Last update: Jun 9, 2021
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Electrum Wallet Review 2021: Features Breakdown

4.0/5

There are plenty of Bitcoin wallets on the market, but one of the oldest ones you’ll find is Electrum. It was only a desktop client for a while, but it has expanded its support into mobile platforms since that time. This open-source BTC wallet has turned itself into one of the most reliable and trusted options available, and this Electrum wallet review will tell you why.

  • Electrum Wallet

    1. Type Mobile/Desktop
    2. Fees 0.2 mBTC - 0.1 mBTC
    3. Two factor authentication Yes
    4. Cryptocurrencies Supported BItcoin

There are plenty of Bitcoin wallets on the market, but one of the oldest ones you’ll find is Electrum.

It was only a desktop client for a while, but it has expanded its support into mobile platforms since that time.

This open-source BTC wallet has turned itself into one of the most reliable and trusted options available.

History

Electrum History

Just a few years after Bitcoin’s introduction to the world, Thomas Voegtlin developed and launched his Electrum wallet.

Designed to be efficient and lightweight, this BTC client wallet lets users connect to external servers to access their assets.

Up until this point, users had to download the whole Bitcoin blockchain to get to their crypto.

For a while, Electrum only offered software wallets. However, in 2016, the wallet jumped on the mobile bandwagon and launched a wallet for Android smartphones and tablets.

As a result, users have quick access to the wallet’s features since the only crypto it supports is BTC.

In addition to developing and launching both mobile and desktop wallets, Electrum decided to join the hardware wallet game as well.

Now, both the Ledger Nano S and Trezor hardware devices fully integrate with Electrum.

Today, Electrum boasts an active developer community that is heavily involved with the wallet.

It is very popular among users who have plenty of experience in the crypto world and is considered one of the more secure wallets on the market.

Pros and cons of Electrum wallet

Every wallet has its benefits and disadvantages, and Electrum is no exception. Here are some of the wallet’s most prominent pros and cons.

Pros

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Open-source software
  • Uses two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • No information stored on servers
  • Doesn’t require download of full BTC blockchain node
  • Supports multiple operating systems

Cons

  • Can be a challenge for crypto beginners
  • Only supports one digital coin

Features

Electrum Interface

There is no shortage of features available with the Electrum wallet. Let’s take a closer look at what this unique wallet has to offer:

Simple interface

Electrum’s user interface is easy and straightforward to use. At the top of the interface, users will see three tabs that let you select between “Receive,” “Send,” and “Transaction History.” Really, what else do you need from a wallet?

Security

Not only does the wallet use two-factor authentication to protect user funds, but it also uses encrypted passwords and private keys that you can store on your hard drive. If for some reason, you lose your password, Electrum gives you a way to recover your BTC with your seed phrase.

Offline storage

If you want to keep your Bitcoin in cold storage, Electrum offers a way to store your private keys offline. There’s also a mode called “Watch Only” for users who prefer to use the crypto wallet’s online version.

Customer service

There’s no chat or email option, but Electrum does offer plenty of documentation on the site. Plus, there’s a very active user community on the platform, which lets you get all your wallet questions answered if you run into trouble.

Mobile/Desktop version

Electrum Android

As I mentioned, the only cryptocurrency that Electrum supports is Bitcoin.

So, please don’t download Electrum or visit Electrum.org hoping to find that you can use it to hold Bitcoin Cash or some other cryptocurrency.

All that aside, let’s take a closer look at the operating systems supported by the wallet.

For starters, all the typical desktop platforms are supported. You can use the wallet on Windows, Linux, and macOS.

All you have to do is download the wallet and set it up on your personal laptop or PC desktop.

Not to mention that Electrum supports iOS and Android devices, so you can get it from your preferred app store, then install it onto your smartphone or tablet. Basically, the wallet supports the vast majority of operating systems used around the world.

Supported cryptocurrencies

The only cryptocurrency the wallet supports is Bitcoin.

That’s it. You can’t add any additional altcoins, tokens, or digital assets to the wallet.

While the wallet has plenty of features and advantages, if you need to hold more than one digital currency, Electrum isn’t the wallet for you.

