Blockchain.info is one of the oldest and most trusted cryptocurrency wallets, supporting Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash. Blockchain.info is an online “hot wallet” with simple Shapeshift exchange integration and all the basic features of a cryptocurrency wallet (buy, sell, hold).
Blockchain.info was first introduced way back in August of 2011, several lifetimes ago in crypto years. Since then, it has gained a user base numbered in the millions, and continues to be a major landmark in the cryptocurrency industry. The Blockchain.info app is also a major selling point, offering seamless mobile integration for users all around the world.
For regular storage and payments, many people think you don’t need more than Blockchain.info, but there are always two sides to every coin, digital or otherwise. We’ll give you a full blockchain.info wallet review here, and let you make the final decision yourself.
What is Blockchain.info?
One of the most interesting things about Blockchain.info is that it’s not just a cryptocurrency wallet. In fact (as its name suggests), Blockchain.info is a site where users can glean all kinds of fundamental information about Bitcoin and its network performance. Here you can see a real time list of Bitcoin network transactions, new data about blocks as they’re mined into the Bitcoin blockchain, Bitcoin economy charts, and all kinds of resources and statistics for Bitcoin developers.
By 2013, Blockchain.info was the world’s leading Bitcoin/blockchain website, and the company had achieved more than 1,000,000 user wallets by the following year. The following year, Blockchain.info gave users an innovative way of hiding their Bitcoin usage and transactions using the TOR onion routing system. This, and Blockchain.info’s continued reliability as a service, led the company to achieve more than 3,000,000 user accounts by the end of 2015.
By the end of 2017, the company had introduced Bitcoin purchases (With the promise of Blockchain.info Ethereum and Blockchain.info Bitcoin Cash purchase options to come) in 22 American states. They now have over 4,000,000 wallet users. Two major rounds of funding over the past half decade have primed Blockchain.info to make large international industry penetration, with a recent major move into the Indian crypto marketplace.
How to Use Blockchain.info
Blockchain.info has a pretty easy signup process. To create your own account, just go to blockchain.info and “Sign Up”. You will be assigned a Wallet ID, which you should carefully record, as this will be what you use to get into your wallet. We recommend adding all of the security options that blockchain.info makes available. Carefully record your blockchain.info private key, and store in at least one secure location on paper (keys saved on your hardrive could potentially be hacked, and your funds purloined).
As for the use of the site itself, Blockchain.info is a pretty easy platform for anyone with blockchain experience. The basic functions are Send, Receive, Hold, and Buy. We’ll go over these here now.
Sending and Receiving Coins Using Blockchain.info
Like any other cryptocurrency wallet, Blockchain.info’s major function is to receive and store Bitcoin (and Ethereum and Ethereum Cash). There are other cryptocurrency wallets, like Exodus and Jaxx, which store lots of different cryptocurrencies. However, most crypto users don’t have a ton of different coins, so a basic wallet covering the largest currencies is all they’ll need. Blockchain.info is perfect for these users.
You can see in the image above an example of a Bitcoin address. To send Bitcoin to your Blockchain.info wallet, you’ll need this address. It’s clearly labeled in blockchain.info. You’ll find an address for your Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash wallets on blockchain.info as well. Never send Bitcoin to an Ethereum address, or any other mixed up arrangement. These coins will be lost and likely unrecoverable.
These addresses are not sensitive. They can be passed along to anyone without risk of losing your funds. If you ever need payment for any reason, just pass along the address, and you can receive payment through this channel.
Storing Coins in Blockchain.info
Once a coin is received in your blockchain.info wallet, it can be stored there indefinitely. However, there are some important considerations when it comes to long term storage of digital assets in “hot wallets” like blockchain.info. A Hot Wallet is a wallet connected to the internet. Blockchain.info is a web platform, so it is always connected.
When digital currencies are stored in an internet-connected wallet, they are vulnerable to hacking. All it would take would be for someone to steal your private key off of a stickie on your hard drive, or from an email, and they’d be able to steal your coins. For this reason, it’s recommended not to store large sums in blockchain.info, as the loss of your private key or other vulnerability could result in a catastrophic loss of funds.
For this reason, Blockchain.info is better for small balances and routine payments. Think of it like a wallet you’d put in your pocket. You wouldn’t carry around all of the money you own in this wallet. Instead, you’d store most in the bank, and only carry what you need to spend and/or could afford to lose if the worst happened.
For larger balances, seriously consider a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S or Trezor. Paper wallets, where your private keys are printed or written down on paper, are also hack proof as long as they are safely stored in a place where you can always find them, they can’t be destroyed by fire or water, and they are not at risk of being stolen.
Buying Bitcoin With Blockchain.info
Blockchain.info is more than a simple wallet. It also uses a decentralized cryptocurrency trading platform called Shapeshift to enable Bitcoin purchases within the wallet. All you have to do is link your bank account, complete some basic identity and security information provision, and buy the amount of Bitcoin you want. It’ll arrive in a few days. Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum buying opportunities should also be available through Blockchain.info soon.
