There’s now a wide array of cryptocurrency wallets available, ranging from the most multifunctional to the most specialized. If you’re primarily interested in the Solana blockchain, you might want to consider using a wallet designed specifically for Solana. That’s where Phantom Wallet comes into play, created in 2021. In this Phantom Wallet review, we’ll introduce you to the important features of Phantom Wallet.
|Hot / Cold||Hot (online)|
|Custodial / Non-custodial||Non-custodial|
|Support||Web extension and mobile application|
|Supported Cryptos||Solana-compatible coins and tokens as well as Ethereum support|
|Built-in Features||Buying, trading, staking, DeFi services, hardware wallet compatibility|
|Fees||Possible fees for partner services|
|Available in French||No|
Phantom Wallet is a cryptocurrency wallet primarily used for storing, receiving, and sending cryptocurrencies, with a strong focus on the Solana network. In the future, the wallet is expected to become compatible with the Ethereum network (Ether and ERC20 tokens).
The Phantom wallet is a software-based hot wallet, and it’s also non-custodial, meaning the user retains control of their private keys.
For many, Phantom Wallet is to the Solana ecosystem what MetaMask is to the Ethereum network.
Behind the creation of Phantom Wallet are three founders: Brandon Millman, Chris Kalani, and Francesco Agosti. Their intention was to provide a user-friendly wallet suitable for both beginners and experienced users. Prior to this project, the team had worked for Ox, Matcha, Twitter, and Facebook.
The beta version of the wallet was launched in April 2021 and quickly gained tens of thousands of users.
In the summer, the startup initiated a Series A funding round, attracting $9 million in investments. The leading investor was A16z, the company founded by Netscape creators Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. Other notable participants included Garry Tan, Compound, dYdX, Audius, Lolli, and the Ethereum Foundation.
Let’s dive into the details of Phantom Wallet.
There is no such thing as a Phantom hardware wallet because as mentioned earlier, Phantom is a software wallet that requires an internet connection to work. Therefore, it falls under the category of “hot” wallets. In addition to software wallets, there are other types of hot wallets, such as exchange wallets (integrated with a cryptocurrency exchange) and web wallets (accessible online without prior installation).
Hot wallets are often appreciated for their user-friendliness, but their constant internet connection can introduce security vulnerabilities. It’s recommended not to store large sums of money in them.
On the other hand, you might have heard people talking about a Phantom cold wallet. “Cold” wallets that are typically offline, providing a higher level of security at the expense of ease of use.
Here’s another fundamental characteristic of any cryptocurrency wallet. When choosing a crypto wallet, you must decide whether you want it to be custodial or non-custodial. In other words, do you want to retain control of your private keys, or are you willing to entrust them to the wallet provider?
To clarify, a cryptocurrency wallet has two addresses: a public one (like your bank’s IBAN) and a private one, which is the key to accessing your crypto assets. A custodial wallet holds the private key, meaning you can’t independently manage your cryptos. To spend or move your cryptocurrencies, you’re obliged to go through the wallet provider.
Conversely, a non-custodial wallet like Phantom does not store your private key. As a result, you maintain control over your assets and are responsible for securely safeguarding your private key.
While some cryptocurrency wallets are general-purpose, others specialize in a particular cryptocurrency or blockchain. For example, Guarda Wallet supports around 400,000 assets, while Brave Wallet is limited to tokens compatible with the Ethereum blockchain. Phantom falls into the category of specialized wallets.
Phantom Wallet has been specifically designed for the Solana blockchain. Consequently, it can store all coins and tokens compatible with the Solana network, including (but not limited to):
Additionally, Phantom Wallet can accommodate NFTs built on the Solana blockchain.
However, an interesting development has now been made. Phantom wallet in now compatible with Ethereum and all ERC20 tokens. Once implemented, Phantom Wallet will be able to support thousands of new tokens.
As software, Phantom Wallet must be downloaded and installed on a device. The desktop version allows you to use the wallet on a laptop or desktop computer. Essentially, it’s a web browser extension, much like the popular MetaMask wallet. You can use Phantom Wallet with Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Brave.
You can also download the Phantom wallet app, the mobile version of Phantom, on the App Store and Google Play. At the time of writing this article, the wallet has good ratings on both platforms, with 4.4/5 on the App Store and 4.0/5 on Google Play. However, it’s worth noting that the mobile wallet may not include all the features of the desktop version. For instance, you can’t connect a hardware wallet to the mobile app.
Certainly, Phantom Wallet allows you to store your cryptocurrencies, but that’s not all. The wallet also includes integrated features for easy use of your assets.
Phantom Wallet facilitates the purchase of cryptocurrency by enabling you to do so directly from the wallet. You simply choose the desired crypto and the amount. You can use one of the following three options:
By using these options, you don’t need to use a third-party exchange. However, if you prefer, you can still buy cryptocurrencies on platforms like Binance and then transfer them to your Phantom Wallet.
Similarly, you can exchange your coins and tokens directly within the wallet. The wallet’s streamlined interface allows you to make swaps easily and quickly. Before confirming the exchange, Phantom provides an estimate of the fees you’ll incur.
This integrated exchange feature helps reduce the risk of errors. There’s no need to send your tokens to an exchange to trade them before bringing them back to your wallet.
Phantom Wallet also supports Solana staking. Staking involves entrusting your assets to validators who operate the Solana network, and you receive rewards in return. The exact reward rate is not clearly stated on the Phantom website.
Much like MetaMask, the Phantom Wallet extension allows you to interact with Solana applications. To use them, you simply need to connect your wallet. This gives you access to all decentralized applications (DApps) running on the Solana blockchain.
Lastly, it’s worth knowing that you can use Phantom Wallet in combination with a hardware wallet such as Ledger and Trezor. To do so, you only need to import your hardware wallet into Phantom Wallet.
Once both devices are paired, they can communicate seamlessly. For example, you can view your Ledger’s balance in your Phantom wallet and interact with Solana DApps using your Ledger.
Phantom Wallet is a free cryptocurrency wallet. Therefore, you won’t spend anything to download, install, and use the wallet.
However, Phantom charges fees for certain services performed through third parties. For instance, exchanges between certain cryptocurrencies incur a fee of 0.85%, as indicated on this page.
Of course, these fees are in addition to transaction fees charged by the Solana blockchain.
Interested in downloading Phantom? Here’s the link!
About the author
A writer from the north of England, I've been fascinated by all things cryptocurrency since the early days of Bitcoin. I've written countless articles in the crypto space over the years, contributing to various websites in the process. I'm always reading and forever following the trends and expanding my knowledge so that I always have more to share!