12 best non-custodial wallets
Compare some of the best non-custodial crypto wallets for secure self-custody of your digital assets.
When you leave the crypto you've purchased in the custody of a centralised exchange like Coinbase or Binance, you don't technically own the crypto. You only own an IOU for it, and that IOU is only as good as the solvency of the exchange that holds it for you.
To actually take ownership of the digital assets you've purchased, you have to move the private keys for them from the custody of the exchange to a non-custodial wallet.
Finder's best non-custodial wallets in the UK for 2023
- Ledger Nano X – Best non-custodial wallet overall
- Ledger Nano S Plus – Best value non-custodial wallet
- Exodus – Best non-custodial wallet for beginners
- Trezor Model T – Best advanced non-custodial wallet
- Ledger wallets – Best non-custodial wallets for staking
- Atomic Wallet – Best non-custodial desktop wallet
- Trust Wallet – Best non-custodial mobile wallet
- Coinbase Wallet – Best non-custodial exchange wallet
- MetaMask – Best non-custodial Web3 wallet
- COLDCARD Mk4 – Best non-custodial wallet for Bitcoin
- Trezor Model One – The original non-custodial wallet
- XDEFI Wallet – Best non-custodial wallet for NFTs
- Billfodl – Bonus: Best recovery phrase back-up device
Each year, we conduct an extensive review of the best non-custodial wallets available in the UK. To arrive at our picks, we review the best non-custodial wallets on the market for overall safety, functionality, cost and supported digital assets – including coins, tokens and NFTs. The safest non-custodial wallets are hardware wallets, but we've included a range of options to help you weigh up which is best for your needs.
1. Ledger Nano X – Best non-custodial wallet overall
Ledger Nano X Wallet
The Ledger Nano X is a top-tier USB-style hardware wallet from Ledger, a company that has produced industry-leading security for self-custody of digital assets since 2014.
It was our pick for the best overall non-custodial wallet because it allows you to securely store the keys to over 5,500 crypto assets and NFTs and put your assets to work through staking – all while on the go.
Unlike Ledger's cheaper Nano S Plus model, the Nano X has Bluetooth functionality and is compatible with both Android and iPhone for maximum portability.
Of the self-custody wallets we compared, no other device provided this level of security alongside such a broad range of features.
- Manage over 5,500 crypto assets
- Run up to 100 blockchain apps simultaneously
- Highly secure - no Ledger device has ever been hacked
- Can be synced with third-party wallets like MetaMask to use with DeFi apps
- Android and iOS compatibility
- Bluetooth functionality
- Pricier than alternatives
- Can't stake many cryptos via Ledger Live - need to use third-party apps for maximum coverage
2. Ledger Nano S Plus – Best value non-custodial wallet
Ledger Nano S Plus Wallet
The Ledger Nano S Plus is our top contender for value because it offers the same high level of security and most of the same features as the Ledger Nano X – but at nearly half the price.
The Nano S Plus also supports cold storage for 5,500 crypto coins, tokens and NFTs, as well as staking and crypto exchange features through Ledger Live.
If you're content with safe offline storage of your private keys and don't need such on-hand access to your assets – there's no Bluetooth functionality in the Nano S Plus – then this hardware wallet will likely tick a lot of boxes.
The Ledger Nano S Plus strikes such a good balance between security, coin support, features and relative affordability that we were hard pressed to find a better value option on the market.
- Manage over 5,500 crypto assets
- Run up to 100 blockchain apps simultaneously
- Highly secure - no Ledger device has ever been hacked
- Can be synced with third-party software like MetaMask
- Can't stake many cryptos via Ledger Live
- Not compatible with iOS
- No Bluetooth functionality
3. Exodus – Best non-custodial wallet for beginners
Exodus Wallet is a software wallet for desktop and mobile that provides access to a wide range of cryptocurrencies. While many wallets only let you manage coins on a single network, Exodus supports assets on blockchains including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana. This all-in-one functionality makes it our top wallet pick for beginners.
The wallet has added features like a portfolio overview that help you to oversee your holdings. And if you'd like to top up your portfolio, you can use the wallet's built-in exchange to swap your digital assets.
