Wallet

Review: our experiences with the Blockchain-Wallet

Review and test of the online wallet Blockchain for Bitcoins and Ethers.


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Review: our experiences with the Blockchain-Wallet (c): Blockchain

05.02.2018

With more than 19 million users and over 100 million transactions completed the Blockchain-Wallet is the most widespread wallet in the world. That is reason enough to present the wallet to you in a review.

 





Overview of the Blockchain-Wallet

The Blockchain-Wallet is a free online wallet for desktop and mobile devices and can be used to buy, manage, sell or exchange Bitcoins, Ethers and, more recently, Bitcoin Cash.


Create a Blockchain-Wallet

A wallet can set up online and  for free on the website
https://blockchain.info/de/wallet/#/signup. Alternatively, the Blockchain-Wallet for mobile devices can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. The new installation of a wallet is done just in a few steps.For this, an e-mail address and a password is required during registration.

Blockchain © "blockchain.info"

Afterwards a welcome message is displayed and the wallet can be used immediately.

Blockchain © "Blockchain"

Function and usage of Blockchain-Wallet

The Blockchain-Wallet can manage the crypto-currencies Bitcoin and Ether. Currencies can be bought (buy), sold (sell) or exchanged within the wallet.

Buying

The purchase of Bitcoins will be carried out by Coinify, a service provider which is directly integrated in the wallet. While Ethers can also be managed via the wallet, the purchase is initially started by using Bitcoins, which are then exchanged for Ether. Direct purchase of Ether is not possible, but according to the provider they are currently working on the problem.


You can purchase Bitcoins either using credit card or bank transfer. If you want to pay using bank transfer, you have to go through an additional verification process. For credit card purchases for more than 3,000 euros this process is required as well. For our test we bought Bitcoins with credit card, which meant 3% transaction fees.

After you have entered the number of Bitcoins or the amount in your FIAT currency - here EUR - and after you have selected the credit card as a payment method, you have to enter your personal credit card information. For payment verification, the PCI-DSS certified service provider iSignthis is integrated.

In the next step, verification is processed via a telephone number. Just enter your mobile phone number and receive an SMS with a "one-time-passcode", i.e. the verification code.

Once you have entered this code on Blockchain, the purchase is completed at this point and the transaction will be displayed under "transactions" as pending until it will have been confirmed by the network.

Blockchain © "blockchain.info"

Details of the transaction can be checked by clicking on the link in the explorer. Once all required confirmations have been received, the amount will be credited to the wallet.

In the interests of completeness, we will briefly show you the verification process required to purchase larger credit card amounts or bank transfers. In this case, in addition to the verification of the mobile number, other details such as the address, nationality and date of birth must be registered. Subsequently, documents such as an ID card or driver's license must be uploaded, which confirm your identity. The documents are then checked by the Coinify Compliance Team. This should be completed within 48 hours. The result will be communicated via e-mail.

Selling

Bitcoins can only be sold worth at least of 50 euros. The selling process is alike and can be carried out in the same menu as purchasing. As target currency you can state the desired FIAT currency. Payout is handled by the service provider Coinify.

Exchange currencies

The Bitcoins contained in the wallet can be exchanged in the menu under the menu item "exchange" and vice versa. Eexchange is executed by the leading exchange platform ShapeShift, which is integrated in the wallet.

The exchange is executed in two steps:
First, under "exchange" select the initial currency and under "receive" the target currency, i.e. either Bitcoins or Ethers. Then enter the desired value as FIAT or crypro-currency amount.

Blockchain © "Blockchain"

If you want the minimum or the maximum amount to be entered automatically, just click on "use minimum" or "use maximum". Please note that you can never exchange the complete deposit in your wallet because for the maximum fund there will always be charged fees, i.e. fees that are necessary for the exchange-transaction. The same applies for minimum deposits.The minimum fund of Bitcoins that can be sent in a transaction is 547 Satoshis, which equals 0.00000547 BTC.

In the second step you have to confirm the transaction and agree to the terms of use of ShapeShift.

Blockchain © "Blockchain"

Subsequently, the exchange procedure is initiated. This can take up to two hours, depending on the load of the network. In the "order history" within the "exchange" section, the history of all exchanges can be checked.

Receiving/sending

To receive Bitcoins, the sender needs your Bitcoin address. The blockchain.info wallet automatically generates a new address for each of your transactions (see HD wallet). Simply click on "request", copy the displayed address and inform the sender.

To send Bitcoins, just click "submit", enter the recipient's address in the "to" box and the amount you would like to send. Of course, the procedure also applies for sending or receiving Ether.
In this example, we subsequently reduced the transaction costs.

How safe is the Blockchain-Wallet?

Particularly safety is crucial for the acceptance of a wallet. The Blockchain-Wallet offers a whole range of security features, which we will introduce below.

The security of the Blockchain-Wallet can be increased according to several “levels” by the user. All settings can be set up in the clearly arranged "security center" in the wallet. It is highly recommended that you set up protection to secure your wallet from unauthorized access and loss of your credit.

Blockchain © "blockchain.info"

On the first security level (level 1), the e-mail address with which the wallet was registered is verified first. An email with your wallet ID and a confirmation link will be sent to your address. As soon as this link is activated, the email address registered on blockchain.info is verified. Whenever you access your wallet from another device or IP address in the future, you will be asked to confirm the login via a verification email.

