Wallet Useability


#1

Recently, I helped someone do their first Ethereum transactions. I stepped them through Metamask and MEW. It proved that both were pretty easy to use for someone who has no blockchain experience, although it doesn’t yet prove that they are the most secure entry point for new users.

I did some useability testing with MyCrypto and Parity Signer. I figure that both are also fairly useable and should be newbie friendly. Here are some of my thoughts.

Ethereum Wallets

Metamask

Pros:

  • User friendly.
  • Easy to install.
  • Hardware wallet integration

Cons:

  • Hot wallet only, so not ideal for large amounts.

MEW

Fine to use for small and medium amounts of funds. Ideally, you would only use the offline mode. I would prefer if they had Parity Signer integration.

Pros:

  • Fairly user friendly, but not quite as simple as Metamask
  • Integrations: hardware wallets, metamask
  • Has an offline mode
  • Offline mode can work on an Raspberry Pi (interestingly, web pages are more portable than desktop apps)

Cons:

  • Bit of extra work involved to use in offline mode.
  • No integration with Parity Signer

MyCrypto

Fine to use for small and medium amounts of funds. I like that it has Parity Signer integration.

Pros:

  • Very familiar to MEW users
  • Good desktop app
  • Integration with Parity Signer, plus metamask and hardware wallets.

Cons:

  • Desktop app not quite as portable as MEW’s web site

Comment:
I tried to get the appImage file (Linux) to work on the Raspberry Pi but it failed. I think I only tried the 64-bit version, and apparently RPi runs in 32-bit compatibility mode. Given the processor in the RPi is not the most common, it seems that most things don’t tend to work easily.

Parity Signer

Better suited to larger amount of funds. I couldn’t say if you would want to use it for a huge amount since that doesn’t apply to me. Not a huge amount of hassle though if you wanted to use it for small amounts, but you might be better to use Metamask for small amounts.

Pros:

  • Simple to use
  • A hardware wallet without additional cost (use an old smart phone)
  • Airgapped meaning that the wallets are never ‘hot’ (unless used with a phone that’s regularly connected to the Internet).

Cons:

  • Usability is harder since it is not a standalone wallet, so requires integration with e.g. MyCrypto. Obviously, there are good reasons for this.
  • Can’t see balances or transfer history. Would be useful, but not a killer problem.
  • Tokens don’t seem to be fully supported either. I haven’t tested, but I suspect you wouldn’t see the transaction properly inside the app.

Polkadot Wallets

It is still early days for Polkadot, but there are already a number of teams in our ecosystem who are working on wallet software. I’d like to see these wallets prove to be as useable as the best of the Ethereum ecosystem, although it could be a tough battle to get great useability with multiple chains and even multiple tokens on one chain.

Polkawallet

Is going to be a mobile wallet first. Concept art showed a clean wallet and there is a clear intention to support multiple coins. I’d expect it to support multiple parachains too.

I’ve suggested to each team that Parity Signer support would also be great.

Project site: https://polkawallet.io/

Speckle wallet

This was intended to be a browser extension as a wallet. I saw an early PoC a few months back, but nothing since. I do know they are still building!

My guess is that this will be similar to Metamask in terms of functionality and useability.

Team website: https://www.speckleos.io/

Image Wallet

" The application (https://imagewallet.io) currently support Ethereum, Bitcoin and the Nimiq blockchain. More to be added soon." There will be Substrate / Polkadot support in the future.

An alpha version is now available: link