When it comes to choosing a Bitcoin wallet, there are plenty of options available to you. In this series of articles, we will be looking at the various options for mobile Bitcoin wallets. After all, we want to take our digital currency with us, wherever we go, and spend it without pulling out a computer or laptop. Up first in our series is the mobile Bitcoin wallet by Blockchain.info.
Blockchain.info Mobile Wallet
One of the main things you will like about the Blockchain.info Bitcoin wallet is its compatibility on multiple platforms. While most users will access their Bitcoin funds on a computer or laptop, Blockchain.info wallets can easily be accessed through any mobile browser in HTML5 format. On top of that, designated applications are available for both Android and iOS users.
And, it has to be said, the Blockchain.info Bitcoin wallet offers a ton of different features to their users. Let’s start with the important part first, though – this wallet solution is free to use. Most people I talk to somehow fear that using a Bitcoin wallet will cost them money, yet, it never does. Bitcoin is not a bank where you have to pay fees to use the existing infrastructure.
Some of the most important features regarding the Blockchain/info mobile wallet include a merchant map, which shows you where you can easily spend your Bitcoin. Simply turn on the GPS function on your smartphone, load up the mobile wallet, and look at the merchant maps for locations near you. It really is that simple to experience the magic of Bitcoin transactions in real life situations.
Another interesting part is that you can have the Blockchain.info mobile wallet app show your Bitcoin balance in your local currency. For example, I live in Europe, so I set my preferred currency to EUR. Blockchain.info supports a ton of local currencies, so, make sure to check that feature out and see if it is to your liking!
But, what truly makes for interesting use are the push notifications. Whenever you send or receive a Bitcoin transaction to any of your addresses, you will receive a push notification on your phone. And, if you prefer, you can also set up SMS notifications for every time funds goes in or out of your Bitcoin wallet. This is an interesting feature if you deal regularly with receiving and making Bitcoin payments, like me.
Some Issues & Concerns
For all of the positive aspects, the Blockchain.info mobile Bitcoin wallet is, alas, far from perfect. The thing is, you rely on the blockchain.info API for sending and receiving money, as well as synchronizing with the Bitcoin network, so, if the blockchain.info APi goes down, like it did several times yesterday due to a capacity overload, your mobile wallet will stop functioning, as well.
On top of that, I experienced a major issue, several times, in just the past week. Whenever I tried to send a Bitcoin payment, the transaction could not be processed due to being over 16kb in size. However, this was not the case, and was an error message from the Blockchain.info API resulting from their service being hammered at that time.
Last but not least, there is a major issue on most Android phones when scanning a QR code with the Blockchain.info mobile application. You can not use your normal camera application, as, nine times out of ten, it will return an “invalid image”. Once I installed the “Barcode Scanner” application and set that as a default to scan QR codes, everything worked fine.
All in all, I would give the Blockchain.info mobile wallet a 7/10 rating. It is very user-friendly, as well as packing a ton of features. However, some of the issues that are arising more and more, of late, are making me consider switching to an alternative soon.
All images courtesy of Blockchain.info