Bitcoin beginners and enthusiasts who want to send and receive bitcoins from their phones easily might appreciate a wallet like Mycelium. In addition to allowing you to send and receive bitcoins, the Mycelium bitcoin wallet is reproducible so that you can make a backup. It’s also possible to connect the app to hardware wallets.
This Mycelium wallet review will take a look at some of the features this mobile wallet app offers so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.
What is Mycelium?
Mycelium was founded in 2012, making it one of the oldest bitcoin wallets still in use. Originally part of a mesh networking project started in 2008, Mycelium is the product of hardware engineers who look to develop bitcoin technology.
In addition to the mobile wallet, the team behind Mycelium has developed Entropy, which is a small portable USB device that is used to generate printable paper bitcoin wallets to provide physical bitcoin addresses. They also developed Gear, a simple widget that can be added to a website or an app to accept bitcoin payments.
Over time, Mycelium developed into a company that offers different ways to manage bitcoins in ways that they believe are secure and provide a high level of security and authentication.
How does Mycelium work?
Crypto wallets are designed to provide a record of your ownership of bitcoin and other digital assets, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Crypto wallets are assigned an address, represented by a string of numbers and letters, and some wallets allow you to keep an address book. Wallets allow you to send or receive cryptocurrency tokens such as bitcoin (BTC) or ethereum (ETH). Transactions are recorded on the relevant blockchain, and ownership is verified. Not every wallet can store every token.
Mycelium works as a mobile app wallet. It’s available on Google Play Store and you can download it on any Android device. However, the wallet is no longer available in an up-to-date version on iOS. You can use the wallet to send and receive bitcoins through a simple user interface.
Mycelium does allow you to connect your cold wallets, which are usually a physical device such as a USB drive that allows you to keep your bitcoins completely offline. However, Mycelium is a software wallet that operates as a hot wallet, allowing it always to be connected to the internet.
Additionally, Mycelium can use the near field communication (NFC) capability on equipped phones. This allows you to use the wallet for contactless payments in the same manner as Apple Pay or Google Pay.
Mycelium is non-custodial, meaning that a third party doesn’t have custody over your tokens. With a custodial wallet, like those you might have through an exchange, you don’t have full control over your tokens because the third party manages access. However, with a non-custodial wallet like Mycelium, you have full control over your tokens since the wallet is fully transparent and open-source.
Mycelium is a hierarchical deterministic wallet. It uses this type of deterministic cryptography to create your wallet using a mnemonic key phrase comprised of 12 words. This key phrase is known as the master seed, and it also allows you to restore your wallet if you lose your mobile phone.
If all of this sounds like gibberish, you should rest assured that Mycelium doesn’t require you to study any of it. The wallet can be simple to use and you can easily maintain access to it by following Mycelium's advice to make a backup copy through the app.
Features of the Mycelium wallet
When considering the Mycelium wallet, there are some features to consider.
Mycelium focuses mainly on bitcoin. However, it is also compatible with Ethereum and some of the tokens that have the ERC-20 standard. For the most part, though, Mycelium is likely to work best for those who are focused on bitcoin.
Integration with other wallets
The Mycelium wallet supports the FIO network, which uses a protocol that enhances the way different crypto wallets operate with each other. By using the FIO protocol, Mycelium makes it easier to interact with other wallets and exchanges, as well as payment processes, to quickly and easily send bitcoin.
Additionally, Mycelium can connect with certain popular hardware wallets such as Trezor, Ledger, and KeepKey. It’s possible to integrate your private keys so that your bitcoins kept in cold storage can be accessed for transactions.
Mycelium keeps track of transactions and provides you with full information about your transaction history. This includes verifications and block heights, which let you know where on the blockchain your transaction has been recorded. The wallet also has a record of any miner fees that you paid.
Privacy and security features
For users who value privacy, Mycelium offers IP masking, or the ability to hide your IP address, through the TOR network. This makes it difficult for those looking at the transaction to connect your IP address with your wallet. Mycelium also doesn’t collect data about its users, and there’s no requirement to verify your identity or provide an ID to use the app.
Additionally, there are layers of PIN code protection to access your account. Mycelium is compatible with Bit ID, an open-source protocol that removes the need for classical passwords by using a passwordless authentication process. The wallet also offers variable keyboard layouts to make it difficult for hackers to know what you’re typing.
The Mycelium wallet doesn’t charge any fees for storing bitcoins. There are no subscription fees either. However, bitcoin users need to pay transaction fees for miners to authenticate their transactions on the bitcoin blockchain. You can set the fee you want to use, which determines how fast your transaction gets processed. The bitcoin network allows you to pay more and get priority processing for your transaction. However, if you don’t pay a high enough fee, your transaction could be delayed.
Sending and receiving bitcoins
You can send and receive bitcoins using the Mycelium wallet using different methods. You can scan a QR code, enter a wallet address, or copy and paste the address. You can also request payment from others in similar ways. The transactions tab can help you review the transaction before finalizing it. It’s important to make sure all of the details are correct because once you send bitcoins, you can’t get them back unless the recipient voluntarily returns them.
