Samourai Wallet Review – Real Anonymous BTC Wallet?
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With lots of threats lurking all over the place, the last thing anyone would want is to expose their coins to some clever internet thief. Personally, I have used a number of wallets and so I know a thing or two about them. There are so many scams out there, you literally wonder if any of the new wallets are legit at all.
So you should understand why I was a bit skeptic when I came across a wallet that marketed itself as a product designed “for the streets”. It also enticed me with an offer of stealth capabilities, something I really desired in my sort of wallet. Even the name- the Samourai Bitcoin Wallet- made me want to get more details.
Here is my review of this wallet and what it can offer you as a “bitcoiner”.
What is the Samourai Wallet?
Samourai is a mobile-based Bitcoin wallet designed for Android compatibility. That means you can use it on any Android OS-supported device. For those with iPhone, there’s an iOS version being developed and will be out soon.
Who are the developers?
The Samourai wallet is designed and developed by an anonymous group that refers to itself as the Samourai’s. They refer to themselves as “privacy activists” and claim to dedicate their lives to the creation and promotion of software that is deserving of Bitcoin. The Samourai was founded 2015 in London at a place called the Local Talent Pub.
At the moment, the Samourai wallet is in Alpha mode stage 3.
What else should you know about this wallet?
As a bitcoin wallet, Samourai’s main attraction is its dedication to security and privacy. Furthermore, the group behind this revolutionary mobile wallet has insisted that they are open-source. The Samourai Bitcoin wallet uses SegWit and will soon integrate Lightning Network to speed up transactions.
Samourai wallet Special features
- Randomized change outputs– the Samourai wallet randomizes every transaction you sent, effectively making data snooping a futile exercise. It greatly improves privacy.
- Tor & VPN Support– these features are important in both security and privacy. With your wallet in use, TOR and VPN hide your IP address by routing all transactions through anonymous addresses.
- Ricochet– this additional feature helps to improve the privacy of your transactions. You pay a little fee to unlock added fungibility and safeguard your wallet from serious threats like network spying. By adding 4 “hops” to your history, the feature helps you avoid having your transactions flagged and frozen in the process.
- Remote SMS Commands– this privacy and security enhancement feature works via SMS. It is vital when you lose your mobile/number and wants to retrieve or wipe the wallet. The beauty of this feature is that you can remotely communicate with your phone even if the SIM card is switched. So, losing your phone doesn’t necessarily mean you lose your bitcoins.
- Trusted Node– if you have your own node, the Samourai wallet lets you connect to it. This extra feature helps when you want to speed up transactions. It pushes them into the bitcoin network for quick confirmation.
One thing about mobile wallets is that you can’t store huge volumes of coins on them. The risk posed by exposure to the internet means that it’s safer to store only a small amount for transactional purposes.
However, in the case of Samourai, its enhanced security feature means you can store relatively huge amounts of Bitcoin in your wallet. There are no restrictions on how many BTC you can have in your account. The Samourai Bitcoin wallet can handle large deposits due to its syncing with the Bitcoin network.
The Samourai Bitcoin wallet is designed for Bitcoin only.
Samourai Wallet fees
The Samourai Wallet fees are among the lowest of any mobile wallet. However, although this may be the case, the following fees are applicable to when and where needed. An optional one-time fee of $5.00, to unlock all wallet functionalities
Samourai Wallet has many features for fee transactions. The fee, in this case, is monitored by wallet depending on the network conditions. The wallet also supports RBF (replace by fee) transaction.
- Ricochet cost – using Samourai Wallet ricochet feature will cost you $2.50 worth of BTC. The fee is automatically paid from the wallet as part of Ricochet transaction. All a user needs to do is just approve it and press the button ‘send’.
- Miner’s fee – depends on the transaction and whether its queued, speeded up, or batched. So, it can be “smart miner fee” or “custom miner fee”. Using batched transaction saves you up to 80% in minor fees. Generally, you can pay more if you wish to speed up the transactional process.
Samourai Wallet backup
Verification is part of the security protocols of the wallet. Apart from using the 5-8 digit PIN code, you can’t access your wallet without a recovery passphrase in case you’ve lost it.
Is Samourai Wallet safe?
If there is something that the owners or Samourai wallet are doing well is their prioritizing their focus on security and privacy of Samourai wallet users. Some people avoid mobile wallets for fear that they are vulnerable to attacks. While that may be possible, this wallet’s military-grade encryption makes me think it’s well protected. Is it a scam? No. reputation and community reviews show that it’s trusted software.
