Bitcoin / Lightning Wallets

WALLETS



Wallets for Desktop



Tips
Hardware Wallets



Tips
  • What is a hardware wallet?
  • Infected devices can still trick you into entering your seed phrase or sending to their address.

Tips
  • Lightning is great for frequent smaller valued transactions like shopping. Learn about Lightning here.
  • Not spending frequently? Consider a Bitcoin wallet for storing your bitcoin.
  • Not all companies have lightning integrated yet.


Basic Function

The basic functions of a wallet are:

  • send / receive bitcoin
  • create a wallet password
  • create a backup of your wallet
Tips
  • Don't talk about your own bitcoin holdings.
Sending

To send bitcoin, copy & paste the receiver's bitcoin address into the "send to" field of your bitcoin wallet.

Send Fee

Sending bitcoin has a transaction fee. Fees should be handled by the wallet software, so you shouldn't need to worry about fees as a beginner.


Tips
  • Wallet generated QR codes can be scanned by devices like smartphones to autofill bitcoin address and amount payable.
Receiving

Bitcoin uses unique bitcoin addresses generated by the wallet to receive bitcoin.

Example: 35JZ72myPm2HUNLHq2ozA6Z2dvbmSCFV3W

To receive bitcoin, give a bitcoin address generated by your wallet to the sender and the sender can copy & paste the address into their wallet's "send to" field.

Tips
  • Wallets generate as many bitcoin addresses as needed.
  • Wallets can generate bitcoin addresses while disconnected from internet and will receive bitcoin sent to it.
  • Wallet generated QR codes can be scanned to autofill in bitcoin address and amount payable into a wallet.
Backup

Most wallets ask you to write down a list of 12 or 24 words known as a "seed phrase" during setup. These words will recover your wallet.

Other less common backup methods:

  • Backup file: this method backs up the entire wallet.
  • Private key: this method is only a backup of the one associated bitcoin address.

    Bitcoin Address:
    1J7mdg5rbQyUHENYdx39WVWK7fsLpEoXZy

    Private Key of the above Bitcoin Address:
    KxFC1jmwwCoACiCAWZ3eXa96mBM6tb3TYzGmf6YwgdGWZgawvrtJ
space
Tips
  • Never share seed phrases and store securely. (see "Security" tab)
  • Record seed phrase in exact order it was given.
  • Seed phrases can be generated while disconnected from internet. (recommended)
Restore

You can recover your wallet by typing in the original seed phrase words (in the exact order it was given to you during the intial wallet setup) into the new wallet's restore feature.

space
Tips
  • Best practice is to only enter seed phrases on offline devices or at minimum a dedicated bitcoin device.
  • Never type in your seed phrase when asked unless you specifically called for the action to restore your wallet.
  • Never type seed phrases into a web browser.
  • Type the seed phrase in the exact order it was originally given for a successful restore.
Do Some Tests

If you are new or want to be cautious, try:

  • Sending a test transaction to the wallet first. Just a small amount. Then check if your wallet received the bitcoin.

  • Doing a test backup and restore. Test with a small amount of bitcoin first and don't wipe your existing wallet with funds on it when testing. Test restoring on another device or as another login user for the operating system.

Tips
  • The same wallet can exist on multiple devices.
Hot & Cold Wallets

Separate the bitcoin you plan to spend frequently with from the bitcoin you plan to store long term for security.

In other words:

  • Store bitcoin you plan to secure for medium / long term offline or on a hardware wallet.

  • Keep smaller amounts you intend to use for things like shopping on a wallet that will connect to the internet regularly such as a Lightning wallet.

Address Re-Use is Bad Privacy

If you want to increase the privacy of yourself and others, avoid re-using bitcoin addresses to receive bitcoin. Generate a new bitcoin address once your bitcoin address has received bitcoin.

Wallet Backup

Most wallets generate a wallet backup called a seed phrase during the initial setup. A seed phrase should always be generated offline for the highest security.

Usecase
You should generate all seed phrases offline but it's highly recommended for wallets storing medium to high amounts of bitcoin (or wallets for medium to long term storage).

Wallet backup type
Most common is a 12 or 24 word seed phrase.

Purpose
Setting up a new wallet on a device when the internet is disabled so that the generated seed phrase is never exposed to the internet.

You can generate a seed phrase on any desktop, laptop, mobile device or hardware wallet. Below, we'll explain how to generate a seed phrase offline.


Using a Desktop / Laptop / Tablet

Requirements: Dedicated desktop / laptop / tablet, Internet access (WiFi or Ethernet)

An old desktop, laptop or tablet works great for this!

