7 Best Bitcoin Wallet Apps for Android
A lot of Bitcoin users feel apprehensive about using their precious cryptocurrency for fear of being hacked or their coins being stolen from hackers and other unscrupulous individuals.
Short of hiding Bitcoins under a mattress, which will be quite a miracle in itself, there are now many safe and convenient ways to send, receive, and do transactions with Bitcoin in a relatively safe and worry-free fashion.
And one of the best ways to do that is to get yourself a Bitcoin wallet and, better yet, a Bitcoin wallet app for your Android.
This article surveys the 7 best Android Bitcoin mobile wallet apps which are free for anyone to download using Google Play. It discusses the upsides and downsides of these apps and talks about how one can maximize the unique features available in each of them.
Some Words of Caution
Before discussing the details about Bitcoin wallet apps for your Android, there are some words of caution that every Bitcoin owner needs to pay attention to:
- Not all wallet apps available for free download are safe. Some might contain surreptitious malware which can lead to hackers stealing your coins.
- Do not store all your coins in a mobile wallet app. Store only some that will be sufficient for you to do a few transactions. But please don’t store all of them on your Android wallet app. If someone steals your mobile device, you run the risk of losing all of your cryptocurrencies.
- Which brings us to the 3rd word of caution: Each Bitcoin wallet app produces a 12 to 24 ‘seed’ words. These are the secret words that you will use to reinstall the wallet app and recover your coins in case you lost your mobile device or, for some reason, you can no longer use the app, and therefore needs to reinstall it. But please, pretty please, make sure you carefully write down the seed words and keep the document in a safe and secure place. Do not share the seed words with anyone.
What Is a Bitcoin Wallet?
A Bitcoin wallet is akin to your own personal bank safe. You are the only person with access to the private keys and nobody else. A lot of people have misconceptions that just because they have a place to park their cryptocurrencies in popular websites or coin exchanges that they have a secure wallet there.
I’m specifically referring to Coinbase and other major cryptocurrency exchanges as examples. People think that they can sleep soundly at night by simply storing the cryptocurrencies that they possess on their Coinbase account, for example. This false sense of security can lead to losing all your coins, including your shirt, if and when a hacker successfully barged and stole the precious coins of account holders (see for example the Mt. Gox case).
What Is a Bitcoin Hardware Wallet?
So far the best way to store cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and others is to get a hardware wallet. These are external gadgets that you can use to send, receive, and store coins. The most popular ones on the market at the moment are the Ledger Nano S and Tezor. They are small USB-type of devices which can easily be connected to a computer. Further, there are also so-called desktop wallets, which you can install on your PC or laptop, and can be used to store cryptocurrencies.
For convenience purposes though, especially in situations where you want to send and receive coins quickly, or purchase something at a store or business using your Bitcoin, the best and most practical way to do it is to get yourself a mobile wallet. You would need a mobile device to perform the transaction, especially that you would often be scanning the QR code to complete it. As an Android user, you would then need to download an app from Google Play in order to be able to carry out these transactions.
What Are the 7 Best Bitcoin Mobile Wallet Apps?
So without further ado, we’ve saved you precious time and headache by researching the 7 best Bitcoin wallet apps for your Android. And here they are:
Coinomi is one of the most popular Bitcoin wallet apps which has gained following since its introduction in 2015. It not only supports Bitcoin but also other major cryptocurrencies such as Dash, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and others.
The nice thing about this wallet app is that it has a cool feature which allows you to exchange your Bitcoin with other cryptocurrencies. The home screen also has an intuitive design where it displays the Bitcoins you currently possess plus the current marketplace and real-time value of some of the major cryptocurrencies.
Upon setup, the app provides a master seed comprised of 12 which will stay and never leave your device (and you have to take a note of this). Coinomi then gives you the option of setting up a password – a highly recommended move.
MyCelium Wallet for Bitcoin
This is by far the most well-received and highly praised Bitcoin wallet app as far as users are concerned (based on feedback published on Google Play). You can pair this mobile app with an actual hardware wallet like Ledger Nano S in order to add a layer of protection to your Bitcoins.
From a design standpoint, MyCelium is highly intuitive and user-friendly (one can receive BTC as well as send payments by a click of a button and by scanning the QR code).
An important security feature is the ability to add a PIN where the user will be prompted each time a transaction is performed.
GreenBits Wallet for Bitcoin
GreenBits is a prized Bitcoin Android wallet app because of its strong security features. Upon setup, you will be given the equivalent of a secret message comprised of 24 words that you will be able to use to install and reinstall the wallet on a desktop. You will need to provide these 24 words when your Android device gets lost and you need to retrieve your Bitcoins using another device.
Companies or businesses who also use this wallet service (GreenBits) can perform a transaction with one another almost instantaneously, skipping the need to spend time waiting for confirmation, which can be long, on the public ledger (blockchain). This Bitcoin wallet app has a strong security feature in the form of a PIN. Enter the wrong PIN three times though and your wallet decryption keys will disintegrate and fail to work. The only means to get your coins back is to reinstall using the 24 words given to you at the setup.
The design of the wallet is easy to use with the send and receive buttons. You can send your BTC by entering the address or by scanning the QR code. One of the cool things with this wallet app is that each payment generates a unique ‘hash’ which prevents swindlers and cheaters from spending the same coins twice.
Electrum Bitcoin Wallet
Electrum Bitcoin Wallet has quite a strong reputation among Bitcoin owners due to its impressive security features. The design is fairly intuitive and the wallet comes with its own QR scanner. You can generate a QR code that others can scan if they want to send BTC to you.
Installing this Bitcoin wallet creates 12 words called ‘seed’ which you need to write down and store safely because it is required to restore your wallet. The Electrum Bitcoin wallet also comes with a PIN and a two-factor authentication. You will be asked to provide the PIN for each transaction.
If you already have Electrum on your desktop, you have the option of setting your wallet app in the ‘watching’ only mode – meaning it will only display the balance. Design of the Electrum Bitcoin wallet app is fairly straightforward with a send and receive button.
If you want to hit the ground running right away without any fuss after downloading the app, then this Bitcoin Wallet is for you. This has got to be one of the easiest, if not the easiest, Bitcoin wallet app that’s available. One can literally send and receive Bitcoins as soon as the app has been installed. There is no PIN required or seed words to worry about. The design is simple and it shows your Bitcoin balance (mBTC – millibitcoin) including the value in your local currency by default (one can modify this to other national currencies). The only downside to simplicity is that any person who has the ability to log in to your Android can open the wallet and pilfer, and drain your Bitcoins if they wish so.
BreadWallet Android Bitcoin Wallet
If Bitcoin Wallet is easy, BreadWallet has got to be the easiest wallet to use. The design features only a ‘send’ and ‘receive’ buttons. With its startling simplicity though comes the vulnerability. Without any kind of PIN or authentication, it is vulnerable to theft. The Bitcoins can potentially get stolen if the Android device is lost and anyone with bad intentions gets a hold of it.
Jaxx Android Bitcoin Wallet
This is a fairly brand new wallet app. It is able to handle multiple cryptocurrencies and is able to communicate or pair with other devices allowing you to use the same Bitcoins either from your desktop or from mobile device.
So it is no longer the Wild West out there when it come to storing and using your Bitcoin. BTC transactions can now be done with ease using a mobile device. Feel free to download and try some of the wallet apps discussed in this article. It would be best practice for any cryptocurrency holder not to store a lot of coins on their mobile wallets. Keep only the amount that you think will get you going with some reasonably small transactions.