Where to Store Cardano (ADA) for Maximum Security

Have a bunch of Cardano (ADA) lying around that might be super valuable one day? Don’t trust your Cardano to someone else. Exchanges and other centralized entities have a terrible track record of keeping your money safe. Here’s where to store Cardano for maximum security. 🔐

Cardano Hardware Wallet (Most Secure, Less Convenient - Best for “HODLing”)

Want to know how to store Cardano in the safest way possible? Look no further than a hardware wallet.

Hardware wallets are incredibly secure because your private keys, which allow anyone with access to them to spend your ADA, physically cannot leave the device.

However, potential downsides include having to take out a physical device every time you want to make a transaction. Moreover, hardware wallets cost money ($169.99 for the Trezor Model T, $119.00 for the Ledger Nano X, and $59 for the lower-end Ledger Nano S.

Ledger and Trezor (the two most popular hardware wallets),

It makes more sense to invest in a hardware wallet if you mostly plan on HODLing and if you believe the value of your ADA will hit moon-like prices someday.

Cardano Wallet Ledger

If you want a Ledger ADA hardware wallet, you’ll of course need a Ledger but also know how to manage your Cardano using either Yoroi Wallet or AdaLite. If you want to get set up faster, AdaLite is a better option since it doesn’t require you to download anything (Yoroi works as a browser extension or mobile app).

Cardano Wallet Trezor

Next up is Trezor, which is similar to Ledger in that it doesn’t provide a native app for managing ADA. Instead, you’ll have to connect your Trezor Model T to AdaLite to manage your funds.

(Note there is no ADA support for the less expensive Trezor One!)

Also, don’t worry about connecting your hardware wallet to third-party services like Yoroi or AdaLite. Your private keys can’t leave your hardware wallet. In other words, neither Yoroi nor AdaLite can ever use your keys to steal your ADA.

In addition, hardware wallet transactions require you to confirm transactions on the hardware wallet’s screen before transactions go through, which provide an additional layer of security.

What confirming a transaction looks like on the Trezor Model T. Ledger wallets have a similar confirmation step so even if a suspicious transaction got pushed to your device, nothing would happen unless you confirmed it.

What AdaLite looks like after you connect your hardware wallet to it. Image credit: Vacuumlabs (AdaLite developer)

Cardano Mobile Wallet (Best for Small Amounts on the Go)

Cardano Wallet Android

Looking to access your Cardano on the go? Unfortunately, Cardano mobile wallet options are quite limited. For a Cardano-only experience, Yoroi is the only real option. While Emurgo, which acts as a Cardano business and ecosystem developer, developed Yoroi, it seems the Android version has been having issues as of late.

An alternative is the Exodus Cardano wallet. Aside from supporting ADA, Exodus mobile supports 55+ assets and has other features like the following:

  • Millions of downloads with one of the highest ratings in the Play Store
  • You control your private keys
  • Emphasis on design and ease of use with the team having done work for companies like Apple, BMW, and Louis Vuitton
  • Ability to exchange for other cryptos right from your wallet without having to create an account
  • Ability to sync Exodus desktop with mobile, allowing for easy access to funds across devices
  • 24/7, fast human support always available to answer questions
What the Exodus mobile app looks like when exchanging crypto assets.

Cardano Wallet IOS

As with Android, there are limited options for Cardano iOS wallets.

Yoroi is your best bet if you want a Cardano-only iOS wallet. Luckily, the Yoroi iOS wallet doesn’t seem to have as many issues as the Android one.

For a multi-asset wallet with additional features, Exodus iOS app could be worth considering.

Also, keep in mind that mobile wallets are best for smaller amounts since they aren’t as secure as hardware wallets, which keep private keys on the wallet by design.

Cardano Desktop Wallet (Mix Between Hardware and Mobile Wallet for Security/Convenience)

Daedalus (Official Cardano Desktop Wallet)

If you prefer to keep Cardano on desktop, there’s fortunately an official Cardano desktop wallet called Daedalus.

Not only is Daedalus an official Cardano wallet, but it also has plans to implement exciting features like:

  • Support for Bitcoin and Ethereum Classic
  • A blockchain application platform and app store to use with Dapps (decentralized applications)

Daedalus is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

However, there is one downside. Daedalus is a “full node” wallet, which means that you have to download the entire Cardano blockchain (record of transactions) to use it. This could take hours or days depending on your Internet speed. Not to mention you’ll need a lot of extra hard drive space to store the blockchain.

