The Solana blockchain network has been one of the crypto industry’s biggest revelations of 2021. Following a dramatic spike in network congestion and transaction fees on the dominant Ethereum chain due to an avalanche of new traffic from decentralised finance (DeFi) and non-fungible token (NFT) projects, many developers and users jumped ship to other layer-1 networks which offer better scalability for smart contract-based applications at present.
Solana tops this list, boasting nearly 1,000 transactions per second at an average cost of only $0.00025. As a result, its native crypto asset SOL’s price has exploded in the last few months, rising from $20 to an all-time-high of over $200 in September 2021. Many analysts predict this price action to continue, therefore it has never been more important to find the right Solana wallet that not only offers premium security, but also easy access and convenience when interacting with the expanding new ecosystem of DeFi and NFTs projects on the chain.
What to look for in a Solana wallet
The best Solana wallet for you really depends on the type of investor you are. If you’re just starting out, then a wallet that’s both user-friendly and provides quick support is paramount since you’ll probably be needing some help in the beginning.
For more experienced investors, you should opt for the most secure option as you’ll likely have bigger funds to protect. You’ll probably also want a wallet that offers a wide array of features, especially for DeFi protocols and NFTs.
If you’re the latter user, it’s important that your wallet offers support for SPL tokens, which are essentially the equivalent of Ethereum’s ERC20 tokens and Binance Smart Chain’s BEP20 assets.
SPL stands for Solana Program Library, a group of on-chain programs that the Solana team manages and maintains. The SPL Token program serves as the official token standard of Solana’s blockchain and is custom-built for DeFi protocols and applications.
Hardware vs software Solana wallets
Before we dive into the top SOL wallets, let’s break down the 2 main categories for cryptocurrency storage: software and hardware.
A software wallet is a program that is compatible with general-purpose devices like computers and smartphones and usually connected to the Internet in some form. Unfortunately this online connectivity also makes them more vulnerable against security threats like phishing and ransomware.
A hardware wallet (or cold wallet), on the other hand, is a standalone offline device with its own software that provides better security thanks to enhanced measures such as a secure element and biometric verifications.
OK, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s jump in. Here are the best SOL wallets for all users, including those officially recommended by Solana.
Best for beginners: Phantom Wallet
Phantom Wallet is like MetaMask for Solana, and for some, even better.
If you’re new to DeFi and NFTs, or even if you’ve been interacting with them for a while on Ethereum but also want to try them out on SOL, then Phantom is the most recommended wallet as it natively supports all tokens built on the SPL standard.
Phantom offers the best of both worlds: a user-friendly interface with one of the easiest navigation panels among web3 wallets and advanced features including DeFi staking and native NFT viewing.
You can actually start staking in just 3 clicks.
It’s also integrated with a few hardware wallets such as Ledger and Safepal, which is crucial for elite security if you’re holding large bags.
As of September 2021, Phantom Wallet still doesn’t have mobile support.
Note that there are a few projects that don’t support Phantom yet since it is relatively new. In such cases, you can use Sollet, which is the first wallet that supports SPL tokens that came to market.
Best desktop wallet: Exodus
Exodus is originally a Bitcoin wallet that has grown to support nearly 150 different cryptocurrencies and features native wallet staking. It supports Windows, Linux and Mac, as well as mobile operating systems. Exodus enables SOL staking at 6.52% APY. As of now, it doesn’t support SPL-based NFTs, but that could change very soon considering the growth of the ecosystem.
While staking at the comfort of your own wallet is phenomenal, the 6% return per year is a bit lower than the industry standard of 9–10% for SOL today.
Best mobile wallet: Math Wallet
Math Wallet is a beast of a wallet application, even on mobile, supporting over 70 different blockchains including Solana, Ethereum and Polkadot. This means that all tokens that run on these chains can be stored in Math Wallet.
The Math DApp store gives you access to high-speed SPL-based DEXs Serum and Raydium, yield aggregators SolFarm and Sunny, as well as other platforms in the ecosystem.
On top of everything, MATH also boasts being a cross-chain assets platform that features a native token, its own staking service, a built-in assets exchange protocol and more. If you prefer to transact via mobile, Math Wallet appears to have no significant drawbacks.
Runner-up: Trust Wallet
If you’re not comfortable using a new wallet and prefer to use the very popular Trust Wallet on your phone (iOS/Android), then fear not, it will work just fine. Trust Wallet unveiled support for SPL tokens in February 2021 and is renowned for its reliable and easy-to-use services.
However, there are some drawbacks when it comes to its support of Solana. Trust Wallet doesn’t support stake accounts or staking operations and its security can be vulnerable to hacks (just like other software wallets). Anyone that unlocks your phone or tablet can directly access your Trust Wallet and steal your recovery seed to recreate your account on a different device and steal your assets. Therefore it’s recommended that you set a passcode, which you can add by opening the app and visiting Settings>Security>Passcode.
Best wallet for security: Ledger + Phantom
If your crypto holdings are significant in value, then security should be your top priority. Your best bet would be to get a hardware wallet, which might be pricey, but definitely worth every penny. Ledger gets our nod for a hardware wallet since it integrates well with Phantom, which is our best software wallet for SPL tokens.
With Ledger and Phantom, you get top-of-the-line wallet security combined with a friendly user interface and advanced features that allow you to participate in DeFi and NFT activities.
In terms of security, this tandem is the best we’ve got since other hardware wallets don’t support SPL tokens. Ledger Nano S and Nano X respectively retail for $59 and $119.
Runner-up: Ledger + Math Wallet
Math Wallet is also compatible with Ledger and this combo is highly recommended in case you prefer the former for its mobile support.
Best wallet on a budget: Phantom
If you’re on a tight budget, investing in a hardware wallet might not be worth the expense just yet. However, you will still need to use a relatively secure wallet not only to store your coins and NFTs, but also to participate in DeFi.
Phantom remains the top choice among users for all the reasons stated earlier, especially because it’s free and easy to use yet offers advanced features that every crypto user needs. Then again, some projects don’t support Phantom, but that is expected to change soon.
Best overall wallet: Ledger + Phantom
If you have a reasonable budget, the Ledger and Phantom tandem will serve you best as they allow you to stake SOL and access all SPL-based DApps in the ecosystem in the most secure manner.
Phantom will act as the front-end interface, which makes everything you do seamless while your private key remains in your Ledger wallet, protecting it from hackers.
For projects that don’t support Phantom, you could use Ledger and Sollet instead.
Tips for securing your Solana wallet
- Use a hardware wallet if you can afford one as it is a dedicated security device and allows you to generate your private key and recovery seed phrase completely offline and without leaving a digital copy on a phone or computer.
- Never share your private key or passphrase with anyone.
- Set biometric verifications, passcodes and 2FA where possible.
- Write down your seed phrase where possible and store it somewhere safe.
- Never use public Wi-Fi or any untrusted network to conduct cryptocurrency transactions.
- Ensure your device is consistently updated with the latest antivirus and firewall software.
- Don’t click any malicious-looking ads or email attachments to avoid being phished.