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Exodus Wallet Review

Exodus Wallet Review: Beautiful Experience But Not For Advanced Users

Exodus At-a-Glance

Exodus is a desktop-based, decentralized hot wallet that places a priority on ease-of-use and user experience. Created by a development team in the American Midwest, Exodus has become a popular wallet for people looking for a simple way to manage coins on a day-to-day basis.

Keep reading our Exodus wallet review to see whether this is the wallet for you.

Currency Support

Cryptocurrencies

You can set the Exodus wallet to store and exchange 30 different cryptocurrencies.

The Exodus team considers three factors, two technical and two business-related, when evaluating potential new listings. From a technical standpoint, the project’s team must provide developer resources as well as API servers to allow integration with the Exodus app.

From a business perspective, the project must have a market capitalization and 24-hour trading volume that places it in the top 50 — or at least offers the potential to reach the top 50. Finally, the project must be supported by ShapeShift in order to support exchanges within the wallet.

Exodus also supports Ethereum tokens which can be stored, sent and received within a special section of the wallet. You cannot trade Ethereum tokens and you must have a small amount of ether (ETH) in your wallet to cover the gas generated for outgoing transactions.

Fiat currencies

Exodus does not support fiat currencies due to the regulatory burden fiat currencies bring with them. Complying with Know-Your-Customer (KYC) regulations and track transactions to comply with Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) regulations would not, in Exodus’ eyes, be possible with their distributed, decentralized model.

The Exodus wallet will, however, calculate the value of your assets in US dollars or one of thirty other fiat currencies.

Changing currencies

You can shift balances between any of the cryptocurrencies Exodus supports thanks to the wallet’s ShapeShift integration. There are no fees, other than mining fees, for the exchange. However, ShapeShift and Exodus do make money from the spread between their exchange prices and the market rate.

American users should note that ShapeShift geo-blocks certain altcoins and tokens. Basic attention token (BAT), edgeless (EDG) and gnosis (GNO) can’t be traded within the Exodus wallet. From a US regulatory standpoint, these coins cross threshold separating assets from securities.

Transaction fees

Although the philosophy behind Exodus’ development is based on giving people control over their cryptocurrency, Exodus does not let users control the bitcoin mining fees they pay.

“Because Exodus prioritizes speed and reliability over low fees, Exodus will always dynamically set the best price to deliver your transactions as fast as possible.”

The number of crypto-newbies using Exodus justifies this decision in the company’s mind. People don’t realize that low fees translate into long wait times for recording transactions to the blockchain.

There is another aspect of network fees Exodus users can’t control. A crypto balance in the Exodus wallet is the sum of all of the deposits made to that particular blockchain rather than a pool of crypto. Imagine that you had a series of deposits into your wallet like this:

Deposit Date Deposit Amount Block Number Wallet Balance
March 21, 2018 0.00213 BTC 514556 0.00213 BTC
May 7, 2018 0.00045 BTC 521647 0.00258 BTC
June 20, 2018 0.00109 BTC 528433 0.00367 BTC

In the fiat world, depositing cash into your wallet puts it all in one place. If you have $7 in your wallet and need to spend $5, you just pull the cash you need out of the wallet.

In the crypto world, the deposits from our example are sitting in three separate places on the blockchain. Transferring all 0.00367 BTC out of your Exodus wallet requires three separate transactions, each one generating a mining fee.

This is a particular concern for bitcoin miners and others who receive many small deposits over the course time. Since Exodus places transaction speed ahead of transaction cost, sending those bitcoins could generate network fees greater than the actual bitcoin balance.

Hard fork policies

“Today, forks of every currency are seemingly out of control,” the Exodus support site says. “Trying to support all these forks is simply not feasible for us, and often technically impossible.”

While Exodus supported the fork from bitcoin to bitcoin cash as well as the fork to bitcoin gold, the company will only support forks that have strong community backing and the developer resources to help make it happen.

