How To Connect BlueWallet To Umbrel & Hugely Improve Your Privacy (2023)

Athena Alpha

In both our Advanced Bitcoin Privacy and Advanced Bitcoin Security guides we outline why it’s so important to make sure you connect BlueWallet to Umbrel. If you’re not connected to your own Lightning Node then any transaction you send or receive, your balances, wallet info and more can all be tracked, recorded and tied to your IP Address and identity.

This extremely private information about your finances can then be shared with governments, sold to unknown third parties or worse, hacked and sold to criminals and scammers. The best way to counter these risks is to address the data leak at its source.

Although Umbrel is super easy to use, it can be tough for people that are new to it as there’s a lot of terms that you likely aren’t familiar with. But. That’s why we’re here! To give you the best educational content out there and help you use Bitcoin the way it was intended.

Lightning Wallet Vs Manager Vs LNDHub

An important difference you should be aware of before we continue is the difference between apps that are Lightning Wallets and apps that are for managing your Lightning Node. The best way to explain and understand this is to imagine that your Umbrel Lightning Node is a bank branch.

You as the bank owner need to manage the node / branch. This includes doing things like opening up lightning channels, providing bitcoins to the nodes wallet (the bank vault if your will), make sure the node stays online and connected to the Internet, set the channel fee rates and more.

This is what Lightning Node Manager apps like Zeus or Zap will do. They allow you to remotely manage your Lightning Node and its main wallet (the bank vault). This can also be done using other Umbrel apps like the main Lightning Node app, Ride The Lightning, ThunderHub or Lightning Terminal.

Totally separate to these apps are Lightning Wallets. Your Lightning Node (the bank) has its own Lightning Wallet (the bank vault) but you can also install what’s called LNDHub. This “hub” can then allow others to create Lightning Wallets that are connected to your node.

LNDHub-How-It-Works
Source: BlueWallet

You can think of these separate wallets as customers that come in and open up a new account at your bank. Their Lightning wallet starts with a 0 sat balance and is totally separate to your nodes main wallet (the bank vault). They can deposit, withdraw, send and receive funds through your bank using their Lightning wallet / account. You can have 1, 10 or 100,000 Lightning Wallets (customers) open up an account at your bank. In summary:

  • Lightning Node = Bank Branch with your Nodes wallet being the bank vault (liquidity)
  • LNDHub = Customer Accounts software
  • Lightning Wallets Linked To LNDHub = Customers opening accounts at your Bank

Why Connect BlueWallet To Umbrel?

Everything in Bitcoin is done through nodes

BlueWallet is a Lightning Wallet app that can connect to LNDHub. As such, if you just download it and create a new Lightning Wallet it will connect to a BlueWallet owned and managed Lightning Node and open you an account there. In this scenario BlueWallet has full control over any funds you place in this Lightning Wallet and they can see and record any transactions you send and receive on it.

While the Bitcoin wallets are all self-hosted as outlined above, the Bluewallet Lightning Network Wallets can be used self-hosted or hosted by BlueWallet Services. Which means BlueWallet Services has full access to all the data and info being sent and receive by this hosted service.

BlueWallet ToS

Unlike other Lightning wallets though, BlueWallet allows you to connect it up to your own Lightning Node. This means that any funds you send to it are hosted on your own Lightning Node and all the transaction records are also kept private and under your control.

You can even have all your friends and family use your Lightning Node for their own BlueWallet. That way they get to have a much more secure environment, while you manage the node on their behalf.

Umbrel-Homescreen
Umbrel’s fantastic new home screen

Umbrel not only makes running a Lightning Node cheap, simple and fun, it also makes it super easy to connect and set all this up so your balances stay safe and private.

What Is Electrum?

BlueWallet also allows you to create Bitcoin Wallets too. In order to do this in a self sovereign way, you need to also connect it back to your Umbrel Bitcoin Node via the included Electrum Server.

