BlueWallet Bitcoin Wallet Review by Cryptotesters | Mobile & Desktop
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BlueWallet

The BlueWallet is a non-custodial, bitcoin-only wallet with support for the Lightning Network. It's simple to use implements most of the latest bitcoin features available.

Overall
Setup
Ease of use
Features
Support
Total
4.0
rating full iconrating full iconrating full iconrating full iconrating empty icon
Assets
Bitcoin feature
BTC
Bitcoin
Images
BlueWallet screen 0BlueWallet screen 1BlueWallet screen 2BlueWallet screen 3BlueWallet screen 4BlueWallet screen 5
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What we like
  • Support for Lightning network
  • Non-custodial bitcoin trades via HodlHodl
  • Available on Desktop & Mobile
dislike icon
What we don't
  • Not enough guidance during on-boarding process
Full BlueWallet Review

The BlueWallet is a non-custodial, bitcoin-only wallet with support for the Lightning Network. It offers a very complete set of usability features and implements most of the latest bitcoin features available. It also aims to be accessible for beginner users with a simplified user interface.

Cryptotesters reviewed the wallet and its features from the most basic to the most advanced. We covered usability, security and privacy features.

Bluewallet Country support

Like most non-custodial wallets, BlueWallet is available in almost every country (as long as the app stores permit it). BlueWallet caters to a global audience. In addition to English, it supports more than 20 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Indonesian, Russian, Ukranian, Italian, German, Swedish, Norwegian, French, Danish and Turkish. Moreover, it allows users to display the value of their bitcoin holdings in over 20 currencies, including USD, AUD, BRL, CAD, CHF, CZK, CNY, EUR, GDP, HRK, INR, JPY, MXN, MYR, or RUB.

Onboarding experience

We took a look at the first impressions of the app and how the initial setup is presented to users. BlueWallet does not give any guidance to the user to help them with the set up. Instead they seem to have decided to let the UI do the talking and the user figure out how to get started. When launching the app for the first time, the user is faced with a rather neutral screen (see screencap below) with little additional information on how to get started. We would have liked to see a short tutorial explaining the process of creating a wallet and guide users that are unfamiliar with bitcoin wallets.

Once the user clicks on the “Add now” button, they get the option to enter a wallet name and pick between two types of wallets: Bitcoin or Lightning. Once again, we believe this assumes some knowledge from the user to know what Lightning is, since there is no way to relate it to Bitcoin from the wallet interface. A short explanation or “info” button could easily clear that up.

Once the user clicks on the “Add now” button, they get the option to enter a wallet name and pick between two types of wallets: Bitcoin or Lightning. Once again, we believe this assumes some knowledge from the user to know what Lightning is, since there is no way to relate it to Bitcoin from the wallet interface. A short explanation or “info” button could easily clear that up.

For the Bitcoin option, BlueWallet made the UI choice to display it in blue, rather than Bitcoin’s characteristic orange color, and Lightning in orange. A small detail, but Bitcoin’s logo color orange is widely known and the choice not to use it seems a little odd.

After entering a wallet name and selecting a wallet type, the user can go ahead and create the wallet. They will then be prompted to write down the 24 recovery seed-words for the new wallet. Note, users who already have a bitcoin wallet and wish to recover it, can do so by clicking on “import wallet” instead and entering the 24 recovery seed-words of that wallet.

The seed-words recovery method is a known pain-point of all bitcoin wallets but unfortunately there is little innovation on that front. Securing your wallet properly should be a priority for every user to prevent fund loss, and so far the 24 recovery seed-words is the most popular option in bitcoin wallets. This being said, each wallet implements the process differently. Little UI changes can make the process significantly easier for the user.

BlueWallet went for the classic approach. The screen simply prompts the user to write down the 24 words. Oddly enough, the seed-word count starts at 0 instead of 1. Programmers like to start their counts at 0, but normal users don’t, making this a rather strange UI choice.

Moreover, there is no mention of the risks involved in not writing the words down properly, losing them or ignoring this step altogether. There is no verification process either to verify that the words were written down correctly by the user. However, a warning comes up when the user opens the “Receive” tab in the wallet which reminds them to back up the seed words first. Finally, the app prevents you from taking a screenshot of the seed words to prevent this bad security practice.

All-in-all the on-boarding experience is quite straightforward but a little disappointing from a beginner-friendliness perspective. In addition, some of the advanced options such as address type selection (more on this later) can only be accessed when activating the advanced mode, which has to be done from the app settings and breaks the flow of a wallet creation.

Send/Receive Bitcoin

Once the wallet is set up, the user gets access to the account screen showing his current balance. To send or receive funds the user must first select an account (ie: one of the wallets created).

To send a transaction you must either paste the destination bitcoin address or scan its QR code, a very usual approach in cryptocurrency wallets. BlueWallet offers an automatic fee estimation to get your transaction included in the next block and thus confirmed as fast as possible. The default fee rate is shown below the “Note to self” field, in a green box, which can be tapped to change the fee rate value (more on this later).

