Electrum is one of the longest-running bitcoin wallets in the ecosystem, having focused since 2011 on giving the user real power over their funds. Through this software you can create several wallets, starting from seed; and manage them offline. In this CriptoNoticias tutorial, you will learn how to protect your cryptocurrencies, customize your bitcoin wallet with Electrum, send and receive funds, and use plugins that are very convenient.
Despite its age, Electrum does not stop innovating. Since 2018, the developers of this bitcoin wallet have started working on including features for micropayments through the Bitcoin Lightning network. In fact, it is currently possible to create support for payment channels via backseed and make springboard payouts. These methods help Electrum remain a light client wallet capable of offering its users a self-sustaining bitcoin system.
Perhaps when you first see the desktop version, you will find the interface rough and rudimentary in appearance, but don’t worry, that factor does not stop the extensive functionality that Electrum offers to its users. This is because in addition to creating standard wallets, you can handle a wide range of options to store keys and perform bitcoin transactions.
In the following tutorial I will explain how to create and use Electrum bitcoin wallet in desktop or PC version.
Download and install the Electrum wallet
First, you need to download the installer that corresponds to the operating system you are using. Electrum currently works for Linux, Window, OS X and Android.
If you go to The main portal of Electrumespecially in the Download section of the top menu, you will see installers for different operating systems.
Downloading the Electrum wallet from the official site is a good security measure. Source: Electrum
Here you will find links corresponding to each operating system. For the purposes of this guide, I will download the Windows installer. In any case, you have different versions to install the wallet: installer, executable or portable (which is the lighter version, recommended for computers with low resources).
Create a bitcoin wallet in Electrum
With the program installed, this will be the first step you must follow.
Electrum asks if you want to install the software automatically or manually. Source: Electrum.
Here you have to select the type of server you want to connect to. This is because Electrum is a light client wallet, therefore it will use third-party servers that verify the history of the Bitcoin blockchain, where transactions will be validated and verified before being propagated through the network.
Therefore, you have two options: choose a random server or choose a specific trusted server.
In this case, I will select the first option that indicates the automatic connection method.
At this point, you can change the name of the wallet you are creating to distinguish it from others. Source: Electrum.
The next thing is to give a name to the purse or wallet we are creating. If you want to manage more than one Electrum wallet, I recommend using names that clearly distinguish one from the other..
These are the different types of wallets we can create with Electrum. Source: Electrum.
The next step is to indicate the type of portfolio to create. Among them we have:
- Standard wallet: It is a basic bitcoin wallet that will be generated by creating a new seed, returning from an already created seed, master key or through a hardware wallet.
- A wallet with two-factor authentication: This wallet or wallet works in the same way as the standard one, but we will have to verify access through Google Autheticator or other similar every time we enter. This is the recommended method as it offers an extra level of security.
- A multi-signature wallet: This bitcoin wallet is very similar to a joint bank account. This is because funds can be managed by 2 or more people, and a minimum number of signatures can be assigned in order for a withdrawal to be made.
- Import Bitcoin addresses or private keys: from this option we can import a public address that allows the creation of a wallet for viewing only (view only) or import private keys.
I will be creating a basic bitcoin wallet for the purposes of this guide, so I chose the option Standard wallet.
The options are in English by default. The first one is the one that allows you to create a new wallet. Source: Electrum.
These will be the available options that allow you to create a bitcoin wallet with Electrum.
- Create a new seed: allows you to create a new bitcoin wallet based on the generation of a new seed.
- I already have seeds: This option allows you to restore a bitcoin wallet from another one already created.
- Use the master key: If you have a master, private or public key, you can use this option to create a wallet from that data.
- Use a hardware device: allows you to connect a hardware wallet to Electrum.
In this case, we choose the first option.
You can choose a wallet that integrates Segwit. Source: Electrum.
The next thing is to determine what type of addresses we want Electrum to generate. We have two options: Segwit and Standard. Segwit addresses are Bech32 addresses. Although Segwit addresses significantly reduce fees and improve network security, There are still some exchanges and wallets that only process legacy or standard addresses..
It is important to copy the words from the seed. Source: Electrum.
