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Features | Verify | Set up | Single Sig | Multisig

Sparrow Wallet 101

What is Sparrow Wallet?

Sparrow is a desktop only bitcoin wallet, available on all major platforms that provides a fantastic alternative to Electrum or Specter. Sparrow provides huge amounts of detail to the user relating to their UTXO’s, transactions and balances, but does so in a very user friendly manner.

Features

Sparrow Wallet comes with everything you’d expect from a desktop based wallet, and much more…

Download and verify Sparrow Wallet

curl https://keybase.io/craigraw/pgp_keys.asc | gpg --import


Initial Set up

Sparrow Wallet offers users 3 ways to get started, each with their own pro’s and con’s.

Server Type Trade-off Positives
Pre selected public Electrum Server Not your own hardware and shares wallet information with the entity running the server Easiest way to get started
Private Bitcoin Core node Wallet imports can take a while and uses Bitcoin Core which stores it’s wallets unencrypted Next easiest setup type (user can just download Bitcoin Core)
Private Electrum Server Biggest barrier to entry Most private option + provides fastest wallet queries

The Public Electrum Server’s provided have been selected due to their record of respecting users privacy. However, running your own is always be the best option.

After reading through the initial welcome screens, click ‘Configure Server’. Sparrow will default to a public Electrum Server but for the purpose of the rest of this guide, we will be connecting to a private Electrum Server. Select that option from the menu at the top.

If using local IP and connection is unsuccessful try changing the top right box to 50001.

Importing your Coldcard

The following assumes that you have already initiated your Coldcard. If you have yet to do so, you can follow this guide.

This will make a copy of your wallet onto your SD card that is readable by Sparrow Wallet. You can find more detail on this here. Once complete put the SD card into your computer.

P2PKH = ‘Legacy’ addresses starting with a 1 P2SH-P2WPKH = ‘Segwit’ compatibility addresses starting with a 3 P2WPKH = ‘Native Segwit’ addresses starting with BC1


Receive a transaction


Sending a transaction

Using these steps the wallet will choose which UTXO’s it spends for you.

To broadcast the transaction…


Spending using specific UTXO(s)

  1. Go to the UTXO tab
  2. Select all of the UTXO’s you want to use to create your transaction
  3. Press send selected
  4. Follow the steps outlined in the previous section


Creating a multisig wallet

As well as being fantastic at single sig support, it also excels at multisig! This section assumes that you have already initiated these devices, if you have not already done so, follow these steps.

Here is a brief run down of setting up a 2-of-3 quorum using Sparrow.


Coldcard Import

Cobo Vault Import

Specter DIY Import


Notifying signers

Now that the wallet is created, we need to notify each signer of the wallet creation.

Notify Coldcard

Notify Cobo

Notify Specter DIY

This is not currently supported in Sparrow. However it is sufficient to verify receive and change addresses on the other two signing devices.


Backup

Multisig backups are more complex than their single signature counterparts. You can read an in-depth look at this here.

This file is a ‘view only’ into your multisig wallet. To spend you still need m-of-n signers or seed backups


Verify Receive Addresses

You will have already noticed that Sparrow shows you your first receive address. It is now important to verify that receive address on our trusted signing devices. Not all signing devices facilitate this, which is the reason both Coldcard and Cobo were included into this guide.

Sparrow

Coldcard

Cobo Vault

All 3 match? Send a very small amount of sats to your verified address


Spending

Sign with Coldcard

We now have 1 of a required 2 signatures

Sign with Cobo Vault

We now have 2 of a required 2 signatures


Where can I learn more?

If you want to try Sparrow Wallet for yourself visit their website and for the more technical user that wants to look under the hood, visit their GitHub. You can also follow them on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest developments.

If you need help getting started with Sparrow, I offer private support calls for those that benefit from more personalised tuition.

Disclaimer - All views expressed in this article are my own and not those of the Sparrow team.


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