In both our Advanced Bitcoin Privacy and Advanced Bitcoin Security guides we outline why it’s so important to make sure you connect Sparrow Wallet to Umbrel. If you’re not connected to your own Full Bitcoin 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.
Why Connect Sparrow Wallet To Umbrel?
Everything in Bitcoin is done through nodes
If it’s not your node, then someone else knows your balance and spending info and can also feed you false information creating all sorts of security concerns. For example they could allow a transaction that isn’t following the rules of the Bitcoin network. If you then try to spend those bitcoins somewhere else they’ll be rejected by the rest of the network and it’s as good as them stealing your funds.
Most Bitcoin Wallets by default connect to a public server (usually Electrum) in order to access all the information on the Bitcoin Blockchain and to broadcast new transactions. While this works and is great to get people started quickly, it’s not very private or secure. This is because as stated, the people that own those public servers you’re connected to can see everything you do.
While this seriously affects both your Bitcoin Security and Bitcoin Privacy, the natural way that people learn about Bitcoin means that it’s not until later that they understand enough about What A Bitcoin Wallet Is, how it works and why it’s so critical to run your own node. Fear not though!
Umbrel not only makes running a Full Bitcoin Node cheap, simple and fun, it also makes it super easy to connect all your wallets to it so your transactions and balances stay safe and private.
What Is Electrum?
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) connect 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 Sparrow Wallet will connect to a public Electrum Server (the yellow toggle) but it’s much better to run your own Private Electrum server (the blue toggle) and connect to that.
Before You Begin
In order to connect your Sparrow Wallet (or any wallet for that matter) to your Umbrel, you’ll need to make sure you have a few things setup:
- Bitcoin Core: Install and fully sync the Bitcoin Node app on your Umbrel
- Electrum Server: Install the Electrs app on your Umbrel
- Sparrow Wallet: Install Sparrow Wallet on your computer
Make sure to follow our guide How To Install Sparrow Wallet On Ubuntu ( or How To Install Sparrow Wallet On Windows) as it contains full instructions on how to verify that what you’re installing is the legitimate Sparrow Bitcoin Wallet and not some random piece of malware that will steal your coins.
How To Connect Sparrow Wallet To Umbrel
Step 1: Open Server Preferences
Once you have Sparrow Wallet open, click File -> Preferences, then select the Server tab. If you’ve just installed Sparrow Wallet, then you can click on the Configure Server option in the welcome wizard.
Next, select the Private Electrum server type and it should look like the above image.
Step 2: Get Your Electrum Server Details
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 Your Electrum Server Details & Test
Copy across the Address and Port details to Sparrow Wallet. If you are using a SSL Certificate with your connection, then enter these details in as well. As we’re connecting over Tor, this isn’t required and so is left disabled.
Once everything is entered, hit the Test Connection button. This will start the Tor service on your computer, connect to the Tor network and connect to your Umbrel node. Be aware that this can take a minute or two, so just be patient and let it do its thing.
Step 4: Confirm Connection & Close
If the test was successful, you should see a confirmation message as per above. You can now click the Close button and Sparrow Wallet will automatically connect to your Umbrel Full Node. Once you see the toggle in the bottom right hand corner turn blue with a Tor logo, you have successfully connected to your Umbrel node over Tor! 🥳
Is Sparrow A Good Wallet?
Sparrow Wallet is the top wallet we recommend at Athena Alpha. It’s an excellent application that supports many features, is simple to use and also doesn’t hide important information from the user. On top of this, it also encourages excellent, private and safe Bitcoin behaviour.
Where Do I Find The Electrum Remote URL On Umbrel?
The Electrum Server remote URL can be found in the Electrs Umbrel App. Simply install the app and then open it to display the LAN or Tor address for your node.
Does Sparrow Support Airgap Wallets?
Yes. Sparrow Wallet fully supports Airgap Wallets such as it can create and process Partially Signed Bitcoin Transactions or PSBT.