The Electrum wallet is a decentralized Bitcoin wallet established in 2011 and so, besides being of the most popular crypto wallets, it is also one of the oldest. Its popularity stems from the fact that it is a simple wallet that focuses on giving users more advanced functionalities, personalized security, and wide hardware wallet compatibility. Furthermore, Electrum allows users to customize its aready fairly low transaction fee, impacting transaction speed from one side but empowering the user.
First impressions and overview
The fact that the Electrum wallet is still highly popular more than a decade since its establishment is an indication that it is a great crypto wallet that crypto enthusiasts trust. It is designed to be highly efficient but still lightweight and can connect to external servers eliminating the need to download large blockchain files to your desktop or phone. Like most other apps it's very easy to install, but the setup process is a bit more complex than many other wallets and newbies can have some difficulty figuring things out but eventually them too will be able to set up and use the wallet effectively. Overall, Electrum is a safe crypto wallet. For this purpose, users can fully control their private keys, which are also encrypted to maximize security while they remain in the user's computer and will never be shared with Electrum’s servers.
Most importantly, demonstrating Electrum's dedication to privacy, users don't have to provide any personal information to download and use the app, meaning you can remain completely anonymous.
Setting up an account
Setting up and using your Electrum account should be quite straightforward. Although the user interface could be more beginner-friendly, most people will not have any issues with it once they get used to the app.
How to create an account and make your first deposit
Step 1: Download the App
If you want to install the app on a desktop, visit the official Electrum website. There is a “Download Electrum” button at the bottom of the page. Click the button to be directed to a page with download options for different operating systems.
If you prefer installing the app on your phone, you can quickly locate it on the Google Play store. Alternatively, you can also choose the Android version from their website.
Step 2: Choose the installation method
Next, you have to choose the installation option from the four options below.
Restore/import existing wallet
Pro Tip: Choose the multisignature or 2FA wallet options for maximum security.
Step 3: Choose your seed phrase
You will be required to choose your seed phrase. You can choose to create a new seed phrase or use an existing seed when restoring a wallet. You can also choose to use a master key or hardware device. Make sure you write down the seen phrase, as you will have to re-enter it to confirm that you have written it down.
Finally, you should enter the encryption password and allow the wallet to sync. The synchronization usually takes a few seconds, and once completed, the wallet is ready for use.
Step 4: Make your first deposit
Electrum's set up is very minimalistic, with only the basic receive, send and balance tabs. When making your first deposit, you only need to generate and copy the wallet address or a QR code under the receive tab and use it to send BTC to your wallet. Same is the procedure to send Bitcoins.
Key features of the Electrum wallet
The Electrum wallet is quite feature-rich justifying why many experienced traders chose it over other more known products. Find below a brief overview of its main features:
Hardware wallet compatibility
Because the Electrum wallet offers hot storage, which is considered high risk, it is compatible with many hardware wallets to allow for offline storage (cold storage) of users' coins and protect them. The company itself recommends Ledger Nano S, but it is also compatible with other hardware wallets such as Trezor.
Redundant and decentralized servers
Thanks to all the company’s servers being redundant and decentralized, Electrum wallets are notorious for never having any downtimes. In addition to that, being a publicly accessible open-source software results many professionals constantly checking the code for potential vulnerabilities and errors and consequently strengthening its security.
Replace-by-fee (RBF) transactions
Another feature many crypto traders enjoy is that the wallet allows for RBF (replace-by-fee) transactions. This means that you can speed up your Bitcoin transactions when the network is congested by increasing the fee.
Another worth mentioning features is that Electrum supports third-party plugins and add-ons like multisignature services. This enables users to do more with the wallet and boosts its secure levels.
Electrum was developed as a cryptocurrency wallet for storing Bitcoin only and it remains so to this day. Probably the most important disadvantage of the wallet.
You can install and run the Electrum on desktops that use Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. It is also available Android devices and the app can be downloaded on Google's Play Store.
Countries & languages
While the wallet is available around the world in literally any country, it's only available in English.
The Electrum team understaning how important the online cryot community is for their product has a very active presence on spaces like Reddit, Twitter, or BitcoinTalk
For a start, they make all their official announcements on Twitter like all their new software releases and Android App updates are announced on Twitter first. Their Reddit and BitcoinTalk are mostly for customer support where users can ask any questions they have and interact with other Electrum wallet users. these forums can also be used to file problems and complains. Simply, post your experience on the forum, and community members will comment on your post with possible solutions for your query or Electrum's represenative can step in to sort your issue.
Interestingly, in May 2022, an Electrum user wanted to know how to transfer their wallet to a new online computer. The Electrum BitcoinTalk community members explained him different ways of doing it. One member even provided a link to a complete guide for downloading and verifying Electrum on the new computer.
While we strongly recommend Electrum wallet, some similar and trusted alternatives are:
Exodus - Exodus is a great alternative as it has a much better user interface than Electrum. The interface is more beginner-friendly, and the wallet supports more than fifteen different coins. However, it does not have the custom fees options for altcoins the same way Electrum does for Bitcoin.
Mycelium - Mycelium is another great alternative if you want an open-source wallet that provides a super-fast connection to the BTC network. The only gripe is that this wallet is less beginner-friendly than Electrum s newbies better check iPlayCrypto's Mycelium guide first.
eToro - The eToro crypto wallet scores high as an Electrum alternative by offering multi-crypto support, high security and in-app conversions. However, the fees are relatively higher, and the wallet is not available everywhere like Electrum.
Electrum does not have dedicated customer support like many other newer wallets, but a user can still get help with any issues they encounter. If you have queries, reading their rich official documentation should answer most of them. As mentioned above the Twitter, Reddit and BitcoinTalk Electrum communities can be very helpful in sorting issues you might face.
Electrum charges a fee per transaction when sending Bitcoins. The actual fee varies per transaction and is mostly based on historical averages. However the fee is quite low, and can be customized by choosing the sats/byte to pay under the advanced settings tab. Remember though that paying a higher fee will speed up the transaction so it depends on what you want the most, high speed or limited cost.
Electrum crypto wallet is designed for experienced traders looking for a more hands-on approach to creating and using their Bitcoin wallet. The wallet is feature-rich, guarantees maximum security for your Bitcoins, focuses on providing advanced functionalities for the advanced traders while keeping aspects like the interface basic.
Whether you are a whale looking for an anonymus wallet for your Bitcoins or a newbie wanting a safe option, Electrum is a great crypto wallet for all crypto aficionados.