For all other forks, Exodus cautiously advises users to export their private keys for the original currency and import it into a wallet that supports the forked currency. The support team points out that handing private keys to a third party is always risky and also exposes you to replay attacks during the inevitable disruption of a fork.

Security & Privacy

Exodus security tips
Source: Exodus

“Exodus is only as safe as the computer it resides on and the security practices you follow.”

This is the mantra Exodus repeats throughout its security tips page. Exodus does not store any user data on its servers. As a result, all of the responsibility for securing the Exodus wallet falls on the user. This includes practicing common-sense security procedures on your computer, but there are a few Exodus-specific tips for new users.

Backup and restore

When you make your first deposit into Exodus, you should create a strong password and record your 12-word backup phrase. The password should be kept in a password manager. At the same time, you should make a hard copy of the 12-word backup phrase and store it someplace safe.

Finally, Exodus lets you create an email backup link. This is a special URL that contains your 12-word backup phrase encrypted with your password. Should you need to reinstall Exodus, clicking on the link opens Exodus and populates the app with the password and 12-word backup phrase.

Exodus also points out that their app is a hot wallet and shouldn’t be used to store all of your crypto holdings. “Anyone that gains access to your computer (locally or remotely) stands a strong chance of stealing your assets….”

Auditing transactions

Exodus lets you export the transaction history for each cryptocurrency you keep in the wallet. You can import that history into a spreadsheet to check whether all of your deposits actually made it into the Exodus wallet.

Getting and Using Exodus

Platform support

Exodus is a desktop-only application that is supported on Windows, macOS and Linux. The Exodus team has no immediate plans to roll out mobile apps. This is due, in part, to Apple’s changing App Store policies regarding cryptocurrencies.

“We believe a mobile version of Exodus is inevitable, however, we are preferring to stand back and let market conditions shake out.”

Key features

Portfolio management

Exodus portfolio graphics
Source: Exodus

Exodus provides live charts that show the value of each cryptocurrency in your wallet as well as a snapshot of your asset distribution. As long as you’re connected to the internet, the values will be based on the latest market conditions.

ShapeShift integration

Exodus and ShapeShift began working together in 2015, but it wasn’t until late 2016 that they were ready to announce ShapeShift integration in the Exodus wallet. As discussed before, ShapeShift support is one of the key criteria Exodus uses to decide whether to add an altcoin to its wallet.

Desktop interface

Exodus opens to the Portfolio view where you get an at-a-glance view of your balances and the distribution of coins held in your wallet.

Exodus wallet app's portfolio view
Source: CoinIQ

The Wallet view is where you can transfer coins in and out of the Exodus wallet.

Exodus wallet app supported altcoins
Source: CoinIQ

Selecting Send opens up a form where you can enter the quantity as well as the receiving address. Exodus estimates the transaction’s network fee.

Exodus wallet app sending bitcoin
Source: CoinIQ

Selecting Receive generates an address and QR code. You have the options to copy, print or email the address as well as view the address on the blockchain

Exodus wallet app receiving bitcoin
Source: CoinIQ

If you want to move your balances from one asset to another, the Exchange view is where the ShapeShift-powered exchange happens. Drop down lists let you select the coins and enter the quantities involved.

Exodus wallet app ShapeShifting
Source: CoinIQ

The Settings-Assets view lets you hide any cryptocurrencies that you don’t plan on keeping in your wallet.

Exodus wallet app customize coin listing
Source: CoinIQ

The Settings-Localization view lets you change the fiat currency Exodus uses to calculate the fiat-equivalent value of your cryptocurrencies. The wallet defaults to US dollars, but you have 30 other fiat currencies to choose from.

Exodus wallet app change fiat conversions
Source: CoinIQ

In Settings-Sorting you can tell Exodus how to arrange the currencies on the Portfolio view.

