Electrum Wallet Types

Electrum supports a number of different types of wallets:

  1. Standard wallet: A deterministic wallet with a single private key behind each address. Most users are fine with standard wallets. If you don’t know which wallet type you want then this is the one to go with.
  2. Multisig wallet: In a multisig wallet each address requires more than one private key to spend.For example you can install Electrum on more than one device and on each device you will have a different seed. To spend money you’ll need to use those multiple devices to sign the spending transaction. Alternatively the different seeded wallets can be owned by different people and some or all of them must cooperate to spend from the wallet.

    When creating a multisig wallet you can decide the number of participants who are called co-signers in the lingo. You can also choose how many of the co-signers must cooperate to sign transactions.

    Multisig wallets are more secure than single key standard wallets because you need access to multiple devices or the cooperation of multiple people to spend bitcoins. To learn how to create a multisig wallet click here.

  3. 2FA wallet: A two-factor authentication wallet is a type of multisig wallet where you need the cooperation of a third party co-signer company called Trusted Coin to spend your money. Trusted Coin will sign your transactions only if you enter the correct google authenticator code for your wallet. So this arrangement provides you with greater security than a single key standard wallet because an attacker would not only need access to your wallet file but also to the google authenticator code on your phone.
  4. Imported private key wallets: These are wallets created using private keys generated by other software. For example wallets created using paper wallet private keys. See importing private keys.
  5. Watch-only wallets: Watch-only wallets are wallets with no private keys, or their precursor seed, in them. You can’t spend from watch-only wallets. You can only watch transactions and balances of addresses in that wallet. Electrum allows you to create two types of watch-only wallets. You can learn more about watch-only wallets here.

28 thoughts on “Electrum Wallet Types”

  1. Soo… i just sent bitcoins to my adress. i was seeing it is unconfirmed and i closed the laptop(was using electrum from tailes). when i open it again and wrote the seed it opens a wallet but it show 0.0000 money. Can you help me please? or did I just lost 0.013 bitcoins?

    1. It may be the wallet hasn’t synchronized yet. What color circle icon do you see in the bottom right? Also what version of electrum do you have there? The version number should be listed in the window title and also in help > about. You may have to upgrade the version in tails to the latest one or install electrum on your regular OS and restore from seed there. To upgrade electrum on tails see the jcoinner guide here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Electrum/comments/7cjjpg/electrum_synchronizing_message_on_tails/dpqflmh/ . To run the new version you may have to type run_electrum instead of just electrum.

      Note install the latest version not 3.0.1. The latest version at the time of writing is 3.2.3.

  2. my wallet has been sending for almost a week. I’ve used 25 blocks to send 0.185 BTC. Is it possible to adjust the slider while confirmations are in progress?

    1. yes you can bump the fee if you want to:


  3. Hi there, I send money from a segwit wallet to a watch- only wallet and now my funds are stuck in this Watch-only wallet. How can I send my funds to a normal wallet?

    1. You will need the private key or seed behind the watch only wallet in order tomove the funds. If you have the seed you can restore from seed as per this guide:


      If you have the private key you can sweep the private key to a different address or create an imported private key wallet:



      If you have neither the seed nor the private key(s) you can’t move the funds. Only the person with knowledge of these secrets can move the funds.

    2. You can’t without the private keys or seed to the wallet. How did you manage to create a watch only wallet in the first place?

  4. Why does your GUI look like that? I’m gonna assume it’s something to do with Linux, and if so, are other functions (for example, fee selection) restricted to linux?

    1. It’s the electrum GUI and yes the screenshots are from linux. However the functions are found on all 3 OS Windows, Linux and MacOSX.

  5. are 2 or 3 of the keys of a 2fa derived from the same seed? wouldn’t that be insecure? or are there somehow some (public?) keys registered within the network that should co-sign? or is it just like multisig wallet that upon creation co-signers should exhange their master public keys before creating a shared address? thank you.

    1. 2 out of the 3 keys are derived from the seed. the idea is that your computer is free from malware at the time of wallet creation because that is the only time the seed is present on your system and is displayed to you to write down. after wallet creation electrum does not store the seed in the wallet file. it only stores 1 out of 3 extended private keys. so during normal usage you will need trustedcoin’s help to transact. so if your PC becomes infected with malware post wallet creation you are protected by the 2fa requirement. and if trustedcoin goes out of business you can still restore from seed on a clean pc and get access to your coins that way.

      1. thank you! so the seed has nothing to do with the private keys? combining multiple private keys does not increase the possibilities (and thus decrease the likelihood of finding your address). i mean, the seed (and thus address) is constant, and unless the seed is guessed correctly, the private keys only give access to the address when they are combined (except in case of only 2 out of 3 are needed)? compromise of one of the keys does not give access to the address i assume then? (in case of one gets compromised, i think the solution is to transfer coins to a new wallet ASAP).

        1. “so the seed has nothing to do with the private keys? ”

          2 out of 3 of the private keys behind each address are derived from the seed. with the seed an attacker can spend from your wallet.

          having just one of the 3 keys is not enough to spend coins.

          1. thank you. thus first there is the seed and then from that keys are (deterministically?) derived (not the other way around so more combinations are created when keys are combined)

    1. so, creating unsigned transaction on the main device, to be signed by the offline device, and also being able to watch the wallet using multiple MPKs?

      1. yes it’s possible. to create a watch only wallet see the guide for creating one for a 2fa wallet:


      1. oh i am sorry… i think i mentioned the one you already described (Cold Storage wallet: i.e., creating an unisnged transaction, to be signed by a offline device). what i meant is (multisig) using the main online device (with a private key) and an offline device (with its own private key), and offer it to another watch wallet (or the initial online device) to send the transaction signed by both the online and offline device.

        i can imagine a much more paranoid mode: creating an unsigned transaction on computer 1, to be signed by two offline devices/keys, and offering it to an online watch wallet or computer 1 again, to send it to the network? would such scenario be possible?

  6. do you agree with the warnings for muli-sig wallets mentioned here:

    it says that in case of 3 out of 5 scenario. when losing 2 private ext. keys you still need 5 pub keys?

    the section ‘Creating a multisig wallet’ does not give such a warning

    1. yes you need all the xpubs of the cosigners. it’s mentioned on the create multisig wallet page under “Communicate your MPK to your co-signers and Receive their MPKs from them” note 2.

      see here: https://bitcoinelectrum.com/creating-a-multisig-wallet/

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