To receive funds, the user may click the “Receive” button which reveals a public address and the corresponding QR code. The user can also specify an amount which may be used to create an invoice and embed the amount requested in the QR code. Moreover, the wallet uses something called Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) key creation which generates a new public key every time you wish to receive funds. It’s a must for bitcoin wallets best-practices and is one of many necessary measures to help users retain their privacy.

On the other hand, we would like these two core functions to be accessible from the main account page rather than having to go through an extra step by clicking on a wallet first, but for the most part the UI is clear and simple to use.

Buy Bitcoin

BlueWallet has integrated MoonPay to let you easily buy bitcoin within the app with your credit card, removing the need to go through an exchange. For more information on the fees, limits and fiat currencies accepted, please refer to the MoonPay website. Note, the service integrated might be different depending on the country.

If you want to get completely rid of the intermediary and get access to other payment methods, BlueWallet has also recently integrated HodlHodl into the app! HodlHodl is a peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange which makes use of multi-signature wallets to remove the need for an intermediary. Since HodlHodl is distributed, it can also be used globally, as long as there is a buyer or seller in a certain location. HodlHodl also allows you to preserve your privacy. Some sellers do not require KYC and only the most minimal personal information to complete a trade! For more information on HodlHodl and how it works, please refer to the HodlHodl website.

Advances Features

Watch-only wallet

The wallet offers you the option to import a wallet in ‘watch-only mode’. Watch-only mode lets you check the current balance and transactions of your wallet without importing its private key, thus not enabling the send option. You will not be able to initiate any transactions for that wallet as your key is not imported: it simply reads the account balance from the Blockchain and displays it in the BlueWallet interface for your convenience.

In order to create a watch-only wallet on BlueWallet, you need to import the xpub key from an existing wallet. Unfortunately, there isn’t an easier way to create a watch-only wallet for one of your BlueWallet accounts. You first need to export the account’s xpub and import it into a new account. Note, you would need to remove the original BlueWallet account to benefit from the advantages of the watch-only wallet, since the app does not have an option to access only the watch-only wallets like, for example, through a separate login.

Segwit support

You may notice the address BlueWallet generates for you when you hit the “Receive” button begins with “bc1”, which is characteristic of a Native Segregated Witness address (or Native SegWit), one of three possible bitcoin address types. The two other address types are the legacy addresses starting with “1” and the “normal” SegWit addresses starting with “3”. Each address type has a different way of storing transaction data making it more or less efficient. A more efficient address means that it takes up less space in a bitcoin block and thus costs less fees. The native SegWit address type is the most efficient address type (followed by ‘normal’ SegWit). It’s really great to see BlueWallet using the native SegWit address by default. Using efficient address types does not only reduce the fees for the user, it also reduces them for the whole network. Since they free up blockspace, more transactions can be included in a single block, thereby reducing transaction fees and improving Bitcoin’s transaction throughput.

However, in some situations, the user may wish to use a different address type, mainly for privacy reasons. For example, if you need to send a payment to a legacy address, you may wish to send the transaction from a legacy address too so that chain analysis software cannot easily distinguish the destination address in the transaction outputs. Therefore, it’s also great to see BlueWallet give the option to advanced users to select between the three address types for a given account. This functionality is turned off by default and the user needs to turn on the advanced mode in the wallet settings to access it.

Custom transaction fees

As mentioned earlier, the wallet has a built-in fee estimator which computes the smallest fee required to have your transaction included in the next block and thus confirm as fast as possible. However, sometimes you don’t mind your transaction taking a bit longer to confirm. For that reason, BlueWallet lets users set their own transaction fee, expressed in sats/byte and starting at 1 sat/byte.

In addition, BlueWallet also lets you turn on “Allow Fee Bump” in the advanced settings of the transaction screen. This feature, also known as Replace-By-Fee (or RBF), lets the user modify the transaction fee after broadcasting it and before it is confirmed. This is extremely useful when the user picks a fee that is too low, or changes his mind on the transaction speed he would like. Say that you picked a fee of 5 sats/byte but the transaction still hasn't been confirmed after 1 hour, you might want to bump the fee to 10 sats/byte to increase the chances that a miner picks it up.

Even better, you may wish to receive a transaction faster but the sender has set a very low fee. BlueWallet lets you bump the fee for the sender with something called Child-Pays-For-Parent (or CPFP), in which case you pay up the difference.

Batch Transactions

Batching bitcoin transactions (ie: sending to multiple destination addresses in a single transaction) is a common practice to save up on transaction fees. However it is mostly used by exchanges or larger bitcoin services that have a higher transaction volume and the feature is not often made available to end-users.

BlueWallet has implemented that feature very nicely into their app. When creating a transaction, the user can “Add Recipients” and specify the amount he wishes to send to each recipient. In addition to saving on fees, this feature can also be used by advanced users to improve on-chain privacy: one of the recipients could be set to a wallet the user controls to simulate a coinjoin and improve privacy through plausible deniability.

Connect to own full node

Running your own bitcoin full node is the ultimate step to your individual financial sovereignty. But, by default, most non-custodial wallets connect to the company’s own full node to broadcast and validate bitcoin transactions. This hurts both your privacy by making a third-party aware of your activity (they know which transaction you send and receive) and your security if the company’s full node decides to enforce some protocol rules with which you do not agree (such as a bitcoin hard-fork).

