Choosing the right wallet is very important for any crypto newbie, as choosing the wrong wallet can mean losing your cryptocurrency forever!
In this guide, I’m going to be talking about one of the most popular crypto wallets available, Copay. I’m going to tell you about what kind of wallet it is, how it works and what makes it so popular. I’ll also show you how to set up and use Copay.
Before I begin this Copay wallet review, I’m going to ask a question that a lot of beginners will want to be answered.
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Place Your Private Key Securely
There’s over 340 billion US Dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency in the world today. All that cryptocurrency isn’t kept in banks or under mattresses, it’s stored on huge digital ledgers. Digital ledgers are databases where the transaction information of a cryptocurrency is recorded. The most common kind of digital ledger is called a blockchain.
For more information about blockchains, check out Blockchain Explained.
Blockchains are networks of thousands of computers. The computers on these networks are called nodes. Some nodes contain the whole ledger, whilst others don’t. The ones that contain the full ledger are called full nodes. Makes sense, right?
Users can only access their cryptocurrency using a private key. However, there are two kinds of keys and you need them both to send and receive cryptocurrency. They are:
- Public key: These are codes that can be seen by anyone, and information can be sent via the use of public keys. Think of it as an email address – if your sending cryptocurrency to your friend, you will ask them for their public key.
- Private key: These shouldn’t be seen by anyone but you. They work in a similar way to your email password. However, this password can be used alone to access your cryptocurrencies – you do not need your public key to log in. Cryptocurrencies are assigned to private keys, not individual wallets. Never disclose your private key and keep it safe at all times!
It’s very hard to get your cryptocurrency back if your private key is stolen. Whoever has access to the private key, owns the cryptocurrency! Keeping your private key safe is very important.
This is where wallets come in…
Cryptocurrency wallets store your private key securely. There are lots of different wallets, such as software wallets, hardware wallets, and website wallets. There are even some that are just pieces of paper with your keys printed on them! These different wallets all offer different levels of security.
So, what kind of wallet is Copay? Let’s find out…
What is the Copay Wallet?
The Copay wallet was launched in 2015 by a company called BitPay. BitPay was the first Bitcoin payment provider and allowed many businesses to accept Bitcoin as payment for the first time. It’s like a crypto version of Visa or Mastercard! The service was launched in May 2011 and it was being used by 10,000 different businesses by September 2013.
The Copay Bitcoin wallet was released in June 2015. By 2016, BitPay was processing 200,000 Bitcoin transactions each month and Copay was becoming one of the world’s most-used crypto wallets.
Copay is a software wallet that can be installed on mobile devices and PCs. It allows users to store keys for two types of cryptocurrency: Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Some Bitcoin wallets use the whole Bitcoin blockchain to keep up to date with the network. They’re called full node wallets. Bitcoin Core is a popular full node wallet. Copay uses simple payment verification to keep up to date with the network. This means it’s a light node wallet.
Now you know what kind of wallet Copay is, let’s have a look at some of its pros and cons…
The Copay Bitcoin wallet has won a lot of fans with its features. So, let’s find out what’s good about the Copay Bitcoin wallet…
✓ Multi-signatures: The Copay wallet allows more than one user to use the same wallet. Think of multi-signature wallets as being like joint bank accounts. They’re great for companies where several people need to agree before transactions can be made.
✓ Multiple accounts: Copay allows users to create multiple private keys in the same wallet. So, for example, you can have a wallet for you, and one for your friend.
✓ Open source: The Copay wallet code is online where anyone can see it and suggest changes. This is good for users because it allows developers to see any problems with the Copay software and fix them. Being open source makes Copay safer to use and easier to trust.
✓ Free to use: There are no Copay wallet fees. However, you’ll have to pay transaction fees for the network you’re using. Transaction fees on the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash network vary.
✓ User-friendly: Copay has a simple and easy-to-use interface. Beginners will have no problem learning how to use the platform and its features.
✓ HD settings: This is nothing to do with Copay’s picture quality! HD means a hierarchical deterministic. This is a complicated way of saying that you can backup your Copay wallet with seed phrases. Seed phrases are like long passwords which help you find your keys if they get lost. For example, if you lose the computer which your Copay wallet is installed on then you can use your seed phrases to get access to your cryptocurrency.
✓ Versatility: This means that the Copay wallet can be used on several different operating systems. Copay can be used with Android, iOS, Windows, Linux and Mac systems. So, it’s a mobile and a desktop wallet that you can use on lots of different devices. It can also be linked with a hardware wallet. It’s always recommended that users have several different kinds of wallets.
✓ Bitcoin Payment Protocol: The Copay wallet uses the Bitcoin Payment Protocol (BIP) to make sure users don’t send cryptocurrency to the wrong addresses. This is a very common problem. Addresses are just long lines of letters and numbers which users can easily get wrong. If this happens, the cryptocurrency you’re trying to send might get lost. BIP checks to make sure the address is correct before you send anything.
