Bitcoin wallets are known to be confusing to new users, so if you’re a Linux user looking to get started with crypto, finding a good wallet is hard. Many other wallets on Linux try to simplify using Bitcoin so it doesn’t seem like rocket science. One of the better wallets for beginners is Electrum. It’s a multi-platform Bitcoin wallet that is great for beginners and pros alike. The reason many people install Electrum over others is that it combines ease of use with features many advanced users come to expect.
Installing Electrum on Linux is quite refreshing compared to a lot of other Bitcoin wallets out there as there’s no fussing with binary packages that have iffy support, browser extensions, or AppImages that don’t get updated often. Instead, users install the necessary python tools required to build the program, then install it through the built-in Python package installer.
Going this route means that nearly anyone on any distribution can use Electrum. To start the installation process, open up a terminal window and use it to install Electrum dependencies.
sudo apt install python3-setuptools python3-pyqt5 python3-pip
sudo apt-get install python3-setuptools python3-pyqt5 python3-pip
Arch users, you’re in luck! Don’t worry about installing any dependencies. Instead, grab the latest version of the Electrum wallet via the AUR.
sudo dnf install python3-setuptools python3-qt5 python3-pip
sudo zypper install python3-setuptools python3-qt5 python3-pip
Installing Electrum on lesser-known Linux distributions is quite easy, as the program only needs basic Python3 tools to compile correctly. Open up a terminal and search your package manager for the dependencies below. Be sure to also check your distribution’s Wiki entry on Python development.
- python3-pyqt5 or python3-qt5
Building Electrum is quite easy. To do it, go to the terminal and use the Python3 Pip tool to install. The package tool should handle everything automatically. If the installation fails, try the installation again. Alternatively, consider downloading the program and running it, rather than installing it to your Linux PC. Find the download here.
sudo pip3 install https://download.electrum.org/3.1.3/Electrum-3.1.3.tar.gz
When running the Electrum installation tool within Pip, you’ll see a warning that it’s “generally not a good idea to run Pip with sudo privileges”. Usually, this is accurate, as installing a program system-wide may mess up your Python development environment. However, since the program developers recommend it, it should be safe.
Though the Electrum wallet is installed, it’s not ready to use yet. During the installation, you’ll notice no desktop shortcut. For whatever reason, the developer’s didn’t include one. To solve this problem, we’ll create our own. It’s a fairly simple process, and it starts out by using the touch command to make a new file.
Running the touch command will create a new, blank electrum shortcut file on the desktop. Next, we’ll need to open up the new file and add code to it. This code will allow Electrum to run directly from the shortcut icon.
Paste the following code into Nano with Ctrl + Shift + V:
Comment=Lightweight Bitcoin Wallet.
Save Nano with Ctrl + O, and exit with Ctrl + X.
Use the wget tool to download a new icon for Electrum.
cd /opt/ sudo mkdir -p electrum cd electrum sudo wget https://icons.iconarchive.com/icons/alecive/flatwoken/256/Apps-Electrum-icon.png sudo mv Apps-Electrum-icon.png electrum-icon.png
Finally, update the shortcut’s permissions:
chmod +x ~/Desktop/electrum.desktop
Updating the permissions for the Electrum icon means that the program is usable just by clicking the icon on the desktop. However, if you also want a shortcut in your app-menu, run this command:
sudo cp ~/Desktop/electrum.desktop /usr/share/applications/
Set Up Electrum
As the Electrum wallet starts up, a wizard will appear and inform you that no wallet is detected. At this point, you’ll need to go through the tool to create a new wallet. On the first page of the wizard, enter the name of your new wallet and click “next” to move to the next page.
The second page of the setup wizard for Electrum gives different options to choose from. These options allow the user to tell the program what the new wallet will be. If you’re new to Electrum, select “Standard Wallet”. Otherwise, go through the other options and choose your needs accordingly.
After classifying the type of wallet, you’ll need to deal with “seeds”. For a new wallet, select the option that says “new seed”. If you’ve got a seed already, select “I already have a seed”.
Next, click over to the “seed type” page and select the “Standard” option.
Now that the seed business is taken care of, Electrum will generate a unique code for your wallet. Write this code down on a piece of paper.
Lastly, enter a new password to encrypt the wallet and finish the installation.
To fund your Electrum BTC wallet, click “Receive”. In the receiving area of the wallet, you’ll see a BTC address as well as a QR code image. Give this address/QR image to anyone you’d like to receive Bitcoins from.
Additionally, send BTC payments by clicking “Send”. In the send area, enter the BTC address, followed by a description of the payment, and the BTC amount. Click the “Send” button to transmit the payment.