DeFi mobile wallets vs browser plug-in wallets
Browser plug-in wallets and DeFi aggregator wallets, which is most optimized for the best user experience?
Originally, browser plug-in wallets for desktops such as MetaMask were the norm. They allowed for easy access and interaction with blockchain dApps. But in a booming era of mobile internet, the reach and market for these wallets are minimal since many internet users are on mobile devices. This gap led to the rise of DeFi mobile wallets such as Frontier, with an innovative approach to crypto wallet infrastructure. With the expansion of DeFi, the battle between cryptocurrency wallets rages on as different wallets strive to provide users with the best asset management tools and features. This article compares browser plug-in wallets and DeFi aggregator wallets to determine which is most optimized for the best user experience.
Wallets are probably the most critical infrastructural element in blockchain technology. It acts as the gateway for interacting with the blockchain and allows users to safely store and custody of their funds without relying on third-party institutions or intermediaries to hold and access their funds. Without wallets, users cannot access most crypto and DeFi services. Since the emergence of blockchain technology and blockchain-based solutions, there have been several improvements to blockchain wallet infrastructure from the early days of Bitcoin's Qt wallet and MyEtherWallet,, which provided a very clunky user interface and experience. Today, with DeFi, different categories of crypto wallets compete to provide better interfaces with a significantly better user experience.
A Look at browser plug-in wallets
With the hike in demand for in-browser wallets seeing platforms like MetaMask hit 420 million users in 2021, let's look at some in-browser wallets.
Launched in 2016, MetaMask is one of the leading crypto wallets and the main browser plug-in wallet for the Ethereum network. It allows users to store their Ethereum and other ERC-20 tokens on Ethereum and facilitate transactions on the blockchain network. Metamask serves as the main entry point into DeFi and allows users to access various dApps on the Ethereum network, such as Uniswap, Compound, Aave etc.
The popular crypto exchange launched its non-custodial browser plug-in wallet in May, enabling users to access DeFi applications and activities. The wallet shipped with support for Uniswap, Compound, Rarible, Aave, Synthetix, and mainstream applications such as Matcha, dYdX, Oasis, Instadapp, SushiSwap, Zora, ZapperFi, and OpenSea at the time of launch. Coinbase supports side chains and layer 2 networks such as Polygon and Optimism.
The multi-chain wallet, Coin98 emerged from the Vietnamese project Coin98. Coin98 wallet is a non-custodial wallet and acts as a DeFi gateway. The browser plug-in is supported on both Chrome and Firefox. It is supported on Ethereum, Binance and several other blockchain networks such as Solana, Polkadot, Kusama, Avalanche C-Chain, Huobi Eco-Chain, Near, TomoChain, Tron, Polygon, and Fantom.
Liquality wallet comes with a built-in atomic swap function. Liquality is a multi-chain wallet developed from an incubation program by MetaMask Square Ethernet technology research and development company ConsenSys hatch and has passed the ConsenSys Diligence audit. A critical feature of Liquality is its composability which makes it possible to access assets and DeFi protocols across multiple networks such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Rootstock, NEAR and Polygon. Its atomic swap technology allows for the rapid exchange of two encrypted currencies running on different blockchain networks.
This plug-in wallet was developed and released by the DeBank team and currently supports 7 blockchain networks, including Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), xDai, Polygon, Fantom, OKExChain, and Heco. Rabby wallet ships with features such as an automatic switching network, transaction risk and transaction scanning before and after the change in the balance of viewing capabilities. This helps enhance user experience and financial security. The wallet also has hardware wallet support and observation mode, enabling a user to access a wallet without importing the private keys.
XDEFI wallet was created from THORChain. It is a decentralized cross-chain plug-in wallet supported by browsers such as Chrome, Brave and Firefox. The wallet is still in its beta stages but has a very active community and users who help in the internal testing by completing multiple tasks. The wallet supports connecting hardware wallets such as Ledger. It is integrated into multiple blockchain networks such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Thorchain, and Polygon, with plans to support xDAI, Fantom, Terra, Near, Cosmos, Solana, Polkadot and Avalanche in the future.
