Before you can trade Bitcoins, you need a place to store it. In the cryptocurrency world, that place is called a wallet. There are different wallets, catering for different requirements and varying in terms of safety and security, convenience, accessibility and so on.
But for various reasons, existing cryptocurrency apps may not suit you. This article assumes how to create a mobile Bitcoin wallet.
What are the features of a Bitcoin Mobile app?
Bitcoin wallet allows you to send, receive, transfer or convert your cryptocurrency into fiat currency. You can use the currency for paying your bills or for doing any other task.
The application displays relevant information about your transaction, the address of the buyer and the amount in fiat currency.
The app contains the following features:
- Profile setup
- Exchange mechanism
- Access to frequently used addresses
- Paper wallet import
- Conversion rates to track bitcoin price
- QR code scanner
- Push notifications
- Merchant services, which allow you to see the seller and act as a seller on your own
- Security settings to protect the application with a password and PIN
- Auto-logout feature
A bitcoin paper wallet is simply a public and private key printed together. It is usually regarded as a type of “cold storage”, although it has some important differences that make its presence in that category debatable.
Types of Bitcoin Wallets
Bitcoin wallets can be divided into two categories: Hot and Cold.
A Hot Wallet refers to any type of online storage wallet, that can be accessed from anywhere from a web portal. But note, this type is stored online, which makes it susceptible to hacking.
Cold Storage Wallets are more secure, as they are stored physically and hackers don’t have any access to them.
Now let’s take a look at the 4 different types of wallets you can use:
- A web wallet offers a quicker way to complete transaction and ideal for minimal cryptocurrency savings. It provides multiple cryptocurrency transactions and direct integration into an exchange.
- A mobile wallet allows one to accept or spend payments and supports hardware wallets like QR code scanning.
- A desktop is easy to use and comes with private keys. It also supports a cold storage option that doesn’t need any energy source where the data will not be stored on a third party server.
- Hardware wallets are easier and safer to store the crypto data on a long-term basis.
How to develop a Bitcoin wallet app?
This section assumes a basic understanding of Bitcoin wallet app development. If you are starting from scratch then I recommend reading first:
If you already know about Bitcoin and blockchain, we recommend you follow along.
First, take a look at the following diagram, that illustrates a general architecture of a cryptocurrency wallet in a Bitcoin blockchain. The creation of the app includes the generation of mnemonic and derivation private key and address from it. A four-digit code is used for quick access to the account.
There are common technologies, which could be used by the developers in that field. For example, you may use Java for the back-end development or AngularJS for the front-end development and MySQL for the back-end. Following is the list of widespread tools.
You can use public libraries like Chain-java and bitcoinj to create transactions on your server, implement functionality and synchronize with the blockchain. There are Bitcoin libraries for almost every language. Here are just a few of them:
- python-ecdsa (Python)
- bitcoin-ruby (Ruby)
- Haskoin (Haskell)
- libBitcoin (C++)
- BitcoinJ (Java)
- btcd (Go)
Software Development Kits
To make development much easier you can apply popular SDKs.
Here is a video tutorial that demonstrates how to interact with the Coinbase ccryptocurrency API.
It’s also possible to use Coinbase SDK on back end to create a bitcoin app. Official libraries are available for Java, Python, and other programming languages. Coinbase SDK supports also other digital currencies.
Application Programming Interfaces
Blockchain.Info offers a full stack of APIs. One of them is Blockchain API that allows one to create a personal wallet, handle payments and transactions, manage an address etc.
The following video shares with us more elaborate thoughts on how to use Blockchain Wallet API.
Another way is the SPV short from Simplified Payment Verification. It downloads the headers of blocks during the initial syncing process and then requests transactions from full nodes as needed.
This scales linearly with the height of the blockchain at only 80 bytes per block header, or up to 4.2MB per year, regardless of total block size. Pay attention that the full blockchain size is already over 100GB and it doubles yearly. Using SPV you can save space on your server.
We have created the following list of APIs during our research.
- Bitpay — API and tools to integrate into your application
- Coinbase — Hosted app as well as merchant services to accept Bitcoin
- io — Extensive API for addresses, transactions, blocks, etc.
- io — Full Bitcoin node and exposes a HTTP and Websocket API
- is — An open-source bitcoin blockchain API
- Bitcoin core RPC — Core Bitcoin app can be run as a daemon
- io — Full Bitcoin node so you not only can use its APIs but also integrate it into your app
If you don’t want to use libraries or SDKs for some reason you can create a wallet app yourself. All standards can be found in public sources.
On GitHub, any user can view the source code of all public wallets, check them for undocumented features. Also, you can create own wallet with the necessary functions on source code basis. Everything is transparent, the code is checked by the crypto-community, that consist of thousands of enthusiast programmers. So, the official software can be trusted.
Read also: How to Develop a Blockchain Wallet App
How Much Does It Cost To Develop Bitcoin Wallet App?
Before calculating the total cost of creating your own app let’s talk once more about developing apps in general. Even a simple version for one platform may consume over 500 hours.
The biggest cost components:
- Back—end – $10k
- Web/desktop — $5k
- Mobile app for Android or iOS — $25–35k
- Design — $7k
- QA / PM — $4k
The big factor to calculate the total cost of an app is the hourly rates of the development team you’d hire. The rates may vary from $25 to $150. So a bitcoin wallet can cost you from $70k to $100k. Note, combining different component can lower or make that numbers bigger.
Of course, these are an approximate estimation, and the final app development cost will depend on the scale and specifics of the project.
In this article, we’ve covered basic steps for creating a Bitcoin wallet app. You can add more features into it by using certain libraries for making your app more engaging.
Our company has gained a wide experience building blockchain wallets. If you don’t want to spend too much money on building wallets from scratch – contact us and we will help you save time and budget on development.