At its core Electrum is a lightweight Bitcoin wallet. In order to achieve this speed and fast setup time it uses a client and server architecture. The Electrum wallet (client) connects to the Electrum Server and this server can be run by anyone. On an Umbrel node, the Electrum Server is also run on the node making it private and fully under your control.

As Electrum was created way back in November 2011, many wallet applications have integrated it into their code and support for it is near universal. It’s also Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and many public servers are available to connect to. By default BlueWallet will connect to a public Electrum Server, but it’s much better to run your own Private Electrum server and connect to that.

Before You Begin

In order to connect your BlueWallet to your Umbrel, you’ll need to make sure you have a few things setup:

  1. Bitcoin Core: Install and fully sync the Bitcoin Node app on your Umbrel
  2. Electrum Server: Install the Electrs app on your Umbrel
  3. Lightning Node: Install the Lightning Node app on your Umbrel
  4. BlueWallet Lightning: Install the BlueWallet Lightning app on your Umbrel
  5. BlueWallet: Install BlueWallet on your phone

Make sure to fully verify that what you’re installing is the legitimate Blockstream Green Wallet and not some random piece of malware that will steal your coins.

How To Connect BlueWallet To Umbrel

Step 1: Open Settings & Start Tor

How-To-Connec-BlueWallet-To-Umbrel-1

Open the BlueWallet app and tap on the three dots in the top right hand corner to go to the Settings area. Tap on Network, then on Tor Settings and press the Start button. Wait until the Daemon Status changes to “Done”.

Step 2: Get Your Electrum Server Details

How-To-Connect-Sparrow-Wallet-To-Umbrel-2

Next, you’ll need to locate your Electrum Server Details. This can be either a clear net address such as 127.0.0.1 or a Tor host name or .onion address. The Umbrel OS has different Apps for different things and to find the Electrum details you have to install and then open the Electrs Umbrel App.

Once open, we recommend selecting the Tor address as most people don’t have the connection to their Umbrel Full Node setup with a HTTPS certificate which means it’s not encrypted. Even on a local LAN this can be dangerous if you have random IoT devices or other users also connected. Tor is encrypted by default, so it’s much safer.

Step 3: Enter In Your Electrum Server Details

How To Connec BlueWallet To Umbrel 2

In BlueWallet go to Settings -> Electrum Server and copy across the Address and Port details. You can do this manually or tap on the Scan Or Import A File text at the bottom to scan your Umbrel Eletrs QR code.

Once everything is entered, hit the Save button. This will connect to your Umbrel node via the Tor network. Be aware that this can take a minute or two, so just be patient and let it do its thing.

Setting up your Electrum Server ensures that any on-chain Bitcoin Wallets that you create with BlueWallet uses your Bitcoin Full Node rather than some public one.

Step 4: Get Your BlueWallet LNDhub Details

How To Connec BlueWallet To Umbrel 3

Next, you’ll need to locate your BlueWallet LNDhub Details. Install and then open the BlueWallet Lightning app on your Umbrel, it should look like above. Once open, you should have a QR code in the top right hand corner.

Step 5: Enter In Your Lightning Settings

How-To-Connec-BlueWallet-To-Umbrel-4

In BlueWallet go to Settings -> Lightning Settings and tap on the Scan Or Import A File text at the bottom to scan your Umbrel LNDHub QR code.

Once everything is entered, hit the Save button and Restart the app. This will connect to your Umbrel nodes LNDHub via the Tor network. Be aware that this can take a minute or two, so just be patient and let it do its thing.

Setting up your LNDHub Server ensures that any Lightning Wallets that you create with BlueWallet uses your Lightning Node (via LNDHub) rather than some public one.

FAQ

Can I Trust BlueWallet?

Yes. BlueWallet is a legitimate Bitcoin and Lightning Wallet application that has been around for many years. More importantly, as their software is free and open source and allows you to connect it to your own node, you don’t have to trust them.

Is BlueWallet Safe?

While the Bitcoin Wallet feature is considered safe to hold funds, even BlueWallet themselves admit that the Lightning Wallet feature should only be used for recreational use and recommends that users don’t keep a balance over $50 USD in it.

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