I see a lot of requests on reddit asking how to install the new version of Electrum on Tails. So I thought I would write an article showing people how to do it.
Electrum will not work on Tails 3.3.2 and below because of the existence of a security flaw where dishonest nodes can broadcast messages that can trick users into downloading malware and quote-unquote "scamwallets". Electrum 3.3.3 and above can mitigate these attacks. This article will show you how to manually upgrade your electrum wallet in tails.
From there, make sure that the "dotfiles" switch is set to "on" and click "save" button:
gpg signature: 6694 D8DE 7BE8 EE56 31BE D950 2BD5 824B 7F94 70E6
Notice the high number of stars in the GitHub page. This means that a lot of people are saying "yep, I like this key". I also recommend searching for this fingerprint on multiple search engines such as DuckDuckGo, Bing, and Google so you can cross-verify and make sure that is the REAL "ThomasV" in question. Don't trust one particular source for GPG keys, just in case that source gets hacked or is somehow untrustworthy.
Anyway, save the key to your Tails distribution. Visit this webpage
https://github.com/spesmilo/electrum/blob/master/pubkeys/ThomasV.asc, and highlight the text of the key, right click and press "copy".
Next, open "tor browser directory":
in nautilus and double click the key. This will import it:
Once it's imported, you have to then "sign" the key. By signing the key, one of the things you are doing is indicating "I trust this key as valid and I made sure that it's owned by the actual 'ThomasV' in question." You can verify the key by comparing the signatures with people who you know have the correct key (googling the fingerprint and verifying with multiple sites helps). The particular GitHub account we got our key from is heavily starred, and a google search shows a lot of references to it, so we have a reasonable assurance that it is the real one. I have also personally used this particular key for years with that exact signature, so I can personally attest that the signature with the following key is valid:
6694 D8DE 7BE8 EE56 31BE D950 2BD5 824B 7F94 70E6
There are web-of-trust
benefits to signing the key, but I won't go into that for now. Ok, now let's sign the key.
Click on the clipboard icon, on the upper right hand corner of the screen, and then select "Manage keys":
We did a reasonable search for the key, so let's click on "casually searched". Also click on "others may not see this signature" for correctness. Then click the "sign" button:
We have now successfully signed the key.
Ok, now that is done, we can download electrum. Download the AppImage binary and the appropriate signatures from this webpage: https://electrum.org/#download
The "AppImage" version of Tails is a self-contained version of Electrum with all the appropriate libraries and python version encased in one file. Currently Electrum 3.3.6 uses a version of python that the current version of Tails does not support (3.12.1). So the AppImage is your only recourse.
Ok, so once you download Electrum and it's signature file, you can now verify the signature. Navigate to the "Tor Browser" directory you were in earlier, and right click the electrum-3.3.6-x86_64.AppImage.asc file and click "Open with Verify Signature".
Once that goes through, it should hopefully give you a "good signature" emblem on top:
sudo mkdir -p /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/.local/share/applications sudo chown -R 1000:1000 /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/ mkdir -p /home/amnesia/Persistent/bin/ mkdir -p /home/amnesia/Persistent/conf/electrum/
If the sudo command asks for a password, use the "administrator account" password that you setup when you booted Tails.
Ok, next go back to "Tor Browser" window and right click the AppImage files. From there click properties:
This makes the file "executable" meaning it turns the file into an "app" that Tails can run. Then right click and rename file to "electrum.AppImage".
Then open the persistent directory:
and drag the "electrum.AppImage" over to "Persistent/bin"
It's best to be extra cautious about bitcoin wallets, so we are not going to "write over" the old bitcoin wallet, we are going to create another wallet and put it in a separate directory. (Conservatism is an important concept in the bitcoin world). So let's open your old electrum wallet and copy the seed. You can do this by going to Wallet -> Seed on your menubar and writing it down or saving it to a file in your persistent partition.
Keep these words in a safe place and don't give it to anyone! Your seed is a "second layer" of defense in case you somehow screw up the upgrade process. If upgrading your wallet does not work for some reason, you can always re-create a new wallet, type the seed words back in and be able to recover your bitcoins through your seed words. So make sure you don't lose that seed!
Once we have the words stored in a safe place, let's go ahead and make the bitcoin icon point to the new version of Electrum that we just put on the persistent folder.
Go back to your terminal window and type the following:
[Desktop Entry] Comment=Lightweight Bitcoin Client Exec=/home/amnesia/Persistent/bin/electrum.AppImage -D /home/amnesia/Persistent/conf/electrum/ GenericName[en_US]=Bitcoin Wallet GenericName=Bitcoin Wallet Icon=electrum Name[en_US]=Electrum Bitcoin Wallet Name=Electrum Bitcoin Wallet Categories=Finance;Network; StartupNotify=false Terminal=false Type=Application MimeType=x-scheme-handler/bitcoin; Actions=Testnet;
sudo chmod +x /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/.local/share/applications/electrum.desktop
Then click on the proxy tab and tell it to use the "Tor Proxy at port 9050":
Reboot Tails, re-login and click on Electrum icon on your menu, it should bring up the new version of Tails:
Send a small test transaction to another wallet and make sure it works.
If there are any errors with this blog post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I can fix it.
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