ELECTRUM WALLET 101: Part 1
A Guide for Bitcoin Noobs for August 1st 2017
Part one of Two
I’ve been trading bitcoin on P2P (peer to peer) sites like Paxful and Local Bitcoins for over 2 years as a hobby. I do not have a technical background, and I fell into this by accident. I find the philosophies of decentralization go along with my morals and values (I did grow up listening to punk rock lol yes I’m old) . I have decided to start blogging about crypto related things as I discover them. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is NOT all about drugs, guns, and illicit sex. I hope to become an advocate. One way to do this is by teaching people, so why not blog about crypto related things as I discover them? I will do this from my perspective (a tech dummies point of view) in the hopes that It can teach people.
I don’t quite understand all of the blockchain changes that are going on now and on August 1st . But I DO know it VERY important to have your coins in a wallet that YOU control 100 percent.
Electrum Wallet seems to be the easiest out there. I have only used this wallet a few times, and a very long time ago. I am learning how to use it again. I noticed finding tutorials is not easy, and I can’t possibly be the only one doing this at the moment. So, I shall describe my experience setting up Electrum. This is just a quick and dirty tutorial, and my first time doing anything like this. I hope this blog post can help somebody like me. :)
What is Electrum Wallet? There are many types of Bitcoin wallets out there. Many people use Online Wallets such as blockchain.info, and others. This is NOT good. You should have your very own wallet that you are 100% in control of. I suggest Electrum.
Now, important thing to know. You can install this wallet on ANY device. If you accidentally delete this wallet, that’s OK!!!! You HAVE to be insanely careful about keeping your passwords and stuff written down on PAPER in a very safe place. This is an important habit to get into since tech is a Brave New World, and everyone want’s to steal your precious bitcoins.
Use the official Electrum Website (a google search may come up with fraudulent phishing sites)
Then you can install the Electrum Wallet Application on whatever computer you are using . I believe there are official android apps out there for electrum, but I am unfamiliar with them. Again …there are MANY fake apps out there so be very careful.
Don’t be intimidated by technical jargon and new stuff. I don’t come from a tech background at all, and learn as I go. Things will eventually will make sense.
Electrum 101: quick and dirty
VIDEOS: I watched the below videos (boring sorry) in order to remember how to use this wallet. They aren’t the best and are very old, but they seem accurate (and come up on google with a quick search). I would IGNORE the parts that talk about making and saving text files, saving to a USB, or taking screenshots. Use PEN and PAPER . I do NOT recommend saving important information on your computer unless you are very tech savvy for security reasons. PEN and PAPER. Here are two short vids:
and this one
Install and Use Electrum.
DOWNLOAD ELECTRUM: Be certain to use the correct LINK.
OPEN AND INSTALL: It should automatically install, and you should have an electrum icon on your desktop. It is easy to accidentally save it to another location, so watch out for that. Click on the Electrum icon on your desktop to open it.
CREATE WALLET: Electrum gives you three options, be sure to select “New Wallet”.
SEED : You must now create a Wallet Seed or Key. Make SURE you have your 12 Word Seed written down on paper, and saved in a VERY safe place. You use this Seed/key if your wallet gets deleted from your computer. I do NOT recommend saving it to a text file on your computer, or taking a picture of it with your phone.
PASSWORD: Create a password to protect your wallet. In addition to the Wallet Seed (in case you delete your wallet), you should protect your wallet with a Password. Write this down and keep it in a safe place. Make sure to use a decent password like THIS site suggests. (blog about what encryption is coming soon)
SERVER: You will be prompted to select a server via “auto connect” or “connect manually” be sure this is set to “auto connect”.
Congratulations! Now your wallet is set up and ready to use! You just need to adjust a few settings, and you will be ready to send and receive bitcoins safely and securely. You have a menu that looks like THIS. The menu consists of: History, Send, Receive, Addresses, Contacts, and Console. This should be fairly straightforward. Before you start using it, I think you should adjust some settings.
When electrum is open on Macbook Pro (should be similar on other devices), you can choose from the toolbar menu at the top of your screen that looks like THIS.
Go to > Tools> Electrum Preferences
This opens up a menu where you can adjust a few settings: Fees, Transactions, appearance, fiat and identity. It looks like THIS.
FEES: Just leave the check box to “dynamic fees”. (too complicated to explain now). It looks like THIS.
TRANSACTIONS: You have two options: Use change addresses or Use multiple change addresses. Choose “use change addresses”. It looks like THIS.
APPEARANCE: You can change the bitcoin units, add decimals, and choose the blockchain explorer that is used to view your bitcoin transactions on the internet.
Change Bitcoin units to your preferred style. I like my wallet to reflect whole bitcoin, not mbtc or satoshis. Choose whatever you like.
- BTC = 1 Whole Bitcoin
- mBTC = 0.001 BTC
- uBTC = 0.000001 BTC these are also called “bits” but not commonly used from my experiences.
- Satoshi = 0.00000001 BTC
HERE is a good article that explains the differences.
Online Block Explorer: A block explorer is a tool you can use to look at bitcoin transactions. This comes in handy when you want to see how many confirmations a transaction has. When you send or receive bitcoins, usually 3 confirmations are required before the coins are officially in your wallet. You can check this on the blockchain. I have been using Blockcypher lately, but sadly that is not an option in this setting. In the Electrum Wallet it is set automatically to “blockchain.info”. Blockchain info seems to be unreliable from my experience, so I would choose another. I don’t think this setting is significant in any way. I chose BTC.com because I like the name 😼.
Decimals: You should always put the number “8” in this box, not physically type “00000000” in a row like I did on more than one occasion (blush). It looks like THIS.
Now you can continue to the next tab in the settings.
FIAT: This is just a fancy term for regular money.
- Fiat currency setting: Select $USD, or whatever you prefer.
- Source: I choose Bitstamp by default, as most of my trader friends do also. I also really like Bitcoinaverage. This setting looks like THIS.
- Identity: TBD
Now your Electrum Wallet is set up and ready to use!
Sending and receiving should be straightforward, if not, please refer to the two videos I posted at the beginning of this blog. There are many other tricks you can do with this Electrum Wallet, but for now, your coins are secured in an Encrypted Bitcoin Wallet that you control.
updated 8–3–2017 -kareninsf