Phantom is the native DeFi wallet for the Solana blockchain network. It allows users to store and manage their tokens on different decentralised protocols securely. Phantom is looking to add staking functions in the wallet, introduce the Solana-Ethereum bridge, and introduce support for Ethereum and Ethereum-based L2 and sidechains. The project is backed by major players in the DeFi ecosystem, such as A16z, Variant Fund, Jump Capital, DeFi Alliance and Solana Foundation.
Differences between mobile wallets and browser plug-ins
Accessibility and market exposure
Wallets generally are easy to set up. Both browser plug-in wallets and DeFi mobile wallets have made it seamlessly easy for users to install and set up their crypto wallets in just a few steps. However, because they are only used on a desktop, browser plug-in wallets are not easily accessible on the go, unlike DeFi mobile wallets, which a user can carry around and use whenever they want, regardless of where they are. You can simply download the Frontier mobile app, create or import existing wallets and seamlessly send, receive, track and perform various DeFi activities from a single interface. Frontier also aggregates DeFi services on multiple networks and allows users to access a larger DeFi ecosystem via a single dashboard. Frontier DeFi wallet supports all primary L1 and L2 networks with exposure to over 4000 tokens. Frontier also aggregates NFT assets across multiple blockchain networks, allowing users to track their NFT portfolio from a single dashboard easily. Browser plug-in wallets like MetaMask are relatively limited in their overall market exposure. They are mostly limited to one blockchain network, restrict users to just products and services native to its blockchain.
User interface and interoperability
DeFi wallets are less technical with better UI. Once you set up your wallet, Frontier shows and organises your tokens by networks automatically. Users need not plug in tokens on different networks before accessing them manually. On the other hand, Browser plug-in wallets don't have the best user-friendly interfaces and can get a bit technical. For example, users need to manually set up a custom RPC for tokens on different networks. Also, DeFi mobile wallets are inherently more interoperable than browser plug-in wallets because they ship with the integration of multiple blockchain networks, and therefore provide users with a higher degree of composability. Frontier is integrated with several networks such as Ethereum, Binance Chain, Avalanche, Tezos, Fantom, Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism, Solana, Aurora, Celo, Algorand, Kava, Harmony, Bluzelle, Zilliqa, Metis, TomoChain, Elrond etc. With Frontier, users can seamlessly bridge their tokens between L1 and L2s using various bridge protocols such as Hop, Across, Connext etc. Concerning cross-chain interoperability, the scale is tipped in favor of DeFi mobile wallets like Frontier, with more flexibility and faster integration.
Transaction signing and security
With DeFi wallets, a user would have to leave their current screen page to sign each transaction. This affects the speed at which transactions are carried out and also makes for a poor user experience. Browser plug-in wallets are relatively faster in signing and executing transactions. A user can easily sign a transaction with the wallet popping up at the right top corner of the screen without having to leave the current screen page. This makes transactions faster. In terms of security, non-custodial crypto wallets are generally highly secured. Without a user giving out their private keys, it is unlikely that the funds in their wallets can be compromised. But because browser plug-in wallets are an extension of users' web browsers. It is relatively easier for malicious actors to find their way into a user's wallet when they click on malicious links on the Internet. DeFi mobile wallets are also susceptible to this risk but not as common as browser plug-in wallets.
While there are differences, DeFi mobile wallets and browser plug-in wallets serve their purposes. A user might prefer browser plug-in wallets to mobile wallets for personal reasons. Most people use both wallets, depending on the situation. But as DeFi grows, the best wallets will be the ones that significantly reduce the barrier to entry, improve interoperability as well as give users access to a wide range of DeFi services across multiple chains. Frontier is a Crypto and DeFi, NFT wallet where you can send, store, stake and invests in 4,000+ crypto assets. Earn passive income on your crypto by staking or supplying assets in DeFi apps and exploring web 3.0 from a single place.