Mycelium Cryptocurrency Wallet Review

A Bitcoin wallet for experienced HODL’ers. Narrow in focus, with strong security

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Mycelium

Mycelium

Investopedia’s Rating
3.9

Our Take

Mycelium, our top choice for mobile, is one of the earliest entrants into the digital asset wallet space. The company began in 2008 working on another project, but then pivoted toward Bitcoin and blockchain as the technology emerged. Mycelium is feature-rich and has strong security, making it a good bet for more advanced crypto users who can handle complexity. On the other hand, the number of coins is limited so it's not for those seeking variety in their crypto holdings.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Enhanced security features

  • Compatibility with hardware storage options (i.e. Ledger, Trezor, KeeperKey)

  • Well established/tenured record as a bitcoin wallet

  • Local Trader feature

Cons
  • Lack of coin options

  • Local Trader feature not available for iOS users

  • Lack of a desktop version

  • Not ideal for newer cryptocurrency adopters

  • Email only customer support

Key Takeaways
  • Mycelium makes sense for experienced holders of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a few other tokens who would prefer to manage the security of their funds without assistance. It makes particular sense for users who are most comfortable conducting transactions via their mobile device.
  • This is a wallet for individuals who do not require a great deal of hand-holding, as users are unlikely to locate much in the order of how-to’s on their website.
  • The security of Mycelium goes beyond the majority of options on the market, and the compatibility with offline storage is a plus for those focused on security.
  • The limited amount of supported cryptocurrencies makes it less suitable for crypto investors looking to hold a wide variety of coins.
Company Overview

Mycelium's team, originally comprised of hardware engineers, came together in 2008, working on another project. Keep in mind that the “Genesis Block” for the Bitcoin network did not exist until 2009. Therefore, Mycelium as a company is older than Bitcoin, but they were originally working on something else: a mesh networking project. As blockchain technology emerged, Mycelium shifted its focus towards providing a secure storage option for Bitcoin.

Mycelium is a non-custodial wallet and at no time takes possession of users' assets. Instead they operate as a relay between investors and the Bitcoin network. The wallet is also designed to work in concert with hardware wallets (i.e. Trezor, Ledger, and KeepKey), and is compatible with cold storage and/or paper wallets as well. Investors should also note that Mycelium offers a mobile version only and does not have a desktop option at the moment.  

At no point are users required to identify themselves, and user data is not collected. Moreover, the Mycelium app is “reproducible, which serves a couple of purposes. For starters, when a wallet/app is reproducible, its code can be duplicated and compared to the original code to locate potential security issues. The logic behind this is that if a developer and/or provider was looking to intentionally place your funds at risk, security researchers can check for this by examining its published code. If an app is not reproducible, that code can not be credibly checked. Additionally, reproducible code means Mycelium wallet holders are not dependent on the company’s development team. In short, this feature provides an additional level of security for Mycelium users that exceeds the competition's protections.

The Mycelium wallet also makes use of simplified payment verification, meaning they do not download full blockchains to verify payments. Ultimately, this wallet is best suited for experienced Bitcoin and Ethereum investors whose primary focus is the security of their crypto funds. They should also be well-versed, and comfortable with private key hygiene, and may very well have a preference towards offline/cold storage.

Mycelium

Mycelium

Investopedia’s Rating
3.9
Type of wallet Mobile
Price  Free 
Fees  You will pay network transaction fees to miners to complete your payments as is normal in the crypto world
Number of cryptocurrencies supported  Bitcoin, Ethereum, and several ERC 20 tokens. Not a very large number in total.
Bitcoin and Ethereum supported?  Yes
Earn (staking/rewards)  No
Customer Service  Mycelium offers customer support via email.  Phone and/or chat support is not offered at the moment. 
In-App Features  Mycelium users can send, receive, swap, exchange, and convert assets with the app 
Hardware Compatible  Yes 
SVP or Full Node  Mycelium uses Simplified Payment Verification 
Mobile App  Mycelium is available for Android and iOS 

Pros Explained

  • Enhanced security features: Mycelium is a reproducible app which allows for its original code to be audited for security flaws.
  • Compatibility with hardware storage options (i.e. Ledger, Trezor, KeeperKey): For users wishing to house their crypto offline, Mycelium allows for easy transfer of to well-established hardware wallets.
  • Well established/tenured record as a bitcoin wallet: Mycelium is one of the longest-tenured Bitcoin wallets on the market. The wallet launched in 2012 and the creators came together in 2008, before Bitcoin even existed, to work on another project.
  • Local Trader feature: Mycelium offers a decentralized exchange within the app itself. The exchange comes with a unique feature called Local Trader that allows you to find people in your area for in-person trading.

Cons Explained

  • Lack of coin options: Many crypto wallets allow you to store a large number of different coins. Mycelieum, on the other hand, only allows Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a selection of ERC-20 tokens such as Tether USD and USD Coin.
  • Local Trader feature not available for iOS users: The Local Trader feature is only available to Android users. Users will be unable to access this feature with an iPhone.
  • Lack of a desktop version: Users are not able to access Mycelium via desktop, which puts them at a disadvantage to wallets that offer both desktop and mobile versions.
  • Not ideal for newer cryptocurrency adopters: Information on Mycelium’s website is scant in comparison to its competitors. Newer cryptocurrency users may find the lack of documentation challenging. More seasoned users will find less of an issue with this.
  • Email only customer support. Users looking for customer support are left with an email-only option.

