ELECTRUM Review 2019

ELECTRUMReview

The Electrum cryptocurrency wallet is a desktop Bitcoin wallet that’s available for free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. The wallet was created in 2011 and is a lightweight Bitcoin client wallet which allows users to connect to external servers rather than download the entire Bitcoin blockchain by running a full node. The Electrum wallet is simple to use and focuses more on being a feature-rich wallet rather than on user-friendliness and design. See below, a list of Electrum’s most notable features.

Contents

  • Safe & Secure

Users are in full control of their private keys and they are heavily encrypted and stored on the user’s computer. They never leave your computer and are never shared with Electrums servers. Also, users can export these private keys and use them in other Bitcoin clients, so no one is ever locked into using Electrum.

  • Fast

Electrum is very fast as users do not need to download the entire blockchain as it requests this information from Electrum’s servers that index the Bitcoin blockchain.

  • Recovery

If anything were to happen to your computer, there is no need to worry. Your funds can be recovered via a secret recover phrase that’s provided to you upon the installation and setup of your Electrum wallet.

  • No Downtimes

The Electrum servers are decentralized and redundant, meaning your wallet will always be running with no downtime. Also, Electrum is open source and the code has been vetted by various professionals in the industry and is resistant to a central point of failure.

  • Proof Checking

All transactions with the Electrum wallet are verified in your history by using SPV.

  • Cold Storage

Your private keys are stored offline and users can go online with a watch the only wallet.

  • Multi-Sig

Users can split the permission to spend their Bitcoin between several wallets.

  • Hardware Wallet Integration

Electrum supports hardware wallet integration with all the major hardware wallets including the Ledger Nano S, Trezor, and Keepkey. All of the Electrum features can be used by unlocking your Electrum wallet with any of these hardware wallets.

  • Tor Support

Electrum is one of the only Bitcoin wallets that supports Tor to further protect the user’s privacy. This integration makes it possible for users to block their IP address from external servers.

OS Compatibility

The Electrum wallet is a desktop wallet that’s compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. The wallet can be downloaded for free from the Electrum website. In addition to the original desktop wallets, Electrum is now available on mobile Android devices. The Electrum wallet application can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store and supports the same features as the desktop option.

Who should use it?

The Electrum wallet is a highly reputable Bitcoin wallet among cryptocurrency users. It is well established as it was founded in 2011 and has built up a large customer base. The wallet has a very simplistic design and is easy to use, but new comers to Bitcoin may be confused as the wallet does not focus on user experience but rather functionality. That being said, the Electrum wallet is best for users who are at least a little technical savvy and understand what Bitcoin is and how it works. We wouldn’t say the Electrum wallet is built for the mainstream, but rather for more experienced cryptocurrency users. The wallet has some advanced functionality and a setup process which requires some prior knowledge with the storing and handling of cryptocurrency.

Security

The most important aspect of any cryptocurrency wallet is security. It takes precedence over everything else including convenience, usability, features, etc. Hardware wallets are the most secure but less convenient, and online wallets are the most convenient but less secure. As for the Electrum wallet, it offers a combination of both security and convenience as it is a software desktop wallet. Desktop wallets like Electrum are more secure than online wallets because the crypto is stored on your personal computer rather than on a centralized server that could be hacked or discontinued at any time. However, desktop wallets like Electrum are less secure than hardware wallets because they are stored on your computer which is connected to the internet, thus are vulnerable to malware and keyloggers. Therefore, it is very important to use best practices with the Electrum wallet by keeping your computer clean with a sophisticated anti-virus program and avoid downloading infected files with malware.

While Electrum is not as secure as hardware wallets, it does implement numerous security features that greatly increase the security of the wallet. For instance, users can add an additional layer of protection by protecting their wallet with two-factor authentication for logging in and making transactions. As well, users can create a multi-sig address to split the permission for spending your Bitcoin between several wallets. Another security measure users can implement is the use of hardware wallets for unlocking their Electrum wallet. This allows users to use all the functionality of the Electrum wallet while keeping it very secure with hardware wallet integration.  With the use of these added security measures, Electrum offers a very safe and secure crypto wallet for storing and transacting your Bitcoin. Now, a security measure of the Electrum wallet which is automatically incorporated into the software is the highly advanced encryption techniques to protect the user’s private keys. This encryption ensures the private keys are well protected from hackers or theft or loss of your device. All in all, the Electrum wallet is highly secure and is considered one of the safest and most secure software wallets in the industry.

Privacy

Electrum takes the privacy of their users very seriously and allows them to remain completely anonymous. No identification information is required to download and create an Electrum wallet. The user’s wallet and private keys are stored solely on their computer or mobile device, they are never stored or shared with any third parties or Electrum servers. Also, the Electrum wallet can be used with Tor which blocks the users IP address from external servers, thus adding an additional layer of privacy for users. Therefore, the Electrum wallet is more private than many other desktop or software wallets, however, it does not support advanced blockchain privacy features. The users’ public address is visible to everyone and transactions can be viewed on the blockchain. Therefore, blockchain investigators can track an account this way and possibly discover the identity of the user.