Next, a recovery password (passphrase) can be created. Behind this, there is a 12-word passphrase - twelve English words, displayed in blocks of four in a row.

Blockchain © "blockchain.info"

Anyone can recover the wallet with this passphrase and access your credit. The recovery password allows you to restore your wallet, even if you forgot your wallet ID and password. If you recover your balance, a new Wallet ID will be created at the same time.

The passphrase should be copied or printed and kept offline in a safe place that is not accessible to an unauthorized third party. At the end of setting up the recovery password, you are asked to re-enter four words. Here you can use your notes or prints. Then the process is completed and the passphrase is saved.

Blockchain © "blockchain.info"

What is a wallet ID?

A wallet ID is like a username that you use to sign in to your wallet. It is a sequence of numbers and letters. The ID is only used for the login process and does not match your Bitcoin address - so it cannot be used to send/receive funds. Your wallet ID can be found under "settings" > "general" and will also be emailed when you create your wallet.
In the last step of the first level, a password-hint can be stated, which will be sent to the verified e-mail address in case the password was forgotten.

On level 2, a mobile phone number can be registered, to which an SMS with a 2-factor authentication is sent (activate two-step). Choose from either Google Authenticator or Yubikey (Hardware Authentication Tool). In our review, we used the Google Authenticator, which is linked to the Wallet simply by scanning the displayed QR code and entering the currently displayed code.

Blockchain © "blockchain.info"

Level 3 protection is activated by a simple click. With this step accesses from the Tor anonymization network are stopped by blocking IP addresses that can be assigned to Tor.

With this final step, all security settings are completed.

Blockchain.info is a HD wallet

The Wallet of Blockchain is a hierarchical deterministic (HD) wallet. This means that addresses are not reused, but are recreated for transactions, thus protecting the privacy of your transactions.

More about the Blockchain-Wallet

Fees
 
The blockchain.info wallet is completely free. However, there are transaction fees for transfer, which are paid to the network. The wallet will charge an appropriate fee depending on the network traffic; this is required to obtain a continuous and reliable transaction confirmation. Before submitting a transaction, you can check the included fees recommended by blockchain.info. Furthermore, you can specify an individual fee under 'extended transfer'.

Pairing

If you want to use the mobile app on your smartphone in addition to wallet's web client, you can pair both devices. To do this, go to "settings" > "general" and check the displayed combination code, which you can then scan with your smartphone from the mobile app. Then the wallets are connected to each other on both devices.

Who is behind the Blockchain-Wallet?

Blockchain.info is a company situated in Luxemburg. Blockchain has earned more than $70 million through well-known investors such as Virgin, Lightspeed, Mosaic Vertures. In addition to the wallet, Blockchain offers the Block Explorer and a developer platform. The developers of Blockchain are known for their pioneering work in the advancement of blockchain technology such as the Payment Channel Thunder.

Our test conclusion and review

The Blockchain-Wallet is a good and recommendable online wallet for managing Bitcoins, Ether or Bitcoin Cash. The login and registration processes are simple and usage is intuitive. Due to the various security features, the Wallet seems to provide a high level of security, whereas we would generally recommend using a hardware wallet for larger deposits.

Alternatives to the Blockchain.info wallet

Blockchain.info vs. Coinbase

Blockchain © "Blockchain"

Now there are several alternatives to the Blockchain.info wallet. The best known alternative is the web wallet Coinbase. Coinbase is one of the most popular and biggest web wallets for Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Coinbase is an American company founded in San Francisco, California, in 2012. In addition to the basic function of a Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum wallet, i.e. administration, sending and receiving of the respective currency, Coinbase also offers further functions. These include, for example, the integrated Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum-exchange. Here you can directly buy the respective crypto-currencies for Euro, US-Dollar or other currencies (depending on the country) via Coinbase.

Our experiences with the web wallet and crypto-exchange: reviewing Coinbase

There are two major aspects that distinguish Coinbase and Blockchain.info at first glance. Coinbase offers an integrated payment option, while Blockchain.info relies on cooperating with the third party Coinify. In addition, Coinbase does not only offer an integrated web wallet for Bitcoin, but also for Ethereum and Litecoin.

Advantages of Blockchain.info compared to Coinbase:

Blockchain.info offers more possibilities as Bitcoin Web Wallet, in particular the function of exporting and importing the private keys of the Wallet has been completely missing so far on Coinbase.

Disadvantages of Blockchain.info compared to Coinbase:

Unfortunately, there are no other integrated crypto- currencies than Bitcoin. Coinbase already supports Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.
The purchase or sale of crypto-currencies on Blockchain.info is carried out by the external service provider Coinify. Although we had no problems with the purchase of Bitcoin in our tests, we prefer the integrated version of Coinbase.
 
Blockchain.info vs. hardware wallets (Ledger Wallet or Trezor Wallet)

Another alternative to Blockchain.info are so-called hardware wallets. These wallets offer a significant higher security standard than web wallets like Blockchain.info or Coinbase. The private keys of the wallets are secured on an external device (usually a USB stick) and are not directly transmitted to the computer; furthermore they are not available on the internet. This makes it almost impossible for hackers to access the coins stored on hardware wallet. Hardware wallets, such as the Ledger Wallet or the Trezor Wallet, are among the safest wallets.

 



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C

5 Stars

I can definitely recommend this online-wallet for Bitcoins and Ether - also as app for your smartphone

Christian



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