For this Freewallet review, I set up an account on the wallet’s web version. Having used and tested more than 18 wallets to date I have to say I was impressed. The experience of using Freewallet is unlike any other wallet I have used. I don’t mean this in a “wow this an amazing wallet” way. But neither do I think it is a scam like many others in the crypto community troll it for. Let’s take a close look at how Freewallet stands out and the pros and cons of using it.
Overall rating: 3/5
Freewallet is a mobile and web-based cryptocurrency wallet service known for its user-friendly interface and support for a wide range of cryptocurrencies. The wallet includes fiat onramps via third parties such as Simplex as well as a built-in crypto exchange. My first impression was that the experience resembles a web2 one rather than a web3 wallet. It also includes some nifty features for US users such as the ability to buy gift cards and top-up prepaid phone cards. The wallet is extremely popular with Similarweb stating that it receives just over 400,000 visits per month.
The wallet’s main benefit is that you can just use an email address to store your crypto and don’t need to familiarize yourself with the concept of seed phrases. However, its closed-source nature and custodial control over private keys have raised concerns within the crypto community. Personally, I am torn between the two camps, one offering ease of use and the other more security. If I do continue to use Freewallet I don’t plan on storing a large amount.
Freewallet is a mobile-based cryptocurrency wallet service designed to provide users with a simple and user-friendly platform for managing various cryptocurrencies.
The company’s website mentions that Freewallet was established by a group of like-minded professionals passionate about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
Founded in 2016 in Estonia by Alvin Hagg the Freewallet wallet was created to store a cryptocurrency called Fantomcoin.
A few months later it added support for other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin Monero and Ethereum
- available on Web browsers for desktop and iOS and Android devices
- Fiat on ramps
- Limits per day or week
- Cold storage security
- Multi-language support: English, Chinese, German, French, Bahasa Indonesia, Korean, Japanese
- Two-factor authentication, fingerprint, and PIN code
- free crypto transfers between Freewallet users
1. Ease of use & custodial service
The main benefit of setting up a Freewallet account is that you do not need to write down any seedphrase and you don’t need to worry about losing it. Instead, the experience is more similar to a Web2 website where you register with your email address. This means you can recover your account if you lose your password and Freewallet manages the whole process with the private keys in the backend on their server. In this sense, the experience is more similar to signing up with an exchange.
2. Free transfers between users
Freewallet uses what is called a sidechain so that you can transfer funds to other Freewallet users without any fees. What this means is that transactions happen on the sidechain and are then bundled and sent to the main chain. Coinbase Wallet also offers the same.
3. Built-in exchange
Freewallet partners with 3rd parties so that you can swap between cryptocurrencies directly within the wallet interface.
4. Multi-currency wallet
Freewallet supports more than 150 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Dash, Zcash, and Bitcoin Cash to name a few. This means you can have different wallets for each of the different cryptocurrencies that you own.
5. Custom security features
While you are not in control of your keys and a password could always be compromised Freewallet does have some extra security settings that you can leverage. The inclusion of PIN codes, biometric authentication, and 2FA adds an extra layer of protection.
In addition, you can set an email confirmation with a postponed status for transactions to go through. And you can set up more than one email account all of which have to approve the transaction.
Under security, you can see all your active sessions to make sure it’s only been you who has accessed your account
Finally, you can set a limit on how much crypto can leave the wallet per day or per week. If you decide to change the limit it will take two days to come into effect by which time you will have been notified about it in case it wasn’t you.
Freewallet’s interface is unlike other wallets. The best way I can describe it is that it is more like a Web2 app rather than a Web3 crypto wallet. On the main dashboard, you can see the total balance, your wallets, and the send/ receive and buy buttons. It took me a while to figure out the layout but I quickly caught on.
7. E-commerce features
Freewallet is primarily aimed at US users. It features a widget that allows you to buy gift cards for Amazon, Apple, Uber Eats and more using your crypto. In addition, you can top up your prepaid phone card from within your wallet account.
8. Customer support
You can reach out to the Freewallet support team by filing a ticket or troubleshooting on your own by checking their FAQ page.
9. Fiat to crypto
Freewallet partners with Simplex and Moonpay so that you can buy crypto directly with your debit or credit card.
