Electrum Wallet Reviewed: Personal and Reddit Reviews

Last updated on January 2nd, 2018 at 12:00 am

Perhaps one of the oldest players in the Bitcoin wallet market is Electrum. Created in November 2011 by Thomas Voegtlin it has since been modified by various developers (the code is open source). Electrum is a client based wallet – meaning it’s software you download and run from your computer. It’s only available for desktop computers at the moment and you can download it here.

Electrum prides itself on the following benefits:

Fast – the client does not download the blockchain, it requests that information from a server. No delays, always up-to-date.

Safe – Your private keys are encrypted and never leave your computer. Your wallet can be recovered from a secret phrase. You can also keep your private keys offline, and go online with a watching-only wallet.

Private – Your private keys are not shared with the server. You do not have to trust the server with your money. Your private keys are encrypted and never leave your computer. The server does not store user accounts. You are not tied to a particular server, and the server does not need to know you.

Also another great benefit of Electrum is that it can be used with TREZOR or Ledger so you can send Bitcoins from your cold storage device as well.

Many Redditors also consider Electrum to be the best wallet hands down for a desktop computer. But today I want to take a look at Electrum from a newbie’s point of view since it always seemed to me that the wallet is too complex. Keep in mind that I have never used Electrum before this post and I will be learning how to use it as I go.

Kind of a spooky homescreen

At first glance when you land on Electrum’s homepage the site looks pretty clean and understandable. However I’m still a bit deterred from screenshots like the one shown below as a newbie:

Electrum homepage

Just seems to be too technical (IMO). However this is a huge leap from how the homepage used to look.

Once I click “download” I get the option to choose between “easy installation” and other more advanced installs (e.g. python installations and developer installations). This is really good since I know exactly where to go.

The install process is pretty simple and straight forward. It also has the option to work with the hardware wallets I’ve stated above. Setting up the wallets take a little more than a minute.

Electrum install

Simple and to the point (perhaps too simple?)

The user interface of the actual wallet is pretty straight forward. You have different tabs at the top which allow you to choose between “send”, “receive” and other wallet related options.

Electrum interface

On the bottom you have the system settings such as changing your password, network connectivity status and also a “lite” mode where you can only quick send Bitcoins to people.

Electrum lite mode

All in all it’s pretty simple. My only concern is that for a newbie this wallet may still be confusing as it focuses on functionality and not user experience. Meaning, if I know nothing about Bitcoin and download this wallet I will not know what any of the stuff here means.

Adding short tool tips to the wallet may help clear out the different fields or even a beginners tutorial to Bitcoin. Electrum does have very extensive documentation about the wallet and also an active BitcoinTalk category where you can get your questions answered. However, like so many other wallets out there they are focused only on functionality and not on what is known as “customer onboarding”.

Customer onboarding is the process of increasing the likelihood that new users become successful when adopting your product. There is a great website that shows different examples of such processes in well known companies. But I guess that’s the price you usually pay for creating a non profit piece of software. People concentrate only on usability, and unfortunately that is what hinders the wallet in the end.

To sum things up – Electrum is a great fast, secure and stable wallet, however it does not suit beginners. The wallet has seem to come a long way since it first started out and it also gained massive trust in the Bitcoin reddit community. So if you know a little bit about Bitcoin this is definitely a good choice.

Electrum wallet

Free
Electrum wallet
8.6

Ease of use

8.5 /10

Privacy

9.4 /10

Safety

9.3 /10

Beginner Friendly

7.1 /10

Pros

  • Vert fast
  • Good safety features
  • Privacy is kept

Cons

  • Not beginner friendly

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26 Comments

  1. I’m new to Electrum and Bitcoin. Electrum seems to me to be the “Roach Motel” of Bitcoin, money goes in but it can’t go out. Get this stupid long error code with “not enough inputs” Fortunately I don’t have that much money in the wallet, $110. But still I don’t see how Bitcoin will ever become a widely used medium of exchange if it is so technically hard to transact business with it. One other thing – I completely maxed out the transaction fee, still doesn’t work. Guess I’ll send the money using Western Union. Pretty old school but at least it works.

    • Steven Hay on

      Hi Lee,

      Just to check, you’re not using Electrum *Pro*, are you? That particular wallet has been revealed as coin-stealing malware. Ensure that you downloaded your wallet from https://electrum.org – there’s a message there about the fake “Pro” version.

      As for the error, it’s not one which I’ve encountered before. Which version of Electrum are you running? If an older one, please update it from the link above.

      The closest I can find to your error message is the “not enough funds” error, which is fairly self-explanatory. Perhaps the problem is that you’re trying to spend unconfirmed coins? See this forum thread for discussion of that particular error:

      https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2376479.0

      Unfortunate that this problem has led to disillusionment about Bitcoin in general. Remember that Electrum is a third-party wallet, developed by a team separate from Bitcoin.

      If you don’t come right, I suggest visiting the #electrum channel on the freenode IRC server and asking the Electrum devs there for help. If you’re not familiar with IRC, then try creating a thread on Electrum’s Reddit at https://www.reddit.com/r/Electrum/

      Either way, I’m sure they’ll be able to help you out.

