How-to: Use Electrum Bitcoin Wallet in Whonix ™
How does Electrum work? Electrum’s focus is speed, with low resource usage and simplifying Bitcoin. Startup times are instant because it operates in conjunction with high-performance servers that handle the most complicated parts of the Bitcoin system.
Electrum does not need to download/verify the blockchain and users store their private keys locally.
This is an advantage over some other Bitcoin wallets which are affected by this: if the third-party server were ever compromised, all of the users' bitcoins could be stolen. There is also the possibility that the third-party could lose a user's private keys or walk away with them.
See also dedicated wiki pages:
One of the servers, arbitrarily, is selected as the “main” server.
- The client subscribes to its own addresses (nit: sha256 hashes of scriptPubKeys) so that it would be notified of new transactions touching them. It also synchronizes the existing history of its addresses. This means the client sacrifices some privacy to the server, as the server can now reasonably guess that all these addresses belong to the same entity.
- As above, confirmed transactions are verified via SPV.
- The server is trusted about unconfirmed transactions.
- The server can lie by omission. That is, it can “forget” to mention (both confirmed and unconfirmed) transactions that are relevant to the client.
- The main server is also used for fee estimates, and is trusted with those (low-high sanity limits are applied in the client)
- The main server is also used to broadcast the transactions the client makes.
There can be no blanket recommendation for all users which Bitcoin wallet should be used. It depends on:
- Technical skill.
- Personal risk assignment.
- Financial value in Bitcoin.
- And probably other factors as well.
While Electrum has better usability (is easier to use), above warnings apply. However, for best security, the official Bitcoin client (bitcoin-qt) should be seriously considered for balances of Bitcoin representing serious financial value. For reasons, see Bitcoin Core.
Installed by default in Whonix-Workstation ™.
binaries-freedom package [archive] is maintained similar to Debian stable frozen packages.
binaries-freedom package updates will only include updates which are major releases or releases that fix security or network issues. This is to reduce the maintenance load of the package maintainer.
Should the user wish to use a newer version of Electrum than available in the package, it is possible to uninstall the
binaries-freedom package. (Uninstallation is optional if Electrum is manually installed in home folder. ) Since Whonix ™ is based on Debian, the user can optionally install Electrum using the usual instructions from the Electrum website. Recommendations from the safely installing software wiki page such as Verifying Software Signatures applies. See also Install Newer Software Versions.
See also Electrum, Manual Installation.
To start Electrum from start menu.
Start Menu →
To start Electrum from command line, run.
Qubes-Whonix ™ users are recommended to configure a Split Bitcoin Wallet [archive] to better protect their private keys. To protect against identity correlation through Tor circuit sharing, follow the instructions below (see Stream Isolation for more information).
Electrum: First Run
To avoid any issues with Whonix ™ meta package removal, first install the
sudo apt purge binaries-freedom
Done, removal of the
binaries-freedom package is complete.
After installing Electrum, please consider making a donation to Whonix ™ to keep it running for many years to come.
Donate Bitcoin (BTC) to Whonix ™.
- Electrum Bitcoin Wallet in Whonix ™ Development Notes
A manually installed Electrum won't interfere with the
binaries-freedompackage. That is, unless the user installs Electrum to folder
/usr/bin. (Files in that folder would be replaced when the
binaries-freedompackage gets updated. However, the Electrum start menu entry might be confusing since the start menu entry would start Electrum from the
binaries-freedompackage (from folder
/usr/bin), and not the manually installed Electrum.