If you've been following my earlier articles you will be aware of this series, the goal of which is to do a quick summary tour of various blockchain wallet mobile applications. In case you are interested in the previous articles they can be found here:
This time, however, we've going to take a look around the Coinbase wallet.
If you recently took part in the COMP token Coinbase Earn then you may well already be aware of this wallet. However, it was actually during an earlier Coinbase Earn campaign, about DAI I believe, that this wallet popped up on my radar. While at first glance it may seem like an extension of the access to your normal custodial Coinbase account, however, you'd be wrong. In an effort to meet market demands for non-custodial wallets Coinbase came up with this product:
For all intent and purposes it is quite a straight forward wallet to use and really not bad for an entry level wallet (which I presume was Coinbase's aim). It supports most major coins (BTC forks) as well as ERC-20 tokens and other coins and purports to provide security and ease of use.
Let's see if they achieved their goals.
The main home screen is accessed from the wallet icon at the bottom left of the UI and contains the following features:
- 1.) Total balances and account name
- 2.) Individual savings and coin balances broken down
- 3.) Access to collectibles associated with your address
- 4.) Simple Send/Receive and QR code functionality
- 5.) Clicking 'Send' takes you to a simple keypad screen where you select the token of choice from your wallet at the bottom of the page before entering the amount and then moving onto addresses. Note that the coin filed auto populates so be careful to select the correct one
- 6.) Alternatively, when 'Receive' is clicked you'll be taken to a list of coins and the addresses associated with your wallet
- 7.) Going back to the main screen the 'Earning Interest' action takes you to a screen where you can see the breakdown of your current interest earning balances and the DeFi project with which it is associated
- 8.) Note that at the bottom of the page the Earn more button can be used to add more tokens to interest earning projects
- 9.) Having clicked 'Earn more' the next page shows you the currently available rates through Compound Finance
- 10.) Just click on a token and, if there isn't balance available, you'll be offered the opportunity to bring funds in from external sources.
Possibly the most underwhelming section of the app (especially by comparison with how good a job MetaMask did) clicking on the four blue squares at the bottom of the UI takes you to the built-in browser section for finding dApps:
- 1.) Not much to say about this, the homes screen is blank which is a bit of a missed trick if you ask me
- 2.) In terms of the functionality it operates just like a regular web browser from the address bar and bookmarks in the top right corner.
Moving onto the final main section of the app we have the settings:
- 1.) Settings are accessed through the cog icon on the bottom right of the UI
- 2.) The first section relates to your user profile/name, this is the name to which you can receive funds (rather than using the full wallet address)
- 3.) Clicking this takes you to another screen where you can set your privacy setting for the profile
- 4.) Next up there is the 'Recovery Phrase' (note that this must be backed up as this is all your keys in one). I've backed mine up despite the annoying yellow exclamation mark (it seems to want me to back it up on iCloud....thanks......but no thanks!)
- 5.) The 'App Lock' section allows you to set how easy you would like to make it to access your wallet and make transactions
- 6.) Finally, if you went through the COMP Earn you will be aware of this WalletLink section. This is where your main Coinbase account will be linked to your wallet to make transfers between them easy. Note that if you want to be off the grid with the wallet then this function is not advisable as you are linking personal details Coinbase has with your various wallet addresses.
- 7.) In the 'Advanced Setting' we have some really important features, the first of which is Active Wallet. A few months back someone on Reddit was panicking because they couldn't find their funds, as it turns out I suggested they go to this section and swap between wallet addresses. Low and behold they found the funds associated with another address. Remember you don't just get one address associated with your wallet.
- 8.) Another important feature is the 'Clear Pending Transactions'. This is akin to the MetaMask cancel transactions button that I talked about in an earlier article. If you have a stuck pending transaction this is the place to go to try and clear it out. Note though if this doesn't work you have have next to no other way of fixing it with the app. Instead you need to link your wallet address to another wallet (like MetaMask) and then submit a transaction with a higher gas value to bypass the congested transaction in the Coinbase wallet.
- 9.) Clicking 'Active Network' will open up the available networks for each coin, this feature is quite handy if you want to use this wallet for development on the various Testnets
- 10.) Going back to the main settings screen we have a few final items. Firstly, the version details and Legal blurb.
- 11.) Then the currency settings, how to reach out to support and finally the ability to sign out.
All in all I think this wallet achieves what it sets out to do. That is to say it is a straight forward entry level wallet without any frills. The interface is clean and the functionality is minimal. If you are an advanced user I'd argue this wallet probably isn't for you. Also if you're looking for interacting with dApps more readily I'd go for the MetaMask wallet, the browser on that is top notch. If you are looking for a general purpose multi-coin wallet there are probably better ones out there (e.g. TrustWallet). That said if you are looking to regularly use Coinbase for trading and want somewhere to store your assets in a non-custodial manner between trades then this one could well be of use to you. For traders in general though the lack of a built in DEX or buy/sell functionality with ChangeNow or Changelly is a bit of a barrier I think.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the article, good luck y'all!