A new, more user-friendly and simple set of pages designed to help people find an ideal bitcoin wallet is now available. It includes a step-by-step wizard to help people become more familiar with wallets, ratings to compare how they stack up alongside other wallets, as well as explanations of features they provide in order to help people make their own informed decisions. Aside from the wizard, a completely new comparative table and selector is available so people can see how wallets fare against one another. This is designed to help people quickly find a wallet to meet their needs.
The Old Design
While the old wallet pages presented an assortment of wallets people could choose from, the experience of doing so was cumbersome and tedious. In order to see how wallets were rated one would need to navigate to each individual wallet and then browse back to the overview page to select another wallet to see how the two might compare. It was not possible to see these comparisons side by side. One would need to use multiple tabs or browser windows and toggle back and forth, or a single window, navigating backward and forward.
In addition to the comparative difficulties, millions of people visit bitcoin.org, many of whom are new to Bitcoin, and have little to no familiarity with how it works. This is further complicated when a person needs to choose a bitcoin wallet and has no idea what makes one an optimal choice, what the features are and what they do, or what they need.
The new design resolves these issues by allowing people to easily compare wallets, see how they’re rated and subsequently generate a list of wallets based on available features - in addition to explaining things each step along the way.
Wallets are given one of four ratings - good, acceptable, caution or neutral. These ratings are applied across six categories:
- Control: Some wallets give you full control over your bitcoin. This means no third party can freeze or take away your funds. You are still responsible, however, for securing and backing up your wallet.
- Validation: Some wallets have the ability to operate as a full node. This means no trust in a third party is required when processing transactions. Full nodes provide a high level of security, but they require a large amount of memory.
- Transparency: Some wallets are open-source and can be built deterministically, a process of compiling software which ensures the resulting code can be reproduced to help ensure it hasn’t been tampered with.
- Environment: Some wallets can be loaded on computers which are vulnerable to malware. Securing your computer, using a strong passphrase, moving most of your funds to cold store or enabling 2FA or multifactor authentication can help you protect your bitcoin.
- Privacy: Some wallets make it harder to spy on your transactions by rotating addresses. They do not disclose information to peers on the network. They can also optionally let you setup and use Tor as a proxy to prevent others from associating transactions with your IP address.
- Fees: Some wallets give you full control over setting the fee paid to the bitcoin network before making a transaction, or modifying it afterward, to ensure that your transactions are confirmed in a timely manner without paying more than you have to.
These ratings are available to review both on the overview page that includes all wallets, as well as the individual landing pages for each wallet.
There are nine features people can choose from to sort wallets by. These features are:
- 2FA: Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a way to add additional security to your wallet. The first ‘factor’ is your password for your wallet. The second ‘factor’ is a verification code retrieved via text message or from an app on a mobile device. 2FA is conceptually similar to a security token device that banks in some countries require for online banking. It likely requires relying on the availability of a third party to provide the service.
- Bech32: Bech32 is a special address format made possible by SegWit (see the feature description for SegWit for more info). This address format is also known as ‘bc1 addresses’. Some bitcoin wallets and services do not yet support sending and/or receiving to or from Bech32 addresses.
- Full Node: Some wallets fully validate transactions and blocks. Almost all full nodes help the network by accepting transactions and blocks from other full nodes, validating those transactions and blocks, and then relaying them to further full nodes.
- Hardware Wallet Compatibility: Some wallets can pair and connect to a hardware wallet in addition to being able to send to them. While sending to a hardware wallet is something most all wallets can do, being able to pair with one is a unique feature. This feature enables you to be able to send and receive directly to and from a hardware wallet.
- Legacy Addresses: Most wallets have the ability to send and receive legacy bitcoin addresses. Legacy addresses start with 1 or 3 (as opposed to starting with bc1). Without legacy address support you may not be able to receive bitcoin from older wallets or exchanges.
- Lightning: Some wallets support transactions on the Lightning Network. The Lightning Network is new and somewhat experimental. It supports transferring bitcoin without having to record each transaction on the blockchain, resulting in faster transactions and lower fees.
- Mixing / Shuffling: Some wallets support coin mixing and/or shuffling, which pools transactions from multiple parties in order to increase privacy and reduce traceability.
- Multisig: Some wallets have the ability to require more than one key to authorize a transaction. This can be used to divide responsibility and control over multiple parties.
- SegWit: Some wallets support SegWit, which uses block chain space more efficiently. This helps reduce fees paid by helping the Bitcoin network scale and sets the foundation for second layer solutions such as the Lightning Network.
People can select features that are important to them alongside the ratings described above, based on their operating system and/or environment.
The new wallet page improvements wouldn’t have been possible without donations from the community, as well as community feedback that we received as various milestones were passed and presented along the way. A special thanks is also due to several people who spent a significant amount of their personal time on this project - Craig Watkins, Cøbra, Natalia Kirejczyk, Alex Cherman, and Maxwell Mons. Lastly, we appreciate the efforts of many contributors that spent time reporting issues on GitHub with regard to both the old and new design, that we were able to resolve as part of this work:
Adding a Wallet
For people who would like to submit a wallet that isn’t listed on the site for potential inclusion, documentation is available for review.
If you have any feedback on the new wallet pages, ideas on how they can be made better, or if you’ve encountered a problem, please let us know by opening an issue on GitHub.
Bitcoin.org was originally registered and owned by Satoshi Nakamoto and Martti Malmi. When Satoshi left the project, he gave ownership of the domain to additional people, separate from the Bitcoin developers, to spread responsibility and prevent any one person or group from easily gaining control over the Bitcoin project. Since then, the site has been developed and maintained by different members of the Bitcoin community.
Despite being a privately owned site, its code is open-source and there have been thousands of commits from hundreds of contributors from all over the world. In addition to this, over a thousand translators have helped to make the site display natively to visitors in their own languages — now 25 different languages and growing.
Bitcoin.org receives millions of visitors a year from people all over the world who want to get started with and learn more about Bitcoin.