Bitcoin has been publicly released for more than 10 years now, however, despite being around for over a decade, it has only managed to be sparsely adopted, mostly by those with technical knowledge and a keen eye for profit.
The average person still has little to no idea about the basics of acquiring and safely storing Bitcoins. Part of the reason for this is the steep learning curve that comes with maintaining a full node on desktop.
One way to tackle this problem is by making a robust Bitcoin wallet available for Android devices. In comparison to IOS devices, Android devices control nearly 75% of the entire market share, and almost all mobile users have some experience with the operating system, making it an excellent stepping stone for those looking to get involved with cryptocurrencies.
In this article, we’ll be diving into the top 3 Bitcoin wallets for Android, and comparing their features to help you choose which is best for you.
Mycelium is often touted as the default Bitcoin wallet for mobile phone users, thanks to being hugely popular among both Android and iOS user device users. Initially launched under the name BitcoinSpinner in 2011, before rebranding to Mycelium in 2013, this wallet is widely regarded as among the most user-friendly wallets available.
One major drawback for Mycelium is its lack of a Mac and Windows compatibility. However, in some ways, this has worked out well for the wallet, since it has allowed the developers to focus all their attention on mobile usability, producing one of the best Bitcoin wallets available on Android.
Mycelium is one of the few leading Android Bitcoin wallets to support open protocol BitID integration by default, adding a layer of security to the wallet access process. Beyond this, Mycelium is also one of the few Android wallets to still support single key, xPriv or master seed based single address accounts.
- Third party integrations including Cashila, Coinapult, and Glidera.
- Inbuilt decentralized exchange called Local Trader functionality.
- Easy import-export of private keys for enhanced cold-storage options.
- HD wallet prevents address reuse, increasing privacy.
Electrum is the oldest of the three Bitcoin wallets that we are comparing here. It was first introduced in the last quarter of 2011 as an open source lightweight desktop wallet for Bitcoin. The Android version of Electrum was introduced in February 2016 and has since risen to become one of the highest rated Bitcoin wallets on the Play Store.
By default, Electrum supports bech32 SegWit addresses, but it can also support P2SH SegWit addresses, giving users a variety of address types to choose from. In addition to this, Electrum users are able to export their wallet to other Bitcoin wallets using their electrum seed phrase, allowing them to quickly move their portfolio between wallets if they choose to.
To speed up delayed transactions, Electrum makes use of the Child-Pays-For-Parent (CPFP) mechanism, however, there is an opt-in Replace-By-Fee (RBF) mechanism in place as well. To handle such advanced features the average user may have to face a steeper learning curve when compared to other Bitcoin Android wallets, but this is well worth the effort.
- Backed by a decentralized network of servers hence, hence no syncing issues.
- Supports third-party plugins.
- Command Line Interface for advanced users.
- No lock-in, transfer your funds to other wallets whenever you wish
GreenBits / BlockStream Green Wallet
GreenBits is a next-generation native Android wallet made by the same team behind the popular GreenAddress web wallet. Though the GreenBits Android wallet lacks some of the advanced features that GreenAddress boasts, it does receive regular updates, with new features being added often.
GreenBits makes use of the BitcoinJ library, meaning, it does not require a local copy of Bitcoin Core to process transactions. This makes it an extremely lightweight app for the end-user while retaining both Mainnet and Testnet facilities. This also means that GreenBits is compatible with hardware wallets such as the Ledger Nano S, allowing users to store their funds with absolute security when using the app.
The team at GreenBits is one of the earliest advocates of the Replace-By-Fee (RBF) mechanism, and make it a stand-out feature of the wallet. The team also has provisions to implement Lightning Network to support large scale micropayments in the near future, making GreenBits a truly future-proof Android wallet.
- BIP70 payment protocol implementation through clickable links, QRCode or NFC.
- On-demand generation of keys from a 25-word mnemonic sequence.
- Instant confirmation with double-spend protection.
- Locally stored random 256 bit AES password with brute-force protection.
|Wallet Name||Segwit Support||RBF vs CPFP||Sign Messages||Import Custom Addresses||Mnemonic Standard||Key Sweeping|
|MyCelium||YES||CPFP||NO||YES||BIP39 + BIP38||YES|
|Electrum||YES||Opt-in RBF + CPFP||YES||YES||BIP39||YES|
Looking for something more secure than an Android wallet to store your Bitcoins? See our guide to the top 3 Bitcoin hardware wallets with state-of-the-art security features!
Image credits: Electrum, GreenAddress, Mycelium