Fortunately, some non-custodial wallets give its users the option to connect their wallet to their own full node. BlueWallet lets users connect to their own node through the Electrum Personal Server (EPS), ElectrumX or Electrs.

Lightning Wallet & Lapps marketplace

The wallet also offers support for a custodial Lightning wallet. It’s a really exciting feature as it gives users access to the Lightning Network, the latest (and arguably greatest) improvement to Bitcoin’s scalability. In short, the Lightning Network (LN) is a second-layer scalability solution which enables users to transact off-chain for faster payments and smaller fees.

Lightning is still an experimental technology and requires some technical skills and knowledge to set up. BlueWallet lets users experiment with LN by allowing them to very easily set up a wallet and start receiving or sending lightning payments. Note that this comes at some security cost, since the Lightning wallet is custodial, but it’s a great way for beginners to get more familiar with LN and do the jump to a non-custodial solution later on.

Moreover, the app gives access to the so-called “Lapps Marketplace”, a curated list of apps and services that make use of the lightning payments. This aims to encourage users to try out lightning payments and explore the lightning ecosystem. We hope more bitcoin wallets will start offering similar functionalities. However, a small disclaimer should be given to let users know that their funds are in BlueWallet’s custody. Advanced users can connect to their own LNDHub to mitigate the risk.

BlueWallet Security

Secure private key / recover with seed

We mentioned the recovery seed in the on-boarding section. The wallet uses the popular 24-words mnemonic recovery seed. You never have to worry about saving the private key of each individual public address your wallet generates. In fact, you don’t even see them, the private keys are encrypted on your device and are only accessed when signing a transaction. The mnemonic recovery seed is all you need to recover your funds in case you lose your phone or forget your wallet PIN.

Biometrics and Encryption

The wallet lets users activate biometrics to unlock, delete and export a wallet or to sign a transaction. In addition, BlueWallet also has a feature to encrypt your wallets with an additional password. Note that in case you encrypt the wallet with a password, the biometrics will not be enough to unencrypt it as it is believed to be less secure than the password. You will notice BlueWallet does not support 2FA and we hope they do in the future.

Advanced Security features

Blue wallet allows users to define a different password which will decrypt a fake wallet. This way, if you are ever forced to unlock your wallet (cf. wrench attack) you can simply enter the password to the fake account. You can think of it as a decoy wallet you might have in your pocket with a 20 dollar bill in it. This feature is only available if you have set up the wallet encryption first.

Privacy

Some of the features mentioned above also fall under the realm of privacy:

Decoy wallets will prevent a thief from accessing your “real” funds and thus also hide away your “real” balance. HD wallet addresses, prevent the bad practice of address re-use which exposes your full transaction history. Indeed, if the same address is used for every transaction, anyone can browse the blockchain through a blockchain explorer like Blockchair to figure out all the transactions that were made using that address. Signing a transaction offline/broadcasting it later can be used to mask your IP address Connecting to your bitcoin full node also offers some privacy advantages if done over a secure and private connection. The app lets users do so via SSL and VPN. Unfortunately, as of now, BlueWallet is missing support for Tor connectivity.

The wallet also has a multiple wallet architecture to segregate UTXOs and further preserve the privacy of users’ holdings. Finally, the development team is currently working on some more advanced privacy features such as payjoin and coin control. We will be updating this review with the most up to date information on future developments.

Technical Support

Although not directly tied to the wallet functionalities, support is an important part of the user experience. A reactive and helpful support might be the difference between a good and a great wallet.

During this review, Cryptotesters got in touch with the BlueWallet support team to enquire some additional information on features of the wallets. They don’t offer real-time chat , but the team always responded within a day and provided all the information in a clear way.

Conclusion

The BlueWallet has some amazing usability features. In fact, it probably offers the most complete usability feature set we have seen on the market which includes almost all of the latest advances in the Bitcoin protocol, such as Native SegWit, RBF (and CPFP), Lightning wallets, hardware wallet support with PSBT amongst others. It also offers some nice security and privacy features which will hopefully be extended in the near future.

The wallet also makes a great effort on the UI to keep it simple and make it enjoyable to use. However, we do believe it still needs some polishing. The UX is sometimes a little confusing and we believe some steps could be removed altogether. We also experienced some bugs in the interface when swiping from a wallet to another or importing a wallet into the app on watch-only mode.

To conclude, considering this wallet has only been out since 2018, it’s impressive to see all the features they have managed to push out and we are looking forward to future developments. We’ll make sure to update this review with the latest, most accurate information to give you all the details you need to pick the bitcoin wallet that is right for you!

Overall
Setup
Ease of use
Features
Support
Total
4.0
rating full iconrating full iconrating full iconrating full iconrating empty icon
Assets
Bitcoin feature
BTC
Bitcoin
Images
BlueWallet screen 0BlueWallet screen 1BlueWallet screen 2BlueWallet screen 3BlueWallet screen 4BlueWallet screen 5
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