Best Guarda Wallet Review: In-Depth Look at Pros and Cons

Published: December 8, 2023 | Last Updated: November 2, 2023

Markos Koemtzopoulos

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

In this comprehensive Guarda Wallet review I will help you decide whether this digital wallet is for you or not. I will talk you through Guarda the main features, pros, and cons. Together we’ll be taking a look at the user interface and overall user experience. We’ll see what cryptos you can store and how you can stake them. I will also evaluate some of Guarda’s unique attributes such as the ability to generate tokens and borrow against your crypto as collateral. In this assessment, I will also walk you through what I think are some of the wallet’s weak points, especially regarding the fees and UX.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Guarda has a rich set of features that make it unique as a non-custodial wallet and similar to a centralized crypto exchange in terms of the products and features available to you as a user. The wallet supports multiple cryptocurrencies across chains, includes a built-in exchange, facilitates staking, and offers a prepaid visa card, a lending facility, and an option to mint your own ERC-20 token. Its drawbacks are that it’s rather expensive and that some users complain about UX glitches which I also experienced when testing the app.

Pros

  • Works across devices
  • You can store multiple cryptocurrencies
  • Includes exchange so you can directly swap crypto coins in the app
  • You can earn a yield by staking crypto
  • You can borrow money
  • Use the prepaid card to make payments in dollars, euros, etc.
  • Increase security by setting multiple approvers
  • Mint your own token
  • Use it with a Ledger hard wallet
  • Buy crypto using a credit /debit card
  • Customer support is available 24/7
  • Self-custodial if the wallet disappears you still have access to your funds

Cons

  • Not open source which means techies can’t check code for vulnerabilities
  • Has some UX glitches and improvements that could be made
  • Doesn’t have a Web3 browser to truly integrate with borrowing, lending, and earning a yield in DeFi.
  • Charges hefty fees for its add-on services such as lending, staking, prepaid card
  • Downloads a backup to your phone which most experts recommend avoiding
  • You have no idea who is behind the wallet with limited transparency on the team.
  • Collects some personal information such as IP addresses

Features

  • Available across devices
  • English only
  • Multi-crypto and cross-platform
  • Built-in exchange
  • Option to stake your cryptos
  • Option to take a loan using your crypto as collateral
  • Prepaid Visa card (new)
  • Multisig options
  • Token generator
  • Fiat onboarding

Most of these features are Guarda Wallet’s pros so let’s take a closer look at them.

Pros

#1. Available across devices

Not all wallets are available across devices like Guarda is. Guarda is available on the following platforms

  • Apple App Store for iOS
  • Google Play store for Android devices.
  • Desktop application for Windows, Linux, Mac OS
  • Web browser wallet i.e. you log into guarda.com/app
  • Chrome browser extension which means you can easily plug into any DeFi app you want

#2. Multi-currency and cross-platform

Guarda is a multi-cryptocurrency wallet which means you can store almost any coin or token you can imagine.

When you create a wallet they show you the default listing of the main cryptocurrencies that most people want to store.

But there is also the option to add a wallet for a token of your choice. When I searched for a niche token called $BEN I was surprised to find it. However, I was unable to find a way to import a token using a contract address.

#3. Built-In exchange service

Guarda partners with third-party aggregator exchanges such as ChangeNOW and Swapzone so that you can swap one crypto for another.

guarda exchange

#4. Staking

The Guarda crypto wallet has a nifty feature whereby you can stake the tokens in your wallet directly via their app.

If you have no clue what staking is, it’s a way to lock up your crypto and earn a yield.

TL;DR on staking: Staking involves holding and “locking up” a certain amount of cryptocurrency in a blockchain wallet to support the network’s functions. In return, you earn rewards in the form of additional digital currencies. Staking helps secure the network, maintain consensus, and incentivize participants to validate transactions and create new blocks. It’s a way to earn passive income while contributing to the blockchain’s operation.

Check out the following resources for more

guarda wallet staking interface
This is what the staking tab looks like on Guarda. You can navigate here by clicking on a crypto wallet and scrolling to the right in the top menu.