Fees

mBTC Fees for Electrum

Electrum does charge a Bitcoin transaction fee when sending BTC from your wallet.

You’ll see a flat fee of 0.2 mBTC anytime Bitcoin leaves your wallet.

For those unfamiliar with it, an mBTC is a millibitcoin, which is one-thousandth of a whole Bitcoin.

If you’re sending more from your wallet, Electrum might only charge you 0.1 mBTC, but for the most part, that’s all you’re going to pay when sending your Bitcoin somewhere else.

Security features

Electrum 2 Factor Authenticaiton

The wallet is known as being one of the more secure in the industry, even though it has suffered breaches in the past.

Since that time, Electrum has provided patches and updates to address vulnerabilities that hackers took advantage of in the past through the use of malware.

Electrum has also done its due diligence to prevent future attacks from happening as well. Here are a few of the security features the wallet has implemented:

  • Backup Seeds – The wallet gives users the option to back up their seed phrase. In the event that you lose your wallet and need to restore it, you’ll need your seed phrase.
  • Open-Source – We’ll talk more about this in a moment, but Electrum is open-source, so its source code is always available to anyone who wants access to it.
  • 2FA – Two-factor authentication adds an additional layer of security and protection to your wallet. As a result, you have total control of your funds.
  • Encrypted passwords – Your private keys and passwords are kept in an encrypted wallet file, so you know your wallet info is always secure.
  • Multisig – Like 2FA, multi-signature wallets provide another level of security, keeping your Bitcoin safe from hackers.

Electrum offers all of these features, however, it’s up to you to ensure that your wallet is secure and your funds are safe.

Be sure you regularly update the wallet’s software, use complex passwords, and enable security features, so your Bitcoin remains protected.

Ease of use

When compared to some other wallets on the market, Electrum is pretty easy to set up and start using.

However, if you’re new to crypto, this might not be the best wallet for you. The interface is a little more complex.

If you need something beginner-friendly, you might try another cryptocurrency wallet like Exodus or Coinbase.

To get started, just download the desktop Electrum Bitcoin wallet, or choose the appropriate installation option.

The wizard will pop up and give you four choices:

  • Import an already existing wallet
  • 2FA wallet
  • Standard wallet
  • Multisig wallet

I’d recommend selecting either 2FA or multisig when making your selection for better wallet security.

Once you make your choice, you’re ready to start setting up your wallet. The next screen will ask you to select your seed phrase.

If you select multisig or 2FA, you’ll have a few additional steps before getting to this point.

If you decide to create a brand new seed, you’ll be prompted to select between a standard wallet address or Segwit.

On the next screen, you’ll see your recovery seed. Make sure you copy this down and store it in a safe place.

If something goes wrong with your computer or your wallet, you’ll need your seed phrase to recover your funds.

The next thing you need to do is type in your seed phrase, then create a strong enough password to finish up the installation.

Mobile wallets go through the same process as the desktop wallet if you decide to put Electrum on your iOS or Android device.

Open-source

Open Source Electum wallet

An open-source wallet is a wallet that offers complete transparency to its users.

So whenever a change or update occurs, you know exactly what’s going on and why changes were made.

Additionally, Electrum is built deterministically.

That means anyone who develops has the option to audit the code and ensure that final releases aren’t hiding any unknown secrets or nefarious purposes.

While this is rarely the case, it’s nice to know what’s going on behind the scenes with such an important piece of software.

Conclusion

Overall, Electrum is a stable, secure, and fast Bitcoin wallet. However, it’s not the ideal wallet for those just getting started in the crypto world.

If you’re comfortable with an interface that’s a little more complex, the wallet receives a significant amount of support from Bitcoin and its community, which is one of the reasons it offers so many features.

The interface is intuitive, giving users the option to send and receive Bitcoin easily.

If you like to make regular payments with Bitcoin, Electrum isn’t a bad wallet to have for just that purpose.

Avatar of andrejilisin
author Andrej Ilisin

A serial entrepreneur working primarily with digital assets. He's the CEO of Sharp Capital, a company that focuses on growing online businesses. Andrej is also huge crypto, chess, and CrossFit enthusiast.