The wallet also supports TOR and VPN which are great for anonymity as they hide the IP address and makes it difficult for cyber monitors. Another important feature that protects the user is enabling blockchain obfuscation which makes all transactions untraceable. So, I’d say that the wallet is safe for me.
The Community has received Samourai positively. The unique features of the application and the user-friendly interface have reflected well on the community of users. In addition, the privacy that Samourai Wallet has worked hard to implement has also contributed to its wider trust among its users. It also helps to note that the group has tried to maintain a presence online, staying in touch with the users. I am not so sure about the anonymity of the developers, which to me could pose an issue if they completely remain off-grid.
Few mobile wallets pride themselves on the robustness of the software used in their applications. The Samourai Bitcoin wallet provides one of the most secure storage and transaction wallet software in the market. The inclusion of built-in encryption using the AES-256 ensures that the wallet doesn’t communicate with servers that may have data-stealing malware.
To further enhance security, the wallet never allows address reuse. This means that a user doesn’t have to worry about leaking transactional details that may also include personal data. I like the fact that if you happen to key in/ scan an address you’ve used before, the wallet alerts you to this fact.
Another great feature of security is the stealth mode. When in stealth mode, the software hides the Samourai shortcut. This helps improve the wallet’s security because to use it, you’d have to key in the correct PIN. The one thing I liked about this wallet is that when reactivating it from stealth mode, you dial your PIN just like you’d do when making a normal call. However, be cautious as stealth mode doesn’t make the wallet completely disappear. Someone could still find out that you have hidden the wallet icon
Don’t forget that the Samourai Wallet also supports TOR and VPNs which protects your IP address. In terms of security, this wallet appears to have hit all the right buttons.
Though still in Alpha stage, the developers have already incorporated SegWit making the process quite faster. It isn’t a secret that Bitcoin transactions can be slow due to network clogging. However, the Samourai wallet has that great feature called “Trusted node”.
This lets a user connect their wallet to their own node. With this, you can then be able to institute transaction push for fast confirmation. The wallet also connects to their own Iceland-based nodes to push user transactions. You can also use batch spend to speed up transactions and reduce the overall time it takes to process them.
The feature that makes Samourai wallet fees attractive is the dynamism that is allowed. A user is able to increase miner fees, meaning that fungibility and speed of handling transactions are also increased.
Using the Samourai wallet
The entire process of using the wallet, from the installation of the app to initialization, is easy to handle. Even beginners won’t find using the Samourai Bitcoin wallet difficult. To begin using this wallet, follow the steps below.
How to Install Samourai Wallet Application
- Step 1 – Download and Install Samourai from the Google Play Store
- Step 2 – Create Wallet
Launch the installed Samourai by tapping on Create Wallet button.
- Step 3 – Creating Passphrase
Once the wallet is installed, you will be asked to create and confirm a passphrase. The passphrase is an additional security for your wallet and this passphrase will allow you to migrate to another compatible bitcoin wallet.
- Step 4 – PIN code
In this step, you will be required to enter your PIN code. It should be between 5 to 8 digits. This PIN code is another security measure to your wallet. In case you forget the PIN code, you can then use a passphrase to access your wallet.
- Step 5 – Noting Your Secret Words
At this stage, the Samourai Wallet is almost ready for use. The next step is to get your 12-word recovery mnemonics. Confirm with the prompts that indeed you’ve written them somewhere or memorized them. These words form part of the additional measures of security. When using these words and the passphrase, you can regenerate the whole of your wallet’s history and balances.
- Step 6 – Successful Installation
Once you have successfully installed the Samourai Wallet application on your device, you should be able to see the Samourai Icon on the home screen. It is this icon we use for all Samourai transactions.
The Samourai Wallet features have been my major attraction. It has this unique way of hiding its shortcut from the mobile screen when in stealth mode. Also activating my PIN, I dial like I am dialing a phone number which makes it hard for one to realize what I am doing.
Samourai has passed the three phases of Alpha 1, 2 and 3 successfully. Now it is on its initial incorporating their API server which will be used instead of the Alpha software. With this plans in the offing, we expect more changes and improvements in all services.
We expect SegWit and Lighting networks to be fully in operation which should bring the fee much lower than it is now. I also hope that Samourai Wallet developers will do away with the extra fee charged here and there while doing different transactions. It makes using the wallet feel quite expensive.
I hope you’ve found this review useful. There are more informative and educative materials on our site. Kindly take a tour to learn more about Bitcoin, storage and much more.