There are a plethora of Android Bitcoin Wallets currently on the market. So many in fact, that it can be hard to decide on the right wallet to download.
Controlling over 70% of the Operating System market for mobile devices, it is no wonder Android its fair share of wallets. Moreover, avid Bitcoin users may naturally gravitate towards Android phones as there are numerous customization options given its open source code.
However, what is the best Android bitcoin wallet?
In this piece, I will take an in-depth look at the best Bitcoin wallets available on Android. I will also give you some top-tips to secure your phone and hodl your coins.
Top 10 Android Bitcoin Wallets
Although “best” can sometimes be a subjective term, there are a number of objective measures that I have used to determine this selection of wallets.
For example, everyone will agree that security is paramount. Is the wallet still supported? Is it open source? Have there been any security breaches in the past? These are all important safety questions that need to be answered for any wallet, mobile or otherwise.
It also helps if the wallet that you want to use does not require a Phd to use it. User experience is essential if you want to be able to send Bitcoin as easily as you swipe with your credit card.
Based on this criteria, below is my list of the top 10 Bitcoin wallets.
1. Electrum Bitcoin Wallet
The Electrum Bitcoin wallet is a well-known mobile Bitcoin wallet. It certainly is popular too, with over 100,000 downloads from the Play store. That said, it also has a fairly low 3.3-star rating.
The wallet is a heuristic deterministic (HD) wallet and when you first install the wallet you’ll be given a 12-word “seed” phrase that can be used later to recover your wallet on another device if your current device is broken, lost, or stolen. This means you can’t lose your Bitcoin by losing access to your wallet.
Screenshots of the Electrum Android Wallet. Source: Google Play
The Electrum team understands the extra security needed for mobile wallets, and your seed and private keys never leave your own device. The wallet also uses a 6-digit PIN that’s required to unlock the wallet and to confirm any payments. And those who use the desktop Electrum version can use the mobile version as a “watch only” wallet that will show your BTC balance and lets you receive BTC, but not send it from the mobile wallet.
Another nice feature of the Electrum Bitcoin wallet is a bundled QR scanner to help you capture wallet addresses easily. The latest version of the wallet has increased security further by adding two-factor authentication.
Electrum is also one of the most well known open source wallets. This means that anyone can take a look into the wallet’s code on the Electrum GitHub and verify its robustness.
2. MyCelium Bitcoin Wallet
The MyCelium wallet is one of the oldest Android Bitcoin wallets in existence, and the over 500,000 downloads from the Play store shows just how much users like this mobile Bitcoin wallet.
It previously won the “Best Mobile App” award from Blockchain.info in 2014, and it has a 4.1-star rating on the Play Store with nearly 6,000 reviews.Technically inclined users will appreciate the open-source nature of the wallet that allows them to dig in the cod and look for bugs or other issues that might put your BTC at risk.
Main User interface of updated Mycelium Wallet. Source: MyCelium
The MyCelium interface is very clean, and the wallet is laid out so that even beginning Bitcoin users will clearly understand each function and how to find them.
In the settings of Mycelium are a raft of security features. First among those is the 6-digit PIN that can be required before submitting payments. You can also sweep private keys from other wallets, making this a good wallet to use together with paper wallet storage. You’ll also find an address book in MyCelium, making it easy to send recurring payments.
MyCelium also works with hardware wallets like the Ledger and Trezor, adding an additional security layer that makes it more difficult for bad actors to get your Bitcoin.
There was some backlash from the user community when MyCelium made the decision not to support SegWit, but they have since added support for SegWit, so this is no longer an issue.
3. GreenBits Bitcoin Wallet
GreenBits Android wallet is another long-standing Android wallet. It is open source, and is also cross-platform, with a Chrome extension that allows you to access the wallet through that browser on any device.
It is also developed by Blockstream which is one of the most well known Bitcoin development companies in the world. Blockstream is comprised of a number of the Bitcoin core developers. Hence, you can be certain that they would have developed a technologically advanced and secure Android wallet.
One unique feature of the GreenBits wallet is instant confirmations. Basically, any supporter of the GreenBits wallet service can send payments that are received immediately without having to wait for blockchain confirmations.
Update UI and Hardware Wallet Feature. Source: Blockstream
GreenBits uses a 24-word seed phrase when creating the wallet to keep things especially secure, while still giving you the ability to restore your wallet when necessary. You can also use two-factor authentication for all your payment confirmations.
Additional security comes from a PIN you set when creating the wallet. The PIN needs to be entered correctly. If it is entered incorrectly three times the decryption key of the wallet is destroyed and the only way to recover the wallet is by using the 24-word seed phrase.
All of this makes the GreenBits wallet a very secure Android mobile wallet for storing your Bitcoin. The wallet may require a bit more time to set up, but once it’s secured it is very intuitive and easy to use.
