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MetaMask vs. Coinbase Wallet: A Comparison and Analysis

15 mins
Updated by Ryan Glenn
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Crypto investors must use a secure, user-friendly wallet to manage their digital asset investments. Two of the most popular web3 wallets are MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet. This MetaMask vs. Coinbase Wallet comparison offers a comprehensive analysis of both, focusing on their features, security, and ease of use. We aim to provide clarity and valuable insight, ensuring you can select the wallet that best suits your needs.

Our methodology for choosing the best crypto wallet

What is Coinbase Wallet?

The Coinbase Wallet is a non-custodial wallet that’s the product of Coinbase Global Inc. From its self-custody nature, it allows you complete control of your funds. It also acts as a gateway to DApp and supports various digital assets. The wallet also integrates with the Coinbase Exchange. 

Type
Mobile/ browser extension
Supported coins
Ethereum, Solana, and all EVM-compatible networks
Custody
Self-custody

Features

Like its competitor, the Coinbase Wallet is self-custodial. So, it gives you charge of your private keys and crypto assets. Additionally, it connects directly to the Coinbase exchange, streamlining cryptocurrency transactions.

The wallet offers a wide variety of crypto assets. These include the majors like Bitcoin and Ether, besides popular DeFi tokens and NFTs. It is, therefore, a more versatile option for crypto enthusiasts.

Again, it directly supports DApps, thus facilitating users’ participation in the DeFi and NFT markets. It also provides for cross-platform access. You can use it as a browser extension or a mobile app on Android and iOS devices. Thus, it lets you access your crypto holdings anytime, anywhere.

Pros and cons of Coinbase Wallet

The Coinbase Wallet has many positive features. But it also has its negative one. Here’s a sample of both.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface: Its clean and intuitive design enables easy navigation
  • NFT support: It has an inbuilt NFT gallery for easy collection management
  • DApp integration: The wallet has a DApp browser that facilitates easy interaction with these applications
  • Diverse tokens: The platform offers users various coins and tokens for their trading needs
  • Fiat integration: The wallet facilitates the seamless trading of fiat currencies for crypto and vice versa, eliminating the need for an external exchange
  • Hardware wallet compatibility: It supports linking Ledger hardware wallets, facilitating users to move their crypto assets from the hot wallet to more secure cold wallets

Cons

  • It’s a hot wallet: Storing users’ funds online exposes them to cyber attacks
  • It’s closed-source: Users cannot audit its code for security and functionality
  • DApp limitation: Though it supports DApp, it is lower than other open-source wallets

Similarities

Despite their differences, the MetaMask and Coinbase Wallets have several common features, such as:

  • Both are non-custodial hot wallets
  • They are blockchain wallets that support DApp
  • You can integrate hardware wallets on both platforms
  • They support NFTs
  • The duo uses cryptography to secure user funds

What is MetaMask?

MetaMask security features, MetaMask

MetaMask is a leading Ethereum-centric cryptocurrency wallet. The software is a product of ConsenSys Software Inc. and comes as either a browser extension or a mobile app. Its intuitive and user-friendly design enables users to access the web3, DeFi, and NFT ecosystems quickly.

Features

For starters, MetaMask is a non-custodial wallet. As such, it provides users with total control over their funds. The wallet also supports multiple networks because you can configure it to connect to many EVM-based blockchain platforms.

Further, the wallet has a built-in decentralized crypto exchange, thus supporting token swapping. This feature is a plus for users looking for the convenience of an interoperable wallet.

The wallet is also web3-ready. It seamlessly connects to DApps running on the Ethereum network. This connection makes MetaMask a go-to wallet for many investors searching for web3 experiences like DeFi and NFTs.

Pros and cons of MetaMask

As is the case with every cryptocurrency wallet, MetaMask has its advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a sneak peek of both.

