Review: Wasabi Wallet for Crypto

Privacy and Anonymity

Crypto privacy

When I first started buying and storing crypto, I thought that once the coin or token showed up* in my wallet it was as secure as the cash in my leather wallet. This turned out to be false for several reasons.

The privacy failings of wallets out of the gate!

There are many factors that can take away from one’s assumptions of privacy: transactions on the blockchain are public and most wallet developers are unconcerned with your privacy. But shouldn’t privacy be a given? Having control over who has access to your transactional details and other relevant data? Just as you value the control you have over who has access to your personal information in everyday life, the same should apply to crypto wallets. In the early days, I naively assumed privacy and anonymity. But I did do-diligence. For starters, I checked to see if the wallet code was open-source (and thus freely available for verification).

And I checked the developer’s privacy policy. This soon became the first thing I scrutinized since we increasingly live in a surveillance society of governmental manipulation, typecasting, forced compliance, and increasing overreach.

Bitcoin-only wallets

I researched many wallets in those days. I looked at features, user experience, functionality, and privacy. Since Bitcoin happily represented well over 90% of my crypto acquisitions, acquiring a Bitcoin-only wallet was my main quest.

Wallet contenders

I looked at dozens of wallets including the following standouts and felt there was a clear winner:

Electrum: a popular anonymous wallet with strong encryption techniques to keep transactions secure. It gives users the ability to control their information and keep confidentiality intact. A worthy contender with an acceptable privacy policy in my opinion.

Wasabi Wallet: Wasabi Wallet appeared to be a top choice for many. It seemed to aim for robust anonymity. With its advanced encryption techniques and many privacy features, I was intrigued. The conjoin feature was of great interest. Conjoin breaks Bitcoin transaction history, making it very difficult to trace your transactions.

Samourai Wallet: Samourai also had interesting privacy features, including Ricochet, which helps prevent analysis of blockchain activity. An interesting security implementation: remote SMS commands for recovery of wallets.

Wasabi Wallet

The Winner: Wasabi Wallet

I like it when a wallet’s home page starts off so strongly on the subject of privacy! They boldly state, “PRIVACY IS YOUR ABILITY TO SELECTIVELY REVEAL YOURSELF TO THE WORLD.” Wasabi Wallet is programmed to be zero-knowledge. This clearly shuts the door on their ability to share your private information with the unscrupulous, or the demands of law enforcement or courts. By design, Wasabi developers don’t have access to your sensitive information. Another of their sayings – “What you do with your bitcoin is your business.”

Wasabi just works. Send and receive functionality is fast and easy. Without fail. I trust this wallet. Here are some stand out features.

Wasabi Features:

OPEN SOURCE: Anyone can see, verify and contribute to the code.
SUPPORTS TOR: Anonymized privacy.
NON-CUSTODIAL: Your keys. You control your private keys. True financial control over your crypto.
TRUSTLESS DESIGN: Nobody can breach your privacy, neither the public nor the developers. Done via coinjoinsclient-side block filtering and communication over the Tor network.
THE CONJOIN FEATURE: Wasabi’s mixing technique. A conjoin is a special Bitcoin transaction using several peers to literally join their coins in a single transaction. By breaking the link identifying sending and receiving Bitcoin, none of the transactions can be attributed to a specific owner.
“BUY ANYTHING” FEATURE: In the spirit of the developers’ belief that Bitcoin is an alternate purchasing system, this feature connects you with products and services. Excellent feature!
SIMPLE AND BASIC USER EXPERIENCE: The home screen is non-cluttered, simple and elegant. Functions like “Buy Anything,” “Send,” “Receive,” Bitcoin balance, etc. The needed features. No clutter. Great design. Drill in deeper from there to just the needed screens for simple and optimal functionality.
Simple elegant home screen interface. Deeper in there’s more when you need it.

Wasabi today. And vision for the near future:

What are two or three of your wallet’s most valuable and unique features currently?

“Automatic coinjoins make privacy by default a breeze on bitcoin. Users simply send bitcoin to their Wasabi wallet and wait for it to coinjoin. No extra steps or clicks. It just works. The large liquidity on the default coinjoin coordinator in Wasabi allows users to reach their privacy goals very efficiently: in a fast and affordable way.”

What’s coming in the next two years?

“Privacy by default has been and remains the focus of Wasabi Wallet. Lightning is an interest of the [Wasabi] team where users could be privately opening and closing channels. [Ed: Lightning Network (LN) is a “layer 2” payment protocol built on the Bitcoin blockchain …] We’re also looking at supporting other platforms such as mobile where users could coinjoin on the most liquid coinjoin coordinator, straight from their phones.”

Why is this wallet Bitcoin only?

“Wasabi is bitcoin only as there is no second best. Bitcoin is the only plausible alternative to the current monetary system. It allows individuals and businesses to preserve their purchasing power over time in a self-sovereign way. Bitcoin is the only option to opt out of the current fiat monetary order. That being said, bitcoin has some internal tradeoffs when it comes to privacy, so there is quite a bit of work to be done to help both businesses and individuals reclaim their privacy on this open monetary network. Wasabi is working on making bitcoin truly fungible, which is the only missing property for it to be perfect money.”


Conclusion

Wasabi is a dream wallet for Bitcoin, which is after all the most important crypto. To sum up, it’s a non-custodial hot wallet for desktop/laptop computers. The developers behind Wasabi are committed to user privacy and anonymity. Open source, Conjoin and Tor integration are ample proofs of that. The wallet is basic and elegantly simple. Wasabi works. And a mobile version appears to be coming!