You can also stake cryptos like Algorand (ALGO) and Cosmos (ATOM) through Exodus.
For added security, you can store the keys to your assets on a Trezor hardware wallet, making it easy to upgrade from one to the other if you decide to go pro.
One of Exodus's most beginner-friendly features is its highly-responsive support staff. If you email them for support, you can expect to hear back within an hour.
- Easy-to-use interface
- Supports tokens and coins from a variety of blockchains
- Can be used as an interface for Trezor hardware wallets
- Great customer support
- Less secure than a hardware wallet
- Doesn't support 2-factor authentication
4. Trezor Model T — Best advanced non-custodial wallet
Trezor Model T Wallet
The Trezor Model T gets our pick for best non-custodial wallet for experienced users because it offers a suite of advanced features that will really appeal to pros.
One of those features is the wallet's multisignature — or multisig — capabilities. Multisig provides an added layer of protection for Bitcoin, as multiple stakeholders must sign off on any transactions.
The Trezor Model T also supports Taproot — an upgrade to the privacy of the Bitcoin network. It also reduces transaction fees and allows users to engage with BTC smart contracts.
If anonymity is important to you, you can anonymise your transactions via the Tor network using the Trezor Suite interface.
You can also uti the novel Shamir backup system with your Model T. The Shamir backup distributes your recovery phrase across multiple recovery shares, which can be stored in different locations for added security.
- Features a large touchscreen
- Offline storage for 1,400 assets
- Multisig protection for your Bitcoin
- Offers transaction anonymity
- Can be synced with third-party apps for DeFi
- Can sync with Exodus Wallet for improved usability
- One of the more expensive hardware wallets
- Small number of blockchains supported
- No native staking in Trezor Suite
5. Ledger wallets — Best non-custodial wallet(s) for staking
We chose Ledger's range as the best non-custodial wallets for staking because the Ledger Stax, the Nano X, Nano S Plus and even the retired Nano S can be used to stake a wide variety of crypto assets.
You can use the native Ledger Live interface with any Ledger hardware wallet to stake a limited range of 12 different cryptos — including Ether (ETH), Polygon (MATIC) and Solana (SOL).
To stake an even greater assortment of digital assets, you can sync your Ledger hardware wallet with third-party apps like MetaMask or Yoroi and use these software wallets as a bridge to staking interfaces — all while safely storing the private keys to your assets offline.
- Stake up to 12 cryptos via Ledger Live
- Easily synced with third-party software to stake a wider variety of assets
- Keeps the private keys to assets stored offline while staking
- Staking certain assets via Ledger Live can be a bit complex
- Syncing your Ledger wallet with third-party software can be complicated at first
6. Atomic Wallet – Best non-custodial desktop wallet
Atomic Wallet is our pick for best non-custodial desktop wallet thanks to its support for over 500 crypto coins and tokens across more than 50 blockchains in a single app – and it's available on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Its easy-to-use interface makes it a popular choice for beginners and pros alike.
The wallet was launched in 2017 by Konstantin Gladych, CEO of Changelly. Changelly is a decentralised crypto exchange built into Atomic Wallet, allowing you to swap cryptos or purchase them with a credit or debit card.
You can stake 10+ digital assets including Cardano (ADA), Cosmos (ATOM) and Tezos (XTZ), and the wallet features an NFT gallery for the Solana blockchain.
If you run into any problems while using Atomic Wallet, you can reach out to its 24/7 customer support team.
- Easy-to-navigate interface
- Built-in decentralise exchange
- Supports staking for various cryptos
- Responsive customer support staff
- Only supports NFTs on Solana
- The in-built exchange charges a high fee and the minimum spend can be high for certain coins
7. Trust Wallet – Best non-custodial mobile wallet
Trust Wallet supports coins and tokens from 65 different blockchains. This saves you the hassle of downloading multiple wallet apps and makes it our standout pick for the best non-custodial mobile wallet.
Trust Wallet lets you quickly import popular coins and tokens, view charts and pricing information and receive notifications directly to your mobile device.
If you want to view cryptos that aren't listed by default, Trust Wallet also lets you import custom tokens. You'll need to be careful to verify contract addresses when doing this, as anyone can create fake versions of existing cryptos.
