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Author Topic: Electrum online or offline?  (Read 88 times)
fredsgarden
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January 03, 2020, 02:25:51 AM
Last edit: January 03, 2020, 02:42:05 AM by fredsgarden
 #1

I'm about to download Electrum wallet. This will be first attempt to leave Coinbase for a laptop wallet. I don't understand what it means to download, or to store online vs offline. Can someone point me to directions please?

Update: I just discovered 'Documentation', so there's at least a chance now I'll figure this out. I guess I'll have multiple wallets somehow - is that right?
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January 03, 2020, 02:45:16 AM
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 #2

Where did you found those info?

The only offline storage that you can use is through cold-storage setup which requires two devices: a PC/Android and another PC/Android or a hardware wallet.
Here's how to set it up: https://electrum.readthedocs.io/en/latest/coldstorage.html
"Store online" must be the the regular setup.

Just make sure to download the file from the official website: electrum.org

Update: I just discovered 'Documentation', so there's at least a chance now I'll figure this out. I guess I'll have multiple wallets somehow - is that right?
These are the two documentation that you might find useful:

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January 03, 2020, 02:51:27 AM
 #3

Only download Electrum from this site: https://electrum.org/#download

You should also download the corresponding signature file, and verify it.  Instruction on how to do that can be found here: https://bitcoinelectrum.com/how-to-verify-your-electrum-download/

After installing and while creating a new wallet, make sure to carefully write down your recovery phrase, and store it in a safe place.  For "off-line" storage you'll want to use an air-gapped computer, and reformat it when your done.

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January 03, 2020, 03:05:54 AM
 #4

You and I are almost in the same boat. Coinbase seemed much simpler & less complicated, didn't it? Anyway from the brief understanding I got is roughly this...
Purchase your bitcoin through the exchange of your choice, Coinbase, ChangeNow, etc. However, instead of storing them with the exchange, transfer them to a personal wallet like Electrum once you've downloaded it. (Yes you need to download it though)

This is the point I'm at now. I've downloaded Electrum, transferred some bitcoin into it from my exchange. Now I currently testing it by sending a small about to another wallet. I should know within a couple hours if it worked.

I have a few more questions that I can list that might get more answers & hopefully help us both maybe.

1. Does it matter weather or not we leave our wallets from Electrum open after downloading, or should they remain closed when not in use?

2. I know it recommends storing Electrum on another device not connecting on-line...But until I'm able to get another device to put in on, is it still ok to use going on and off line?

3. Lastly, if I'm sending bitcoin to an onion site through (tor) instead, should I or do I need to do anything differently?


Well I realize I may not be much help, but hopefully we might both learn somethings because of it I hope.
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January 03, 2020, 03:57:57 AM
 #5

1. Does it matter weather or not we leave our wallets from Electrum open after downloading, or should they remain closed when not in use?
It can receive bitcoins whether its offline or online, so just open it whenever you need to send funds.

Quote from: Escapecar
2. I know it recommends storing Electrum on another device not connecting on-line...But until I'm able to get another device to put in on, is it still ok to use going on and off line?
There's no problem with it as long as your PC have no viruses or vulnerability.
BTW, your bitcoins aren't stored in your device or wallet, it's in the blockchain (each full node's copy) and only controlled by your "private keys" which is stored in Electrum's wallet file (encrypted if you set a passphrase).
That security measure is to protect those keys and the device itself from hackers.

Quote from: Escapecar
3. Lastly, if I'm sending bitcoin to an onion site through (tor) instead, should I or do I need to do anything differently?
No.

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January 03, 2020, 09:40:02 AM
 #6

1. Does it matter weather or not we leave our wallets from Electrum open after downloading, or should they remain closed when not in use?
As long as the person who sends you Bitcoins has an address that belongs to your Electrum wallet you will be able to receive the coins with Electrum open or closed, it doesn't matter. Treat it like any other software you have on your PC. You use your media players only when watching movies/listening to music. Unless you do that they are usually closed, right? Keep Electrum open if you are transacting with Bitcoins, otherwise it doesn't need to be running.

3. Lastly, if I'm sending bitcoin to an onion site through (tor) instead, should I or do I need to do anything differently?
Is this an underground marketplace of some sort? You need to be careful with such sites. Many of them are scams. Do you trust the site and admin you want to send your coins to? Bitcoin is irreversible. Once the coins leave your wallet that's it.

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January 03, 2020, 04:45:29 PM
 #7

Now I currently testing it by sending a small about to another wallet. I should know within a couple hours if it worked.

You should know within a few seconds.  Once a transaciton has been signed (sent) Electrum will display the transaction ID for you.  On the history tab you'll see the transaction and it's progress.  You can also right-click on the transaction in the history tab, and select "view on block explorer."


1. Does it matter weather or not we leave our wallets from Electrum open after downloading, or should they remain closed when not in use?

Electrum is a client that reads, displays, and communicates with the blockchain.  The blockchain is the actual ledger that confirms coins and transactions.  Your wallet addresses can accept funds at anytime, regardless of whether your wallet software is running or not.  Once your software has signed a transaction, the blockchain handles the rest.  You don't need the software to continue running for the transaction to confirm.


2. I know it recommends storing Electrum on another device not connecting on-line...But until I'm able to get another device to put in on, is it still ok to use going on and off line?

I have my "Hot" wallet installed on a PC that's always online.  If you are confident your computer isn't compromised by malware or viruses, and safe from intruders, you'll be fine.  If you want to set up a "cold" wallet, I suggest you use a computer that's had a fresh OS installed, and only Electrum installed and nothing else.  Once updated and secure, disconnect the computer from the internet, create your cold wallet seed, copy the extended master public key so you can use it to create a watch-only wallet, then digitally shred the hard-drive.


3. Lastly, if I'm sending bitcoin to an onion site through (tor) instead, should I or do I need to do anything differently?

You don't send bitcoin to a website, you send it to a bitcoin address.  Bitcoin addresses are bitcoin addresses, regardless of where they came from.  Tor or clearnet have nothing to do with it.

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January 03, 2020, 05:01:20 PM
 #8

2. I know it recommends storing Electrum on another device not connecting on-line...But until I'm able to get another device to put in on, is it still ok to use going on and off line?

Offline storage (a.k.a. cold storage) is definitely more secure.
However, you were using an exchange as your 'wallet', which isn't even a real wallet because you don't have access to the private key. You just have some balance on a website and they promise you that you own that much BTC.

With a desktop wallet (on an online computer), it already is way more secure than using an exchange. There are less attack vectors compared to an 'exchange wallet'.
If your PC is compromised, both of them would be compromised. But you don't need to rely on their security anymore to have your coins secured. That's the big advantage.

So.. the answer is yes. It is 'still ok'. In fact it is better than storing your coins on an exchange.

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