Pros

  • Self-custodial: With MetaMask, you hold your private keys, giving you total control over your funds.
  • Seamless Ethereum integration: Through the wallet, you can connect readily with the Ethereum blockchain and its vast DApp ecosystem.
  • NFT support: It has an inbuilt NFT gallery for easy collection management.
  • DApp integration: The wallet has a DApp browser that facilitates easy interaction with these applications.
  • Enhanced security and privacy: Its non-custodial nature minimizes your attack exposure compared to custodial wallets.
  • User-friendly interface and flexibility: MetaMask’s intuitive layout and clear guidance make it an easy tool for beginners and experienced crypto users.
  • Hardware wallet compatibility: It supports linking hardware wallets, facilitating users to move their crypto assets from the hot wallet to more secure cold ones.

Cons

  • It’s a hot wallet: Users can permanently lose their private keys and funds. They are also easy targets for phishing and hacking attacks.
  • Lacks direct fiat on-ramps: The wallet doesn’t support third-party payment solutions. That forces you to buy crypto elsewhere before transferring it to the wallet. Equally, it doesn’t support the direct conversion of crypto assets to fiat.
  • High gas fees: Ethereum transactions attract high gas fees, especially during peak periods. These can significantly disadvantage users making regular small transactions.

MetaMask vs Coinbase Wallet: Ultimate comparison

In this section, we deeply dive into the two wallets, comparing the most significant features, including their ease of use, security, and more.

Beginner friendliness

An intuitive user interface is one of the features to look for when choosing a cryptocurrency wallet. MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet are straightforward, making them excellent choices for beginners and advanced users. 

Setting up your MetaMask or Coinbase Wallet is quite simple. None of the wallets require KYC checks, so you can use your wallet immediately to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Although both wallets have easy-to-use interfaces, the Coinbase Wallet offers a more seamless user experience for beginners, as it includes intuitive navigation features. 

Since both MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet are hot wallets, you can access your funds anytime and anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. 

Purpose and functionality

crypto wallet privacy security web3 person hand phone

Both wallets are similar because their primary purpose is securing custody and managing diverse crypto assets.
That said, they cater to different needs and have contrasting functionalities. The difference between MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet is that the primary focus is the Ethereum ecosystem and EVM-compatible chains. At the same time, the latter supports a wider range of blockchains, including Bitcoin.

Supported cryptocurrencies

The MetaMask wallet was built with an Ethereum focus. As such, the wallet supports ETH, ERC-20 tokens, and EVM chain tokens. You can easily add any of the supported chains to the wallet to send or receive any of the layer-1 tokens and those built on top of them. 

Coinbase, on the other hand, supports a broader variety of tokens. Besides all the coins and tokens MetaMask supports, you can also use Coinbase with other networks, including Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Solana, and Litecoin. The wallet also supports all other assets built on those blockchain networks, including NFTs. 

When comparing MetaMask vs. Coinbase in terms of supported cryptocurrencies, Coinbase takes the lead and is an excellent option for anyone looking to invest in more than just digital assets on Ethereum and EVM-compatible chains.

Security and control

security web3 cryptocurrency computer

Coinbase Wallet and MetaMask are non-custodial wallets, and users have control over their keys. This is a vital feature as it means that users can control their crypto assets without relying on any third party. A common phrase among crypto investors is, ‘Not Your Keys, Not Your Coins.’

Both platforms offer seed phrases for wallet backup and recovery should you lose access to your wallet. You can use the seed phrase to regain access to your funds. Coinbase further offers an optional cloud backup while using the mobile app. 

However, it’s worth noting that MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet are both hot wallets, which means they are always connected to the internet. This feature, while convenient, makes the wallets vulnerable to hackers and phishing scams

Decentralization

Decentralization is a crucial element of the crypto world, and both wallets have upheld this critical feature. Thanks to their self-custodial nature, they present themselves as the gateways to the decentralized web. This approach empowers users to take charge of their financial lives through blockchain-based apps.

The two wallets, however, differ in the nature of their source codes. MetaMask is open-sourced and, therefore, allows independent audits of its software. On the contrary, the Coinbase Wallet is closed-sourced, and users cannot query its code.

Standout features

Among MetaMask’s standout features is that it is non-custodial, so you have control of your private keys. That, in turn, gives you total control over your funds. It is also open source, which allows the public to audit its code, enhancing its transparency and security.

