You’ve all probably seen one of those videos where a person attempts to “live off Bitcoin” for an entire day as if it’s some great feat. Well here in Australia’s Bitcoin Cash City I’m already living off Bitcoin Cash every single day and so are several other individuals. For us, mobile Bitcoin wallets are of the utmost importance; they’re a part of our daily life and enable us to participate in commerce.
Over the years I’ve tried and tested many different attempts at perfecting the Bitcoin wallet on mobile devices, lots of those projects looked promising but eventually died off when development stopped. I always ended up coming back to Bitcoin.com’s wallet offering, which was at least bug free, non-custodial and had useful functionality for my needs; such as the ability to create separate wallets within the app that act as spending accounts for different purposes. It did however have drawbacks, where the process of generating and broadcasting a transaction could sometimes take more than 5 seconds. This is annoyingly noticeable if you’ve used great desktop wallets like Electron Cash which feel instant. The cause of this problem comes down to the fact this wallet is a web app, which is basically a web page run inside a container that allows for easy deployment across multiple platforms such as Android, IOS and Windows.
Enter Native Wallet
This product has now been overhauled by a brand-new native wallet. While this requires more work to support more platforms, a native app is built specifically for use on each platform and therefore enjoys heavily optimized performance. I’ve tested the new native wallet in daily life for the last 2 weeks and will give my independent opinion on what has improved, new features, and what needs improving.
Improvements & New Features
Upon first inspection you will immediately notice the user interface has completely changed. They’ve managed to make the home page less cluttered while enabling additional functionality at your fingertips. This is intuitive app design.
Sending a transaction is now as simple as pressing a single button with the new “Instant Pay” feature, whereby going into the specific wallet’s settings you can set a threshold for a maximum value which you would like to spend without confirmation. Now when scanning a QR code payment request at a merchant, the transaction is automatically sent as soon as your device reads the QR code; no need to confirm the payment unless the value is above the threshold you set. In combination with the fact that transactions are now generated and broadcast pretty much instantly, the payment experience is flawless and a huge time saver compared to the previous wallet. Show comparison and detail stats. The send functionality still allows you to paste in addresses from the clipboard or choose from a list of contacts that you have saved within the app for repeat payments. After completing a transaction, it’s now become easier to attach a note for your records; a handy feature for those who need to keep track of their transactions for accounting purposes.
If you’re interested in tokens, this wallet now allows for the sending and receiving of Bitcoin Cash SLP tokens; in fact, this is the best SLP experience to date for end-users. Tokens are stored within your individual Bitcoin Cash wallets and can be sent just as easily when scanning SLP QR codes. As the SLP token ecosystem continues to evolve, this is an important step in continuing to foster its growth.
Receiving is pretty much the same as the old wallet but the page has been redesigned to accommodate for SLP tokens. The ability to set a custom receive amount in the QR code generated by your device is handy, turning your phone into a point-of-sale system for seamless in-person exchanges. What’s new is that they’ve added push notifications for when one of your wallets receive BCH or SLP, a much-needed feature that improves the overall user experience.
Room for Further Improvement
While all the above is great and I think they’ve managed to nail the Bitcoin Cash payment experience perfectly, there is still room for improvement in other areas. Some of these gripes have already been addressed by the team at Bitcoin.com.
Privacy is a much sought-after aspect of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin Cash is up there with the top privacy coins, thanks to the Cash Shuffle and Cash Fusion protocols. Cash Shuffle has been talked about by Bitcoin.com as “coming soon” for nearly a year now, even demonstrated as working in test builds, but has not made it to release versions of the wallet. By integrating Cash Shuffle or Cash Fusion into the most adopted Bitcoin Cash wallet, it makes financial privacy more readily accessible for end-users, provides a greater pool of liquidity for coin mixing and better showcases the merits of Bitcoin Cash.
I also found the app to generate a BTC wallet for users by default and it actually makes it more difficult to delete wallets than it was previously. Optional BTC support enabled through settings is fine but for those of us actively onboarding fiat users to Bitcoin Cash every week with this wallet, this is an inconvenience and a poor UX if we’re having to remove BTC every time. The average person is never going to use it, as BTC does not function as a currency. It just creates confusion and requires extra steps in the process of onboarding new users who are only here for P2P electronic cash.
Multi-sig was previously supported on the old wallet but does not currently exist in the new version. This feature is said to be coming in a future release.
If you’re wanting to use Bitcoin as intended, as a P2P electronic cash system, then this mobile wallet is the best available option out there today. The wallet has harnessed the capabilities of the Bitcoin Cash network to perform lightning fast payments that not only out-compete all other cryptocurrencies, but fiat systems like Eftpos and payWave. It enables me to effortlessly demonstrate Bitcoin Cash to new users, who are totally impressed by the technology and what it could enable for them. When used in combination with the Cash Register point-of-sale app, it’s an attractive thing for new merchants to adopt. The addition of SLP is a welcome one, enabling the sending and receiving of tokens right from your mobile device. With privacy features coming later down the track, this app will very likely become a catalyst which helps lead to mainstream Bitcoin Cash adoption.