum blockchain. So you buy your NFTs using a software wallet (like MetaMask) and then transfer them to a hardware wallet.
If needed I will write a detailed article on how to use hardware wallets to store your NFTs.
Read about Trezor and Ledger Nano, including a detailed comparison here.
Points to be considered while choosing an NFT wallet
- Compatibility with the NFT Marketplace: This is the most important step. You need to check whether the wallet you are choosing is supported by the NFT Marketplace. Each Marketplace supports only few cryptocurrencies (most of them support Ether). You need to check whether the wallet you are choosing can buy that cryptocurrency or not.
- Multiple device support: Choose an NFT wallet which is available on multiple platforms like browser extension, web and mobile wallets.
- User friendly and Simple interface: Wallets like MetaMask, AlphaWallet have a beginner friendly interface. These interfaces are conducive to starters in the NFT space.
- Security: Always look out for a two-factor authentication in the wallet you are choosing. Otherwise it gets easy to access your wallet and hence your NFTs.
- Payment mode accepted: Basis your needs, check out the mode of payments accepted by the wallet. For instance a credit/debit card payment stands good for most of us.
- Withdrawal option: Also check whether the funds in your wallet can be withdrawn directly into your bank or not.
Is MetaMask an NFT wallet?
Yes MetaMask is one of the most popular NFT wallets. Its is a blockchain wallet which supports NFTs as well as cryptocurrencies.. It is also an NFT wallet as it can help you mint (create), buy, sell and trade NFTs.
Are NFT wallets safe?
Yes most of the wallets like MetaMask, Enjin, MathWallet, AlphaWallet, Trust Wallet are safe to store your NFTs with security measures like 2-Factor Authentication. However, when your NFTs’ worth goes high or you want to keep your NFTs for a long period of time, switching to a hardware wallet will be the safest option. These hardware wallets like Trezor and Ledger Nano will keep your NFTs (private keys to NFTs) in an offline and secure environment safe from online hacks and frauds. However, these hardware wallets do not directly support NFTs. They need to be connected to a software wallet like MetaMask to perform transactions.
Can you store an NFT in a wallet?
Technically, no. NFTs are created and stored in blockchain platforms like Ethereum. The wallet only stores the information of the location of the NFT and provides access to the NFT in the blockchain platform.
You ca easily track all your assets on the blockchain and display them in a single place with your wallet. To prove ownership of an NFT in a blockchain you use a key called Private Key.
NFTs are surely evolving as a sound option to generate wealth. To enter the NFT space we need an NFT wallet. This NFT wallet should be secure enough to hold our NFTs away from any potential hacks or online attacks. Software wallets like MetaMask, Math Wallet, Coinbase, Alpha Wallet, Enjin and Trust wallet are the most popular software wallets to start with. But once you start accumulating wealth over a period of time, do transfer your NFTs from the software wallet to a hardware wallet like Trezor or Ledger Nano.
You can buy the hardware wallets directly from the manufacturer from my affiliate links below.