What wallet / e-wallet is the most convenient for new casual Bitcoin users?



I'd like to make small payments for business purposes through Bitcoin, so would like to know what the easiest method of getting setup to accept a Bitcoin payment is for a regular person, so that I can recommend it to those I want to pay.

Some options I see are:

  • Standard Bitcoin client

  • BitcoinJ

  • Instawallet

  • Flexcoin

These people will only be holding a few Bitcoin at most in their wallet, so security is not as high a priority as in other cases, but I would still like to avoid a Mybitcoin type fiasco where every one I pay loses their money.

Which method has the best combination of convenience in getting setup and security?


Posted 2011-08-31T00:20:39.033

Reputation: 1 452

1BitCoinJ is a library, rather than a wallet. MultiBit and other Bitcoin clients use it as an easy way to abstract the Bitcoin protocol. – Gary Rowe – 2011-12-09T14:03:07.257

related: What is a good resource to help newbies choose their first wallet/s?

– Murch – 2014-10-22T10:03:25.627



Update: I ceased to be affiliated with the MultiBit project in May 2016. MultiBit is now wholly owned by KeepKey LLC and only the MultiBit HD wallet is supported.

The comment below from 2011 refers to the old MultiBit Classic wallet which nobody should be using any more.

MultiBit HD is its direct replacement and remains a viable Bitcoin wallet (subject to regular updates). You can find migration instructions here.

Further, any Bitcoin wallet should only be used in conjunction with an external hardware wallet (KeepKey, Trezor, Ledger etc) due to malware attacks.


I'm biased since I'm a contributor, but MultiBit provides the following features (at the time of writing):

  • multiple platform installers (Windows, MacOS, Linux)
  • manages multiple wallets (current account, savings account, business account etc)
  • local install (no private keys held on a server somewhere)
  • 13 languages (more to come)
  • easy to use for a beginner (has a YouTube channel)
  • bulk public key export to support a merchant solution
  • free and open source under the (very permissive) MIT license

There is also a wide suite of complimentary products in the pipeline to offer a complete range of supporting products (such as a merchant solution).

Gary Rowe

Posted 2011-08-31T00:20:39.033

Reputation: 7 383

I've downvoted this answer, because MultiBit doesn't make a good impression on me with all the people asking about stuck transactions and stuck wallets here lately. – Murch – 2017-07-02T14:14:14.733

1MultiBit has recently been having many issues. It has some usability problems that have resulted in users potentially losing their coins. Because of the problems that MultBit has been having, it has been removed from bitcoin.org's Choose a Wallet page – Andrew Chow – 2017-07-03T19:47:14.323

1I've updated my answer to reflect the changing situation and the effect of code rot. MultiBit Classic should not be used by anyone any more. MultiBit HD remains viable, but like all wallets requires continuous updates to keep in line with the ever-changing Bitcoin ecosystem. – Gary Rowe – 2017-07-04T11:36:57.833


Sorry to dig up and old question but I just wanted to add a link to My Wallet provided by blockchain.info

I guess the thing that separates My Wallet from other e-wallet providers is that the site aims to feel more like an actually bitcoin client rather providing disposable addresses. I tried to design the site to be easy to use and it should seem familiar to anyone that has used PayPal or online banking. I will be adding more features soon which should be familiar to novice users such as invoices and monthly statements.

You can generate up to 200 different bitcoin addresses and are free to export the private keys at anytime. In fact if you already have an existing bitcoin address you don't even need to add your private keys at all. For more information about how the site works try the faq or browse the code.


Posted 2011-08-31T00:20:39.033



The only true way to use bitcoin is of course to use the bitcoin client. It is a little difficult to use perhaps, but I would argue that's just about the same difficulty as online services at the moment.

That being said you may consider using an established exchange like mtgox. The identities of the people involved are known (unlike mybitcoin), and many security issues have already come up and been addressed. Also they provide merchant services to make transactions easier on the go.

It's also very easy to quickly convert your bitcoins to cash, and get paid out whenever you want.

Joshua Kolden

Posted 2011-08-31T00:20:39.033

Reputation: 3 936

2It takes several hours to download the block chain after installing the Bitcoin client, but I think this is the best option. – Amin – 2011-08-31T01:10:38.740

5It's not the "only true way", but rather the currently only fully-functional client, which is a shame btw. Ideally, there would exist several clients so that protocol and software are clearly separated. Or maybe you could say "a bitcoin client". – David Ammouial – 2011-08-31T02:06:38.973

2@davux: There are Java and C# implementations of the bitcoin protocol under development. BitcoinJ is even the basis of the Android clients. – David Perry – 2011-08-31T20:37:25.397

The wiki has a page for EWallets http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Category:EWallets and clients: http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Category:Clients

– Stephen Gornick – 2012-04-06T05:56:26.290


I've used Instawallet and Flexcoin. Instawallet is very easy to use because you don't need a login name and password. You visit https://www.instawallet.org and it simply gives you a unique and hard-to-guess web address to a bitcoin wallet which you can bookmark. I used this site together with BitPay app for Android, trading a few bitcoins in a diner.

