Electrum Wallet Review for 2019

March 19, 2019
electrum wallet review

Store Bitcoin on your Desktop

This is one of the oldest established Bitcoin software wallets. Created by Thomas Voegtlin in 2011, it has been developed and improved by numerous contributors as the code is open source. This wallet is client based and works as a piece of software you can download and run on your desktop computer. It is not available for mobile or other platforms at the moment. You can acquire it here.

What is Electrum?

This is a bitcoin wallet for desktop that can be used with Linux, Mac, and Windows. Developed by a German computer scientist, this software was built to be efficient and lightweight.

Because the open source nature of the software, many developers have come together to contribute to the wallets development, making it one of the most trusted decentralized projects.

One core feature of the Electrum is its integration with major hardware wallets. Hardware wallets like the Ledger Nano, Keepkey, and Trezor. This means you can use your hardware wallets as an extra layer of security on your desktop in conjunction with Electrum.

Compatibility

Electrum can be used with Linux, Mac, and Windows. As of 2016, it can also be used with Android.

This software has the following enticing features:

  • Seed recovery phrases for if you lose access to your wallet
  • Option for Multi-signature wallet 
  • In-wallet encryption
  • Two-factor authentication option
  • Hardware wallet integration

The Bitcoin network doesn't limit this wallets functionality.

When you use Electrum, your private keys are kept on your computer and not shared with the wallet’s servers.

Because the wallet servers don’t store any user information, you can export your private keys and migrate between servers at will.

Another security precaution included is that Electrum doesn’t download any scripts when helping you access your funds, so hackers are not able to attack you in this way.

Decentralization protects the software from point of failure and being open source, anyone can run a client.

Electrum is fast. Because the client doesn't download the blockchain, it is always up to date with no delays.

Because your private keys never leave your computer to be transmitted over the internet, this wallet is safe. You don't have to trust the server with your assets. The server doesn't retain private information, and it doesn't need to know anything about you.

You can recover your account with secret phrases. You can also keep your private keys offline as a kind of cold wallet.

Many Redditors feel that Electrum is one of the best desktop wallets you can use on a desktop computer. You can find more than a few examples of times it has been recommended on cryptocurrency subreddits.

Now that I've covered some of the software's most impressive features let's discuss how it works.

User Interface and Set Up

With installation flexibility, Electrum has easy installation features that make it a breeze, even for someone that isn't technical. However, if you're a programmer or planning to develop with Electrum, you can also use a Python source installation to get up and running.

All you have to do is run the wizard to create a new wallet. You have a few options. You can import an existing wallet, and you can create a multi-signature wallet, a two-factor authentication wallet, or just your standard bitcoin wallet. One of the more secure options is the multi-sig or two-factor option. That should keep your assets safe from hackers trying to break in.

Fees for Bitcoin

There are fees Electrum charges for sending Bitcoin to other addresses. There is a flat rate of 0.2 mBTC. In some cases, you can reduce the fee to 0.1 mBTC.

The transaction fee is included in the sum of the amount you want to send. The Electrum platform will issue a warning if the total transaction amount exceeds your wallet balance.

Whenever you send coin to another address, the transaction fee is included in the sum you want to send. If your total transaction exceeds the amount of your wallet balance, the Electrum app will show you a warning.

*Note: mBTC means one-thousandth of a bitcoin or millibitcoin

Security

Electrum has some robust security features. With the ability to create multi-sig wallets, or two-factor authentication wallets, you have extra layers of protection from hackers. These features exist to complement the preexisting decentralized approach to Electrum's functionality. Multi-sig and Two-factor help keep your data secure, along with the fact that your keys are stored locally.

This means that from the very beginning, you have control of your money, and no one can interfere or take it from you. Overall these features comprise a relatively airtight security system for your funds.

A long time ago, Electrum used to have a vulnerability that might allow hackers to steal funds through compromised websites. So if you logged into your wallet while the website was open in your browser, they could log your password. This vulnerability has already been patched, so there’s no reason to worry it them now.

So far, this has been the only major vulnerability Electrum has had to worry about, so in comparison to other wallets or security systems, it's doing pretty well. As long you are using an updated version of Electrum, you should be well off. It's worth noting that you have to manually update the client, as it doesn't do so on its own.

Which currencies can I store?

Electrum stores only Bitcoin, but there is a litecoin version that can be found here.

How do I make Bitcoin payments with Electrum?

Click the “Send” Tab, then in the “Pay To” field, paste the bitcoin address you want to send coin to from the clipboard.