Common Problems With Blockchain.info
Blockchain.info isn’t a perfect Bitcoin wallet. In fact, there are a couple of problems which continually get complained about by blockchain.info users. Of course, any large and longstanding platform will have its vocal detractors, and you never really know how much these complaints represent common issues or simply a vocal minority. However, we’ll mention the issues here as they’ll be of use to any new user considering the platform.
- Bad Customer Service: This one is not very controversial. Blockchain.info’s customer service is not great. What’s more, it’s inconsistent which can be even more frustrating. In some cases, users will be able to get in touch with someone, but will then have the support go dead. Other times advice will be contradictory. In other cases, you won’t be able to get in touch with anyone at all. On the other hand, some people have great experiences with blochchain.info customer support. Hopefully you won’t have any problems so you won’t need to contact customer support, but if you do we hope your experience is better than these.
- Loss of Funds: This is a hairy issue, because there’s no way to understand what happens in every case. As with most major wallets, some blockchain.info users complain of lost funds. The question is, does this mean that Blockchain.info has vulnerabilities? Is there corruption? Were the funds lost due to user error? In our experience, the last option is most likely. Blockchain.info is a trusted wallet provider. However, they are a hot wallet, so the risk of hacking is real. Even so, user error is more common than fraud or theft, so we have to assume that this is what happened in at least many of these cases.
Common Questions About Blockchain.info
What Happens If I Experience Blockchain.info Unconfirmed Transactions? – Unconfirmed transactions can mean one of a few things. In the first case, perhaps you didn’t do your order right, in which case you should wait a few hours to see if your transaction goes through. If it doesn’t appear on the blockchain, just try again. However, you may have tried to perform a transaction during a time of high network stress, in which case there could be delays. In another case, you may have paid too low a fee, in which case Bitcoin or Ethereum miners would have little motivation to include your transaction in a new block, leaving you stuck in the “mempool” for hours or days! Fortunately, blockchain.info is a great place to learn about how all of these factors work. Most of the time you won’t have unconfirmed transactions, though.
What is My Blockchain.info Private Key? – Private keys are secret codes that are randomly generated and associated with your Blockchain.info wallet, and it alone. If you were to forget your password or otherwise get locked out of your blockchain.info account, you could use your private key to regenerate your account, and the cryptocurrency therein. It’s a common saying in crypto that “if you don’t own your keys, you don’t own your coins”. When you get your private keys from blockchain.info, we recommend printing them or, better yet, writing them down. That’s what a blockchain.info paper wallet is. It’s never a good idea to store private keys unencrypted on a computer, because anyone who steals them could then steal your coins.
Is the Blockchain.info App Good? – Blockchain.info has an app for iOS and Android. In both cases you can log in with a fingerprint, which is pretty cool, and you can use all of the functionality of the desktop site seamlessly. All of the pros and cons of the blockchain.info system are present in the app, but with the added bonus of mobile convenience.
Blockchain.info Vs. Coinbase – Blockchain.info and Coinbase both sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash. Both act as wallets, and both are connected to the internet. Both have millions of users. Both have common complaints about service and lost funds. Both are pretty well trusted. Both have fairly high fees for the purchase of digital currencies. In the subjective opinion of this author, Coinbase is the easier platform to use, but Blockchain.info has a lot more educational resources and data than you’ll find on Coinbase. Think of Coinbase as Facebook – easy, accessible, made for the mainstream. Think of Blockchain.info as Reddit – messy, complex, packed with value for the more dedicated user. Both can be used and enjoyed by the same people, but most will have a preference for one or the other.
Is Blockchain.info Safe? – We’ve already more or less covered this, but we’ll reiterate as this question gets answered a lot. Blockchain.info is as secure as any hot wallet, in that it’s attached to the internet, and as such is more likely to be hacked than a wallet solution not connected to the internet (like Ledger Nano S). However, blockchain.info is based on a strong code base and is unlikely to get hacked as a platform. Instead, the point of failure is the individual user, who may not use blockchain.info’s security options to their fullest extent, or may be careless with the blockchain.info private key. In most cases, we believe that problems with blockchain.info result from user error, so be careful to use as directed. After all, this is your money, and it’s ultimately your responsibility, no matter which digital services you use with it.
Final Thoughts on Blockchain.info
Blockchain.info is one of the oldest and most well-recognized storage solutions for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum. It has been around for almost a decade and we think it’ll be around a lot longer. It’s also a convenient way for users to buy Bitcoin, and learn about the Bitcoin network using the wide array of Blockchain.info’s Bitcoin related data tools.
We recommend using Blockchain.info only for small, daily-use balances, but otherwise find that this is a great wallet solution that deserves its wide reputation and adoption.