In the image above you can see the box where your recovery seed will be displayed. This is the only existing way you can get your funds back. This is because every private key you manage with Electrum comes from this seed. Therefore, you must be very careful about the method you use to protect this information. One of the most recommended practices is to write down passwords on a piece of paper and keep them in a safe place..
The next thing is to validate this seed and remember that the order in which the keywords are generated is important, so you must write them in that order.
You write the recovery phrase in the same order as it was generated. Source: Electrum.
At the end of this step, You must set a password that allows you to encrypt the files that are generated on your computer, in addition to providing security to the application. Electrum wallet generation is done exclusively on your device, which means that your data will not be stored on third-party servers.
To recover the funds, you need to restore the wallet from the 12 recovery words and enter the option to create a new one. If you forget your password, there is no way to recover it.
This is what the Electrum bitcoin wallet looks like, with a simple interface but with many tools to customize the wallet. Source: Electrum.
At this point you already have your Electrum bitcoin wallet ready to use. I’ll just advance it I clicked on Tools and then Preferences to change the language which comes with a default wallet. This way you can start doing everything in Spanish.
Features of Electrum bitcoin wallet
At the top of the wallet you can see the name of the wallet you are using.
You can read your wallet name above and to the left, in this case it says “default_wallet” by default. Source: Electrum
As you can see, you have a name along with a wallet type. For this reason, it is important to assign name for each wallet in case you use multiple private keys on the same deviceas they are saved in an encrypted file on your computer.
Options for the lower part of the bag. Source: Electrum.
At the bottom is the portfolio balance, which by default is expressed as milliBTC or mBTC, which is equivalent to 0.001 BTC. You can also change this to BTC later, you just need to go to settings and select the language in the appropriate box.
This is what it will look like as soon as you change it. Source: Electrum
On the right side of this bar we have the following options:
- Padlock: refers to the password. If you click this option, you can change the current wallet password.
- Tools– This symbol provides quick access to the settings section, which we will explore a little later.
- Seeds: By clicking on this symbol, you will see the recovery seed for the wallet you are using. Of course, only if you entered the password.
- air: Indicates how many nodes and channels you are connected to on the Lightning network.
- green circle: Depending on the color, we can know the status of our connection with respect to the server. If it’s green, it means the connection is stable. Yellow can mean connecting or slow connection. If the circle is red, it means that the wallet is not connected and therefore not synchronized.
In the central part you will find the power of the wallet, as it houses the History, Send and Receive sections. I will describe them in more detail later when I explain how to send and receive bitcoin.
Change the settings in Electrum
Electrum is a very flexible wallet and offers an interesting possibility to change some settings.
By default, you will surely find that the wallet interface is in English. This can be changed from settings. So, you may need to access this option, either from the bottom segment or from the Tools menu. You can also change the app theme to dark color or night mode.
This window offers the main options for setting your preferences Source: Electrum.
When you open the tools section and click on settings, you will find this box.
- General– Here you enable language, base unit and theme color.
- Transactions– You can enable the option to use exchange with a fee, to increase the amount of the fee for the transaction you want to confirm faster, enable batch transactions and other advanced options.
- Lightning– Here you can select the Lightning network security options you have selected.
- Fiat: here you choose in which local currency you can see the bitcoin value. It will appear to the right of the BTC denomination of your balance.
- OpenAlias: allows you to create an alias associated with an address that allows you to receive payments via a link with that name or word of your choice.
Plugins from Electrum
The Electrum bitcoin wallet offers a number of add-ons or plugins that help improve the experience within the wallet.
To access them through the Tools option (Tools), then click Plugins (Extras).
Among these add-ons, you can choose the following options:
- Log Pool– Allows you to send and receive partially signed transactions. This only applies to multi-signature wallets.
- Email– This plugin allows you to configure your email to receive and send payments via email.
- LabelSync: is a service that synchronizes tags within Electrum from external servers. That is, every time we sync our wallet from the seed, the tags will also sync.
- Revealer– This plugin helps to further ensure the protection of private keys. This is because it does visual encryption. So even if a person observes the key, it will be impossible to detect the true seed.
- Virtual keyboard: starts a virtual keyboard, this with the aim of avoiding hacking through keyloggers.
Electrum allows some additional bitcoin wallet configurations. To access them, select Wallet (Wallet) in the main menu.