Exodus wallet app rearrange listing
Source: CoinIQ

In keeping with the UI/UX focus of Exodus’ developers, you have many ways to alter the wallet’s appearance (as long as you prefer dark themes).

Exodus wallet app customized looks
Source: CoinIQ

Here is what Exodus looks like with the Deep Space theme and a Dark Linen texture.

Exodus wallet app a new look
Source: CoinIQ

The Help view lets you see who the Exodus co-founders are, watch videos tutorials, read frequently asked questions and more.

Exodus wallet app help screen
Source: CoinIQ

More About Exodus

Exodus focus on design
Source: Exodus

Origin story

JP Richardson, one of Exodus’ co-founders, was a software developer and avid contributor to open source projects when he first got into cryptocurrency. He created a wallet called Coinbolt that let users play with testnet bitcoins (they aren’t real) and make “purchases” in what he described to the r/Bitcoin subreddit as a “fake cat shop”.

A year later, Richardson announced the alpha test of Exodus in the r/btc subreddit. “After lackluster adoption [of Coinbolt],” Richardson explained, “I realized that I was focusing on the solving the wrong problem…. I teamed up with a designer and fellow Bitcoin enthusiast [Daniel Castagnoli] and we built Exodus.”

The co-founders’ vision was to provide cryptocurrency enthusiasts and novices alike with a decentralized way to store their assets while at the same time placing the user experience front and center.

Bumps in the road

Developing and maintaining a digital wallet requires constant work as well as coordination with the teams responsible for each cryptocurrency. That has led to a few disruptions to the Exodus experience.

Exodus had to remove dogecoin in mid-2017. The wallet depends on what are called insight servers to get blockchain data for its cryptocurrencies. The dogecoin team had not updated the insight components in nearly two years which meant Exodus was not getting reliable data. “We realize this will come off as a gut punch to many of you who revere Dogecoin so much,” the Exodus team told the r/dogecoin subreddit. “We’re truly sorry it’s came [sic] to this.”

The hard fork to bitcoin cash gave the Exodus team headaches and disrupted Exodus users. Dramatic swings in the price of bitcoin and bitcoin cash led to a dramatic shift in miners’ priorities. Within a few hours, so many miners jumped from the bitcoin network to the bitcoin cash network that bitcoin transactions were taking 12 hours to complete.

In response, Exodus suspended all bitcoin-based exchanges. “This was a painful decision for us,” the Exodus blog explained. “But at the same time, we couldn’t risk your funds getting stuck in the worst Bitcoin traffic jam.”

Eden

Eden is another app that the Exodus development team uses to test new features. Advanced cryptocurrency enthusiasts can use Eden — as long as they know what they are getting into. The Exodus support team will not help with any issues Eden users run into.

“Of course, we don’t plan on trying to ship dangerous bugs in Eden, but it is bleeding-edge software. There may be bugs. Those bugs may corrupt your wallet files….”

Key Players

Both founders remain with the company today. Richardson serves as the chief technical officer and Castagnoli as the chief creative officer.

In an interview with Boxmining, Castagnoli explained that his title reflects the co-founders’ goal for Exodus “to bring creativity and user interface, UI/UX, into the [cryptocurrency] space…. My number one goal is to make cryptocurrency and blockchains easy for people to not only use but to feel comfortable and secure around.”

Final Word

Advanced users will need to consider Exodus’ limitations carefully. Other wallets will give you more control over things like bitcoin network fees. Bitcoin miners and other users who will get many small bitcoin transactions should also consider the impact of network fees.

For most people, however, Exodus offers an elegant, fast and secure experience for cryptocurrency novices and enthusiasts alike. With support for thirty cryptocurrencies and many more ERC20 tokens, plus crypto-to-crypto ShapeShifting, this wallet gives you almost everything you need from a hot wallet. Exodus’ biggest missing feature is a mobile app for true on-the-go management of your crypto portfolio.

Christopher Casper

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