You can also connect to dApps and DEXs that support the Wallet Connect extension. As an added convenience, you can also purchase cryptos with fiat through third-party providers like Moonpay and stake assets directly from your Trust Wallet.
- Built-in decentralised exchange
- Stake cryptos directly from your wallet
- Purchase cryptos with credit and debit card
- Supports Bitcoin transfers
- NFT support
- Built-in DEX only supports BSC assets
- NFTs only supported on Ethereum and BSC
- Withdrawals to bank accounts not available from wallet
- No browser extension
8. Coinbase Wallet – Best non-custodial exchange wallet
The Coinbase Wallet doesn't require a Coinbase account to use it but verified account holders can connect directly to Coinbase's exchange to buy crypto. This seamless integration makes it our pick for the best non-custodial exchange wallet.
The Coinbase Wallet can be downloaded as a mobile app or browser extension and features an easy-to-navigate UI consistent with the Coinbase exchange. The wallet is automatically configured to support many blockchains, including all EVM-compatible chains, Solana, Fantom Opera and more.
Security on the Coinbase wallet is consistent with the industry standard for non-custodial wallets, which means it does come with some counterparty risk. If convenience and easy access to your funds on Coinbase is important to you, then this exchange wallet has a lot to offer.
- Sync directly to Coinbase exchange
- Mobile app and browser extension
- Preconfigured blockchains
- Purchase with selected fiats in-wallet
- Coinbase company backing
- Fee for coin swaps in the wallet
- No DEX in the wallet, you must connect to an external exchange
9. MetaMask – Best non-custodial Web3 wallet
With over 30 million monthly active users at the time of writing, MetaMask is a crowd favourite and considered the go to for Web3 apps, making it an easy choice for best non-custodial Web3 wallet.
MetaMask was one of the first non-custodial wallets to help open the door to the world of Web3 and DeFi. Operating on both desktop and mobile devices, MetaMask lets you connect to dApps, store NFTs and digital assets and trade cryptos across several different blockchains.
A key feature behind the popularity of MetaMask's Web3 wallet is the ability to buy and sell cryptos without providing any personal information. To start trading on DeFi exchanges you simply install the app or browser extension and log in using your private seed phrase.
Your MetaMask seed phrase acts as a password, login and proof of ownership all in one. Your information is not stored on any database and asset ownership is entirely in your hands; an important element of decentralisation.
- Easy to set up and install
- No personal identification required
- Supports multiple blockchains, including testnets for dApp development
- Supports NFTs on multiple blockchains
- No native Bitcoin support
- Incorrect storage of private keys can result in hacks and lost funds
- Limited technical support
10. COLDCARD Mk4 — Best non-custodial wallet for Bitcoin
As a specialist Bitcoin cold storage wallet, the COLDCARD Mk4 doesn't have as many of the features of Ledger or Trezor devices, but it does keep the private keys to your BTC stored securely offline.
The COLDCARD Mk4 was created by cypherpunks — technologists who advocate for privacy-enhancing cryptography — for Bitcoin maximalists.
Like Ledger hardware wallets, the COLDCARD Mk4 uses a Secure Element chip — the same type of chip found in passports and credit cards — to protect the private keys to your Bitcoin.
Using the Sparrow Wallet desktop software and a microSD card, you can send Bitcoin to and from your COLDCARD Mk4 without ever plugging the device in. The obvious downside to this is that you'll have to purchase a microSD card adapter for your computer if you plan to transfer data this way.
- Highly secure
- Contains 2 Secure Element chips
- Doesn't require a connection to computer
- Features a high-contrast 128 x 64 pixel screen for messaging
- Multisig enabled
- Only supports BTC
- The user interface for Sparrow Wallet is less intuitive than competitor alternatives
- You will have to purchase a microSD card adapter for your computer if you prefer to transfer data via the card
11. Trezor Model One — The original non-custodial wallet
Trezor Model One Wallet
We wanted to give a shoutout to the Trezor Model One — the original non-custodial hardware wallet — because Trezor has been pioneering the way for offline private key storage since 2012.