4. Bitcoin Wallet (a.k.a Schildback Wallet)
The creator of the Bitcoin Wallet claims it is the oldest Android Bitcoin wallet in existence, and I can’t find any evidence to the contrary. One also might believe him based on the more than 1 million downloads of the wallet from the Play store.
Whatever the case, it is one of the easiest to use Bitcoin wallets for Android out there.The Bitcoin wallet differs from most other mobile wallets because you can use it immediately after installing it. There’s no PIN to create and no seed to write down.
That, of course, creates some security risks. With no PIN anyone who gets your phone can also get your BTC. And if you lose the phone or have it stolen there’s no easy way to recover the BTC that was in it.
Screenshots of the Bitcoin Wallet in Play Store
The wallet does have a clear and easy to use interface, and you can send and receive with a quick tap. The wallet supports an address book for frequently used addresses, and you can display your balance in BTC, mBTC, and µBTC as well as in your local fiat currency.
The wallet has been open source since its launch and as you might imagine it’s been thoroughly vetted in that time. Security is helped by keeping the private keys right on your device.
Finally, the Bitcoin Android Wallet has support for SegWit and it also supports the sweeping of paper wallets, allowing you to store most of your Bitcoin in cold storage and move only what you need to the hot wallet.
5. BitPay Wallet
The Bitpay Android wallet was developed by the largest payment processor in the cryptocurrency space. It was developed on the same platform and code as that of Copay, a popular open source Bitcoin wallet. There are over 500,000 installs for the wallet and they have 4.4 rating in the Google Play Store.
When it comes to security, the Bitpay wallet ticks off many boxes. You control your keys and they remain on your device. It is also a big plus that the wallet is using 100% open source code. This means that the community can appropriately vet the code.
Features of the Bitpay Android app. Source: Play Store
There are a number of other important technological features of the Bitpay wallet:
- Buying / Selling Bitcoin integration
- Multisignature signing capability
- HD address generation and wallet backups
- Payment protocol support which will allow for easily identifiable payment requests
Something else that I really liked about the Bitpay wallet is that they have integrated their BitPay Visa card into the wallet. If you have the card it means that you can easily load, manage and spend your crypto just as easily as you will swipe a card. You can also buy Amazon gift cards on the wallet surprisingly enough.
So, why are they only listed at 4?
In this case it is as a result of a security flaw that was exploited last year. Funnily enough, a hacker used the open source nature of the code to push malicious code on an upstream NPM dependency.
Thankfully though, because it is open source other developers were able to spot it before the hacker could do damage. Bitpay updated the wallet code and removed that particular vulnerability.
6. Blockchain Wallet
The Blockchain wallet is another really popular Android Bitcoin wallet. This is developed by the same company that is behind the famous Blockchain.com bitcoin block explorer. It currently has over 5m installs and has a rating of over just above 4.5 stars in the Play Store. It also has support in over 21 languages.
The Blockchain wallet is one of the few wallets on the list that supports more than just Bitcoin. You can also use it to store Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Stellar Lumens and Paxos (PAX). They are also considering more assets at a later stage.
This wallet is also pretty secure and has an HD address structure, two factor authentication and biometric identification through your phone. You also have server side entropy with the wallet to ensure maximum randomness.
Blockchain Wallet advertising airdrops in Google Play Store
The blockchain wallet also has an exchange feature which will allow you to buy / sell your crypto with live and best-in-class rates. These are also handled on-chain which means that there is less chance of any type of fraud.
In terms of usability, I found this wallet to be one of the most simple to use. All of the features are really quite intuitive and sending / receiving coins can be done almost instantly as the wallet has QR code support. The “swap” functionality is super straightforward to use, even for newbies.
All sounds good, but is there a catch?
Unfortunately, the Blockchain wallet is not open source. This means that the code base has not been verified by the broader crypto community. Without this external vetting, you are relying on the competency and expertise of only one party (Blockchain’s developers) over that of the broader community.
7. Coinomi Wallet
Sometimes you need to store more than just BTC and that’s where the Coinomi wallet comes in. Created in 2015 this wallet has support for Bitcoin and over 100 other blockchains. It has support for nearly all altcoins and over 1000 ERC-20 tokens. With over 500,000 downloads the wallet has a 4.6-star rating on the Play store. It’s obvious users love the Coinomi wallet.
Like many other mobile wallets, the Coinomi wallet generates a 12-word seed phrase during the initial setup. Unlike other mobile wallets, it doesn’t use a PIN but has instead opted for an optional password for unlocking the wallet and confirming transactions. If you choose not to use the password it’s your responsibility to ensure you keep your mobile device safe.
Coinomi Android Wallet with exchange function. Source: Play Store
Because Coinomi is multi-asset it has also integrated exchange services in the wallet, and you can exchange supported coins using either Shapeshift or Changelly. There have been some reports of slow transactions using these services, but they don’t appear to be widespread.
One downside for some users is that Coinomi hasn’t been open source since January 2018. This means that external developers cannot verify the code behind the wallet.
