Sparrow can be downloaded from the Download page. Be sure to follow the instructions on the page to verify your download before proceeding. Once verified, install and run Sparrow as normal for your operating system.
Every new Sparrow installation starts with a Welcome screen which explains how Sparrow can be used in an online and offline mode. You can use Sparrow offline to:
- Verify wallet addresses
- Analyse transactions
- Sign messages
To see a wallet’s previous transactions, create a new transaction, or explore the blockchain, you’ll need to connect Sparrow to an Electrum server. An Electrum server indexes the Bitcoin blockchain, making it quick to find your transactions. There are two different types of Electrum server:
- A full Electrum server. This type indexes all the transactions in the blockchain, which takes more disk space but means you can load any wallet instantly. Examples include ElectrumX, Electrs, and Electrs-Esplora.
- A personal Electrum server. This type indexes only the transactions for a particular wallet, which uses less disk space but means you can only load the configured wallet. Examples include BWT and EPS.
Sparrow supports both types. Note that there are several prepacked nodes that include Electrs, namely MyNode, Nodl, Dojo and Umbrel. These are great choices to get a Bitcoin node with a powerful Electrum server simply and easily. You can also install your own node: two projects that help here are Raspiblitz and Raspibolt.
You can also connect to a public Electrum server. This means sharing your public key information (and thus your privacy) with whoever is running the server. It is not recommended to do this for any significant funds, but for the sake of clarity this guide will proceed to use Blockstream’s public servers. Replace these details with those of your own node.
The Welcome screen also explains how you can switch between online and offline mode at any time when using Sparrow with the blue toggle button that appears in the status bar. You can even try it right on the Welcome screen!
From the Welcome screen, click Configure Server to add the details of the Electrum server you are connecting to. Here are some details for the Blockstream Electrum server this guide will use:
For this guide, we are going to use the SSL (mainnet) details which are blockstream.info:700. Enter the server URL, port and select ‘Use SSL’. Then click the Test Connection button to make sure Sparrow can connect to the server. You should see the following:
Warning: It is not advisable to use Sparrow with a public server if you plan to store any significant funds. You should only connect to a server you trust. Your funds are never at risk, but your privacy is shared.
From here, you can proceed to click Create New Wallet.
Enter a name for your first wallet and click New Wallet:
You are now shown the Settings screen for your new wallet. Every Sparrow wallet has the following details:
|Policy Type||Single Signature or Multi Signature|
|Script Type||What type of Bitcoin scripts will be used (P2PKH, P2WPKH etc)|
|Keystores||Details of the public and private keys your wallet is aware of|
For this guide, we are going to create a single signature wallet using a P2WPKH (Segwit) script type. These are the defaults, so we can leave the settings as they appear:
Now we need to choose which kind of keystore we want for this wallet. You can choose between four different kinds:
|Connected Hardware Wallet||For connecting your Coldcard, Trezor etc with USB to your computer|
|Airgapped Hardware Wallet||For adding your Coldcard or Cobo Vault hardware wallet without connecting it|
|New or Imported Software Wallet||To create a wallet with the private keys in Sparrow, or to import a wallet (like Electrum)|
|xPub / Watch Only Wallet||To create a wallet with an xpub that can see your transactions but not spend them directly|
For this guide we are going to create a Software Wallet. Select the 3rd button, New or Imported Software Wallet.
This opens the Keystore screen. Here you can see the first 3 types of keystores from the table above. For Software Wallets, you can choose Mnemonic Words (BIP39) or Electrum import. This guide will create a keystore using BIP39, a common standard which uses a set of words to create a private key or seed. We are going to choose the minimum number of words (12) using the Set Words Size dropdown:
Click 12 words. You will now see 12 text fields which will contain the secret words for our seed. Click the Generate New Button to get Sparrow to randomly choose 12 words:
You will now need to write these words down for safekeeping. Sparrow checks that you have done this process correctly by asking you to re-enter the words. Click Re-enter Words… and re-enter the 12 words in order. If your words are correct, Sparrow will indicate this by displaying message with ‘Valid checksum’. Now click Calculate Seed to create your seed.
Sparrow will then give you the opportunity to check your derivation path. We don’t need to make a change here, so click Import Keystore:
Sparrow will use your seed to calculate the xpub for the derivation path specified, and display it on the Settings screen:
Each keystore has the following fields:
|Label||The name of the keystore (to identify when signing)|
|Master fingerprint||This identifies the master private key of the keystore, and is the same no matter what the derivation path is|
|Derivation||The derivation path for the xpub, which is usually different for each script type|
|xpub||The public key at the given derivation. Note that some script types have aliases for the xpub which identify the script type as well (ypub, zpub etc). These are synonymous and Sparrow lets you switch between them using the button on the right.|
Because we have already specified all these details when creating our seed, we don’t need to make any changes here. The wallet is now complete!
Click Apply button to save the wallet and choose a password to secure it. The grey tabs on the left will become blue, indicating we have a valid wallet. You can click on the Addresses tab to see the addresses for this wallet, or click on the Receive tab to get an address to receive funds to. On the Receive tab, click the Get Next Address to get your first address:
Once you have sent funds to this address, it will appear in the Transactions tab.
The Quick Start Guide concludes here, but has only scratched the surface of Sparrow’s capabilities. You can create multisig wallets, add hardware wallets, create and edit transactions, and manage your UTXOs - go explore!