  2. DISAPPOINTED on

    DO NOT USE THIS APP!!!! I downloaded this so i could use BTC from my hardware wallet. Sounded easy enough until it was time to purchase. The item i wanted cost me .003669 BTC. i needed a wallet that accepts the wallet URL’s and not the wallet address. Electrum was the wallet i chose to bridge that gap. Good idea, but unfortunately, the cost to purchase the item SKYROCKETED to 3.669 BTC!! WTF?!?!?! That’s an additional 3.665331 BTC!!! Can you say RIP OFF?!?! If BTC is valued at $6800+ today, how the hell are the fees for this wallet transaction in excess of $20,400+ value. PLEASE!!!! DON’T use this wallet. DON’T submit to these fees! The market’s getting wider and someone SMART will fill this void. Uninstall these CRIMINALS before they think this is how business gets done!! “…fuck outta here!”

    • Hi Disappointed,

      Well, you can use your hardware wallet without Electrum. Trezor and Ledger have their own web wallets.

      That aside, this doesn’t sound like a problem with the wallet but rather the site you were purchasing from. Electrum lets you set your own fees but there’s no way you could set them that high unless you manually entered 3.669 BTC… Sounds to me more like a scam sales site or user error than any problem with Electrum.

  3. OPINION: ELECTRUM IS CLAIMING TO BE HACKED BUT I THINK THEY STOLE MY $110,000 WORTH OF BITCOINS

    I opened my Electrum wallet today, January 18, 2007 and found out that on January 2, 2018 all my bitcoins (7.88014412 btc worth $110,682.86 USD) were sent to the following bitcoin address:

    1BhbPsVryBx9vBwLgaFRg2jY4Y1dh9i5vf

    Electrum is claiming to have been hacked and my coins were stored in Electrum and there was no way anyone could access my computer as it stayed offline and powered down until I needed to access my bitcoins.

    Electrum Wallets Were Vulnerable and Nothing Was Done For Two Years. My Bitcoins were either stolen from my Electrum Wallet or Electrum just made Billions by claiming they were hacked. STAY AWAY FROM ELECTRUM!!!

    Apparently, Electrum knew about the vulnerability in their software for over two years. They are only claiming they knew about the security issue as of November 24, 2017 and did nothing about it until January 7, 2018 which just happens to be 5 days after my coins were stolen.

    Electrum never warned wallet owners of the severity of the security vulnerability and after learning about the problem, they were negligent by not releasing a patch, immediately, to fix the problem. If nothing else, they should have at least informed wallet owners to move their coins out until the problem was fixed.

    Read more about Electrum’s carelessness about security within their software here: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ev55na/electrum-bitcoin-wallets-were-vulnerable-to-hackers-for-two-years-json-rpc

    I did not have 2FA enabled but I did have a very long password that had to be entered before funds could be transferred. I also have Norton AV installed and no viruses have been found.

    Is there any way you can help me get my money back? or anyone you can recommend that can help me track down the owner of this wallet where my funds were sent to?

    http://bitcoinwhoswho.com/address/1BhbPsVryBx9vBwLgaFRg2jY4Y1dh9i5vf
    https://blockchain.info/address/1BhbPsVryBx9vBwLgaFRg2jY4Y1dh9i5vf

    • Hey Johnny,

      Sorry for your loss, it’s terrible to lose an amount like that.

      I also use Electrum but with a hardware wallet to manage the privkey.

      The mystery here is how the hacker got your password. My understanding is that if you weren’t actively transacting, a hacker wouldn’t be able to access your coins unless they also had the passphrase.

      It’s possible that a sophisticated keylogger or screenlogger was installed on your device, which your AV missed. If you’re running Windows, try this simple test for detection:

      https://merabheja.com/detect-keylogger-rat/

      I read the Vice article… I doubt Electrum knew about the vulnerability for two years without addressing it. From what I’ve seen of their development, they’re a lot more on the ball than that. I think it’s more likely that they scrambled to fix the issue as soon as they realised its severity.

      As for getting the coins back, that will almost certainly prove extremely hard to impossible. While there are several blockchain forensic firms and experts, I can’t say I know of any, besides Chainalysis.com – I suggest contacting them and similar companies, as well as some Bitcoin developers, and asking their advice. It may also help to speak with the Electrum devs as they could possibly point you towards someone who could help for a reasonable fee (I expect the companies will charge a lot).

  4. i got on the exchange that i bought 2.911 mBTC. but now i can send only 2.288.
    Where the rest lost? could it be that there’s some kind of comission that they charge me with?

    • Hi Ianiv,

      It sounds like the excange is charging a very high withdrawal fee, most of which probably goes to paying a high mining fee. Exchanges tend to pay high mining fees to ensure that their clients’ withdrawals confirm quickly / don’t get stuck. I suggest you either contact the exchange to complain or wait until you have more BTC on there so that the withdrawal isn’t so expensive as a % of your funds.

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