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Author Topic: Anyone used Instawallet?  (Read 963 times)
dendory
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March 21, 2013, 11:22:35 PM
 #1

Hey there,

New to Bitcoin and I've been wanting to start exploring. I saw Instawallet which seems like a pretty easy and safe way to do casual transactions with no fees. Anyone has experience with them?

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March 21, 2013, 11:31:26 PM
 #2

They're good enough for short term/low amounts of BTC (or if you need a temp wallet to keep 100% anonymous for something), but really if you want a secure wallet that will last you as long as the website is up then the wallets on Blockchain.info are probably the best

Tip Address (BTC): 1SmtXtmauNqnPLjt2dvySqzYThUdL8NVL
dendory
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March 21, 2013, 11:41:04 PM
 #3

Yeah I downloaded Electrum to try it out, if I decide to keep BTCs I guess the best will be in a desktop wallet.

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March 22, 2013, 07:12:23 PM
 #4

I used it, it worked when I needed it for a min.

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sloper
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March 22, 2013, 07:38:42 PM
 #5

Also no problems here. Just make you sure you don't lose the web address!
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March 22, 2013, 07:42:51 PM
 #6

I've only used the native bitcoin-qt program for Ubuntu and the bitcoin wallet-app for android.

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March 22, 2013, 08:02:00 PM
 #7

Instawallet is fine for a short term quick-fix for instance if you're trying to anonymize your currency further by transferring it through multiple anonymous wallets.  I wouldn't keep anything in there long term though as the URL is the wallet and if you would lose that you're screwed.
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March 22, 2013, 08:57:50 PM
 #8

Yea I have used instawallet sofar so good.Make sure to save all your details when creating one.

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DannyHamilton
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March 22, 2013, 10:32:43 PM
 #9

- snip -
I saw Instawallet which seems like a pretty easy

Yes. It is definitely easy.

and safe way to do casual transactions
- snip -

Whoa!  No way.  Absolutely not.  There is nothing "safe" about Instawallet.  The only thing that makes them usable at all is a history of apparently working properly most of the time.

When you use InstaWallet, you are handing your money over to a complete stranger.  The moment any bitcoins are sent to any InstaWallet address, it ceases to be "your bitcoins" and immediately becomes the property of InstaWallet. You are trusting that this complete stranger that you have never met and know nothing about will hopefully honor your requests when you ask them to send those bitcoins elsewhere.

Imagine you are walking down the street.  You pass someone with a card table set up on the corner.  They have a sign out that says "I'll keep track of your money for you".  You read one of the pamphlets they have printed up themselves and have laying around on the table.  The pamphlet explains that they are not insured, and they are not regulated by any government agency.  Their "business" may or may not continue to exist tomorrow, and you may or may not still find them on that street corner.  The pamphlet suggests that you take the cash out of the wallet in your back pocket and hand it over to the person standing behind the table.  That person will give you a card with a unique number written on it.  Anytime you call up a particular phone number, and identify yourself with the unique number on the card, you can ask them to deliver that cash anywhere you like (including back to yourself).  The pamphlet explains that this service is provided entirely free of charge, and anyone who happens to get a hold of that unique number can pretend to be you and they will honor that person's requests as if they were you.

Do you empty out your wallet and hand them the cash?  Do you give them any cash at all?  Do you have faith that they will honor all your requests to deliver the cash?  Do you have faith that they will continue to run this "free" business and not disappear once they have collected enough cash?  Do you look at them and wonder what sort of fool actually hands over the cash from their wallet to this completely unknown stranger running what appears to be a very odd business?

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March 22, 2013, 10:42:37 PM
 #10

Honestly I prefer to use the downloadable client, that's just me though. The one on the mobile phone is very nice too.
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March 22, 2013, 11:11:09 PM
 #11

I have been using Instawallet since I first got into Bitcoins. People who tell you not to use it honestly just want to wow you with their knowledge of bitcoins. Sure, its probably not the safest place to save coins, but so long as you aren't keeping thousands of dollars in any accounts there you are fine. I initially liked it because of its ease of use. Also, it works on my phone. If you really want to be safe though (And I've found keep yourself from spending your coins), print your own paper wallet at printcoins.com-its easy.

