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How-to: Use Electrum in Whonix

Electrum is a popular Bitcoin wallet. The non-official thin client Electrum appears to be well-designed. It does not need to download/verify the blockchain and users store their private keys locally, which eliminates the need to trust third-party severs. [1]

Install Electrum[edit]

Unfortunately the electrum version in Debian stretch does not work (Whonix 14 is based on Debian stretch). Therefore, the next best option is installing electrum from Debian stretch-backports.

Package electrum can be installed from Debian backports. This is non-ideal, see footnote. [2]

1. Boot Whonix-Workstation (whonix-ws-14) TemplateVM.

2. Add the current Debian stable backports codename stretch-backports to Debian apt sources.

Note: this applies to Whonix 14.0.1.3.8. Later Whonix versions may use a codename different to stretch.

In Whonix-Workstation (whonix-ws-14) TemplateVM, run.

sudo su -c "echo -e 'deb https://deb.debian.org/debian stretch-backports main contrib non-free' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list"

Alternatively, users who like Onionizing Repositories can set the .onion mirror.

sudo su -c "echo -e 'deb tor+http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian stretch-backports main contrib non-free' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list"

3. Update the package lists.

sudo apt-get update

4. Install the select software.

sudo apt-get -t stretch-backports install electrum

The procedure is now complete.

5. Undo.

On occasion it is necessary to undo this configuration, for example when upgrading from Debian stretch to buster. [3] To proceed, run.

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list

Starting Electrum[edit]

Please refer to the official Documentation at docs.electrum.org for comprehensive instructions, as well as more advanced topics like Cold Storage of private keys.


To start Electrum:

Qubes-Whonix users are recommended to configure a Split Bitcoin Wallet 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[edit]

Enabling Stream Isolation on the Electrum application


1. Manual server selection:

When Electrum is started for the first time, users are met with the prompt: "How do you want to connect to a server".

Choose Select server manually and press Next.

(Image: Connect to Server)

Electrum select server manually.png

2. Change the Proxy settings:

The necessary settings are SOCKS5 with host 10.152.152.10 and port: 9111.

Press Next and the application should be fully functional.

(Image: SOCKS5 Proxy Configuration)

Electrum use proxy socks5 .png

Note: If Electrum is already set up but stream isolation was not enabled, then navigate to Tools -> Network in Electrum to bring up the server and proxy settings.

Payments[edit]

After having installed electrum, please consider making a payment to Whonix to keep it running for the years to come.

Payments Bitcoin (BTC) to Whonix.

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Footnotes[edit]

  1. Some Bitcoin wallets other than Electrum are affected by this: if the third-party sever was 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.
  2. Users should Prefer Packages from Debian Stable Repository, but using backports is better than manual software installation or using third party package managers since this prefers APT. To contain the risk, Non-Qubes-Whonix users might want to consider using Multiple Whonix-Workstations and Qubes-Whonix users might want to consider using Multiple Qubes-Whonix TemplateVMs or Software Installation in a TemplateBasedVM.
  3. Most often this step applies before attempting major Whonix upgrades; upgrade instructions are also made available at that time (see Stay Tuned).

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