The Schildbach Bitcoin Wallet was the first wallet made for Android, and still offers some advantages over the growing competition
- Can set up wallet to verify using your own node
- The first Android bitcoin wallet, still preferred by many
- Simple UI
- Cannot restore wallet elsewhere
- Many believe has been surpassed
Officially called “Bitcoin Wallet” in the Android store, this groundbreaking wallet is known among the bitcoin community as Schildbach’s wallet, named after its developer Andreas Schildbach. Mr. Schildbach recounts, in an interview with ihb.io , that he decided to develop his wallet after a particularly frustrating episode in which paying at a Bitcoin-accepting restaurant in Berlin back in 2010 took him an hour. He took it upon himself to create an easier method of payment, to allow “everybody to have his or her bitcoins in his or her pocket”. Thus was born the world’s first android bitcoin wallet.
Being the first, Schildbach’s wallet attracted an enormous number of users, with well over a million downloads. While an excellent wallet in its day, it has been surpassed by more recent android wallets, which have integrated a number of features that were unavailable when Andreas Schildbach finished his initial code. Hive for instance, forked the Schildbach code and made enhancements, so while the wallet is superior, it owes its existence to Bitcoin Wallet.
Bitcoin Wallet is a great starting point for the bitcoin novice. As far as sending and requesting payment is concerned it cannot get much easier. You can scan QR codes, enter the long address from clipboard, or retrieve labeled addresses from the address book to send; The standard “request amount” interface can be expressed in bitcoin, any number of different fiat equivalents, or with no amount input at all, and sent via sms or email. Additionally, users may accept payment via bluetooth, or have the payer tap the phone with an NFC-enabled device. If anyone out there uses bitcoin ATMs, you may easily sweep the paper coupon using Bitcoin Wallet.
In October of 2014, version four of the wallet was released which integrated hierarchical deterministic logic into the product. All addresses from this point on would be derived from a single private seed – this meant, among other things:
- A single backup required to restore the complete wallet in the future;
- No-reused addresses; each new transaction will automatically generate a brand new address
This second point is, of course, essential for maintaining privacy from blockchain watchers who otherwise would be able to identify multiple transactions to a single wallet.
Additionally, an interesting feature, and unique to Schildbach’s Wallet amongst all mobile apps, is the ability to designate your own node for verification. The standard SPV model leaks information, as users can see that your particular wallet is querying particular addresses and make the connection. Using one’s own node avoids this particular issue. Please note that if querying only one’s own node is specified, your node must be running during any and all transactions; failure to do so will leave your funds in pending.
The wallet still does not allow for the creation of multiple accounts, which is a pretty important feature from a privacy and usability perspective.
How to restore the Wallet
Schildbach’s wallet runs on bitcoinj which means it is not compatible with wallets running from the main bitcoin repository. This means that the wallet may be, at the present time, restored from seed only on a bitcoinj wallet; to move funds then, simply send them in a transaction.
The Schildbach Wallet has over a million downloads and there is still an active developer community updating and enhancing it’s open source code. Despite being the oldest, there are still some unique features that will appeal to some – notably the ability to verify from one’s own node. While most would agree that newer wallets, like Mycelium, are the new standard bearers, there are those that prefer Schildbach, which they believe runs more smoothly and is more tried and tested.