Electrum Wallet Guide

James HeadshotAuthor: James Page
Last Updated: October 2020

Disclaimer: We may receive a commission for purchases made through the links on our site. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. Learn more about our Affiliate Disclosure.

If you’re thinking about purchasing or trading bitcoins, you’re probably looking for a secure place to store your coins. The Internet abounds with all kinds of digital wallets that you can easily access from independent platforms or as part of a cryptocurrency exchange.

Today we’ll talk about Electrum, one of the oldest and most reliable Bitcoin wallets. Starting with how Electrum came to be, we’ll give an overview of its main features, security methods, and a step-by-step explanation on how to set up and use the wallet.

If you’re thinking about purchasing or trading bitcoins, you’re probably looking for a secure place to store your coins. The Internet abounds with all kinds of digital wallets that you can easily access from independent platforms or as part of a cryptocurrency exchange.

What’s an Electrum Wallet?

Electrum was launched in 2011, just two years after the emergence of Bitcoin and the start of the cryptocurrency era. It was originally designed by the German computer scientist Thomas Voegtlin who made Electrum open source so that other developers could contribute and modify the software.

Electrum is a desktop wallet, available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Since 2016, there’s also a mobile app adapted for both Android and iOS devices with mostly positive user reviews on Google Play.

Despite the wide range of cryptocurrencies on the market today, Electrum doesn’t support any other coins besides Bitcoin. On the flip side, by focusing on one currency only, Electrum can provide faster execution time minus the delays common for other Bitcoin wallets.

The great thing about Electrum is that you can integrate the software with any of the most popular hardware wallets such as Ledger Nano S, Trezor, and KeepKey. Moreover, Electrum allows you to do things like naming the addresses that send BTC to you, exporting your wallet’s history, or using your private key to authorize a “pay to many” transaction where you send the same transaction to more than one recipient.

How to Set Up the Electrum Wallet

We recommend downloading Electrum directly from its official website and choose the version that works best for your device:

Once you’ve downloaded the file, double-click it to run the installation. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the process. This includes choosing the type of wallet: standard wallet, two-factor authentication wallet, multi-signature wallet, or a hardware wallet.

The next pop-up window contains your wallet generation seed, shown in a white box filled with 13 random words. Write down the words and store them someplace safe.

Remember: you mustn’t lose these words as this is your recovery seed phrase in case you need to access your wallet account without the private key! The wallet set up will ask you to enter the seed phrase again before you proceed with the installation.

Next, create a super-strong password. Use both lower and upper case letters, numbers, and symbols. Finally, you need to select whether you want to auto-connect to a server or choose one manually. If you’re new to this wallet, go with the first option.

When you open your wallet, you should see an icon in the bottom right corner. If the icon’s red, then you still haven’t been connected to a server. Wait for a minute or two as this shouldn’t take long. Electrum is a lite wallet, meaning that you’re not downloading the entire Bitcoin blockchain.

Once the icon lights up green, your account balance should be displayed in mBTC, i.e. milli-Bitcoins or one-thousandth of a Bitcoin (1 mBTC = 0.001 BTC). Electrum uses mBTC because its default fee for sending BTC is 0.2 mBTC. If you find mBTC confusing, you can easily change to BTC in Settings.

How to Receive BTC on Electrum

Here’s how to receive your first bitcoins using Electrum:

  • Choose “Receive” from the wallet toolbar.
  • Copy your encrypted “Receiving address” or public key.
  • If you’re sending BTC to yourself from a crypto exchange, paste the address on the platform in the “Withdrawal” section. Otherwise, send your public key to the person that’s supposed to pay BTC to you.

How to Send BTC on Electrum

Here’s how to spend your first bitcoins using Electrum:

  • Choose “Send” from the wallet toolbar.
  • In the “Pay to” box, paste the copied public key of the person, online store, or cryptocurrency exchange that you’re sending BTC to.
  • Enter the amount of BTC you’re sending.
  • Adjust the fee using the “Fee” slider. The lower the fee you’re willing to pay, the longer it will take for the transaction to get processed.

About The Author

James Page

James Headshot

James is the main editor. With a passion for finance and anything blockchain, cryptocurrency is right up his alley. He's responsible for most of the content on the site, trying his best to keep everything up to date and as informative as possible.

Disclaimer: Digital currencies and cryptocurrencies are volatile and can involve a lot of risk. Their prices and performance is very unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consult a financial advisor or obtain your own advice independent of this site before relying and acting on the information provided.

Our most recommended Cryptocurrency Exchange

Binance LogoVisit The Site