Pros and cons of the Mycelium wallet
|Integrates with other wallets||No desktop version|
|Secure storage for bitcoins||No robust customer support|
|Allows for backups to restore the wallet||Limited available tokens|
For bitcoin enthusiasts, the Mycelium wallet has several pros that can make it attractive, especially thanks to the ease of use of its mobile app. Some of the pros include:
- Integrates with other wallets: Mycelium can be used to create single-address accounts, which may offer more transparency at the cost of security. But the wallet can also use multiple addresses and help you access your hardware wallets and paper wallets. You can add these wallets as “watch only,” allowing you to keep your bitcoins in a hardware wallet that isn’t fully accessible through Mycelium. Additionally, Mycelium is a part of the FIO protocol, which makes it easy to interact with other hot wallets, payment processors, and crypto exchanges to complete transactions.
- Secure storage for bitcoins: You have complete control of the bitcoins stored in your Mycelium wallet. It’s a non-custodial wallet, and Mycelium acts as a bridge between you and the bitcoin network. You can set up keys and PIN access for your new wallet, and the wallet masks your IP address and doesn’t ask for identifying information.
- Allows for backups to restore the wallet: Because Mycelium is reproducible, you can create a backup. It’s important to back up your wallet — along with your transaction history — so that you can restore the wallet if you lose your mobile device. Make sure you don’t lose the backup since you can lose your bitcoins if you don’t have your phone and the backup.
- No desktop version: There’s no desktop version of Mycelium. If you like using your desktop to manage digital currency transactions, Mycelium may not be the best bitcoin wallet for you.
- No robust customer support: There is no phone number you can call, and if you lose your bitcoins, there’s no one to talk to about restoring your wallet. It’s possible to email a support ticket to the development team, but that’s just to fix bugs or other technical problems with the wallet. There aren’t extensive whitepapers or other documentation on the Mycelium website to help you understand how to use the wallet.
- Limited available tokens: Mycelium focuses mainly on bitcoin. You can also store ethereum and a limited number of ERC-20 tokens, but bitcoin is the main cryptocurrency it’s designed for. As a result, the Mycelium wallet may not work well for someone looking into how to invest money into a variety of different tokens.
Is Mycelium a cold wallet?
No, Mycelium isn't a cold wallet. It’s a hot wallet. It’s available for mobile devices. However, even though Mycelium is a hot wallet, it can connect to cold storage, and it can be integrated with some cold wallet devices to access them.
Can Mycelium wallet be hacked?
Because Mycelium is a software wallet that connects to the internet, it could be vulnerable to hacking attempts. It can also potentially be targeted by malware attacks. However, the PIN transaction requirements and some other security features make it difficult to hack a Mycelium wallet.
What is the most secure crypto wallet?
It’s hard to say which crypto wallet is the most secure. In general, though, cold storage wallets that aren’t connected to the internet are considered the most secure. Paper wallets, which involve creating a QR code that can be printed, are also considered the most secure. Because cold wallets like Ledger, Trezor, and KeepKey aren’t connected to the internet and are only used for storage, they are harder to hack.
How to open a Mycelium account
With Mycelium, you don’t exactly create an account. Instead, you download the wallet app and begin using it. As soon as you download it, you can use it. Mycelium doesn’t ask for identifying information, and you don’t set up an account like you would with many other financial apps.
It is important to note that, after downloading, you will need to make sure you can back up your wallet. You will need to make note of your seed phrase, which is comprised of 12 individual words. These words arrive on your screen, one after the other. You should write them down for backup and store the information safely. Realize that Mycelium won’t allow you to take screenshots of these words, so you will need to write them down.
Other wallets to consider
If the Mycelium wallet doesn’t feel like the right fit for you, there are some other options.
One of the easiest to use is the Coinbase wallet offered by the Coinbase exchange. Coinbase offers to store cryptocurrencies in this non-custodial software wallet that can be downloaded to your phone. Coinbase also has a browser extension wallet. The Coinbase wallet is more user-friendly and smoother to use. Additionally, it offers access to many more crypto tokens, as well as the ability to store NFTs.
The wallet is well-integrated with the Coinbase exchange, which offers an opportunity to learn how to buy cryptocurrencies and invest in the crypto market.
Read our Coinbase review.
Another option is Electrum, a bitcoin wallet that can be used on your desktop. This wallet also allows you to institute “watch only” for cold storage wallets and keep your private keys offline. Electrum also allows you to export private keys so that they can be used with other clients, making it possible to complete a variety of transactions.
Read our Electrum vs. Coinbase comparison.
Carefully consider your needs before deciding on a cryptocurrency wallet. Wallets have different storage options and different features. Think about what features are most important to you before deciding which wallet to use. And realize that you can also use more than one wallet to manage your bitcoins and other cryptocurrency holdings.
If you’re interested, you can look into the best cryptocurrency exchanges to buy crypto tokens that you can store in your wallet of choice.