Monolith is an Ethereum wallet that comes with a debit card and allows you to convert Ether as well as a select number of other tokens to fiat to top-up the card and spend it anywhere.
Monolith provides users an Ethereum "smart contract wallet", allowing them to send & receive Ethereum tokens as well as adding a few special security measures to their wallet. In addition, users receive a debit card, which allows them to easily cash out on their crypto and spend it anywhere.
Being available on both iOS and Android, Monolith is a viable alternative for people wanting to explore the Ethereum ecosystem while looking for a wallet with a decent user experience.
To set-up your wallet, you need to write down a 12-word seed phrase which you’ll be asked to re-enter to make sure you did it correctly (this secret phrase allows to recover your wallet in case you lose your phone!). Lastly, you have to choose a 6-digit PIN number. After that your wallet is ready to be used. However, if you opt to order the debit card, you have to enter additional information like name, address, a selfie and an ID document which you do through the app. Note that, although the card sign-up itself takes merely two minutes, you’ll need to wait for an additional 10-15 days for the card to arrive. It’s surprising that Monolith chooses a hugely insecure seed phrase recovery mechanism for its users, even though it advocates using smart contracts for its wallet. Argent, another Ethereum wallet provider has shown how smart contracts can be used to implement a more convenient wallet recovery process, which you can read about here.
Nevertheless, Monolith places a great deal of attention on security. Everytime users want to access the app they’re prompted to enter their chosen PIN. Moreover, users can set daily transaction limits for added security. Of course you can also choose to whitelist certain friends addresses, which are then exempted by this limit. Inside the app, users need to confirm all transactions with their PIN or Face ID on compatible devices.
Arguably, the main feature of the app is the debit card which can be used to sell crypto for fiat with little effort and spend it almost immediately after anywhere Visa is accepted. The tokens eligible for crypto-to-fiat conversion are: ETH, MKR, DAI, TKN, DGD, DGX. Unless you use Monolith’s own TKN token, you will pay a 2% fee for converting crypto to fiat. Because Monolith converts the crypto to fiat using an exchange, you’ll also pay a small spread on the exchange rate. Besides these particularities, the debit card follows standard rules: two ATM withdrawals per month are free, every additional withdrawal costs €0.85/ £0.75. Be aware that for international purchases there additional fees for both purchases and ATM withdrawals!
Unfortunately, this process only works one-way. Loading fiat money into the app to buy crypto is not possible. Another drawback is that because Monolith is a smart contract wallet, most interactions involve on-chain computation which come with a fee being paid to miners. For that purpose Monolith introduces the concept of a “Gas tank” that the user needs to fill up with ETH to pay for transactions every time the card is topped-up, the withdrawal limit is set or an address is being whitelisted.
Customer support can be reached via the app or on social media. Their staff is quick to respond but we experienced huge delays in getting our problems fixed. A cool feature is that you can shake the phone to communicate where in the app you experience the problem, which device you use etc. without having to type anything. Definitely, something more wallets should consider adding!
Overall, Monolith has created a wallet that is up to par with user expectations in the crypto space. The wallet architecture it has chosen promises lots of interesting and well-integrated features to be added. We expect applications from the DeFi space that will allow users to make loans, trade etc. to complement the feature set it offers today.