Hi everyone. In this walkthrough/how-to article, we'll be going over how to create a standard Bitcoin wallet, however, instead of using an exchange service like Coinbase or an online wallet, we'll be using one of the most convenient and most secure options: Electrum. We'll also be covering basic functions of the wallet, such as sending/receiving bitcoins.
This article is also Part 2 of @mooncryption's Electrum BTC Wallet Series, where we explore the features and functions of one of the world's most popular Bitcoin wallets. Click here for Part 1 (a feature list and explanation).
Creating the Wallet
These steps will help you properly create your first Electrum Bitcoin wallet. Electrum is known for being one of the safest, most secure, and most easy-to-use/convenient Bitcoin wallets. Let's begin:
Step 1. Download Electrum. To download, go to the Electrum download website. Then, follow the directions for your operating system as it shows on the page. For Linux, you'll need to install using the command line. For Windows, download the one that says "Windows Installer." For macOS, download the one that says "executable file." For Android, you can download from the Google Play Store.
Step 2. Open Electrum. Specifically on Mac, you'll need to right-click the application and press "Open" rather than directly double-clicking it. You should see a screen with options similar to this one:
Step 3. Click the option that asks you to "create a new wallet." On the next screen, you'll see options such as this one:
Step 4. Click on "Standard wallet." Then, press "Next." You should see a screen like this:
Step 5. As usual, leave the default option checked (click "Create a New Seed.") On the next screen, you'll see your *Electrum Seed.:
Step 6. It's very important to keep this seed secure, as this is your only form of recovery/backup if your computer fails. Write down the seed on paper (not electronically) and keep the paper in a very safe location, and remember where you put it. Also, only trust very close family/friends with the location of that piece of paper.
Step 7. Press "Next." Now, Electrum will ask you to type in your seed in order to verify you saved it in a safe location. Pull out your piece of paper and carefully copy the seed to Electrum.
Step 8. After moving onto the next screen, you'll see something like this:
Type in a memorable yet secure password and leave the "Encrypt wallet file" option checked. This makes sure that other malicious applications on your computer can't access your wallet.
Step 9. There may or may not be more steps depending on when you view this tutorial, but most of them should be self-explanatory, and I highly recommend leaving them on the default/checked option unless you're sure you know what you're doing. Otherwise, you're done! You should see a screen like this pop up:
There may be other settings in the Settings or Preferences tab of Electrum, but I highly advise not playing around with those unless you're sure of what you're doing. Part 4 of the Electrum Series on @mooncryption will go in-depth into those settings and explain each one, so wait for that if you want to play around :)
Receiving Bitcoins with your Standard Wallet
The first tab in your wallet page of Electrum should be "History," showing you all transactions that have happened previously with your wallet. Let's go over how to receive BTC into your wallet, using Electrum:
Step 1. If you haven't already, open the Electrum application, log in with your password, and get to the wallet screen (with the tabs at the top).
Step 2. Click on the tab that says "Receive". You should see a screen like this:
Step 3. In order to receive Bitcoins, give the sender or person who is sending you the BTC the Receiving Address shown (a long string of text starting with a 1). That's all they need to send you the BTC.
Step 4. If you want to create a QR Code for your transaction, you can fill in the other details such as Description and Requested Amount. This will show you a custom QR code on the right-hand side you can share with your friends:
And just like that, you're done. Your friends can send bitcoins any time they want to the address you gave them.
Sending Bitcoins with your Standard Wallet
Now, let's go over sending Bitcoins.
Step 1. If you aren't already inside Electrum, open the application and log in with your password.
Step 2. You should be at the wallet home screen with many tabs at the top. Click the tab that says "Send". You should land on this screen:
Step 3. First, ask your friend or copy the address you want to send BTC to, and paste it in the "Pay to" field. Also, if you want to, fill out the "Description" field. Your friend or receiver won't see your description, but Electrum will save your description so you can remember what the transaction was for later on.
Step 4. Fill in the amount in BTC. If you want to send all the bitcoins in your wallet, press the Max button. Remember to double-check your amount to make sure you're sending the number of bitcoins you want to send. If the amount you write in is larger than the amount on your wallet, you may receive an error such as "Not enough funds" in the bottom-left corner.
Step 5. Finally, fill in the fee. You can let Electrum choose your fee dynamically using the slider or suggestion, or you can change it in yourself. The higher the fee, the faster your transaction will go through, and vice-versa, so choose your fee wisely.
Step 6. Finally, press Send. Electrum will ask for your wallet password (not your seed!), the one you made after you got your seed (the secure/memorable one, not the one you wrote down on paper). Type it in, and hit enter. Your transaction will be sent out to the Bitcoin network for confirmation!
Hopefully you enjoyed this overview of creating a standard wallet and using it to send/receive bitcoins with Electrum. Electrum is my favorite wallet service by far, and I hope you'll like it as well. The next part of this series (Part 3) will focus on other wallet types such as the Two-Factor Authentication wallet (2FA) and Multi-Sig wallet, and we'll cover what those wallet types are and how to set them up. Follow @mooncryption if you want to be notified when it comes out :)
Thanks for reading,
image sources: All images are from my usage of the Electrum application on macOS.
disclaimer: Electrum did not sponsor this review. I just fell in love with their application after using it for a while, and wanted to share it with you guys. The next part of this series (Part 3) is coming out in the next few days, so stay tuned!