Custodial vs Non-Custodial Wallet In Crypto

Last updated Oct 18, 2023 | 03:07 PM UTC

Choosing the right type of wallet for your needs is one of the most important decisions you must make when it comes to managing cryptocurrency. Custodial and non-custodial wallets are two popular choices. Let's see how these two methods differ from one another:

As the name implies, a custodial wallet entails giving your private keys to a third party, usually a centralized exchange or a financial institution, so they may manage your cryptocurrency assets on your behalf and keep them safe. 

A non-custodial wallet, on the other hand, gives users complete ownership and control over their private keys and cryptocurrency.

Depending on your preferences and level of risk tolerance, you can choose between custodial and non-custodial wallets. When choosing a wallet, it's crucial to carefully weigh the compromises between convenience and control.

It is crucial to adhere to best practices for protecting your private keys, including using strong passwords, turning on two-factor authentication, and routinely backing up your wallet, regardless of whether you select a custodial or non-custodial wallet.

  • Custodial wallets are often referred to as a hosted wallet or centralized wallet
  • Non-custodial wallets are referred to as self-hosted or "decentralized" wallets
  • Examples of custodial wallets are exchange wallets and online wallets
  • Examples of non-custodial wallets are software and hardware wallets
  • Choosing a wallet should be based on security, convenience, experience level, and risk tolerance


Custodial Wallet, Explained

A sort of digital wallet known as a custodial wallet, often referred to as a hosted wallet or centralized wallet, is one in which the user's private keys are held and managed by a third-party service provider. 
In this arrangement, the custodian is in charge of managing transactions, storing, and protecting the user's cryptocurrency assets. 

How Do Custodial Wallets Work?

Let’s take a closer look at how custodial wallets function:

  • User registration: In order to use a custodial wallet, a user must normally register and open an account with the company that provides the custodial service.
  • Private key management: After registering, the user receives an account and the necessary login information. However, the custodial wallet creates and manages the user's private keys instead of allowing them direct access and control.
  • Control and transactions: Through the platform or application of the custodial service, users can access their wallets. Within the custodial system, they can examine their account balance, make trades, and carry out other tasks involving their wallet.

 Custodial Wallets: Facts

Examples Of Custodial Wallets

  • Exchange wallets: As part of their platforms, many cryptocurrency exchanges provide custodial wallets. Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken are a few examples. Within the custodial wallet system of the exchange, users can deposit, trade, and withdraw cryptocurrencies.
  • Online wallets: A few businesses that offer online wallets, like and BitPay, also offer custodial wallet choices. These wallets frequently have extra functionality, like payment processing or merchant services.


Benefits Of Custodial Wallets

Custodial wallets have the following benefits:

  • User-friendly: Custodial wallets often contain user-friendly features and intuitive interfaces, making them accessible to newcomers.
  • Additional Services: Some custody wallets provide further services like access to decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, integrated trading, or currency conversions to fiat.


Disadvantages Of Custodial Wallets

Custodial wallets do, however, have some restrictions:

  • Third-party reliance: Users must have faith in the custodial service provider to handle the management of their private keys and safeguard their money. Because the custodian's decisions or security flaws could have an impact on the user's funds, this dependence creates counterparty risk.
  • Reduced control and privacy: Because the custodian holds the private keys, users have little control over their assets and are subject to the custodian's terms and conditions.

Before giving a custodial wallet provider access to your money, it's crucial to properly evaluate their security, standing, and performance. When deciding between custodial and non-custodial wallet alternatives, take your priorities, risk tolerance, and desired level of control into account.

Non-Custodial Wallets, Explained

Non-custodial digital wallets, sometimes referred to as self-hosted or "decentralized" wallets, give users complete control over their private keys and their holdings. Non-custodial wallets, in contrast to custodial wallets, do not entrust the management or storage of the private keys to external service providers. 

While non-custodial wallets give users more security and autonomy, they must also make sure their private keys are adequately backed up. Without a backup, losing access to the secret keys could mean irreparable financial loss. It's critical to comprehend the obligations and dangers related to non-custodial wallets and pick a reputable wallet provider who meets your requirements.

How Do Non-custodial Wallets Work?

  • Ownership of private keys: The user creates and is the owner of their private keys in a non-custodial wallet. On the user's device, such as a computer, smartphone, or hardware wallet, the keys are normally kept locally.
  • Control and security: Users have full ownership and responsibility for their cryptocurrency assets since they have complete control over their private keys. They can start transactions, securely manage their wallet, and have direct communication with the blockchain.
  • Wallet recovery: Users of non-custodial wallets frequently receive a recovery phrase or seed phrase, which is a collection of words chosen at random. In the event that your gadget is lost or damaged, you can use this word to recover your wallet and access your money.