Features

Mycelium is a straightforward, Bitcoin-focused wallet with a heavy emphasis on security of users deposited coins. Mycelium supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, and several ERC-20 tokens. Users have the ability to send, receive, and trade within the app too.

Android users have access to Mycelium’s Local Trader feature, which allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin to individual users in their area. Users of Apple products, however, will not be able to take advantage of Local Trader.     

Supported cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Several ERC-20 tokens including Tether USD and USD Coin

Security

Mycelium has a non-custodial framework, and as a result, does not have access to user funds or keys. The wallet merely acts as a conduit between users and the network itself. Mycelium is also a hierarchical deterministic wallet, an advanced security feature whereby a series of key pairs are generated from a random seed, to protect against hacking. Your keys are yours at all times with Mycelium, and the app is reproducible, allowing the code to be audited for security issues. This again reduces the users' dependency on any core development group or individual.

Mycliem also allows for integration with both hardware wallets like Trezor and Ledger, as well as cold storage (paper wallets). An additional unique feature of Mycelium is the allowance of “watch only” accounts, which allow the user to view their current funds without the requirement of private keys. This is valuable to users who wish to view transactions and balances without putting their coins at risk.

Privacy and Anonymity

User privacy and anonymity is a core tenet of Mycelium.  At no point are users required to divulge personal information or go through a Know Your Client (KYC) process. Moreover, Mycelium does not engage in any data collection procedures. Mycelium also uses multiple levels of PIN protection for users, so if you misplace or lose your phone/mobile device, you will be able to restore your account with your seed phrase and PIN.  

Additionally, Mycelium makes use of the Tor network (‘the Onion Routing project”) to conceal locations and IP addresses. For clarity, the Tor network, initially used by the U.S. Navy to protect communications, allows for anonymous web browsing. Mycelium also generates a new address following each user transaction. Doing so adds an additional level of privacy and layer of complexity should anyone attempt to track your account’s transactions via a block explorer. 

Setup 

Setup is relatively simple. Users navigate to the app store for their respective mobile device (iOS or Android), and download the application to said phone/device. Following installation, users will be prompted to backup their wallet. Users will be provided with a 12-word seed phrase which they will need to re-type in the same order. Proper safekeeping of your seed phrase is absolutely paramount. Losing the seed phrase could mean a loss of funds. Finally, as an additional security buffer, users will be required to provide a PIN and your Mycelium Bitcoin wallet setup is complete. 

Usability

Desktop


While Mycelium has a website where users can gather information, there is no desktop option for the wallet at this time.

Mobile App 

Mycelium’s app is available for both iOS and Android users; however, you will find a different experience depending on which one you use. The mobile app itself is straightforward and presents the user with options to send, receive, or spend funds from cold storage. You will also be provided an option for the currency you wish to transact in, as well as with whom you wish your exchange rate provider to be. Android users will find they can create Ethererum/ERC-20 tokens as well as make use of Mycelium Local Trader. Apple users will not be able to access these features.  

Customer Service

Users may find Mycelium’s customer service options challenging, as they only respond to customers via e-mail.  There is no phone or chat option available, and unlike other current wallets, do not boast of 24/7 support. Mycelium’s customer support offerings fall short of many of its competitors, and as such fall short of what much of the crypto community has grown accustomed to. 

Cost & Fees 

Costs associated with the usage of Mycelium are fairly standard for cryptocurrency wallets. There is no cost associated with downloading the app itself. Users will encounter network fees for sending coins, but this is the industry standard. You can customize send fees. The send fee increases as the priority level is increased. There is no cost associated with receiving crypto on the Mycelium wallet. Mycelium's fees are on par with its competition.

Final Verdict

The Mycelium wallet is a solid option for experienced Bitcoin holders who place a premium on security. As a reproducible wallet, Mycelium users will be in rare company as it relates to the overall security of their funds. Still, users will need to determine for themselves if reproducibility is a must have feature in the wallet that they choose. Users can also find comfort in the tenure of Mycelium itself, as it is indeed one of the longest standing Bitcoin wallets on the market.

A few potential drawbacks standout for Mycelium.  For starters, the very narrow range of supported coins doesn’t make it the best option for users wishing to store a wide variety of coins. The user interface is straightforward, but not for beginners, and there’s a general lack of educational resources within the app and on the website. What stood out the most to us however was the lack of uniformity between its Android and iOS offerings. They simply are not the same, with Android users enjoying a much more robust offering, particularly as it relates to the use of “Local Trader.” Additionally, while the Android app version supports both the Ethereum and Bitcoin networks, the iOS version supports the Bitcoin network only.  

Methodology

One of the most important things to consider before you transact in and store cryptocurrencies is that you have a suitable crypto wallet in place. To help determine the wallet that works best for you, we conducted a comprehensive review process of the top cryptocurrency software wallets. 

Our review process is built around a quantitative ratings model that weighs key factors like security, costs, privacy, usability, customer support, and features according to their importance. Our team of researchers gathered over 40 data points and conducted extensive research for each of the 19 companies we reviewed. Our team of writers, who are experts in this field, then test drove each wallet to lend their qualitative point of view.

Our model gave preference to companies with the strongest security measures and reputations. Companies with rich features, such as supporting a large number crypto assets, giving users the ability to sync with hardware wallets, and allowing for fee customization, also ranked highly.