#5. Crypto Loans

Using the crypto in your wallet as collateral you can take out a loan. To be more precise this is a revolving credit line because there are no installment payments due and no repayment date. When you do finally repay you need to return your principal plus interest.

Guarda partners with CoinRabbit, an instant crypto loan provider. The process is nearly instant and it does not require you to go through KYC.

guarda lending feature
Guarda’s lending feature.

If you want to understand crypto-backed loans better check out the following resources:

#6. Prepaid visa card (new)

Guarda has just launched a prepaid visa card. You can use their virtual card directly and hook it up to Apple Pay or Google Pay or you can order a physical card.

The card automatically converts the crypto in your account to fiat when you top up.

You can order your card on the Guarda website.

#7. Multisig options

Guarda allows you to create a multi-sig wallet for Bitcoin and Ethereum.

A multi-sig wallet allows you to set more than one approver for transactions to go through.

The benefit of doing this is that you add more security. Someone would need to hack all approvers to steal your crypto.

The drawback is that it is a hassle every time you want to make a transaction.

#8. Create ERC-20 tokens

Guarda includes a token generator that allows you to mint your own ERC-20 tokens. I haven’t seen this feature in any of the other wallets I have used.

Your minted tokens are listed on Uniswap and you pay Guarda a fee in ETH.

What are ERC-20 tokens?

ERC-20 tokens are a widely used standard for creating and managing digital assets on the Ethereum blockchain. These tokens adhere to a set of rules that ensure compatibility and interoperability, making them easy to trade, transfer, and integrate with various decentralized applications (DApps) and exchanges. They have become the foundation for many cryptocurrency projects and initial coin offerings (ICOs), allowing developers to create and customize their own tokens with relative ease, which has contributed to the growth of the Ethereum ecosystem.

Update: token generation is now available for Hedera (HBAR) too.

#9. Ledger enabled

If you are storing a large amount of crypto it is safer to use a hardware device.

Guarda is compatible with the Nano S Ledger hardware wallet so you don’t need to manage both from separate interfaces.

Hardware wallets are considered a much safer option to store large amounts of crypto as they are not connected to the internet.

Check out my comprehensive review of Ledger devices to know more.

#10. Fiat Onramps

Guarda partners with Simplex and Gardarian so that you can directly buy crypto using your debit card, or making an ACH or SEPA transfer. You will need to KYC with this provider if you plan on using this feature.

fiat onramps guarda
The fiat to crypto onboarding tab on Guarda. Note how you have the option to choose which payment partner you want to use.

#11. Customer service

You can reach out to Guarda’s 24/7 customer support team via live chat, email or telegram

#12. Self Custodial

Guarda is a non-custodial wallet which means you are in full control of your crypto assets.

That sums up the pros. Let’s take a look at the drawbacks of using Guarda.

Cons

#1. Not completely open-source

Some people in the crypto community prefer it when all the code is open source. Open source code is more transparent and more people can check to make sure there aren’t any vulnerabilities that expose the project to hacker exploits.

Personally, I don’t have such a big issue with Guarda protecting some of their code.

#2. UX

I would give the UX a 4/5 if I had to rate it. Guarda has a user-friendly interface however some things could be improved.

In my research, I came across reviewers complaining about some UX glitches. Here are their main grudges:

  • There is no option to add comments next to transactions like you can with Exodus Wallet.
  • The transaction history does not show the coin’s price at the time of purchase. This makes it harder to calculate your crypto gains for tax purposes.
  • The app locks after 30 seconds of inactivity which can be frustrating when you are switching between apps.
  • One user complained that the app has a tendency to lose its data and requires frequent backup file imports.
  • When I checked their staking option for Ethereum the screen kept timing out.

#3. No Web3 browser

The Guarda app does not have an integrated web3 browser tab. This is not a biggie as you can easily use their extension to plug into to DeFi app and lend your crypto assets. However, it would be nice to have.

#4. Hefty fees

While Guarda gives you the convenience of taking actions from within a single app the fees it charges for its service are not the cheapest.