The Trezor Model One was released only months after the infamous Mt. Gox crypto exchange hack in February 2014.
Many investors had just learned the hard way that if you don't hold the private keys to your digital assets, they aren't technically yours. The Trezor Model One was a first-of-its-kind way to guarantee self-custody through this era, and it's kept a commendable track record ever since.
So, while the Trezor Model One might not have the highest functionality of all the hardware wallets on the market today, it remains a dependable option at an affordable price point.
- Supports over 1,000 crypto assets
- Easy-to-use native Trezor Suite interface for your computer
- Moderate price point
- Not compatible with iOS
- Small number of blockchains supported
- No native staking support via Trezor Suite
12. XDEFI Wallet – Best non-custodial wallet for NFTs
XDEFI is a blockchain-agnostic wallet that lets you showcase NFTs from more than 15 different blockchains side-by-side. It's this breadth that's made it our top pick if you're looking for a dedicated non-custodial NFT wallet.
The wallet's streamlined, cross-chain UI makes sending, receiving and trading NFTs and cryptos across blockchains simple and user-friendly.
Once the browser extension is installed, accounts can be set up directly in XDEFI or imported from external wallets. Preconfigured blockchains include ETH, BSC, Arbitrum, Thorchain, Bitcoin and more.
XDEFI also gives you the ability to complete in-wallet swaps and purchase cryptos using any currency through its fiat onramp.
Holders of the wallet's own token, XDEFI, can stake their holdings to earn trading rebates and collect utility NFTs.
- View NFTs and assets across different blockchains in a single gallery
- Easily import custom tokens
- Earn rewards through staking XDEFI token
- Value of staking incentives depends on performance of the XDEFI token
- Sell-to-fiat feature not currently supported
- Browser extension only, mobile app not available
Bonus: Billfodl — Best recovery phrase backup device
We chose to give Billfoldl an honourable mention as the best recovery phrase backup device because it helps protect your chosen hardware wallet's recovery phrase from fire, flooding and any type of decay.
Most hardware wallets will prompt you to write down your recovery phrase on a sheet of paper when you set up your wallet. But if your recovery phrase sheet gets damaged or lost, you can lose access to your crypto – permanently.
Billfodl is a solid steel case that allows you to stamp your 24-word recovery phrase using metal tiles engraved with letters.
The tiles slide into three different rows on both sides of the device, and the device comes with a cover that swivels over your recovery phrase once you've properly arranged the tiles.
It's worth considering the added layer of security and peace of mind afforded by recovery phrase backup devices like Billfodl if you invest in a hardware wallet.
- Preserves your recovery phrase much better than paper and pen solutions
- Reasonably priced
- Slightly bulky design
- Sliding tiles into place can be a clumsy experience
What is a non-custodial wallet?
A non-custodial wallet is a crypto wallet that you use to store the private keys to the digital assets that you own.
A common misconception about non-custodial wallets is that your digital assets are stored in the wallet. This isn't the case, though. The wallet stores your private keys to your digital assets, which are stored on blockchains.
You'll know you are using a non-custodial wallet if you've written down a 12- to 24-word seed phrase – sometimes called a recovery phrase – for the wallet when you set it up.
This seed phrase is what you would use to recover your wallet in the event that you ever lost the physical device and needed to recover the private keys stored in the wallet.
Other non-custodial wallets are hardware wallets, which remain mostly disconnected from the internet. These wallets include Ledger, Trezor and COLDCARD devices. You only connect them when you need to use the wallet.
The offline storage of private keys that hardware wallets provide is sometimes called cold storage.
🔑 What is a private key?
A private key is sometimes referred to as a secret key.
Private keys are long, randomly generated strings of letters and numbers that cannot easily be guessed. They can be used to access cryptographically encoded information when paired with a public key counterpart.
Private keys should be stored securely in secret locations.
Custodial vs. non-custodial wallets
The following are some differences between custodial and non-custodial wallets.
|Custodial wallets||Non-custodial wallets|
How do I know if I'm using a non-custodial wallet?
You'll know that you are using a non-custodial wallet if you've written down a 12- to 24-word seed phrase – or recovery phrase – when setting up the wallet.
