Android Bitcoin Wallet Guide

A comprehensive guide on Bitcoin wallets for Android smartphones

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MYCELIUM

Best App Available

Mycelium is a powerful android based Bitcoin wallet and decentralized exchange all in one. It is the best Bitcoin wallet currently available for Android an iPhone, and we strongly recommend it. Mycelium isn't currently available for iPhone, but you can always purchase a Moto G or a Nexus 5 unlocked directly from Google, for $179 and $349, respectively. You don't even have to use it as an actual cell phone.If you plan on buying a large amount of coins, and don't want to change from the iPhone, then it could be worth it to just use the Moto G/Nexus 5 as a dedicated Bitcoin device using the WiFi.

Step 1: Generating Your Bitcoin Address

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When you launch Mycelium for the first time they automatically generate a new Bitcoin Address for you.

Step 2: Backing up your Private Keys

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Click the Menu button, then click Backup. Mycelium will then generate an encrypted PDF file with all the Private Keys you have on the device. Mycelium will also show you a randomly generated password. Write down the password on a piece of paper and stash it somewhere safe. If you lose your password, you will not be able to recover your backup. It is important that you do not type the password into any device connected to the internet because if a malicious individual has access to your PDF backup and your password, then they will have complete control of your funds. With the password safely stored offline, you can store the PDF backup in an email or in your favorite cloud storage service, such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

Sending Bitcoin

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Click send on the homepage. Then you can either scan the QR code for the address you wish to send to or manually enter it. Type in the amount you wish to send, or click max if you wish to send all the Bitcoin in the address, then click send and the transaction is broadcast to the internet.

Receiving Bitcoin

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Click receive on the homepage. A QR code of your Bitcoin address is shown on the screen. The app allows you to easily send the address by email, text, or your favorite messaging service. Alternatively, you can have the person scan the code directly from the phone if it is an in-person transaction.

Importing a Backup or a Paper Wallet

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Click menu then click Cold Storage. If you click Scan Code you can scan the QR code of the private key or you can paste the private key from your clipboard. If the private key is encrypted you will be asked to enter your password. You can also use this method to import a cold storage paper wallet.

Local Trader: Decentralized Global Bitcoin Exchange

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The Local Trader part of the app allows you to find people near you that are selling Bitcoin for cash or other cryptocurrencies. If you wish to sell Bitcoin, then you can also list it through the app.

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They have a reputation system, and your username is tied to a locally stored Bitcoin address. Mycelium won't let a seller list coins for sale if there is not enough Bitcoin in the connected address. Once you initiate a purchase from a listed seller, the app will launch an encrypted chat so the buyer and seller can coordinate the transaction.

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You can find Mycelium's own step by step guide to Local Trader here.


Pheeva

Best for Users who are not Tech Savvy

Pheeva is available for iPhone, Android, and as a Chrome extension for use on your computer. Pheeva has a partnership with Gyft that allows you to buy gift cards with Bitcoin directly from the app. This feature enables you to indirectly use Bitcoin in shops like Target and Whole Foods, who don't actually accept Bitcoin yet. Pheeva's code is not open source.

Step 1: Generating your Bitcoin Address

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Pheeva requires you to register an email address with your account. The app will also ask you to choose a username, referred to as a Coin!D, making it easier to send/receive Bitcoin from other Phreeva users. You also need to choose a password. The longer, the better, but if you lose your password there will be no way of recovering it. It is probably a good idea to write down the password on a piece of paper and stashing it somewhere safe. You don't want your password to be too short because then it will be easier to crack. The password will be used to encrypt your backups, so if a malicious individual obtains your backup, the password will be the only thing standing between them and your funds.

Step 2: Backing up your Private Key

Pheeva handles backups for you and does not allow you to manually back up your private key. You can access your funds on any device by simply signing in with your email or Coin!D and your password.

Sending Bitcoin

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Click the Bitcoin logo with the arrow going to the right to initiate a payment. Then type in the BTC address, Coin!D, select a contact (since Pheeva hooks into your phone's address book), or you can scan a QR code by clicking the little QR code symbol on the top right.

Receiving Bitcoin

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Click the Bitcoin logo with the arrow going to the left to receive a payment. Other Pheeva users can send you Bitcoin with just your Coin!D, but everyone else will need your Bitcoin address. You can have them scan the QR code from your phone directly or you can send them a screenshot. Alternatively, you can copy and paste the text version of your Bitcoin address (the string of numbers and letters underneath the QR code) into a text message or your favorite chat program.

Importing a Private Key or Paper Wallet

On the Receive Bitcoin page there is a button to Import a Paper Wallet. This feature will allow you to scan an unencrypted private key, and have Pheeva send all the funds located at that address to your Pheeva address. Unlike many other wallets, Pheeva doesn't allow you to import password protected encrypted private keys.

Using Gyft

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Pheeva's signature feature is the built in Gyft integration that allows you to buy gift cards with Bitcoin directly from the app. This feature enables you to indirectly use Bitcoin in shops like Target and Whole Foods, who don't actually accept Bitcoin yet. Click the + on the bottom of the homepage, click Gyft, then sign in to your account or create a new one. Now you can buy Bitcoin from participating retailers directly from the app.

Mobile wallets should be used for Day to Day Spending rather than for storage purposes. They should be used when you are trying to buy something online or in person with Bitcoin and speed/convenience is more important than security. You should never keep more money than you are willing to lose in this type of wallet. Think of it like the wallet you carry around on a daily basis, you wouldn't carry your life savings around with you, same thing should apply here.

Disclaimer: This guide is intended solely to provide information. As I have no knowledge of individual circumstances and technical level, readers are expected to complete their own due diligence before proceeding with anything mentioned in this article. The topics discussed in this post are advanced and readers proceed at their own risk. Readers are expected to complete their own due diligence before purchasing or selling anything mentioned or recommended.