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Author Topic: Electrum BTC Client  (Read 1344 times)
JonnySmithers
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July 25, 2013, 05:36:02 AM
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Has anyone used the Electrum bitcoin client? If so, is it convenient/reliable/secure?
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July 25, 2013, 07:07:42 AM
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I can't personally vouch for "secure", but the people working on it look like they know what they're doing.

As far as convenient and reliable go, yes, it's lovely.
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July 25, 2013, 03:10:36 PM
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I can't personally vouch for "secure", but the people working on it look like they know what they're doing.

As far as convenient and reliable go, yes, it's lovely.
K I'll go check it out then. Thanks!
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July 25, 2013, 04:03:13 PM
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Im using it and its pretty awesome.

(If you have issues with synching just switch the server you are listening to.)

Cheap and sexy Bitcoin card/hardware wallet, buy here:
http://BlochsTech.com
stevenh512
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July 26, 2013, 08:22:44 AM
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is it convenient/reliable/secure?

Python isn't exactly my favorite language (only because I've never taken the time to learn it), but I've been using Electrum for a while now and it's easily my favorite Bitcoin client. To answer your questions:

- convenient? Create a wallet, connect to a server and you're good to go. You do have to download the blockchain headers for the built-in SPV transaction verification to work, but you don't have to download the full blockchain and you can spend any coins you receive as soon as they're confirmed on the blockchain. The wallet is deterministic, so you only need to back it up once (or just back up the seed, which allows you to re-create the whole wallet). To me, all of these things are convenient. It looks like BIP-32 is coming soon (the code is already there on GitHub and enabling it on my local copy was a matter of changing/adding about 10 lines of code), which will probably require the minor one-time inconvenience of moving your coins from your old wallet to a new one, but that's a small price to pay for the added convenience of being able to use your seed to re-create the same wallet on any BIP-32 compatible Bitcoin client (MultiBit should support BIP-32 soon, and there's already a pull request for bitcoind/bitcoin-qt to add most of what's needed for BIP-32 wallets there).

- reliable? It's as reliable as the Electrum server you choose to connect to. There are quite a few servers available and if your preferred server is down you can optionally tell Electrum to randomly choose another server.

- secure? There is one small security tradeoff, any server you connect to can potentially know every address that belongs to you. Other than that, it's pretty secure. If you use it as an online wallet with a password to protect your seed, it's as safe as using bitcoin-qt online (in terms of keeping your money from being stolen, at least). It also supports seedless "watch-only" wallets and offline wallets, so you can keep the seed for your private keys completely offline. With offline wallets, you create the transaction with your online seedless wallet and then transfer it to your offline machine for signing, similar to how Armory offline wallets work.

edit: I recommend enabling "Expert mode" which gives you a few extra features that can come in handy. With expert mode enabled you can see your change addresses, you can freeze an address to prevent spending any coins that belong to it and you can prioritize an address to spend the coins that belong to it before spending any coins belonging to any of your other addreses. There are probably a few other expert mode features that I'm not thinking about right now because I either never noticed them or never used them, but the freeze/prioritize is useful since it gives you more control over how you spend your coins.

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July 26, 2013, 09:00:59 AM
 #6

Has anyone used the Electrum bitcoin client? If so, is it convenient/reliable/secure?

It depends on your criterions.

Electrum is extremely secure against user stupidity (the #1 cause of money loss in the Bitcoin world) because it is a deterministic wallet.

Electrum is slightly less convenient than a "web wallet" because it requires you to install software on your computer. Once you've installed it, it is nearly as convenient, because you can always access your wallet instantly.

Considering server attacks, Electrum is slightly less secure than bitcoin-qt, but it is much more secure than any web wallet.
Electrum is a bit less secure than bitcoin-qt because it does not download the entire blockchain; it only downloads headers, and uses SPV to verify transactions, which is a bit less secure. However, that type of attack is very costly, and it remains purely theoretical so far.
Electrum is much more secure than any javascript web wallet, because web wallets do not use SPV and are vulnerable to code poisoning.

So, if you are looking for a wallet that does not require you to download the blockchain, then I would say that Electrum is currently the best solution.


Electrum: the convenience of a web wallet, without the risks
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