Google Play Store is full of various Bitcoin wallets. It can be challenging to choose the right option, especially for new users. We will review three wallet apps that we believe are the best among the bunch. Criteria we used for selecting candidates was based on Play Store ratings (minimum of 4 stars), wallet features, user-friendliness, and security. Security is hard to gauge properly, but all of them should be roughly at the same level, with one exception that is leading the pack. Frequent updates also fall into this category and are a must.
Another important thing we considered is Segwit support. We also excluded wallets that require any kind of registration or online account creation. That allowed us to discard most wallets out there immediately and hopefully focus on the good stuff. Some wallets that otherwise meet our criteria were excluded due to recent security and airdrop controversies.
We will cover three of them starting with Samourai Bitcoin Android wallet.
This wallet is all about security and enhancing Bitcoin pseudo-anonymity. The interface is simple and closely follows stealth Samourai style with its dark shades. You will immediately notice that all security best practices are implemented. Screenshots are not allowed to be taken. That prevents nefarious apps from snooping on your seed phrase. It also prevents nontechnical users from this lazy practice of storing their seed phrase as a screenshot. Keypad for entering your pin is always randomized. Tor and VPN connections are supported through Orbot and OpenVPN android applications.
Samourai Features That Increase Anonymity
Other unique anonymizing features Samourai supports are as follows:
- Staggered delivery.
You can read a detailed explanation of the above tools on Samourai features page. Do take a look and familiarize yourself with the anonymity arsenal you have at your disposal.
Wallet supports all types of addresses and users can easily switch between legacy and Segwit wallets. One extremely useful feature Samourai supports is increasing fees on transactions that are stuck because an insufficient fee was used initially. This is a big time saver if you are in a hurry and transaction isn’t getting confirmed due to clogged BTC mempool. Just bump up the fee, and it will fly on top of miners list. Another handy option is “Sweep private key” which allows you to import funds from paper wallets quickly.
Overall this is a very nice wallet aimed towards slightly more advanced users. The only thing we don’t like about this wallet is that it has been in a beta state for a very long time. Hence users can’t rate it and give feedback on Play Store. Another thing to note is that you won’t see Fiat equivalents of your Bitcoin holdings in Samourai. They removed this option and didn’t plan to add it back. Even if you don’t like this at first, in the end, you can benefit from it. It will force you to start thinking in Bitcoin terms when making transactions.
Ideal audience: advanced users that want to make the most out of Bitcoin’s limited anonymity features.
The link below will take you to the Play Store where you can download Samourai Bitcoin Android wallet.
Let’s start with the user interface which is outdated and doesn’t follow the latest Google material design guidelines. UI revamp would be more than welcome and would increase adoption.
Like Samourai, Mycelium also has a handy private key sweeping option, and they call it “Cold Storage Spending”. One controversial feature they have is the Address Book. This is definitely handy but encourages reusing the same Bitcoin address which is a bad practice to develop. Keep that in mind and try to use a new address for every new payment you receive, whenever possible.
Custom transaction fees are available, and users can easily select how much they want to spend depending on their time preference. Mycelium supports Segwit and users can choose which type of address they want to use on the fly.
Unique Features & Security
A feature that is not seen often is hardware wallet support. If your Android smartphone supports OTG, you can use your hardware wallets (both Ledger and Trezor are supported) through Mycelium. See our screenshot gallery above and guide how it works with Ledger here.
Security wise, they use custom keyboard during initial wallet creation. The wallet is encrypted with six number pin and scrambled keyboard is supported. Fingerprint authentication, on the other hand, is not. One interesting feature they support is transacting through the Tor network, which improves your anonymity. Orbot needs to be installed before it can function properly.
Mycelium also includes some features that can be seen as “bloatware”. Coinapult integration, a business tab that serves as unobtrusive ads alternative, various options for buying Bitcoin, and external exchange integration. They also seem to be launching a crowdsale. But all of those can be easily ignored for now, and some can prove to be useful occasionally.
Ideal audience: everyone that is looking for a reliable wallet and doesn’t mind the outdated interface.
Link below will take you to the Play Store where you can download Mycelium Bitcoin Android wallet.
This wallet doesn’t satisfy one of our criteria. Still, we decided to include it anyway as we think Google Play rating isn’t justified in this case. Electrum is one of the oldest Bitcoin wallets and has been a solid option throughout the years. Besides, we were running out of options. Like Mycelium, Electrum interface is outdated and needs a revamp. However, the essential features are present. Segwit is fully supported, and new users are given the option if they want to use it or not. During seed creation, Electrum offers a custom on-screen keyboard for entering your seed phrase to increase security. The wallet is encrypted with a six number pin code, but unfortunately, fingerprint unlock is not supported. Custom transaction fees are available. Users can create as many public keys as they want. And that’s pretty much it. There aren’t many settings available, but the ones that are included work as expected.
Ideal audience: users that are looking for a simple wallet with old school interface.
Link below will take you to the Play Store where you can download Electrum Bitcoin Android wallet.
Bonus Option: Trust Wallet
Trust Wallet has been acquired by Binance and is now under its hat. It isn’t a BTC wallet exclusively. Multiple cryptocurrencies are supported which makes it a solid option for users that don’t want to use multiple wallets. Fingerprint authentication is automatically activated when you setup passcode in app settings. That makes it the only wallet on this list with biometrics support. The passcode can contain six characters, numbers only and the app doesn’t offer you a choice to use a stronger password or a pin. Wallet follows proper security guidelines and automatically generates new BTC address after each use. We didn’t encounter any issues while using the wallet for testing purposes; it works as expected.
Wallet setup is straightforward. It guides you through the whole process. Don’t forget to write down your seed phrase and store it in a safe location. The interface is user-friendly and should be easy to use for crypto newbies. We don’t like that the wallet doesn’t support setting up custom transaction fees. But we guess most users won’t mind it as default ones offer solid time to cost ratio. Trust Wallet is actively maintained, and updates are frequently released.
Ideal audience: new users that want modern and easy to use multi-currency wallet.
Link below will take you to the Play Store where you can download Trust Wallet Bitcoin Android wallet.
As we found during our testing, there is still plenty of room for the new wallets to enter the game. Every wallet we tested has its weak points and could be improved. One to rule them all is yet to be created. Until then, it is pretty obvious we prefer Samourai Bitcoin Android wallet.
The market seems to be focused on creating multi crypto wallets like the Trust Wallet we tested, but they are often bloated with ads and intrusive features. All of which are against the spirit of crypto. Choosing good options will only get harder as time goes by and new players enter the market.
Remember that mobile wallets are only meant to be used for small amounts, use cold paper wallets or hardware wallets for your main Bitcoin stash. Security always comes first, stay safe out there and remember: if you don’t own the seed phrase – you don’t own the coins.
Petar & Ana