1. Custodial Control
The primary reason Freewallet gets accused of being a scam is that it is a custodial wallet. This means that they hold the private keys on your behalf. In this sense, Freewallet is similar to a centralized exchange. Many crypto adherents find this outrageous because this is like giving the access codes to your bank account to a third party. If Freelance’s server were to get hacked or stop working this could result in you no longer being able to access your crypto. It also does not match the ethos of avoiding trusting centralized entities.
To address this criticism Freewallet reportedly launched Freewallet Lite, an alternate version of their wallet where you could store your keys on your device but I can no longer find any information on the Lite wallet under the Freewallet family of products.
I leave it to you to decide whether you want a wallet that is “idiot proof” and can help you recover your crypto if you lose your password vs a wallet where you trust no third parties but you are 100% responsible for what happens to your keys.
2. Closed Source
The closed-source nature of the wallet makes it challenging for users to independently verify its security and the protection of their private keys.
3. Limited Anonymity
Freewallet does not provide the same level of anonymity and privacy as some other wallets, like fully decentralized options.
4. Not available on the latest version of Android
When I tried to download the Freewallet app on my mobile device I got a message that the app was not available for my version of Android.
Freewallet itself does not direct you to the Google Play store. Instead, it directs you to a third party to download the app.
5. User reviews report bad experiences
if you check sites like sitejabber you will see that quite a few people are reporting a negative experience and complaining about customer service and not being able to move their funds. Having said that the site receives 4 stars out of 5 from 107 reviewers.
6. No hardware compatibility
If you plan to hold a large amount of crypto assets you are better off using a hardware wallet such as a Ledger or Trezor device. While these devices are safer than hot wallets that are connected to the internet they do require a software wallet to manage your funds. Hence this would mean you would need a separate wallet to use them.
7. Not web3 enabled
If you are looking for a wallet that will allow you to participate in Web3 and DeFi then Freewallet can’t help me. You can’t use the wallet to stake, borrow, lend, yield farm or participate in Web3 gaming like you can with other wallets
How to use Freewallet
Since I couldn’t find Freewallet on the Google Play Store for my version of Android I will show you how to use the web browser wallet.
1. Sign up for an account by clicking on the Sign-up button
You can sign up using an email address and password or you can use a Google or Facebook account or even your mobile phone number
make sure you select freewallet.org and not freewallet.io which is a scam
2. After you sign up you are good to go.
You don’t need to write down any seed phrases like you do with other wallets. Just be aware that if anyone were to access your password they may be able to move your funds.
3. Receive crypto
To receive crypto click on the receive tab.
Choose the cryptocurrency that you want to receive in your wallet and share the address or QR code with the sender
5. Send crypto
To send crypto click on the wallet on the left and then click on send. There are two ways to send crypto.
- The first is the traditional way where you just paste a send address that the recipient provides you with.
- The second is to use the User ID or email of another Freewallet user.
Ironically Freewallet is not a free wallet. It has a monthly subscription of 10 USDT i.e. 10 US dollars that kicks in after 13 months of usage.
Before that, you need to perform transactions of login frequently for them to provide you with the wallet for free.
They do not stipulate what happens if you are not very active.
Overall finding information on their fee structure was not very easy. You need to check their terms carefully.
You will also need to account for fees you pay to third-party integrations such as Moon Pay for fiat to crypto conversion or whenever you use a third party such as Changelly on the crypto exchange.
Alternatives to Freewallet:
- Trust Wallet: Trust Wallet is a popular mobile cryptocurrency wallet known for its user control over private keys, multi-currency support, and decentralized nature.
- Exodus Wallet: Exodus is a desktop and mobile wallet that provides a user-friendly interface, private key control, and support for a variety of cryptocurrencies.
- Atomic Wallet: Atomic Wallet is a desktop and mobile wallet offering user control over private keys and an integrated exchange for easy asset management.
- Ledger: For those seeking maximum security, Ledger Live, coupled with a Ledger hardware wallet, provides a secure and convenient way to store cryptocurrencies.
Ultimately, the choice between using Freewallet or one of its alternatives depends on your priorities and preferences. While Freewallet offers convenience and a user-friendly experience, users who prioritize full control over their private keys and enhanced security may opt for alternatives that align with these requirements.
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