After you enter your password, the funds will be released, and your transaction will start processing.

You can also receive payments with electrum. Open the “Receive” tab, and your address can be provided to whoever wants to send you coin. Anyone who has your address can send coin to your wallet.

How secure is Electrum?

Because of the encryption techniques used to secure your private keys, Electrum is considered one of the more secure bitcoin wallets out there.

The random phrases Electrum uses to generate your private keys increases the security of your seed. The Electrum seed has an equivalent level of security with a Bitcoin private key.

You don’t want to lose your seed. It’s the only way you can recover your assets, should you lose access to your computer. The password you use when you create the Electrum wallet will also be required when you make payments.

Where can I get Electrum?

You can download the electrum wallet at electrum.org, the official website of the platform. You can use Keepkey, Trezor, and Ledger hardware wallets with the application to store your Bitcoin.

Many people say that Electrum is still one of the best compromises between convenience and privacy and security. It is high in functionality and shouldn’t cause you many problems to use.

PROS

  • Good privacy features
  • Easy and fast to set up
  • Integrates with hardware wallets

CONS

  • Supports only bitcoin
  • Not the best choice for beginners

Homescreen

When you first land on Electrum’s home screen, you’ll find that it’s more welcoming than it used to with featured images and even articles.

Homescreen

After clicking "download," you can choose whether you want the "easy installation" or more advanced methods, including python and developer installations. It's pretty easy to see where to go if you're going to be using the software to store your Bitcoin.

The install process isn't complicated; just follow the wizard. It will also ask you which installation method during the wizard prompts. Getting everything installed and set up takes less than one minute.

Electrum Setup Screen

Simple and to the point 

When you finally get into the client, you’ll find it’s pretty straight-forward. You have different tabs at the top allowing you to choose between receiving and sending Bitcoin and other wallet options.

Electrum wallet Send Screen

On the bottom of the client, you can find the system settings, where you can change your password, and check your network connectivity. They also offer a “lite” mode where you can send Bitcoin to other wallets.

The wallet mainly focuses on functionality as opposed to the user experience. Meaning that if you don't already know anything about Bitcoin, this wallet might not come as extremely comforting. However, I don't think that Electrum is challenging to get used to.

Electrum provides extensive documentation about the wallet and has an active BitcoinTalk section where you can ask questions and get answers.

Community Sentiment

In general, the cryptocurrency community holds Electrum in high regard. It's one of the most popular ways to secure your Bitcoin on your desktop. It's a favorite among veteran enthusiasts as well as the more technically inclines. More than a few cryptocurrency websites consider it to be one of the best options for software as well.

In spite of its failures, Electrum seems to have secured itself a position of trust in the community. It’s primarily because of the team’s continued commitment to improvement. They do their best to improve security and user controls.

Support

Having trouble getting your wallet set up? There are more than enough resources where you can find answers to any of the questions you might have about Electrum. You can either go to the Bitcointalk forum or the Subreddit for answers. There’s also a support page you can visit with several different articles and resources.

Conclusion

So, in summary, Electrum is a secure, fast, and stable wallet, though it might not be the best choice for beginners. The software has been improved a great deal since it was first released and has earned the trust of the Reddit community. If you know enough about Bitcoin to operate the wallet appropriately, you should be fine to use this wallet.

Out of many different  clients that are available out there, the Electrum wallet is one of the most developed. It has nearly 9,000 comments on Github, the developer community, and third-party plug-in support. The open-source nature has made it into a sandbox for add-ons and development. The flexibility and developer following has added a way for the eventual inclusion of popular altcoins.

As one of the older clients, Electrum has a great combination of security features. The software's developers are committed to continuing to improve the software, which adds some confidence when downloading and putting the wallet to good use. It may not look pretty, but it is functional.

Questions Asked and Replies

What is the best and safest Bitcoin wallet?

Electrum is one of the highest rated, but check my guide on the most secure wallets for more details.

Is Electrum a good wallet?

Many people say that Electrum is still one of the best compromises between convenience and privacy and security. It is high in functionality and shouldn’t cause you many problems to use.

Does Electrum Support Ripple?

No, Electrum only provides support for Bitcoin. 

Can Electrum hold Ethereum?

No, only Bitcoin.

About the author

Jason Dean

Hey there, welcome to Global Crypto.Org. I’m Jason Dean, an American web publisher living in Colorado. I have been involved in the world of cryptocurrencies since 2016 and since then, I have been activity supporting Bitcoin as a proponent of liberty, opposed to censorship.

Click here to add a comment

Leave a comment: