Running Electrum from TAILS Temporary Live Boot Session


This article assumes that you have completed the previous guide on setting up a TAILS temporary live boot session. The task for this article is simply to give a quick tour of the Electrum software that is built into TAILS and provide some tips for using it.

Since this is a live-boot system, we are not using Electrum to store private keys for us. Hence, we are assuming that the private keys for the temporary session that are stored securely else and brought in for temporary use within this secure environment.

Disconnect From the Internet

Electrum on TAILS can be used online, but for this demonstration, we are just going to show the example of doing an offline signing since that is often applicable for airdrop registration. If you wish to transact, the TAILS session can be connected online via Tor. However, the mechanism for loading in your private keys is the same as in this example. You can refer to the official Electrum user guide for help on using this software in other ways.

Disconnect Network

Launch Electrum on TAILS

Electrum can be conveniently launched from the main application menu of TAILS in the upper-left-hand corner. The Electrum launcher is under the Internet category:

Launch Electrum

When it launches, it will remind you that nothing will be saved to the hard drive, since there is none under TAILS. If you create private keys and use them on the Bitcoin network, they will not be saved unless you take manual steps to save them:

Electrum Persistence Disabled

The first step is to create a wallet file. If you have another wallet file saved somewhere, such as on an external drive, you are given the option to specify it. Otherwise, this temporary wallet file will be created and used:

Electrum Create Wallet

Import Private Keys

If you have external keys that you have available and wish to import them, you select the Import Bitcoin addresses or private keys option:

Select Import Option

Your available private WIF-format keys can be pasted in as it instructs:

Import Private Key

Sign Message Offline

In this example, we are fully offline, but if you wish to sign a message, that full functionality is available:

Import Private Key

When You Are Done

Your private keys were only held in RAM, so simply rebooting or shutting down should wipe anything. Unless of course you are explicitly keeping track of some information on an encrypted USB drive or SD card.