If you weren't prompted to write down such a phrase, then you are using a custodial wallet and the private keys to your digital assets aren't in your control.
Non-custodial wallet pros and cons
- Having actual ownership of your digital assets
- Not relying on the solvency of a third-party custodian (e.g. a centralised crypto exchange)
- Being able to use your digital assets in decentralised applications (dapps)
- You bear full personal responsibility for managing the private keys to your digital assets
- There may be an initial cost to you if you decide to purchase a hardware wallet
How to choose the best non-custodial wallet
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the best non-custodial wallet for your needs.
- Software vs hardware. Custodial software wallets are always connected to the internet and are therefore less secure. Non-custodial hardware wallets remain mostly disconnected from the internet and are therefore more secure.
- Price. Non-custodial software wallets are often free to download, while you have to purchase a non-custodial hardware wallet.
- Features. Consider whether you want to do more than just hold the private keys to your digital assets in your own custody. Some non-custodial wallets allow you to stake your digital assets or put them to work through dapps.
- User interface (UI). You might want to test a few non-custodial wallets out or watch some YouTube videos on them before deciding on which has the UI that's right for you.
Risks of using a non-custodial wallet
Consider the following risks in using a non-custodial wallet:
- Personal responsibility. You bear the responsibility of writing down and securely storing your 12- to 24-word seed phrase.
- Sending assets to the wrong address. You run the risk of potentially transferring your assets to the wrong address when trying to send them.
- Inputting wrong passcode. It's possible to get locked out of a hardware wallet if you enter the wrong passcode for it enough times. In this case, you'd have to purchase a new hardware wallet and regain access to the private keys for your digital assets by using your 12- to 24-word seed phrase when setting up the new wallet.
If you choose to take personal responsibility for the private keys to the digital assets you've purchased, you'll need to learn how to use a non-custodial wallet.
Taking self-custody of the private keys to your digital assets can be an empowering experience, but it's important to do your research to choose the non-custodial wallet that's best for you.
You'll need to consider a number of factors like whether you'd like to use a software or hardware wallet as well as which features you'd like your non-custodial wallet to have.
By building a deeper understanding of secure digital asset storage and comparing a number of the best crypto wallets on the market, you'll be in a better position to keep your crypto investments safe.
To evaluate our 2023 picks for the best non-custodial wallets, we compared wallets on a range of criteria, including the following:
- Supported cryptos and blockchains. Is the wallet compatible with a wide variety of coins, tokens and blockchains?
- User experience. Is there a steep learning curve to using the wallet, or is it suitable for beginner crypto investors?
- Security. Does the wallet offer offline cold storage or other seed-phrase back-up options?
- Value for money. Does the wallet have any upfront or ongoing costs, and if so, how does it compare to similar wallets on the market?
- Extra features. Does the wallet offer other features like NFT support, staking and in-wallet buying features?
- Mobile functionality. Can you manage your portfolio on the go through a smartphone or other device?
- Web3 accessibility. Does the wallet support access to Web3 and decentralised applications (dapps)?
Can a non-custodial wallet be hacked?
Yes, non-custodial wallets can be hacked.
Software wallets are susceptible to common attacks such as phishing scams like any other internet-connected service.
No user's hardware wallet has ever been successfully hacked, but research has proven that there have been hackable flaws in the designs of some earlier iterations of hardware wallets.
What is the safest non-custodial wallet?
The safest non-custodial wallets tend to be crypto hardware wallets, as they remain mostly disconnected from the internet.
Is Coinbase a non-custodial wallet?
Coinbase offers both custodial and non-custodial wallets to its customers.
The exchange's custodial wallet is the wallet that the exchange provides to you automatically when you purchase digital assets via the Coinbase exchange.
Coinbase's non-custodial wallet is a browser extension product called Coinbase Wallet.
Unlike when you use its exchange service, Coinbase Wallet will prompt you to write down a 12- to 24-word seed phrase.
Cryptocurrencies are speculative and investing in them involves significant risks - they're highly volatile, vulnerable to hacking and sensitive to secondary activity. The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content shouldn't be interpreted as a recommendation to invest. Before you invest, you should get advice and decide whether the potential return outweighs the risks. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.
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