Both Jaxx and Exodus are convenient, easy to use hot wallets that work for your day-to-day cryptocurrency storage needs. Exodus supports a larger number of coins and tokens as well as the ability to exchange a larger number of assets within the wallet. Jaxx, on the other hand, supports the modern mobile lifestyle much better and could be cheaper for bitcoin-owners. But which one is best for you? Our comparison of Jaxx vs. Exodus will help you decide.
About the Wallets
Jaxx is a hot wallet developed by Canadian blockchain company Decentral. Company founder and CEO Anthony Diiorio was already a long-time contributor to the Canadian crypto community and had developed other wallet apps through Decentral.
From the beginning, though, Jaxx was meant to be different. The wallets of the day were designed by early crypto enthusiasts who put technical elegance before user experience. “There is yet to be [a wallet] that offers a significant number of features while keeping the interface slick and user-friendly,” Decentral said in its announcement of Jaxx.
First released in 2016, Jaxx made a name for itself by being the first wallet app to support both bitcoin and ethereum. The combination of features, interface design and convenience made Jaxx a popular choice among crypto owners. By the end of 2017, more than 713,000 people had downloaded the Jaxx mobile apps. Since Decentral does not track downloads of its desktop app, the total Jaxx user base easily exceeds one million people.
Jaxx Liberty Beta
In July 2018, Decentral announced the beta release of Jaxx Liberty, the hot wallet’s latest incarnation. Jaxx Liberty extends the role of a wallet to become a dashboard for consumers’ everyday cryptocurrency needs. A portal will consolidate news and market data to help people make informed decisions. A rewards program based on Decentral’s loyalty token JXX will reward “engagement” with commercial partners.
Decentral rolled the beta program out to Canadians at the beginning of July, on Canada Day. The company will gradually expand the beta program to other countries over the summer. As with any beta software, be careful about using Jaxx Liberty. Even Decentral cautions that people should “continue to use the current Jaxx for frequent use until a general update [of Jaxx Liberty] is rolled out.”
The technology media often treats America’s Midwestern states as “flyover country”, but Nebraska is the center of development for crypto hot wallet Exodus. Chief Technical Officer JP Richardson and his co-founder Chief Creative Officer Daniel Castagnoli shared a frustration with the early bitcoin wallets.
“User experience hasn’t been a priority in the Bitcoin ecosystem,” Richardson explained to the /btc subreddit. “Exodus needs to create the best user experience possible.”
Richardson’s Reddit post in 2016 was the first public unveiling of Exodus. The wallet soon gained a devoted following in the crypto community despite some early stumbles. All bitcoin transactions on Exodus had to be suspended briefly due to the bitcoin cash hard fork’s volatile transition.
Jaxx lets you store 70 coins and tokens in dedicated wallets within the app.
Exodus lets you create dedicated wallets for 90 coins and tokens. Of these, 60 are ERC20 tokens that are grouped in a section of the Exodus interface called “Ethereum Assets”. You can send, receive and store these tokens just like a standalone cryptocurrency even though they are all recorded to the Ethereum blockchain.
You can deposit an unsupported ERC20 token into your Jaxx or Exodus wallet. Both wallets will simply record them within your ETH balance. However, you cannot manage the token’s balance within either wallet.
Neither Jaxx or Exodus support fiat currencies.
Both Jaxx and Exodus have integrated the ShapeShift API to let you convert one coin to another. However, your exchanges are limited to the coins supported by both ShapeShift and the wallet. For example, ShapeShift does not support gnosis (GNO) but Jaxx does. If you want to exchange gnosis for something else, you will need to use a service like Changelly or transfer your gnosis to a centralized exchange.
The same thing is true for Exodus, but it’s more complicated. Integrating a coin in the wallet with ShapeShift requires time and effort. Any of the tokens listed as Ethereum Assets cannot be exchanged — even if they are on the ShapeShift support list. Quantum (QTUM), for example is an Ethereum Asset and can’t be exchanged within Exodus.
Having said that, Exodus has 28 tradable coins and tokens that are supported by ShapeShift. Jaxx only has 21.
Neither Jaxx or Exodus charge fees for any exchanges. ShapeShift, however, builds a fee of about 0.5% into the exchange rate “spread”. The spread is the difference between the quoted exchange rate and the actual exchange rate ShapeShift finds on the open market.
Network fees are also a consideration, especially for people holding bitcoin. There is always a tradeoff between the network fees bitcoin miners charge to record your transaction to the blockchain and the speed of that transaction. Faster transactions cost more.
The Jaxx apps let you tweak the balance between speed and cost. Exodus, on the other hand, does not. The developers programmed Exodus to place a priority on transaction speed even if it means the transaction costs will be higher.