These options help you customize your bitcoin payments. Source: Electrum
Here you will find these settings:
- Information: In this section you will find the p2pkh master public key of the bitcoin wallet you are using.
- Password: you can change your wallet password from here.
- Seeds: allows you to see your wallet seed.
- Private keys– This option enables the possibility to import or delete the private key.
- Addresses: Allows you to see the addresses that are currently in use.
- Hang the tags: offers the ability to import or export tokens of your bitcoin payments.
- Record: displays a series of options related to the history of transactions within the wallet.
- Contacts: Electrum allows you to create contacts as if it were a phone book, so you have the addresses of your frequent contacts at hand.
- Accounts: from here you can import or export invoices generated during shipment.
- Search: This option works as a general search engine. When opened, a search box is enabled at the bottom.
Send and receive BTC with Electrum
When you launch the wallet, you can see the options for sending and receiving bitcoins through Electrum, corresponding to the sections you will use in this section. I’ll start with Send.
In the amount box you can see the amount in BTC and local currency. Source: Electrum
As you can see, this function is quite simple.
- to pay: is where you have to set the addresses to send bitcoins to. Electrum enables batching, i.e. sending to different addresses in the same transaction. This significantly reduces the rate. It also allows us to launch our device’s camera to scan the QR code of the address.
- Description– This option is completely optional. It allows you to enter some additional details of the transaction to be executed.
- Amount: is the amount in BTC to be sent. Note that if you have configured your wallet so that the numbers are expressed in different units, such as miliBTC, which is equivalent to 0.001 BTC, you must enter the amount based on this unit, as you may send incorrect amounts.
- Commission: If you hover over this indicator, you’ll see the current satoshi commission you’re paying per byte. You can change this by sliding to the left for a lower priority and to the right to increase it.
Finally, you can review before sending the transaction. Write it down Electrum has a button to cancel unconfirmed transactions. The function sends a commission greater than the one selected to perform the cancellation.
In case you want to collect, or send to multiple addresses at the same time, you must set each one in the following format: address, amount, address, amount. The only thing you should leave out is the Quantity box.
There is also the option of setting up a CSV file, with a format for sending to multiple addresses. You can do this using the icon at the end of the frame to pay.
Once this step is complete, let’s turn our attention to receiving section.
From here you can generate new addresses to receive bitcoin payments. Source: Electrum
As you can see here, this feature is also quite simple. If you want to receive bitcoin, you simply have to share Entry address or its abstraction in a QR code. You can also generate payment requests with a specific amount. To do this, you just need to enter a description (optional), the amount to be received and the time this active request will wait.
Once a request is saved, it will appear at the bottom along with other requests you’ve created.
If you want to use the old addresses you have to choose Coins, see each address used and the status of each one. However, this option is not recommended because it makes it easier to compromise the privacy of your addresses.
You have the option to see all generated addresses, whether they are in use or not, from the address option. This option is hidden by default, so you must select to enable it Ver and later Show directions, so the new tab is enabled.
Here you have a maximum of 20 addresses, with the corresponding quantity. Type addresses Change These are the addresses used at the time of receipt of changes or differences in relation to the shipments you make.
If you double-click a section Label one of the addresses, you can attach a tag to the address.
Conclusions about Electrum
Despite being one of the oldest portfolios, its development team never stops innovating. From the implementation of Segwit to the future implementation of the Lightning Network to simplify payments, Electrum continues to update its platform according to the demands of BTC users of today.
Another aspect worth highlighting is the number of additional options we have for using our portfolio. In this guide, we only explore the basic usage of Electrum. But once we have created a portfolio, it is possible to see other types of portfolios available on the platform. These include multi-signature wallets, two-step authentication wallets, or the option to import a Bitcoin key. Electrum has no shortage of options.
Perhaps the most critical thing would be the interface, and only if we compare it to the new design used in current wallets. Electrum has retained the old interface, which may cause some users a little resistance to use. But as shown, the design in no way stops the functionality that this bitcoin wallet offers us.
In conclusion, Electrum is a very versatile and multi-platform bitcoin walleta feature that is great because it allows you to take your funds with you wherever you go.
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Featured image by Electrum