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Author Topic: Could/should I use a chromebook for wallets  (Read 494 times)
HippiePyro
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September 01, 2017, 07:09:26 PM
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Will a chromebook work for a hardware wallet? I have one laying around,  I thought it might be a good alternative for a hardware wallet. My concern is the OS. It's uses chrome OS instead of windows, linux, or mac. I don't see any wallets for chromeOS so I'm curious if this would work for bit coin and altcoin storage. Any tips or advice would be appreciated.
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jackg
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September 01, 2017, 08:31:43 PM
 #2

Will a chromebook work for a hardware wallet? I have one laying around,  I thought it might be a good alternative for a hardware wallet. My concern is the OS. It's uses chrome OS instead of windows, linux, or mac. I don't see any wallets for chromeOS so I'm curious if this would work for bit coin and altcoin storage. Any tips or advice would be appreciated.

You can store public and private keys on it. You could have a look and see if you can get python on it and see if that can load a wallet from it (electrum might be capable of that).
Otherwise, can you dual boot it with another operating system? If you can get windows or linux to run on it then you're definitely able to run a wallet from there.

EDIT: you can dual boot with it - search google for instructions on how to do that if you're unsure.

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September 01, 2017, 10:48:11 PM
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Thank you. Would dual booting make it twice as vulnerable to backdoor access issues? Or would one operating system not be able to affect another?
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September 01, 2017, 11:10:23 PM
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Thank you. Would dual booting make it twice as vulnerable to backdoor access issues? Or would one operating system not be able to affect another?

There would be back door access issues.
One thing you could do is place your wallet onto a external storage drive and then use that on it's own to store the private keys. Then, plug that in only when your other OS is booted. You could also look at encrypting one of the partitions of the hard drive with a fairly strong password (you'd only need about 10-20 characters for it to be fairly difficult to brute force).

An example being NTFS EFS.
You could always make another partition that is offline by default and you bring it online only when you need to access your private keys. If you use a wallet such as electrum, then you already have your wallet file encrypted anyway.

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February 13, 2018, 02:05:06 AM
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IIRC you can replace ChromeOS on some models of chromebook with any other OS (usually Linux). I'm not sure I trust Google enough to store Bitcoin on ChromeOS. I might trust it enough to run the ledger chrome app on through, so you could use it to send from a hardware wallet.

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February 13, 2018, 08:19:01 AM
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IIRC you can replace ChromeOS on some models of chromebook with any other OS (usually Linux). I'm not sure I trust Google enough to store Bitcoin on ChromeOS. I might trust it enough to run the ledger chrome app on through, so you could use it to send from a hardware wallet.

I doubt Google would steal any of your Bitcoin, they handle several millions per day. But, they are a concern to someones privacy and if you want privacy when using Bitcoin, and possibly using Tor then that is not possible on a chromebook with the google OS. As mentioned some models can install different distributions of Linux, such as Ubuntu. But, only select models can do this.

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Jet Cash
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February 13, 2018, 09:50:39 AM
 #7

I started my mobile internet experiment with a Chromebook. It seemed like a great option with long battery life as a result of the the absence of fans and rotating disks. However I found that the need to link to Google for almost everything was very restrictive. You can do a lot with SD cards and externl SSD drives, but you are still reliant on Google. Google is one of the major globalist companies, and they are starting to demonetise a number of sites and services, and I felt uncomfortable with having to rely on them. In the end I gave it to my partner for her research through YouTube and other sites, and it is perfect for that. You can replace the OS and run Linux on it, but I decided that it was better to buy a cheap netbook, and I loaded Ubuntu onto that to run a full node.

Another alternative that I am considering for a permanent installation in my van is a Raspberry Pi ( well probably a Tinkerboard, but the principle is the same). This represent a very cheap alternative.

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February 13, 2018, 04:24:37 PM
 #8

Will a chromebook work for a hardware wallet?

No, not really.
You could, if you try hard enough, reach a state where your chromebook 'basically' matches a hardware wallet.
But this would you require to have it airgapped all the time.
It won't be enough to just turn wlan off. You have to be sure there is nothing communicating anymore.
You need to either turn off wlan/bluetooth/nfc system-wide (which is not too hard on linux) or just remove those modules completely.

In the end it still won't be a 'true' hardware wallet because you won't be able to easily spend them anywhere.
Its an offline airgapped storage (which is good!), but the usability is kinda bad.

But if you do everything right there isn't much more you can do to secure your coins.
I might suggest to install another OS. Maybe switch to ubuntu (or some other userfriendly linux).
And make sure to not use this laptop for anything else than for storage (only).

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