Flappy Wallet

ImageSo you’ve got that triple digit high score on that bird game and now you want something new- what else is on the Android platform? Litecoin duh! If my previous post on disappearing hot wallets left you a bit worried and your laptop is too heavy to carry around all the time, this might just be for you.

The Litecoin Wallet (de.schildbach.wallet_ltc) can be installed from the Play store to your device in minutes and will allow you to make transactions on the move- Something Litecoin needs if it is to prosper as a really alternative currency. You also have the power to import previously generated private keys to the Android wallet. The app acts as a cold wallet and will allow you to view your balance as well as generate QR codes and price conversion between different fiat (think GBP/USD) currencies.

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If you thought losing that £500 smart phone after a night of too many lemonades was worrying, just think about what happens if you lost 30LTC with it. Because of this I would advise gaining root if needed and taking a back up of the infamous wallet.dat to another device- Also if you hadn’t already, think about adding a pin/swipe lock to turn on when the device turns off to stop others trying to cash out.

Overall the app looks great for LTC users on the move and a powerful way to share the simplicity of making transactions.

Can you handle the heat?

Litecoins like all coins are easier to carry in wallets- the issue here is that the worn leather one in your back pocket won’t suffice here.

An LTC wallet is comprised of public and private keys. The address i.e (LdRm558N8F4oEXu1SjrSyYb93uQP7ig5Cz) is derived from the public key and allows you to receive coins in to your wallet. The private key (paired with each public key) acts as your safeguard to making sure someone can’t spend your LTC. This means if someone gets your private keys they also get your hard earned LTC!

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When you download the official LitecoinQt application it will create a ‘Cold Wallet’ on your PC/MAC. Search for wallet.dat to find the file. If you transfer this file to another machine this means you can take your private/public keys with you. While offering easy transport it also means easy transport for malware/hackers on your machine. To circumvent this remember to always encrypt the wallet on your computer (option available in the LitecoinQt application). Another option is to simply have the wallet on a machine that is never exposed to the internet; while safe this can make it more laborious to spend/ trade. After all for Litecoin to thrive as a real currency, it needs to be used!

For users looking for quick wallet management they can access anywhere in the world, the option of ‘Hot Wallets’ comes into play. These wallets are stored in ‘the cloud’ and so can be accessed from any machine. If you chose this route enable all the extra security options you can (check out 2FA) and don’t pick ‘CorrectHorseBatteryStaple’ as your password. Hot wallets may seem like the more attractive option but come with threats like any other online service.

ImageThe classic magicians act of seeing something disappear in front of your eyes is back- this time with financial impact! When you store your LTC coins in a hot wallet online, effectively the company that runs the server has your coins. If one day they stop trading or the site gets taken day, your coins will go with them! This has been seen repeatedly and so is a real threat. Unfortunately if you want to trade coins online, a precursor to this is having coins online in an exchange wallet.

My advise is as soon as your trading activity is done for the day, move your coins back to a cold wallet on your own machine. It’s also advised to keep encrypted password protected copies of you wallets on more than one device in case your computer dies one day. A usb stick is the easiest storage medium.