Furthermore, MetaMask integrates deeply with Ethereum and the broader EVM-powered Web3 ecosystem. That enables its users to enjoy a seamless experience with decentralized applications (DApps) and NFts, while its inbuilt token-swapping mechanism simplifies DeFi token exchange without needing to connect to a decentralized exchange.

On the other hand, the Coinbase Wallet blends seamlessly with the Coinbase Exchange. As such, users can trade crypto directly from their wallets. It also supports many cryptocurrencies, giving users unmatched trading options.

Both wallets have a native DApp browser, allowing users to access these tools directly.

Mobile apps

Both wallets have mobile apps that users can download for their Android and iOS devices. These are readily available from the respective stores and very easy to install.

MetaMask started as a browser extension and later introduced a mobile app for users. On the other hand, Coinbase first introduced the mobile app before adding a browser extension to its desktop app as another of the platform’s features. 

Customer support

Customer care is a critical component of any crypto app, and both wallets have upheld this. Users of both platforms can tap into their extensive FAQs and self-help materials. They also have dedicated customer lines where you can call for help to resolve any issues.  

Both MetaMask and Coinbase have provided chat options and email support, which you can use if you can’t reach a customer executive on the phone. Moreover, both have an active social media presence on X, where users can engage them.

MetaMask vs Coinbase Wallet: Staking

There are many other ways to interact with the crypto world besides buying and selling cryptocurrencies. Staking is one of the popular ways of earning investment income in crypto.

You can use any of the two crypto wallets to lock up your crypto for certain periods to receive staking rewards. However, Coinbase Wallet’s staking feature is arguably more beginner-friendly.

Staking on Coinbase

Crypto exchange & lending platform
Earn up to
10% APY
Stakable assets
15+
Funding methods
Crypto, wire transfer, debit card

MetaMask vs Coinbase Wallet: Gas fees

When you initiate a cryptocurrency transaction, your fee is typically determined by the transaction size measured in bytes. It’s commonly referred to as a gas fee. The faster your transactions, the higher the gas fee.

MetaMask vs Coinbase Wallet: Other features

This crypto wallet comparison wouldn’t be complete without considering their extra features.

NFT support

Both wallets offer NFT support. You can collect, trade, and even share your digital collectibles with them. However, it is worth noting that with MetaMask, you can only trade NFTs using the mobile app and not the browser extension. 

Hardware wallet integration

While both platforms allow you to connect your preferred hardware wallet, MetaMask is more versatile. Besides Ledger and Trezor, you can integrate Keystone, Lattice, and AirGap Vault devices. On the contrary, Coinbase Wallet only supports Ledger.

Token swaps

Token swaps are a staple in the decentralized finance world, and both wallets support this function. But that’s as far as their similarities go. Whereas the Coinbase Wallet only charges gas fees for the swaps, MetaMask charges an additional 0.875% fee.

What are some alternatives to MetaMask & Coinbase Wallet?

MPC and biometric verification

COCA

Cross-chain wallet
COCA
Create COCA wallet On COCAs official Website
Price Free
Limited time offer N/A

OKX Wallet

Free non-custodial web3 wallet
OKX Wallet
Learn more On OKX’s secure website
Price Free
Limited time offer Up to $10,000 bonus

Zengo Wallet

No seed phrase vulnerability
Zengo Wallet
Download Zengo Available for Android & iOS
Price Free
Limited time offer $10 referral bonus

What distinguishes a blockchain wallet from a conventional wallet?

There are several qualities that separate blockchain wallets from conventional ones. These include:

Storage and ownership 

Conventional wallets hold physical cash or cards representing fiat currency that a central authority gowns and controls. On the other hand, blockchain wallets give users private keys, granting them access to digital assets on a blockchain platform. Unlike the former, where the bank owns your funds, blockchain wallets offer you sole ownership of your assets.

Security and privacy

With conventional wallets, the issuing financial institution monitors your transactions. As such, they compromise not only your privacy but also your security. These are vulnerable to theft, loss, or damage. Conversely, blockchain wallets are pseudo-anonymous, helping to protect your privacy. They also offer enhanced security features through cryptography and decentralization.

