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Argent Wallet: a short guide and review

Among Ethereum-based wallets there are some like Argent that are gaining popularity thanks to the ease of use and simplified access to DeFi, the great innovation brought by the blockchain ranked 2nd in terms of market capitalization.

Argent Wallet is an Ethereum non-custodial wallet that aims to make it easy to use cryptocurrencies, breaking down access barriers in order to allow users to be in control of their money and trade it easily in a decentralized way.

Argent Wallet was launched in 2018 and is supported by high profile investors such as Index Ventures, Creandum, Firstminute Capital and the founder of Compound. Last month the London-based startup received additional funding of $12 million from Paradigm, the Sequoia Capital fund.

Features of Argent Wallet

Argent Wallet allows accessing the most popular DeFi tools such as Maker and Compound to borrow or earn interest on cryptocurrencies, guaranteeing a high degree of security and ease of use. The team is evaluating what other decentralized finance protocols to integrate into the application through a Twitter survey.

The app includes a Kyber Network-based exchange to facilitate exchanges between ERC20 tokens (DAI, USDC, BAT, etc.) and ETH, and thanks to the partnership with Moonpay it is possible to buy cryptocurrencies with a credit/debit card or a traditional bank transfer while remaining within the app. In this case, a KYC is obviously required.

To facilitate the onboarding of new users, who often do not have any ETH or Ethereum token, Argent Wallet uses meta-transactions. Essentially, the cost of GAS to send ETH and ERC20 tokens to other Ethereum addresses and .argent.xyz addresses is paid by Argent Wallet.

Transactions made with DeFi protocols integrated into the app are also free of charge, though the team expects in the future to monetize by introducing small commissions on the use of other Ethereum protocols, which the user can easily benefit from thanks to the integration with WalletConnect.

Argent Wallet also exploits the potential of ENS (Ethereum Name Service) to greatly simplify the management of its wallet. During the creation of the portfolio, Argent’s smart contract registers an ENS address for free, such as philcollins.argent.xyz. This type of address is useful for easily receiving ETH and ERC20 tokens, as well as among Argent users, also from any Ethereum wallet.

The address thus created can also be visited by a web browser, allowing you to view the relevant QR code and the complete Ethereum address.

An innovative approach to wallet security

Argent Wallet uses two levels of protection, one on the phone and one on the level of the smart contract.

The security of the smartphone app is on a par with the best banking apps and prevents an attacker from accessing the app with malware and emptying users’ wallets. It uses all the security features available on iOS and Android devices such as biometrics, key fobs and Secure Enclave, as well as a six-user PIN code to encrypt the private key that remains inside the phone. The wallet’s private key is encrypted inside the mobile device so that only the device owner can access it.

This way Argent Wallet prevents the user from having to keep a “seed” or recovery phrase, greatly improving the user experience.

However, it is on the smart contract side that Argent Wallet is particularly innovative and stands out from other Ethereum wallets. Argent Wallet is a smart contract-based wallet, i.e. a “smart wallet” that harnesses the potential of Ethereum to provide users with unique security features.

User funds are held by Argent’s smart contract, which cannot be tampered with by the team or anyone else and is based on Guardians. A Guardian is an account on the Ethereum blockchain that the user gives permission in order to recover the wallet in case of device loss, and protects against attacks that try to steal funds. Or to bypass the user’s daily spending limit settings before 24 hours.  

A Guardian account can be a hardware wallet or other mobile device, a MetaMask account, a person the user trusts like a friend or family member, or Argent Guard, the integrated security service. 

It is possible to choose any combination of Guardians, and whenever a security intervention such as wallet retrieval is required it must be approved by the majority of Guardians.

This innovation opens up the use of the wallet even to people who are unfamiliar with blockchain technology and aims to facilitate the entry of new users. So far Argent Wallet has thousands of users and several million dollars in assets held in its smart contract.

Comparison with other DeFi wallets

Argent Wallet is an excellent product, especially considering the security features and ease of use due to the meta transactions.

However, the activation of the wallet requires a GAS cost covered by the team, so once installed it is necessary to wait in a sort of queue for it to become operational: unless a Golden Ticket is received from someone who is already using it.

Eidoo, which now represents the industry standard, is a much more complete product, offering also the integration with other blockchains like Bitcoin and Litecoin, the possibility to cash out cryptocurrencies, the desktop version, and has recently introduced a debit card that makes it extremely interesting for all types of users.