Help me understand Instawallet better to trust it more!


I have read the FAQ. I like the idea it's only a link, I don't need it to be more complicated than necessary. For me it doesn't matter to store a generated difficult password for an account or only a link. But this way the login process is easier and the developer seems to be working on some pretty innovative features which is cool.

Basically it all boils down with all these online wallets is how much you trust the people behind them, right? Of course, you don't store on them big money but it's a convenient way to spend some BTC.

One good question is who is behind Instawallet? Financially. It forms a network with Bitcoin Central, Instawire, Paytunia and Paymium, though the terms and guarantees are different. Instawallet comes with to guarantee but Bitcoin Central is a registered payment processor in France.

Why is it good that Instawallet "launders," or structures the money in various transaction sizes and through various Bitcoin addresses? Though, I can understand it'b beneficial for some (on the Silk Road market) but it takes up to 24 hours to receive funds which is a drawback. But hey it's free! I mean I don't really understand when the bitcoin network charges a transaction fee and when it isn't. If you can tell me in a newbie friendly way.

Also, in what cases Instawallet's green address is useful? For a simple product purchase in the Bitcoin marketplace you don't need one, right? Your funds can go from various addresses, you just receive a confirmation number from the merchant (just like with an online or offline credit card purchase) and that's what you need besides your funds being sent.


Posted 2013-01-07T13:11:53.603

Reputation: 387


This question might be moot now that Instawallet has been hacked and shut down indefinitely:

– Steve Armstrong – 2013-04-03T19:08:26.633

Hi superuser! Your question would be easier to answer if you could narrow it down a bit. For example, the part about transactions fees should probably be removed and asked as a separate question (but do a search here first - I'm pretty sure that is has already been answered). – D.H. - – 2013-01-07T19:22:27.643

It would be much easier to write a new one but David already wrote a very useful answer to this one so how about just leaving it as it is? – superuser – 2013-01-12T07:36:45.567

If you're happy with the answer, sure, accept it and we'll leave this question as it is. I still think it tries to cover to much in a single question though. – D.H. - – 2013-01-12T12:06:11.777



Instawallet doesn't support green addresses anymore.

It would have required to maintain a fork of the Bitcoin client which is not very practical, and probably not very secure either.

Instawallet works as a simple shared wallet, it monitors transactions coming in to each wallet's address and adds them to the wallet's ledger as they come in.

When transactions are sent from a wallet they are simply sent using the Bitcoin client, which will pick random addresses from the pool of funded addresses, that is why you can't derive the balance of a wallet or track its activity by looking at the block chain.

That also makes it an useful privacy-protection tool. (But contrary to what I saw written in a couple places it is absolutely useless to hop through multiple wallets, it doesn't increase anonymity in any way).


Posted 2013-01-07T13:11:53.603

Reputation: 770

That also makes it an useful privacy-protection tool. (But contrary to what I saw written in a couple places it is absolutely useless to hop through multiple wallets, it doesn't increase anonymity in any way). Multiple wallets might be helpful if you want to keep your balance private. – superuser – 2013-01-12T07:26:57.407

Also: I'd love to hear your comments on Instawallet comes with no guarantee vs. Bitcoin Central as a registered payment service provider's guaratee (even if not bank guarantee). Bitcoin Central, Instawire, Paytunia and Paymium forms a network, right? They are related companies. – superuser – 2013-01-12T07:43:07.973

Bitcoin-Central does have a bank-like guarantee as each EUR account on BC is covered by the French equivalent of the FDIC. All the services you mention are operated by the Paymium company, they are not separate companies. – David – 2013-01-30T10:19:37.517