Moreover, if you’re just holding ADA and not using Daedalus frequently, you’ll have to download all the latest transactions whenever you open your wallet. This of course isn’t ideal if you need access to your funds fast and can’t wait hours or days.

Daedalus (Official Cardano Desktop Wallet)

If you use other assets besides Cardano and also don’t want to download the entire Cardano blockchain (takes longer to sync) but only the latest blocks or transaction information, Exodus ADA wallet is a good alternative.

Exodus Desktop features are similar to those of Exodus Mobile:

  • Millions of downloads with strong reviews
  • You control your private keys
  • Focus on design and ease of use
  • Ability to exchange cryptos in-app
  • Sync with mobile
  • Helpful support always available to help with any issues
  • Even more assets than Exodus Mobile (110+)
Exodus Desktop’s exchange screen

While most people’s desktops are probably more secure than their mobile device, which can get lost or fall into the wrong hands more easily than a device that mostly sits at home, desktop wallets are still prone to all the dangers of being connected to the Internet.

Hardware wallets, which keep private keys on the device and don’t have Internet capabilities are safer for big ADA holdings.

Cardano Web Wallet (Most Convenient, Least Secure)

Cardano web wallets like AdaLite are the most convenient way to store your Cardano. However, they are also the least secure unless you are pairing them with a hardware wallet like Trezor Model T or Ledger.

You can access a web wallet from any device without downloading anything or creating an account. This makes them quick and easy to use but the site that hosts the web wallet can get hacked, and a virus or hacker can steal your mnemonic as you type it in. (A mnemonic is a series of random words that acts as a login for your wallet).

For these reasons, web wallets are only recommended for small amounts.

Cardano Paper Wallet (Most Secure If You Can’t Afford Hardware Wallet, Least Convenient)

Paper wallets are another form of Cardano “cold storage” (not connected to the Internet) that act as an alternative to hardware wallets. The official Cardano desktop wallet Daedalus allows you to create an ADA paper wallet right from the app.

Daedalus makes it easy to create a paper wallet right from the official Cardano wallet itself.

Paper wallets, like hardware wallets, are more suited for long term HODLing but are even less convenient than hardware wallets.

This is because while hardware wallets allow you to make transactions by connecting your hardware wallet to a device, such as your computer, paper wallets cannot be used since they don’t do anything until the recovery phrase on them is imported into a wallet that can connect to the Cardano blockchain.

However, paper wallets are free to create. Thus, if you don’t have the money for a hardware wallet and/or know that you’re not going to use your ADA for a very long time, paper wallets could be a good option.

If you do decide to create a paper wallet using a Cardano paper wallet generator like Daedalus, be sure to make multiple copies, store the copies in safe locations, and try not to use the same paper wallet for multiple transactions unless you don’t care about keeping your financial activity private.

Where to Store Cardano: Summary

In sum, here’s what you need to know about where to store Cardano:

    • For a blend between high security and relative convenience, consider a hardware wallet like the Trezor or Ledger
    • For access to your ADA on the go, use a mobile wallet like Yoroi (ADA-only) or Exodus (multi-asset) for small amounts
    • For the app-like convenience of a mobile app but from your desktop, look at Cardano desktop wallets like Daedalus (official wallet, ADA-only, requires time and storage space to download the Cardano blockchain) and Exodus (multi-asset, only downloads the latest Cardano blocks – less time and less storage space needed)
    • For the most convenient but least secure wallet, use small amounts of ADA with a web wallet like AdaLite. Though you might as well go for a desktop or mobile wallet since you’d be accessing a web wallet with a desktop or mobile device anyway
    • You can use Daedalus to generate a free paper wallet that has similar security to a hardware wallet but with less convenience. Paper wallets are best if you don’t want to spend money on a hardware wallet and/or don’t plan on using your ADA for a long time

Phew! Thanks for sticking with us to the end if you got this far. While this might’ve been long-winded, blockchain security is of crucial importance since transactions are generally irreversible. After all, those ADA of yours might be very valuable one day!