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Author Topic: Bitcoin Android Released!  (Read 6482 times)
bitcoinandroid
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July 07, 2011, 04:00:57 AM
 #1

Hi All,

Last night a buddy who works at Google and I released Bitcoin Android.  It's an open source app for sending bitcoins from your android phone.


Here is a link to the Android Market page:
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.bitcoinandroid&feature=search_result

The GitHub project page:
https://github.com/barmstrong/bitcoin-android

And a YouTube demo video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6EucS5RS24

Some features of the app:
* Send and Receive bitcoins entirely from your phone (no server component required)
* Scan and generate QR codes to share address, amount, etc between devices
* Recognizes the Bitcoin URI format
* Creates transactions in the absence of internet (will retry when you reconnect)
* Email invoices from your phone to request money
* Wallet file backed up in the cloud (synced to your Google account) in case you lose your phone.
* A free app, 100% open source

The app is based on the BitcoinJ library that Mike Hearn at Google wrote.  We'd love for you to try out the app it out and send us any feedback!

As you can tell we created a new account on the forum to post this and it looks like the new rules prevent posting anywhere but here!  We'd really appreciate it if one of the more experienced members could post a note in this thread linking people over to this new thread:
http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=1812.120

Or if there is a way to promote this thread out of newbies or give us the ability to post elsewhere that would be excellent!

You can try out the app here by clicking "Install" and sending it to your phone: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.bitcoinandroid&feature=search_result

Thanks!


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July 07, 2011, 04:02:18 AM
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Oh sweet...I wish that had that for iphone. We only have like stock market type apps.

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July 07, 2011, 06:55:18 AM
 #3

Q: Does It have to download all the blocks when you first start using it or are you accelerating this process somehow?
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July 07, 2011, 07:32:54 AM
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Q: Does It have to download all the blocks when you first start using it or are you accelerating this process somehow?

BitCoinJ offers the option to store only chain headers, which are relevant to your wallet. Highly unlikely they didin't used it.
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July 07, 2011, 08:31:40 AM
 #5

Hi All,

Last night a buddy who works at Google and I released Bitcoin Android.  It's an open source app for sending bitcoins from your android phone.


Here is a link to the Android Market page:
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.bitcoinandroid&feature=search_result

The GitHub project page:
https://github.com/barmstrong/bitcoin-android

And a YouTube demo video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6EucS5RS24

Some features of the app:
* Send and Receive bitcoins entirely from your phone (no server component required)
* Scan and generate QR codes to share address, amount, etc between devices
* Recognizes the Bitcoin URI format
* Creates transactions in the absence of internet (will retry when you reconnect)
* Email invoices from your phone to request money
* Wallet file backed up in the cloud (synced to your Google account) in case you lose your phone.
* A free app, 100% open source

The app is based on the BitcoinJ library that Mike Hearn at Google wrote.  We'd love for you to try out the app it out and send us any feedback!

As you can tell we created a new account on the forum to post this and it looks like the new rules prevent posting anywhere but here!  We'd really appreciate it if one of the more experienced members could post a note in this thread linking people over to this new thread:
http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=1812.120

Or if there is a way to promote this thread out of newbies or give us the ability to post elsewhere that would be excellent!

You can try out the app here by clicking "Install" and sending it to your phone: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.bitcoinandroid&feature=search_result

Thanks!




Awesome!
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July 07, 2011, 08:42:10 AM
 #6

Mine took about 14 hours to download the 13MB ish block chain headers it needed.

I don't know what was causing the slowness; perhaps some sort of flooding protection from the nodes being downloaded from.

Anyway; it finished in the end.  I'll try a few little transfers today, and see what happens.

Update:  I just noticed the "wallet is saved to the cloud" item.  Not sure I'm happy about that.  Storing wallets in the cloud unencrypted is asking for trouble.  I might trust google with my email; but I'm not sure I'd trust every google employee past, present and future not to download every wallet.dat in the cloud and then just wait ten years.

If I'm storing a wallet in the cloud; why don't I just use an ewallet web service?

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bitcoinandroid
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July 07, 2011, 08:49:10 AM
 #7

Q: Does It have to download all the blocks when you first start using it or are you accelerating this process somehow?

BitCoinJ offers the option to store only chain headers, which are relevant to your wallet. Highly unlikely they didin't used it.

You are correct.  Two things helped optimize it:

1. BitcoinJ only uses headers so the entire production blockchain is about 14MB.  We keep this on the SD card.  Many phones have 8GB SD cards so 14MB is not too bad.  (The wallet is stored on the phones internal memory and is tiny in comparison).

2. We include a recent blockchain with the app when you install it, so the first time you run it, it only needs to catch up the last bit.  It's recommended that when you install the app to run it the first time over WiFi.

In our tests, the first launch of the app updated the blockchain in about a minute over WiFi.  After that, updates were near instantaneous over 3G or WiFi.

Of course, it is beta software so there may be differences amongst devices, etc.  A few more details can be found here: https://github.com/barmstrong/bitcoin-android/wiki/Technical-Details
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July 07, 2011, 08:55:34 AM
 #8

This is the killer app.

Is the wallet safe? Where is it stored? Encrypted, not encrypted?

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bitcoinandroid
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July 07, 2011, 08:57:40 AM
 #9

Mine took about 14 hours to download the 13MB ish block chain headers it needed.

I don't know what was causing the slowness; perhaps some sort of flooding protection from the nodes being downloaded from.

Anyway; it finished in the end.  I'll try a few little transfers today, and see what happens.

Update:  I just noticed the "wallet is saved to the cloud" item.  Not sure I'm happy about that.  Storing wallets in the cloud unencrypted is asking for trouble.  I might trust google with my email; but I'm not sure I'd trust every google employee past, present and future not to download every wallet.dat in the cloud and then just wait ten years.