 Non-Custodial Wallets: Key Facts

Examples Of Non-custodial Wallets

  • Software wallets: Popular non-custodial wallet choices that provide users complete control over their private keys include MetaMask, Trust Wallet, and Exodus.
  • Hardware wallets: By keeping private keys offline, hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor provide more security. Even when linked to a computer or mobile device, they enable users to manage their assets safely.


Benefits Of Non-custodial Wallets

Non-custodial wallets have the following benefits:

  • Security and privacy: Non-custodial wallets provide more security and privacy because the user's private keys are not at risk from third parties. Users can reduce the danger of hacking, theft, or data breaches and have total control over their money.
  • Decentralization: Non-custodial wallets are compatible with cryptocurrencies' decentralized structure. Without using middlemen, users can communicate with the blockchain network directly.
  • Interoperability: Non-custodial wallets frequently support a large variety of cryptocurrencies and are interoperable with a number of different blockchain networks, enabling users to manage several assets in a single wallet.


Disadvantages Of Non-custodial Wallets

Various cons of non-custodial wallets include the following:

  • User responsibility: Users are solely responsible for managing and protecting their wallet and responsibility on the user than custodial wallets, which might offer possibilities for account recovery keys because they have complete control over their private keys. There is no way to get back lost money if a user misplaces or neglects to safeguard their private keys. 
  • Technical difficulty: In order to use non-custodial wallets, users often need to possess a certain amount of technical know-how and experience with handling private keys. For less experienced users, creating, maintaining, and safely backing up private keys can be more difficult. Money can be lost if private keys are handled improperly or with errors.
  • Lack of customer support: Because non-custodial wallets do not use third-party service providers, there may be little to no customer help accessible in the event of technical difficulties or user problems. For assistance and difficulties, users must turn to internet forums or other community resources.
  • Limited accessibility: In order to manage their non-custodial wallets, users often need access to their own devices, such as laptops or cellphones. Users who wish to access their funds from different devices or who might not always have access to their personal devices may find this to be a drawback.


Which Wallet Should You Choose?

Your particular requirements and preferences will influence the wallet you choose. When selecting a wallet, take into account the following factors:

  • Security: A non-custodial wallet can be a better choice if security is your primary priority and you feel confident accepting full responsibility for your private keys. It gives you total control over your money and lowers the chance of hacks or breaches by outside parties. You must, however, manage your private keys carefully and put appropriate security measures into practice.
  • Convenience: If you value simplicity and ease of usage, a custodial wallet can be a better option. Usually, a dependable third party handles the security and key maintenance of custodial wallets on your behalf. User-friendly interfaces, customer service, and extra features like account recovery options are frequently offered by them.
  • Experience level: Take into account your level of wallet management and cryptocurrency experience. Non-custodial wallets typically require a higher level of technical proficiency and comprehension of private key administration. A custodial wallet can be a better choice if you are unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies or find the idea of private keys intimidating.
  • Risk tolerance: Consider your level of risk tolerance as well as the amount of money you intend to keep in your wallet. A non-custodial wallet offers additional protection if you have sizable holdings or are worried about the possibility of hacking or money loss. A custodial wallet might be a good option, though, if you have fewer funds and prefer the comfort and assistance of a third-party provider.

In the end, it's crucial to investigate and contrast various wallet solutions, take into account your unique demands and priorities, and make an informed choice depending on your degree of comfort with security and financial control.


What is a non-custodial wallet?

A non-custodial wallet (self-custody) is a crypto wallet that allows users to have full responsibility for their crypto funds.

What is a custodial wallet?

A custodial wallet is another way of storing your crypto, where a third party safeguards your private keys.

How to open a non-custodial wallet?

To open a non-custodial wallet, you should download a wallet app, create an account, store your private key, and transfer coins to your wallet.

How to set up a custodial wallet?

To open a custodial wallet, you should select a preferred exchange, complete the registration and KYC process, set a password, and transfer crypto to it.

Are self-custodial and non-custodial wallets the same?

Yes, self-custodial and non-custodial wallets are the same thing.

Why are non-custodial wallets safer than custodial wallets?

Non-custodial wallets are usually a more secure option, as customers have full control of their cryptocurrencies.