Home » Jolly Roger’s Security Guide for Beginners » BITCOIN CLIENTS IN TAILS – BLOCKCHAIN AND ELECTRUM
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In this post I want to talk about 2 options for trading your Bitcoins.
#1 – Blockchain
#2 – Electrum

By now, hopefully you know how to use BlockChain. If not, you simply go to http://blockchain.info and press the button “Wallet” and you can open up your existing wallet or create a new account. Very straight forward and can be done all from your web browser.

But what about Electrum? Electrum is an easy to use Bitcoin client. It protects you from losing coins in a backup mistake or computer failure, because your wallet can be recovered from a secret phrase that you can write on paper or learn by heart. There is no waiting time when you start the client, because it does not download the Bitcoin blockchain. If you use the normal Bitcoin client from https://bitcoin.org then you would need to download the entire blockchain, which is several GB of data. In Tails, we are trying not to download too much to our computers. Downloading the entire BlockChain can take over 24 hours.

So how do we set up Electrum in Tails? First thing we need to do is download it.


Now extract it (right click -> Extract here) and rename the folder to electrum to make things easier. (Right click -> Rename). You might also want to move the folder to the tmp directory so it is easier to find. (Places -> Computer -> File System -> tmp)

Next open up a terminal and type the following command

cd /tmp/electrum

You can replace /tmp/electrum with whatever directory electrum is currently in, but this is why we put it in tmp, to make things easier for us. Next type the following command.

./electrum -s 56ckl5obj37gypcu.onion:50001:t -p socks5:localhost:9050

This will allow your electrum to connect through Tor, to make sure it does not connect over clearnet. You will get a warning when you do this that electrum is attempting to connect in an unsafe manner, but this is expected, and do not worry, it is safe to do this. This step was recommended on the Tails web page at the following URL.


Since you are likely going to want to reuse your wallet that is generated in Electrum, you can specify where your wallet is kept by replacing the above command with the following command.

./electrum -s 56ckl5obj37gypcu.onion:50001:t -p socks5:localhost:9050 -w /tmp/electrum.dat

You would replace /tmp/electrum.dat with whatever the path to your wallet is, and you can rename electrum.dat to whatever you want to call your wallet, like srwallet.dat or whatever you want. Or leave it the way that it is. Then each time you want to start up electrum, reuse the same command, and make sure you copy electrum.dat into /tmp or whatever directory you wish to use. Then when you are finished, make sure to back up electrum.dat onto your USB drive or SD card, especially if you do not have Tails persistence. This way you can reuse the same wallet and you will not lose your balance.

Electrum is likely going to be the Bitcoin client of choice for Tails users. And you can read more about how to use Electrum by visiting the home page at the following link.



  1. Where can I finde electrum.dat file that I need to copy?

  2. I cant find the electrum.dat too!
    Where is it? hidden?

  3. When I enter in the “cd/tmp/electrum” command I get the error “:no such file or directory”. It does this if I move it to other places as well.

    • le smith

      All I had to do after I got the no such file or dir error was go to the folder where I extracted files and double click the electrum file and a prompt came up to create wallet.

  4. @Ned you need to leave a space after cd.
    (cd /tmp/electrum)

  5. I have Bitcoin-qt working in TAILS. It wasn’t that difficult to set up. I have TAILS on a 64GB USB drive with persistent volume enabled. I downloaded the bootstrap torrent on a seperate computer and copied it into the Bitcoin-qt data directory in the persistent volume, and after many hours of importing I can run a full node in TAILS (you have to enable proxy in settings and restart Bitcoin-qt every time to use the tor network) I also have Armory (offline only) working in TAILS but you have to reinstall every time.

    • Yo dude, I know this thread is a bit old, but maybe it’s still alive ;)
      That’s cool that you got Armory working on Tails, I’m trying to do the same, byt was a bit trickier then I thought?
      Do you have any suggestions for getting Armory working on Tails 1.7?

  6. Hi,

    I am trying to run Electrum 1.9.8 on Tails 1.2.

    I have successfully created wallet file from my seed and got connected using the mentioned:

    ./electrum -s 56ckl5obj37gypcu.onion:50001:t -p socks5:localhost:9050 -w ../wallets/default_wallt

    but after the client starts, there is no balance showed. Although it shows green connection status, there is nothing under any tab.

    When I run Electrum from terminal, first I got:

    Bus::open: Can not get ibus-daemon’s address
    IBusInputContect::createInputContext: no connection to ibus-daemon

    Later, when I click network icon, I got:

    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “/home/amnesia/Persistent/electrum/gui/qt/main_window.py”, line 2156, in run_network_dialog
    NetworkDialog(self.wallet.network, self.config, self).do_exec() File “/home/amnesia/Persistent/electrum/gui/qt/network_dialog.py”, line 169, in __init__
    AttributeError: ‘str’ object has no attribute ‘get’


    Do you have any ideas what do I missed?

  7. Please respond to SCH! Same error in Tails 1.2.3 when using Electrum 1.9.8
    Please help

    • Try changing the “56ckl5obj37gypcu.onion:50001” to “56ckl5obj37gypcu.onion:50002”. That worked for me when I was having the same problems

  8. SCH jr. I am having the same problem with the same versions.

  9. So, I read somewhere that you go to tools->Network and set it to use socks5 on port 9050. That seems to work in Tails, so I don’t understand why you’d specify an onion service as the server…but I’d sure like to know if the socks5 setup is secure or not.

  10. Does anyone know any working .onion Electrum servers?

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