Specifically:

1. Staking rewards commissions

Guarda’s staking yield on EHT is 3% vs 3.8% which you can get as a validator. This implies that Guarda takes a 21% cut from your returns which is on the higher side. Lido for example takes 10%.

Loan interest rates

Through its partnership with CoinRabbit, you get charged between 12-17% APR. At the time of writing the borrow rate for USDC on Compound.Finance is 2.16%. That’s a big difference.

Prepaid Visa Card fees

The Visa card charges you 1.5% to top up and 2.5% to convert crypto to fiat currencies. Again these are sizeable fees compared to cashing out your crypto in other ways.

In addition to the above, I found users complaining about the transparency of fiat on-ramping fees as well as the fees you pay to convert from one crypto to another on the exchange.

#5. Security

Guarda securely encrypts your wallet’s private keys on your device.

However, when you set up your wallet Guarda prompts you to download a backup of your wallet.

Having a digital copy of your wallet is not the safest way to store your backup because anyone that accesses it will have access to your coins.

On the other hand, unlike other wallets, Guarda does not share a seed phrase with you. Most other wallets will ask you to write down your seed phrase.

#6. Limited information on the Guarda team

On Guarda’s website, you will find a small bio about the CEO of Guarda Wallet, Paul Sokolov but that’s about it.

When I snooped around on LinkedIn there was not much else I could find about this person’s background or anyone else on the team. This makes me slightly concerned about their transparency.

#7. Collects some personal information

In their privacy policy, Guarda states that they do collect some personal data such as IP addresses, URL clickstreams, and the like. This may be of concern to people transacting with privacy-preserving coins such as Monero. Check out my comprehensive reviews for the best Monero wallet for more.

Guarda fees

Staking fees: Guarda or their partners take a large cut of the staking rewards. For example, the current reward rate for staking ATOM is 21% on Cosmos’s platform whereas on Guarda it is 5%.

Prepaid Card Fees: 1.5% to top up and 2.5% to convert to fiat.

Guarda prepaid visa card fees

Exchange fees: Guarda partners with 3rd party exchange aggregators. You will have to account for fees paid to these platforms as well as any network fees for sending /receiving crypto

Send/receive crypto: Guarda does not charge fees to send or receive crypto but you do need to account for network fees to blockchains. These transaction fees are usually not substantial but can become sizable when specific blockchains are clogged with demand.

How to use Guarda

To set up a Guarda wallet you can download the app to your phone or PC or add the Chrome extension to your browser.

In the steps below I will show you how to set up the app on an Android device.

#1. Open the app and set up a wallet

Click on where it says Create new wallet.

create wallet guarda

#2. To set up your wallet enter a password and confirm it

guarda password set up

The app will show you that it is setting up 9 wallets. These are the main cryptocurrencies they think you will need.

Guarda wallet set up

3. The app will then prompt you to download a wallet backup

backup download prompt guarda

It will then ask you if you want to activate Touch ID so that you don’t have to log in with your password each time.

4. Your wallets are now set up and ready to use

You can see the main cryptocurrencies and wallet addresses for each network.

guarda default coins

To receive cryptocurrency to a specific address click on the crypto ticker and share your address or QR code with the sender. In this section, you can also choose to stake your crypto. If you don’t have any crypto click on the buy button which will allow you to buy crypto with dollars, euros, pesos, etc.

Alternatives to Guarda

Popular software wallet alternatives to Guarda are:

The safest option is to use a hardware wallet:

Up next

Should You Have Multiple Wallets: Yes and Here Is Why

should you have multiple wallets

Are you wondering whether you should use multiple crypto wallets or one wallet to rule them all? Using many wallets means you need to manage multiple seed phrases and makes it hard to keep track of your total portfolio. Using a single wallet exposes you to more risk. What if you get hacked or lose your seed phrase? What if you lose your device if you use a hardware wallet? Is there even a single wallet that can accommodate everything you want to do with your crypto assets?  Having used more than 17 different wallets, I guarantee you that you will end up using many wallets yourself as you become better acquainted with the world of crypto. Read more.

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

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