Gold, Silver, and Bitcoin!
DannyHamilton
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March 22, 2013, 11:29:58 PM
 #12

- snip -
People who tell you not to use it honestly just want to wow you with their knowledge of bitcoins.
- snip -

I'd never tell someone not to use it.  It is certainly fast and easy.  I just point out that it is as safe as handing over your cash to a complete stranger and hoping that they are still there to give it back to you in the future when you ask for it.

I'm not sure what you mean by "just want to wow you with their knowledge of bitcoins", but perhaps those who encourage you to use such a service just want to mislead you with their lack of knowledge?

Sure, its probably not the safest place to save coins,

That's an understatement.  https://blockchain.info/wallet can be accessed from any web browser, and only takes about 90 seconds to set up.  It has many more useful features than InstaWallet and is far, Far, FAR more secure/safe.

but so long as you aren't keeping thousands of dollars in any accounts there you are fine.

More importantly:
As long as you aren't keeping more in InstaWallet than you'd be comfortable losing, you are fine.  For some, that amount might be thousands of bitcoins.  For others it might be 3 bitcoins.

If you really want to be safe though (And I've found keep yourself from spending your coins), print your own paper wallet at printcoins.com-its easy.

Depending on how you go about it, you are right, a paper wallet is typically far more secure.  However, that is another extreme.  As you've pointed out, a paper wallet makes it rather difficult to spend the bitcoins.  Any wallet that allows you to retain control over your bitcoins and doesn't require you to turn that control over to someone else is significantly safer than InstaWallet, while still maintaining convenience.  Some examples are:

MultiBit
Electrum
https://blockchain.info/wallet
Bitcoin-Qt
Armory

mel2000
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March 23, 2013, 05:59:42 PM
 #13

I just point out that it is as safe as handing over your cash to a complete stranger and hoping that they are still there to give it back to you in the future when you ask for it.

How can one engage in online money transfers without involving strangers at some point in the transaction?
DannyHamilton
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March 23, 2013, 06:11:55 PM
 #14

I just point out that it is as safe as handing over your cash to a complete stranger and hoping that they are still there to give it back to you in the future when you ask for it.

How can one engage in online money transfers without involving strangers at some point in the transaction?

In my mind, there's a big difference between "Here's the few bitcoins you are requesting in exchange for the product/service that you are offering." and "Here are all my bitcoins, please hold on to them for me for free.  In the future when I ask, please return them to me or send them where I request."

Perhaps others don't see much of a difference there.  Even so, why increase your risk unnecessarily.  You already have a certain amount of risk in the transaction with the merchant, why increase that risk by using a wallet that requires you to give up control of your money?

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March 23, 2013, 06:57:48 PM
 #15

Always be weary about where your bitcoins are stored.
JoroBo
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March 23, 2013, 07:31:13 PM
 #16

Used Instawallet once for a specific low amount transaction, no problems but it is a risk to never see your Btc again. I have the official client on my desktop and Electrum on my laptop. Electrum is a much better choice than Instawallet as has been already pointed out.
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March 23, 2013, 07:50:21 PM
 #17

Although I never used them that analogy is not quite accurate. It's not like handing money to a random stranger around the corner. More like trusting a known dealer. Sure, if you trust someone there is the possibility that that trust s betrayed. That is the definition of trust.

Is instawallet a good entity to trust money? I would say, they appear to be a serious website, however the concept is, by design weak. I deferentially  prefer not to rely on someone elses trust. Also, what if the server gets hacked?

if you need to recieve a payment quickly and since you are copy-pasting addresses and keys around, why not generating an address in, say bitaddress.org?
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March 23, 2013, 09:23:00 PM
 #18

I think instawallet is good for tiny amounts .

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March 24, 2013, 01:10:18 AM
 #19

How does bitaddress.org work? They create a bit address and private key for you, but how do you access the wallet offline?
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March 24, 2013, 03:02:38 AM
 #20

You can keep your instawallet address active as long as you have an amount of BTC in it. I lost my original public address despite having the secret URL, because I had emptied it out, and there was some server rejiggering.

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