8. Xapo Bitcoin Wallet
The Xapo wallet is another extremely popular Android Bitcoin wallet with over 1 million downloads from the Play store and a 4.3-star rating with more than 40,000 reviews. The developers of Xapo call it “super secure storage” that is your “alternative to traditional banking”.
Xapo is unique among wallets because it stored just Bitcoin, but can also store over 100 different fiat currencies. There’s also a Xapo debit card that can be linked to the wallet.
Xapo Bitcoin Android Wallet. Image via Google Play Store
The user interface is clean and easy to understand, and it allows you to buy Bitcoin right from within the app. One features users seem to love is the Xapo Vault, which functions as a cold storage wallet, allowing you to lock away your Bitcoin to keep them more secure on this mobile hot wallet.
In terms of technology, the Xapo Android Wallet is lacking in a few key areas. Firstly, it is not a Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) wallet, there is no two factor Authentication, there are no multi-sig capabilities and it is not open source.
Not your keys, not your Bitcoin…
However, perhaps the biggest drawback to it is that it is a custodial wallet. This means that Xapo holds your private keys. Although they claim to store these in secure locations and vaults, these cannot really be compared to the piece of mind in holding your own keys.
9. Ripio Bitcoin Wallet
Initially released as BitPagos, the Ripio Bitcoin wallet is a fairly new addition to the world of Android Bitcoin wallets. It was created specifically to addresses the issues in the Latin American banking system and to give the millions of unbanked in that region an option.
It comes with both PIN protection and two-factor authentication as security options and has quickly reached over 200,000 users, primarily in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. It also has a high 4.3-star rating in the Play store.
Ripio Bitcoin Wallet in Play Store
The wallet also supports Ethereum and there are plans to add additional token support. You can buy and sell BTC and ETH as well as sending and receiving each in the wallet.
One unique feature that’s been added to the wallet for users in Argentina is the ability to take a short term loan through the line of credit offered through Ripio Credit Network. Users can borrow up to their limit and loans must be paid back within 30 days.
10. Atomic Wallet
The Atomic Wallet is another one of the multicurrency Android wallets currently on the market. In addition to Bitcoin, it supports over 300 other cryptocurrencies. This is a relatively new wallet although they have managed to generate over 50,000 downloads and an app rating of 4.3 stars.
In terms of security, this is a non-custodial wallet and you have full control of your private keys. Unfortunately though, even though they claim that it is built on open source libraries, the code itself is not open source.
Atomic Wallet Features and Screenshots
However, they make up for this with their intuitive and relatively slick user interface. Navigating through the apps numerous features is pretty straightforward and you can view the total wallet portfolio balance on a singular screen.
Another really handy feature of the Atomic wallet is that you can easily exchange coins with their Shapeshift / Changelly integration – instant non-custodial exchange for the numerous coins supported by these exchanges.
Android Wallet Security 101
Choosing a Bitcoin wallet is just one aspect to the security of your coins. The majority of the risk in using cryptocurrency comes from the user side with poor security practices.
Of course, it does not help that most mobile wallets are “hot wallets”. This means they remain connected to the internet at all times, and this makes them more vulnerable to hacks, viruses, and malware. There’s also the risk of losing or breaking your mobile device, or even worse of having it stolen.
Below are some essential safety tips you need to enforce to keep your coins safe:
- Verify the App: There have been a number of incidents of hackers uploading malicious apps in the Google Play store. This is especially the case given the prevalence of Android malware. Make sure when you are downloading the app that you are downloading the official app.
- Keep it Updated: It is essential that you keep the app updated. If there is ever a vulnerability that is discovered, you can be sure that the developers will push an update pretty quickly. If you do not update the app then you are exposing yourself to said vulnerability.
- Backup / Store Seeds: For those wallets that provide you with a seed phrase, make sure that you backup your seed on initiation. Once you have backed it up, keep the copies in separate locations. This backup is your only way of recovering your wallet in case of a forgotten password or lost / stolen phone.
- Watch Your Back: There is no doubt that you expose yourself to exploitation if someone knows you store a great deal of Bitcoin on your mobile wallet. Therefore, you should always take care when transacting in public. People have been robbed at gunpoint for their crypto and there is nothing stopping this from happening to you.
While these methods are likely to secure your Bitcoin wallet, they still can’t beat the ultimate security that is provided by Cold storage. Using a mobile wallet for day-to-day transactions is perfectly fin. However, for storing large holdings of coins I would recommend a hardware wallet or a paper wallet in a safe.
There you have it, the top 10 best Android Bitcoin wallets. Which wallet you decide to use will really come down to your own personal preferences and use cases.
It is also important to point out that this list is not exhaustive. There may be other wallets that we have not mentioned that could be acceptable. Just be sure that you verify their track record and broader community support.
If you do decide on the ideal wallet for your Android, then make sure that you follow our top tips for securing your coins. While the app developers can help you with certain queries, they are not able to recover lost wallets for you or retrieve hacked funds!
Featured Image via Fotolia and Google Play Store