People just getting into Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will wonder what the best way to use Bitcoin is.
While you have a range of good Bitcoin wallet options across platforms, and some of the best are on mobile, one of the oldest and most trusted desktop solutions is definitely Electrum Bitcoin wallet.
Bitcoin’s Python Juggernaut
Electrum is built on Python and uses a different approach than a standard full node Bitcoin Core wallet.
Electrum relies on full nodes, but instead connects to servers, which are also built on custom code from the Electrum team.
The servers simply tell the client wallet what transactions are valid and invalid for the addresses within it, and relays transactions for the wallet. It does not control the wallet.
Electrum is incredibly popular, and as such, the subject of frequent attempted attacks. It recently announced it will be supporting Lightning Network.
Installing and using Electrum is quick and simple. We’ll include a little guide here, but first some pointers.
One thing to know about Electrum is that it’s highly portable. By keeping track of your wallet file and knowing your password, you can move between devices as often as you like.
Installing Electrum is as quick and easy as installing any other application, and it works on every device, including Windows, Linux, Mac, and Android.
Electrum is far from the most popular mobile solution, but it can be used for that as well. These days, a number of wallets are emerging which allow you to have one master wallet across devices. But for people simply looking to hold and use BTC, Electrum is great.
Electrum features an easy to understand fee system and user interface, and allows the user to own their private keys.
That means that you can export the private keys and import them into another Bitcoin wallet, such as Bitcoin Core. Some wallets don’t allow for import, but rather encourage you to “sweep” your funds.
Installing and Using Electrum
As we mentioned, Electrum is the subject of frequent attacks. As such, you’ll want to ensure you’re using genuine software from Electrum.org, and no other website.
One of the ways that scammers get people to install faulty versions of the software is to put up a fake website that looks like the official one.
Go to the official site and download the software. Now, install the application after you’ve downloaded it.
Once that’s done, open it up. You’ll go through a process of creating a new wallet, with an optional password that you should definitely set.
Otherwise your money will be sitting unencrypted on your hard drive, which means anyone with access could potentially steal it with ease.
Remember, Bitcoin is nothing like a bank account. It’s more like gold, cash, or bearer assets sitting in your possession.
Now, as you see, with ease, you have a Bitcoin wallet that can receive and send. Sometimes that’s all you need, and certainly a lightweight option makes sense for users not fully invested yet.
Eventually, you may consider a “full node” wallet, such as Bitcoin Core.
These can take longer to install, as you must download dozens of gigabytes worth of blockchain data. The nice thing about Electrum is that you have no need of doing that, although some would argue that means you’re now relying on the server operators.