How to store bitcoin using an Android phone


There are lots of opinions about how to store bitcoin for longer term storage. Paper wallets are a good option but can be stolen and easily used by others. Specialized hardware like Trezors can be expensive, rely on other hardware (like a virus infected computer) and may not have established support.

We use a simpler and cheaper method – an old android phone. Here is how you do it, step by step.

  1. Find a cheap old android phone, preferably with Android 4.0 or later (less security holes). These can be bought at the little phone stores used for about $25. You won’t need a sim card or phone service, just a wifi ready phone
  2. Do a factory wipe on the phone (for the extra cautious you can download virus app like 360 security and run it. Just make sure to uninstall it once you are satisfied your phone is virus/malware free)
  3. Set up the security features of the phone so that no one can use it without a pin (good) or swipe pattern (better)
  4. Connect to a password protected wifi and install a bitcoin wallet from the Google Play store. We recommend Mycelium
  5. Write down the seed or backup information and hide it at a seperate location (ours are hidden in our office at work).
  6. Transfer your coin into the wallet
  7. Disable wifi
  8. Turn off the phone

Now you have a hardware wallet that doesn’t need a computer to run and is extremely secure. When you want to use it just turn it on, enter your security code/pattern, connect to wifi and you will be able to send/receive bitcoins again.

Note: Make sure you write down the private seed/backup code for your wallet. This does reduce security because if someone finds your seed they can steal your bitcoin. At the same time if your phone breaks having the seed code written down somewhere is the only way to get your coin out.

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