  1. Prepare a clean device that you want to delegate as your dedicated offline device.
    Note: Either re-install the operating system from scratch, use the "Reset this PC & Remove Everything" option for Windows 10 or if you know for sure the device is clean then continue.
  2. Connect your chosen device to the internet temporarily and download a wallet.
  3. **IMPORTANT STEP: Disconnect the internet and never reconnect it.
    Note: If you're using wifi, disable WIFI. If you're using an ethernet cable, disconnect it physically and disable the ethernet adapter in the operating system settings.
  4. Install the wallet you downloaded.
  5. Open the wallet and go through the intital setup process. Most wallets will generate a 12 or 24 word seed phrase for you to securely backup during setup. During setup, it should ask you to create a wallet password to unlock the wallet, please do that too.
  6. Now that you generated the seed phrase and wallet password you can plan on how you want to securely back them up. See next tab for some options.
    Note: This may include recording it physically, secret hiding places, encrypted USB drives, hints, a home safe or a bank deposit box. Each option has pros and cons and you might find that using a combination of methods suits you best. See next tab for some options.
  7. When you're ready, proceed to send bitcoin to the wallet. You can even send a small test transaction first, then check the bitcoin address on a Bitcoin block explorer to see if it received the bitcoin.
  8. If you want to send bitcoin from your wallet while remaining disconnected from the internet, you can do this using a method called PSBT. Electrum is a wallet that can perform PSBTs. Here is a guide on Electrum Offline Transactions (PSBT) Guide.

Using a Smartphone / Tablet

Requirements: Dedicated smartphone / tablet, WiFi access

An old smartphone or tablet works great for this!

  1. Prepare a clean smartphone or tablet.
    Note: Either factory reset the device or if you know for sure it's clean then continue
  2. Connect the device to your WiFi for internet access temporarily.
  3. Download a wallet from the Android or Apple APP store.
  4. **IMPORTANT STEP: Disable WiFi and enable Airplane Mode. Never connect to WiFi again on the device.
  5. Open the wallet and go through the intital setup process. Most wallets will generate a 12 or 24 word seed phrase for you to securely backup during setup. During setup, it should ask you to create a wallet password to unlock the wallet, please do that too.
  6. Now that you generated the seed phrase and wallet password you can plan on how you want to securely back them up. See next tab for some options.
    Note: This may include recording it physically, secret hiding places, encrypted USB drives, hints, a home safe or a bank deposit box. Each option has pros and cons and you might find that using a combination of methods suits you best. See next tab for some options.
  7. When you're ready, proceed to send bitcoin to the wallet. You can even send a small test transaction first, then check the bitcoin address on a Bitcoin block explorer to see if it received the bitcoin.
  8. If you want to send bitcoin from your wallet while remaining disconnected from the internet, you can do this using a method called PSBT. Electrum is a wallet that can perform PSBTs. Here is a guide on Electrum Offline Transactions (PSBT) Guide.

Using a Hardware Wallet

  1. A hardware wallet will generate a seed phrase for you during initial setup. It should also ask you to create a wallet password to unlock the wallet, please do that too. The device is already disconnected from the internet, so no extra steps needed there.
  2. Now that you generated the seed phrase and wallet password, you can plan on how you want to securely back them up.
    Note: This may include recording it physically, secret hiding places, encrypted USB drives, hints, a home safe or a bank deposit box. Each option has pros and cons and you might find that using a combination of methods suits you best. See next tab for some options.
  3. When you're ready, proceed to send bitcoin to the wallet. You can even send a small test transaction first, then check the bitcoin address on a Bitcoin block explorer to see if it received the bitcoin.
  4. Hardware wallets allow you to more safely spend without exposing your stored bitcoin to viruses. Infected devices may still try tricks to get your bitcoin, so you still need to be cautious.
Backup Options

  • Physical material

You can write down your seed phrase on a durable, disaster resistant material with a permanent long lasting ink.

Alternatively, you can purchase durable metal products designed to store your bitcoin seed phrase for a long time.

If you need to access the bitcoin, simply enter your seed phrase into the wallet's restore feature (preferrably done on a dedicated offline pc or at minimum a dedicated bitcoin pc)




  • Encrypted USBs / SD Cards / Hard drives:

You can store your seed phrase on multiple encrypted USBs / SD Cards / Hard drives.

Make sure you encrypt the USB with a difficult password and have multiple encrypted backup USBs because they can break or become corrupted over time.

This method requires some extra maintenance and routine check-ups to ensure devices are in working order. You should add new encrypted devices to the pile periodically to reduce your chance of all devices dieing at the same time.

Don't forget the password to the encrypted devices. Only access the devices through a clean computer, preferrably a dedicated offline PC. If you record the encrypted device's password somewhere, make sure you store it separate from the encrypted devices.



Secure Storage Options

  • For additional security, put your backups in a waterproof bag and a fire resistant bag. You can put any electronic devices in a faraday bag. You can also put items in a tamper-evident bag.

  • Put backups in a personal hidden safe, very secure secret spot or in a bank safety deposit box.

“Bitcoin is a remarkable cryptographic achievement and the ability to create something that is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value.”
Eric Schmidt - Executive chairman of Google

Flowers

bc1qnc69v3hfznag9zdrwgutusp0f95js6c38ckvwj