The growth in popularity of digital currency in general—and Bitcoins specifically—hasn't gone unnoticed in the mobile applications industry. Developers have created apps for all your on-the-go cryptocurrency needs, quick and efficient little programs you can install on your smartphone or tablet computer. New apps crop up on a regular basis, and it's a niche market that promises to grow along with the rest of the industry. Today, we're gonna take a look at the most popular mobile apps you can use with your Bitcoin account. So, in no particular order, here we go:
BlockChain Bitcoin Wallet. This is a full-service wallet that allows users to access and maintain their accounts, store and update address books, buy Bitcoins and look up exchange rates, and make transactions. The latter can be done either by a manual transfer or by using the QR code scanner to instantly set the transaction in motion. This app also supports paper digital currency wallets (the type that has actual hard copies of your currency printed out), also using QR technology. The Bitcoin Wallet is available for both the Android and iOS operating systems—though due to Apple's restrictions, the iOS version has limited features and functionality.
Bitcoin Wallet. This wallet is not to be confused with the BlockChain product listed above, though it features the same features as the BlockChain app, and also includes the capability of making transfers by touching one smartphone to another. This wallet is available for both Android and BlackBerry —but is not currently available for iOS.
Mycelium Bitcoin Wallet. This wallet app features many of the same functions as the two listed above it, and one of the features they highlight is its “cold storage” security capability, meaning your account is kept offline unless you're making a transaction. The Mycelium Bitcoin Wallet is currently available for Android.
Bitcoin Widget. This no-frills app allows you to look up the current value of a Bitcoin, and to check out graphs that show how its value has trended over time. At this time, Bitcoin Widget is only available for the Android mobile operating system.
Bitcoin Paranoid. We love the name of this app! By downloading it, you can set it to constantly display Bitcoin's current value on the notification bar on your smartphone or tablet. As its name might imply, it's designed for the very serious Bitcoin investor. This app is currently available only on the Android mobile operating system.
Coinbase Bitcoin Wallet. This popular wallet is comparable to the others listed here—really, they're all great wallets, and it'll boil down to your personal choice as to which suits your needs best. As a matter of fact, all the wallets listed in this article are officially endorsed by Bitcoin on their wallet page. Coinbase's wallet was available for iOS for a brief period of time, but is no longer listed there—but you can still get it for your Android device.
Detecting a pattern here? TechCrunch has an article that details how Coinbase's wallet was pulled from the Apple Apps Store only a month after its release. In our research, we found time and time again apps that were refused or highly restricted by Apple's rules and restrictions. Apple's no stranger to being strict when it comes to payment methods and policies; another look at their relationship with Bitcoin can be found in this Forbes Magazine article. It doesn't look like that's gonna change any time soon.
Taking a look at the future, you may be able to use Bitcoins and other digital currencies as easily as you use your bank account and credit cards for payments. It's conceivable—and likely, once alternative currencies really catch on—that you'll be able to select Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies just as you select MasterCard or Visa as a payment option today. And, as we alluded to earlier, look for more apps to be developed that work with existing and emerging alternative currencies.
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