Backup Features

One of the biggest concerns and fears of people who hold and use cryptocurrencies is the possibility of losing their funds forever. After all, cryptocurrencies are not stored, managed or protected by a bank. The user manages and stores their own cryptocurrency and thus must take precautionary measures to keep it safe. If a user’s desktop computer or mobile device with their Electrum wallet is lost, stolen or destroyed, can they recover their funds? The answer is yes. Upon setting up the Electrum wallet, a deterministic key phrase is randomly generated using advanced offline algorithms. The user must write this key phrase on a piece of paper and store it offline in a safe and secure place. Using this key phrase, the user can restore their wallet by downloading it on another computer or mobile device and entering the key phrase in the restore process. The wallet will then be loaded onto the new device just as it was with your private keys and coins. Users can use this key phrase to hold multiple of the same Electrum wallets across numerous computers or mobile devices.

Supported Coins

The Electrum wallet only supports the storage of Bitcoin (BTC). While there are thousands of cryptocurrencies available, Electrum has stuck to their roots by solely focusing on Bitcoin alone to provide a highly secure, fast and efficient Bitcoin wallet. By only supporting Bitcoin, the Electrum wallet provides a polished Bitcoin storage experience with increased transaction speed and efficiency.

Can you trade cryptocurrencies from inside the wallet?

Unfortunately, the Electrum wallet is only used for storing and transacting Bitcoin. Users can not buy, sell, or trade their Bitcoin from within the wallet. If a user wants to trade their Bitcoin, they will need to send their Bitcoin to a cryptocurrency exchange or another wallet that supports cryptocurrency trading.

Price

The Electrum wallet is free to download from the Electrum website for desktop computers and from the Google Play Store for Android mobile devices. While the wallet is free to download, standard transaction fees apply when sending Bitcoin from the wallet. The transaction fee (network fee) is calculated from the amount of Bitcoin to be sent and the default network fees are set to the minimum. If a user wants the transaction to be sent quicker, they can raise the transaction fee, so their transaction is sent before others that are sent at the same time with lower transaction fees. All in all, the Electrum wallet has no added fees for transacting crypto, unlike some other wallets.

Setup Guide & How to Use it

The Electrum wallet can easily be downloaded, installed and setup in a matter of minutes. The installation wizard walks you through step by step making it super easy for even tech illiterate people. As well, once the wallet is setup it’s very easy and straightforward to begin using. See below, a step by step guide to setting up and using the Electrum wallet on any desktop computer.

Step 1: Download the Electrum Wallet

Using your computer, go to the Electrum website and download the Electrum wallet for either Windows, Mac, or Linux.

 Step 2: Install

Once downloaded, click install and the installation wizard will be brought up. You will first be asked which wallet you want to create. The options are; standard wallet, wallet with two-factor authentication, multi-signature wallet, import Bitcoin address or private keys. No matter which wallet you choose, they have the same steps, except for an added step for the two-factor authentication and multi-signature wallets.

Step 3:  Keystore

In this step, you will be asked if you want to create a new seed or restore a wallet using an existing seed. You can also set the wallet up using a hardware wallet in this step. (We will create a new seed as if we didn’t have a hardware wallet or a previous Electrum wallet.)

Step 4: Recovery Seed

After clicking “create a new seed”, you will be shown a 12-word recover seed. You must write this down on a piece of paper and then verify it in the next window after you have already written it down.

Step 5: Set Password

After you have securely stored away from your recovery seed offline, you will be asked to create a password. After that, the Electrum wallet is fully setup and ready to use.

The wallet is very minimalistic and does not have a flashy user interface like many other wallets. However, the wallet functions very well and includes the standard send, receive and balance tabs, as well as invoicing, a contacts list, transaction history and private messaging.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Well established and reputable
  • Feature rich
  • Hardware wallet integration

Cons

  • Only supports Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Not as secure as hardware wallets
  • User interface is plain and unattractive

Support

The Electrum wallet is a well established Bitcoin wallet with a very helpful and informative community. Numerous tutorials and FAQs can be found on the Bitcoin Talk forum and subreddit. As well, users can find a very extensive and highly comprehensive support page on the Electrum website. The support page features numerous documents, articles, tutorials, and FAQs for a user to easily browse. Also, users can find official announcements via the Electrum Twitter page.

Summary

Overall, the Electrum desktop wallet is an excellent Bitcoin storage solution for users looking for a combination of convenience and security. The wallet is well established and highly trusted among people in the cryptocurrency industry. The user interface is very simple, and the wallet has numerous interesting features. Security and user privacy are both very important aspects of the Electrum wallet and it performs well in both these areas. All in all, the Electrum wallet is an excellent Bitcoin storage solution for anyone looking for a simple, secure, and convenient Bitcoin storage.

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Coins Available

  • Bitcoin

Wallet Features

FeaturesINFO
Wallet TypeHot
Web Interface:No
Mobile App:Yes
Desktop Client:Yes
Independent Wallet:Yes
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