The site has been around since April, 2011. The operator is visible in the bitcointalk forums and responsive enough to emails from users. He is also known to be the developer of the well-known site bitcoinmonitor.com.

http://www.flexcoin.com is also easy, but you need to create an account with username and password to use it. You enjoy the benefits of instant transfer of bitcoins and simple addresses if you deal with other Flexcoin accounts. You pay a small fee when you send bitcoins outside of Flexcoin and earn interest or "discount payments" if you keep a balance in your account. This "bitcoin bank", the first of its kind, is backed by a business company.

Ever since the MyBitcoin incident where thousands of bitcoins were lost, users naturally have become more wary of third-party wallet services. There is hardly any insurance against bitcoin losses and no guarantee of continued service. However, the visibility, responsiveness and reputation of the operators and legitimate business backing, not to mention the security measures, of the service can be good signs to watch out for if you will use online wallet services.


Posted 2011-08-31T00:20:39.033

Reputation: 461


http://campbx.com is a market but the owners are extremely public as compared to other markets and banks.


Posted 2011-08-31T00:20:39.033

Reputation: 726


Any wallet that is listed on Bitcoin.org's Choose Your Wallet page is a good choice. In order for a wallet to be listed on that page, it must meet several criteria. These include usability, security, and availability of source code. The website also includes details about the wallets listed and some information about the security, privacy, and usability that they provide.

Personally, I would recommend that you use Electrum. Any wallet listed in the Desktop category is good too, but I would avoid using a web wallet.

Andrew Chow

Posted 2011-08-31T00:20:39.033

Reputation: 50 267

Can you compare the security of desktop wallet vs mobile wallets? I have overheard some people saying that mobile wallets are more secure. I don't quite know the reasoning. – sanket1729 – 2017-07-04T01:43:02.263


LoveBitcoins.org has a list of clients for various platforms.

I am biased because I am the a co-developer of BitcoinSpinner, but I encourage everyone who has an Android phone to try it as it is really simple, secure, and ready for use immediately.


Posted 2011-08-31T00:20:39.033

Reputation: 451


Avoid online wallet services at all costs! None of them will ever be safer or more secure than holding the private keys yourself.

I recommend either the official Bitcoin client if you don't mind downloading the block chain, or if you have a smartphone, BitcoinSpinner.

With BitcoinSpinner, you don't have to download the blockchain and the private keys are stored on your phone so your funds are safe and it's really lightweight and easy to use, especially in a business environment for taking payments via QR code.

Sean Chapman

Posted 2011-08-31T00:20:39.033

Reputation: 1 730

1Saying that "none of them will ever be safer or more secure than holding the private keys yourself" is just plain wrong. It obviously depends on who the person holding the private keys is. Unless it is a very security aware and technically skilled person the money will likely be safer with a reputable online wallet (unfortunately there aren't too many of them yet though). – D.H. - bitcoin.se – 2011-12-15T20:21:42.507

Sorry but I must disagree with you there. With all the fiascos occurring with eWallet websites lately, and the fact that any random teenager can set up an eWallet website very easily, the keys will be safer held by the owner. MyBitcoin was a reputable online wallet website, and look what happened with that. The websites can disappear at any time. You wouldn't give your fiat money to a random person in the street to hold for you when you could keep it in your pocket would you? However having your own wallet does take a bit of technical skill and needs to be easier for most people. – Sean Chapman – 2011-12-16T11:57:13.860

If the user who wants a wallet has no intentions of securing their wallet (by ways of passphrase encryption and general diligence with keeping the computer secure) then yes, an eWallet service would definitely be more suitable, but who in their right mind would not make the effort to secure their money? (bar novice computer users, who shouldn't really be using Bitcoin in it's infancy yet anyway) – Sean Chapman – 2011-12-16T12:09:22.530

1Yes, there have been a lot of inexperienced people starting e-wallets since it is very easy to do, but as Bitcoin grows more serious and secure alternatives are being started. What I object to is your "none of them will ever be safer...". Of course I wouldn't give my money to a stranger on the street, but I will for example give lots of money to a bank, not because I know them personally but because of their reputation. I feel a lot safer having them there than at home in a drawer, most people do. – D.H. - bitcoin.se – 2011-12-16T17:04:36.660

Fair points. As Bitcoin grows I do hope there will be more secure eWallets available – Sean Chapman – 2011-12-18T01:18:02.423