Blocktrail is an good multisig HD wallet that syncs across desktop and mobile products, with a blockexplorer to boot. Great choice for your go-to web-based wallet.
- iOS, Android
- Trusted Node
- Excellent cross-platform multisig wallet
- Top-notch blockexplorer
- Can send bitcoin directly to mobile contacts
Blocktrail, the Amsterdam-based bitcoin technology start-up, released in April an excellent little HD 2-of-3-multisig wallet which is not only leaps and bounds ahead of first-gen wallets like blockchain.info in terms of security, it also surpasses in simplicity of use. Users can open wallets anonymously and, if so desired, sync the wallet with mobile contacts to allow for simple delivery of bitcoin to friends. However, their acquisition by bitmain and folding into the btc.com brand might turn off many a potential customer.
After inputting a username and password for signup, users are asked to download the wallet backup, which contains mnemonics of the master and backup keys required to restore the wallet should something catastrophic happen to blocktrail, as well as password backup. Please note that should the password be changed the backup will also change, and thus a new backup must be downloaded. Failure to properly backup the wallet will render a user unable to restore bitcoin elsewhere. The PDF downloaded should be stored in a safe place – preferably printed and kept offline.
Additionally, don’t forget to set up your two-factor authentication, which can be done from the settings tab.
Blocktrail utilizes HD wallet technology, meaning that multiple addresses can be set up associated with the same private key, and the wallet may be restored using any other bitcoin wallet which utilizes the HD technology.
HD wallets have become pretty par for the course; what really separates blocktrail is their multisig strategy. Two of three keys – one a user-held master key, the second a user-held backup and the third held by blocktrail – are required to send bitcoin. This provides additional security for the user, as if blocktrail suspects a client-side wallet breach they will not sign a transaction until ownership is confirmed.
All transactions are signed client side, and thus no private key information is stored by blocktrail. Thus, in the unlikely event of a server side breach, there would be no access to the two client side private keys, and thus funds would remain intact. The user could then restore the wallet elsewhere and use the master key and the backup to sign transactions.
Blocktrail also has an excellent blockexplorer function where bitcoin users can check public addresses for information on where it has been mentioned, how many transactions it has been involved in, the amount it contains and how active it is, and if the address has been “mentioned” anywhere on the web. It also provides an excellent example of the limits of bitcoin privacy, as users may see if particular transactions have been conducted with gambling, mining, or other uses.
The pool distribution chart, which shows the percentage of blocks mined by each mining group, shows also how each pool has voted in the current block size debate so interested users can keep a running tally. An additional table shows the latest blocks mined by time, by whom and the size of the block.
Ease of Use
While blocktrail’s backup mechanism is perhaps less secure than mycelium’s which displays word by word on the mobile screen and must be written down, it is much easier, more convenient and less tedious.The interface across both desktop and mobile devices is extremely simple and intuitive. QR codes are available when both sending and receiving bitcoin. You have the option of displaying the equivalent value of bitcoin in USD, EUR, and GBP, which is also nice.
Login and set up pin. Add your telephone number – this allows your contacts to send bitcoin directly to you through their address book. You’ll also be offered the choice to sync your contacts with blocktrail. Doing so will populate a “contact” section of the site, which allows sending your bitcoin to a telephone number rather than a bitcoin address or QR code.
Blocktrail is a very intuitive wallet which syncs across multiple platforms. They maintain a simplicity in design and user experience, 2 of 3 multisig, and an easy process for backing up the wallet Accounts may be anonymously setup if desired, while bitcoin can be sent directly to mobile contacts without having to muck around with bitcoin addresses or QR codes. All in all, an excellent choice for a day to day wallet.