If I'm storing a wallet in the cloud; why don't I just use an ewallet web service?


Not sure what might have caused the slowness.  Sorry about that.  In our tests the first blockchain update finishes in a couples minute over WiFi (with the cached copy included in the app).  After that, updates should be near instantaneous (a few seconds) over 3G or Wifi.

It's def recommended to install the app and run it for the first time over WiFi.

On the encryption, we agree and will probably make the backup to the cloud optional soon, and encrypted for those who want to keep it.  For now we just wanted to release it to start having people test it.  I wouldn't suggest keeping real amounts of money on there at this point anyway (it's still in beta).  You're more likely to lose your coins from a software crash at this point.

Regarding ewallet providers (and server-client mobile apps), there isn't one we trust right now, so keeping it all on your device (and ideally encrypting the wallet for backups) seemed better.  If there was a trusted ewallet provider, I think would be better long term though.  Thanks for trying it out, we appreciate it!
bitcoinandroid
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July 07, 2011, 08:59:15 AM
 #10

This is the killer app.

Is the wallet safe? Where is it stored? Encrypted, not encrypted?


Thanks!  There are some more details here (esp under Technical Details).  https://github.com/barmstrong/bitcoin-android

Zero encryption on the wallet file at present, so use with caution (it's still in beta and I'd expect this to change soon).  Hope it helps!
myrkul
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July 07, 2011, 09:09:04 AM
 #11

Absolutely awesome.

Must... buy... Android phone...

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realnowhereman
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July 07, 2011, 09:21:44 AM
 #12

Not sure what might have caused the slowness.  Sorry about that.  In our tests the first blockchain update finishes in under a minute over WiFi (with the cached copy included in the app).  After that, updates should be near instantaneous (a few seconds) over 3G or Wifi.

I only run on wifi; so speed of connection wasn't the problem.

I'm not sure cached copy was installed correctly.  I watched the file stored in /sdcard/Android/data/com.bitcoinandroid/files grow from 0 to 13.95M very very slowly.

Quote
On the encryption, we agree and will probably make the backup to the cloud optional soon, and encrypted for those who want to keep it.  For now we just wanted to release it to start having people test it.  I wouldn't suggest keeping real amounts of money on there at this point anyway (it's still in beta).  You're more likely to lose your coins from a software crash at this point.

I'm not sure you've really understood the ramifications of storing a wallet in the cloud.

The wallet doesn't have coins in; it has keys in.  Therefore it doesn't matter how many coins are in that wallet when it is uploaded; it matters how many might be in it in the future.  It doesn't matter that it will be encrypted in the future, it matters that it's not encrypted now.

Anyone who steals a copy of your wallet today can watch and wait for the rest of time until you put something in it worth stealing.

Quote
Regarding ewallet providers (and server-client mobile apps), there isn't one we trust right now, so keeping it all on your device (and ideally encrypting the wallet for backups) seemed better.  If there was a trusted ewallet provider, I think would be better long term though.  Thanks for trying it out, we appreciate it!

The thing is, an ewallet provider I don't trust, and stick just a few coins in, then it is only those coins that are at risk.  An untrusted backup of a wallet that I will continue to use in the future can steal any coins I ever put in it.

I definitely agree that keeping it all on your device is the more trustworthy option.  That's not what you've done though.   You've uploaded the wallet to the cloud.  So now I can't trust the wallet on my android phone.  People need to be aware that your choices have already compromised their wallet.  When you eventually add encryption, then you can't just encrypt this compromised wallet -- it's too late.  A new wallet needs to be made and all the coins in the compromised wallet transferred to it; and the compromised wallet deleted.

I'm sorry to be so dramatic about it; but it really doesn't sound like you appreciate what you've done.

If you want an example: there is a strong possibility that allinvain's story of $250,000 stolen from his wallet happened because he uploaded it to dropbox.  This android application has just done exactly that automatically.

This app has lots of potential for the future; and I think it's great.  But with this cloud-backup code in place, average users (who won't know the danger they're in, or how to fix it in the future) should not even be installing it.

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July 07, 2011, 09:23:54 AM
 #13

Oh sweet...I wish that had that for iphone. We only have like stock market type apps.

Time to ditch the iCrap

^this

Absolutely awesome.

Must... buy... Android phone...

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July 07, 2011, 09:24:43 AM
 #14

It seems cool but there are so many data to download.. i think it's no that possible for long.

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July 07, 2011, 09:44:10 AM
 #15

What happens if i use it on 2 phones? I guess the wallet backup will get messed up if i use the same google account on both phones, right?

Fuel my bitcoin addiction 15zmYitgNB9ca5Y7KHjRTPR4rF7mY46xJX
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July 07, 2011, 05:17:37 PM
 #16

What happens if i use it on 2 phones? I guess the wallet backup will get messed up if i use the same google account on both phones, right?

Also interested in an answer to this. Would using it on two phones clash the sync process or would it just sync two different wallets?
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July 07, 2011, 10:42:08 PM
 #17

Is it possible to play with this on testnet?
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July 08, 2011, 01:37:54 AM
 #18

Did anyone figure out where the wallet.dat file is stored on the phone yet? Mine started forceclosing all of a sudden, and I want to back the wallet up before uninstalling and reinstalling the app, just in case when I uninstall it wipes my wallet with the brand new shiny Bitcoin in it :/

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July 08, 2011, 02:00:13 AM
 #19

Looks very cool - will add to my phone tonight.
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July 08, 2011, 02:11:27 AM
 #20

Now this is just freaking awesome! Someday, I hope that Apple will loosen restrictions on their apps to the extent that something as wonderful as this could come to iDevices. It could make my rapidly-dating 3rd gen iTouch incredibly useful!
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