Accessibility and control

Another area of divergence is how much control and access you have to the tools. Whereas accessing the conventional wallet requires a physical local or centralized service, blockchain wallets are accessible anywhere with an internet connection. Again, the former’s transactions are subject to the trust authority’s terms and regulations, while in the latter, you have complete control over your transactions.

Functionality

The primary focus of conventional wallets is storing and spending fiat currency. Thus, they have limited functionality. In contrast, blockchain wallets support a wide range of financial capabilities. Besides holding and trading crypto and NFTs, you can participate in DeFi activities like staking, lending, and borrowing.

Can you connect Coinbase to MetaMask?

Coinbase has two different wallets: the Coinbase wallet is a standalone non-custodial wallet, separate from the Coinbase Exchange wallet that’s custodial.

You can connect the Coinbase Wallet to MetaMask as these are compatible. You’ll need to find your private keys and follow this straightforward process to import the latter to the former. But you cannot connect the Coinbase Exchange Wallet as you will need its private keys, which you don’t have access to. 

Should I use MetaMask or Coinbase for NFTs?

The experience of buying NFTs on both wallets is fairly the same. But there’s a whole lot of difference when it comes to their offerings. MetaMasks supports buying NFTs on Ethereum and its layer-2 protocols only. So, it has a limited offering compared to Coinbase Wallet, which supports NFTs spanning many blockchains.

FeatureMetaMaskCoinbase Wallet
Primary focusMulti-chain support, focused on EVM-compatible chainsSupports a broader variety of chains, including Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Litecoin
User interfaceStraightforward, suitable for both beginners and advanced usersMore intuitive and beginner-friendly with educational resources
AccessibilityBrowser extension and mobile appBrowser extension and mobile app
Wallet typeHot walletHot wallet
Source codeOpen-sourcedClosed-sourced
Staking optionsAccessed through connected DApps, more complexDirect and user-friendly staking options within the wallet
Supported cryptocurrenciesFocused on assets on Ethereum and EVM-compatible chainsSupports a wide range of cryptocurrencies and NFTs
Security and controlNon-custodialNon-custodial
DecentralizationHigh, due to open-source nature and self-custodial featureHigh, self-custodial, but limited by closed-source code
Standout featuresDeep integration with Ethereum, inbuilt coin-swapping mechanismSeamless integration with Coinbase Exchange, supports many blockchains
Mobile appsAvailable for Android and iOSAvailable for Android and iOS
Customer supportMulti-chain support focused on EVM-compatible chainsFAQs, dedicated customer lines, chat options, email support, and social media presence
StakingIndirect through DeFi platformsDirect staking options for various cryptocurrencies
Hardware wallet integrationSupports linking with hardware walletsSupports linking with Ledger hardware wallets
NFT supportYesYes
Token swapsYesYes

MetaMask vs. Coinbase: Which wallet stands out?

MetaMask, primarily an Ethereum wallet, is known for its seamless integration with DApps. On the other hand, Coinbase Wallet supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies and offers hot and cold storage options. The choice between the two depends on individual needs such as preferred cryptocurrencies, DApp usage, and desired level of security. Both offer excellent solutions for crypto storage. Overall, as a multi-purpose, multi-chain offering, Coinbase Wallet has an edge over MetaMask.

Frequently asked questions

Is MetaMask a good crypto wallet?

Is there a wallet better than MetaMask?

Can I use the same wallet for Coinbase and MetaMask?

Is Coinbase Wallet the best wallet?

Is MetaMask wallet better than Coinbase?

Which is the safest crypto wallet?

What are the disadvantages of Coinbase Wallet?

Is Coinbase Wallet safe for the long term?

Is there a monthly fee for the Coinbase Wallet?

Is the Coinbase Wallet hot or cold?

Is MetaMask hot or cold?

What is the benefit of a Coinbase Wallet?

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Disclaimer

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Alex Lielacher
Alex Lielacher is the founder & CEO of Rise Up Media, a content marketing agency that works with a range of bitcoin businesses. He first came across bitcoin in 2011 and has worked full-time in the cryptocurrency industry since 2016. Alex started his career in the banking industry in London, working in bond trading and sales. After a little over half a decade, he swapped his seat on the trading floor for a spot in cafés around the world, where he started his career as a freelance...
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