Paying With Bitcoins Using Windows Phone 8 (And QR Codes)

If you’ve been looking for a way to pay using bitcoins on your Windows Phone you are probably already aware of the difficulties involved.

Firstly, there is no official app out there and nor is there likely to be one due to the enormous size of the blockchain (~8GB at time of writing), something which doesn’t play nice with the memory and data limitations of a phone. This means that you would have to rely on a trusted 3rd party to host the blockchain for you and submit transactions through them (a good example is Blockchain.info).

There are a few unofficial apps but I wouldn’t want to trust them with my money. That being said I’ll mention Miguel Rochefort’s Blockchain App, that is currently limited to simply viewing transactions but is something to keep an eye on.

The best way I have found for making transactions is to use Blockchain.info‘s website from your Windows Phone. It mostly plays nice with a small screen but I have noticed the import/export tab missing, so if you’re looking to add a Watch Only address, for example, you will have to add it on a PC beforehand.

Now brings us to the second problem. Unfortunately you can’t scan QR codes through Internet Explorer (which prevents the use of the camera)… which ordinarily means you have to undertake the soul-crushing task of manually typing in the recipient’s bitcoin address, but not so! You simply need to use another app to let you scan the code and copy the address.

The simplest approach is to press the search button of your Windows Phone and hit the vision icon at the bottom which, will let you scan a QR code. Once scanned it appears as a message onscreen; simply tap it to view the code and by holding your finger on it you have the option to copy it. Then, it is simply a case of pressing your back button to return to Blockchain.info’s website and pasting in the code.

Hopefully Blockchain.info will provide support for Windows Phone in the future like they already do for Android and iOS.

EDIT: It is worth mentioning that while probably not a concern, if some people are particularly privacy concious you may want to consider disabling the Search Settings so that Microsoft cannot use your images to improve their search results.

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