The nature of blockchain ledgers can make this difference very expensive. Unlike a bank which pools your money in one place, every bitcoin deposit is recorded in a separate place on the blockchain. If you buy a bitcoin every day for three days, those bitcoins are recorded in three different places. If you sell all three bitcoins, the network makes three separate transactions — and charges three separate fees.
While this affects Jaxx users as well as Exodus users, at least Jaxx users have the ability to choose lower fees.
Hard fork policies
Exodus is a smaller operation than Jaxx’s Decentral. As a result, they are very forthright about hard forks:
“Today, forks of every currency are seemingly out of control. Trying to support all these forks is simply not feasible for us, and often technically impossible.”
Exodus supported the bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold hard forks because they were so large. Exodus users who want to participate in forks of less popular altcoins must transfer their holdings to another wallet that supports that fork.
Jaxx’s developers are not as forthright about hard forks. If they support the fork, they tell their users, “you will never need to take any actions leading up to a hard fork.” As with Exodus, however, Jaxx users are on their own if they want to join an unsupported hard fork.
Security & Privacy
As decentralized wallets, Jaxx and Exodus provide security by never holding users’ coins and by never gathering users’ personal data. The drawback to this approach is that it places the burden of protecting the wallet on the users themselves. Simplistic passwords, phishing scams and other hacks could put their wallets at risk.
Jaxx and Exodus provide some protection through their system of so-called hierarchical deterministic keys. A hot wallet does not actually hold any cryptocurrency. Instead, it holds the private keys that point to where the coins are recorded on their respective blockchains. A 12-word backup phrase encrypts the private keys so hackers can’t drain the coins away. That is, of course, as long as the 12-word backup phrase is hidden from the hackers.
Exodus also adds a password to prevent unauthorized access to the backup phrase. When you first set up the Exodus app, you have the option to generate and email a backup link. If you ever need to reinstall Exodus, the link will launch the app and populate it with the password and backup phrase. You can only get into the app by entering the password correctly.
Jaxx does not password protect its app. Some people have criticized Decentral for taking this approach, saying that it compromises the security of users’ private keys. Decentral takes the position that, as a decentralized system, Jaxx cannot synchronize the password between apps. Convenience, in other words, takes priority over security. You can read a more detailed explanation of the security debate in the CoinIQ Jaxx Review.
Features and Interfaces
Jaxx is available on Windows, macOS and Linux desktops as well as on Android and iOS smartphones. You can also install a Jaxx extension in the Chrome browser.
Exodus is only available as apps on Windows, MacOS and Linux desktops. “We believe a mobile version of Exodus is inevitable,” the developers explain, “however, we are preferring to stand back and let market conditions shake out.”
In addition to features we’ve already discussed, like ShapeShift integration and tailoring bitcoin network fees, Jaxx lets you create an address book for frequently used blockchain addresses. The Temporary Address Book is stored locally in the app. Changing the backup phrase or reinstalling the app will erase all of the addresses.
As a preview of the new features in Liberty, the Jaxx app displays the fiat value of every coin you hold. A chart displays the distribution of crypto assets within your Jaxx wallet.
Jaxx offers apps on a wider range of platforms than Exodus yet manages to keep its interface consistent. Adjusting for the difference in screen layout and input modes, the apps have similar aesthetics, menus and layouts. A row at the top of the screen shows you the coin-specific wallets you’ve set up. The tabbed area at the left lets you switch between actions to send, receive or trade your coins. The app has a deep menu of settings for customization as well.
Desktop version of Jaxx. Source: Jaxx
Exodus, as a desktop-only app doesn’t have to do as much to accommodate different form factors which allows its developers to put more effort into the user experience. The portfolio section, for example, gives you a live update of the value of your hodlings based on the latest market pricing. Exodus also lets you customize its skins – within limits. All of the themes and alternate colors are based on similar dark mode patterns.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the Jaxx mobile app looks very similar to the desktop version. You will find all of the same features and menu items laid out in a similar approach. The Jaxx apps for Android and iOS receive fairly average ratings overall, but the opinions are split between gushing 5-star reviews or outrage-filled 1-star reviews. Many of the negative reviews come from people who did not make ERC20 token transactions correctly.
Both Jaxx and Exodus are great hot wallets for your day-to-day handling of cryptocurrencies. Like a physical wallet, these hot wallets are meant to be convenient rather than fully secure. So long as you treat them that way, either Jaxx or Exodus could be a fine choice.
Exodus is the better choice for many people. You get a more elegant interface (at least until Jaxx Liberty emerges from beta), more supported coins and tokens, and more tradable assets through ShapeShift.
People who want to keep more bitcoin, and interact with bitcoin more frequently, may need to look at Jaxx instead. The ability to manage the balance between transaction speed and network fees makes this hot wallet more affordable than Exodus.
Jaxx also comes out on top for people who are mobile only or who want the convenience of accessing their wallet on the go. The mobile apps have the same features and interface design as the desktop apps which makes switching from mobile to desktop relatively seamless.