Crypto wallets come in two main varieties: custodial and non-custodial wallets. The main difference between them centers on who holds the private key to the user funds. Each type of wallet has advantages and disadvantages, which users must consider carefully. This article will help you do that.
What are custodial wallets?
These are digital wallets where a third party takes on the responsibility of holding the private key for the user. The custodian is almost always a web-based entity, such as an exchange. These wallets are popular among beginners or users who don’t feel confident about managing their private keys.
Custodial wallets offer easy access to the stored crypto with their user-friendly interface. However, they also come with certain risks. There is always the possibility that the custodian may be hacked or go bankrupt, for instance. Such risks could lead to the loss of funds. Users should, therefore, weigh the pros and cons before using this type of wallet.
What are non-custodial wallets?
Non-custodial wallets are digital wallets that allow the user to hold the private key. There are no third-party custodians involved, and the users have complete control over their funds.
Wallets of this kind can be accessed through various platforms. They offer a high degree of anonymity. However, technical know-how is a must as they are more complex than custodial wallets.
Custodial vs. non-custodial wallets: What are the differences?
The difference between custodial and non-custodial wallets hinges on who holds the private key. Custodial wallets rely on third-party custodians to keep and manage the private keys, while non-custodial wallets give users complete control over their private keys.
In this context, the main advantage of custodial wallets is users don’t need to worry about managing the private key. On the other hand, custodial wallets are user-friendly, and the customer support personnel can help, too.
However, custodial wallets include higher security risks, as the custodian can be hacked or bankrupt. Users also have limited control over their funds, and there may be restrictions on some transactions. With non-custodial wallets, the users have full control over their private keys and security, but they do need to have technical knowledge.
Advantages and disadvantages of custodial wallets
Custodial wallets come with their pros and cons. Let’s take a moment to recapitulate them.
These wallets have several advantages. They are particularly handy when it comes to beginners or those with limited technical knowledge. That’s because the main advantage of these wallets is the ease of use. The fact that such wallets also offer customer support is a huge plus. Additionally, some custodial wallets may provide insurance or protection against losses.
These wallets have their share of disadvantages, too. The cons are mainly related to security and control over funds.
One of the most significant drawbacks is that users do not have control over their funds and may face restrictions with certain transactions. Additionally, the custodian holding the private keys can be hacked or go bankrupt. Should either of these happen, it would put user funds at risk. Another disadvantage is that custodial wallets need anonymity, as the custodian holds personal user information. In other words, security and privacy concerns make custodial wallets less desirable for some.
Advantages and disadvantages of non-custodial wallets
These wallets have several advantages as well as disadvantages. Let’s take a look at both in the section below.
Non-custodial wallets have several advantages. Most of them have primarily to do with security and control.
The main advantage is that the user has complete control and ownership of their funds. This reduces the risk of hacking or theft, as there are no third parties on the scene. Non-custodial wallets also offer greater privacy and anonymity. These advantages make such wallets popular with those who prioritize security over convenience.
Non-custodial wallets have several disadvantages, mainly related to complexity and user responsibility. They are often more complex than custodial wallets and require technical expertise. Additionally, if users lose or damage their private keys, they permanently lose access to their funds. Such wallets also do not offer the same customer support or insurance protection as custodial wallets.
Finally, non-custodial wallets tend to work out more expensive, as users have to pay transaction fees themselves.
In conclusion, custodial and non-custodial wallets offer distinct advantages. But they also come with their own disadvantages. The decisive factors behind the choice often are the user’s priorities and technical knowledge. Custodial wallets are often easier to use, but they come with security risks and limited control. Non-custodial wallets can mean better security, but they can be more complex and require more user responsibility.
What is the significance of non-custodial wallets?
Non-custodial wallets give you full control over your crypto assets. Unlike custodial wallets held by exchanges, you own your private keys. This enhances security and prevents reliance on third parties, aligning with the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies.
Are non-custodial wallets safer for storing crypto?
Yes, non-custodial wallets are generally safer for storing crypto. You have sole control over your private keys, reducing the risk of hacks or exchange failures. However, this also means you must handle your security, like safeguarding keys and backups.
Which wallet type is recommended for beginners?
For beginners, a user-friendly and secure option is a mobile or desktop non-custodial wallet with a good reputation, like Trust Wallet, Exodus, or Atomic Wallet. These offer ease of use while allowing you to control your private keys and learn about wallet management.
Do non-custodial wallets support all cryptocurrencies?
Non-custodial wallets support a wide range of cryptocurrencies, but not necessarily all of them. Popular non-custodial wallets often support major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and commonly traded altcoins. Always check the wallet’s supported assets before using it to ensure compatibility with the cryptocurrencies you plan to store.
Are custodial wallets safe?
Custodial wallets are sometimes considered safer than non-custodial wallets because they give the user greater control. However, they do have their share of risks. How safe they depend on the security measures the custodian takes.
What are the benefits of a custodial wallet?
There are many benefits of custodial wallets, but the main one is convenience because it takes the task of managing the private key of the user’s plate.
Are custodial wallets the same as hot wallets?
Custodial wallets are usually the same as hot wallets. That means they are connected to the internet and are thus more vulnerable to hacking.
Should I use a custodial or non-custodial wallet?
There is no universal answer that suits everyone. Your choice of wallet depends on whether you prefer to control or ease of use.
What is an example of a non-custodial wallet?
The Ledger Nano S is one example of a non-custodial wallet. It is a hardware wallet that allows users to store their private keys offline.