No Copay wallet review would be complete without a few negatives. Let’s see what’s bad about Copay…
✗ BitPay: The Copay wallet was produced by BitPay so the decisions that the company makes affect it. In 2017, BitPay supported a hard work on the Bitcoin blockchain called BTC1. By doing this, BitPay was saying they thought that BTC1 was “the real Bitcoin”. It advised its users to switch to the new cryptocurrency. However, BTC1 hadn’t been tried and tested enough so it failed. Now, some users don’t trust BitPay or Copay with their money.
✗ No two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication is where a user needs two kinds of password to access their account. The first is a password set by the user. The second will be a code sent to a mobile device or created by an app like Google Authenticator. The Copay wallet doesn’t offer this service, whereas other wallets like Electrum do.
✗ Light node: Some critics think that light nodes aren’t as safe as full nodes. Also, the crypto community hates third-party servers! However, light nodes are faster and take up less space on your device.
✗ User support: Copay has been slow to help users with issues. Some users have reported issues and had to wait weeks for a reply. Most issues are related to how the wallet functions as a light node. If the BitPay servers go down then Copay transactions can be lost or delayed.
Now you’ve seen what’s good about the Copay Bitcoin wallet and what’s not so good. Next, I want to answer a very important question…
How Safe is Copay?
No other feature is more important to a crypto wallet than security. The Copay wallet is a safe wallet but it’s had some issues…
The CEO of BitPay was the victim of a phishing attack in 2015 and lost 5,000 BTC. Hacks like these are quite common and can happen to any financial organization. An attack like this makes the company look bad but the security of the Copay wallet wasn’t to blame.
Copay isn’t as safe as a full node wallet like Bitcoin Core. However, Copay offers its users a software platform that can be linked to a hardware wallet. For most users, this will be more than enough security.
Copay’s versatility also solves the problem of two-factor authentication. Copay doesn’t really need two-factor authentication because users can install it on their phones as well as their PCs.
This means that one device adds an extra layer of security to the other. It can be argued that this system is as safe as the two-factor security offered by platforms like Electrum.
The most impressive security features the Copay wallet has are its multi-signature HD settings. These alone make the Copay wallet safer than most. And remember, Copay’s code is open sourced so it’s always being reviewed and updated with improvements.
Overall, the Copay wallet is a secure platform to store Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash information. However, its reliability will always be affected by the servers it uses for network updates.
So far, you’ve learned about the features Copay offers. For the rest of this Copay wallet review, I will be showing you how to set up and use a Copay account…
Setting Up a Copay Account
- Go to the Copay homepage. Click on Get Copay.
- Choose the operating system you are using. For example, I’m using Windows so I’ll click on Download for Windows.
- You’ll be redirected to GitHub where you’ll need to choose which version of the software you want to install. The most recent version will be at the top of the list. Download it!A quick tip: Make sure your device is free from malware before you download any wallet software.
Any viruses on your PC or mobile could affect the security of your wallet.
- When the download is complete, open the Copay Installer and follow the instructions. The installer has lots of useful information about your new wallet.
- Remember to backup your wallet by writing down the seed phrases that the installer gives you. This step is very important! Your seed phrases will look something like this:
And that’s it, you’re ready to send and receive cryptocurrency!
Now I’ll show you how to use your Copay Bitcoin wallet…
How to Use Copay
- You need to know your public address before you can receive any cryptocurrency. To do this, click on the Receive icon on the taskbar. You’ll be shown your address in a long line of code and a QR code. This is the information you’ll need to give out to receive funds.
- Now you can have funds sent to your wallet. You can do this by receiving a payment from another user. Or if you want to fund the wallet yourself, you can buy some Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash from an exchange like Coinbase and send it to your wallet’s address.
Here’s what your wallet will look like when it has Bitcoin in it:
- To send Bitcoin, click on the Send icon on the taskbar. You’ll now need to enter the public address of the user you want to send Bitcoin to. Simply enter the amount of Bitcoin you wish to send and click Send. It really is that easy!
A Quick Note on Transaction Fees
Like I said earlier, there are no Copay wallet fees. When people talk about Copay wallet fees they’re actually talking about network transaction fees. There’s no way to avoid these fees but you can control how much you pay for each transaction.
To do this, click on the Settings icon on the taskbar and select Bitcoin Network Fee Policy. Now, choose a fee setting. Just remember that the less you pay, the slower your transaction time will be. So if you want your transaction to be fast, select Urgently. If you don’t mind waiting, select Super Economy.
The Copay Bitcoin wallet comes from one of the world’s top Bitcoin payment providers. It’s easy to use, secure and has enough features to keep most users happy. It’s the perfect wallet for families and businesses as well as users who want to organize funds into separate accounts.
Copay’s main downside is that it isn’t linked directly to a blockchain. This means that its reliability can be affected if the servers it uses have any problems. When these problems happen, Copay isn’t always quick to fix them.
However, the Copay wallet is still amongst the best on the market. If you think that Copay is the wallet for you, then what are you waiting for? Follow my simple instructions and get started!
If I missed something or you want to let me know what you think about Copay, then go ahead! In crypto, everyone’s opinion matters!