Electrum is stuck synchronizing in tails

November 26, 2017 at 11:49 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I do some consulting for some clients from time to time and I notice that a lot of people have this problem. Anyway, this problem seems to be especially prevalent in electrum on tails, as it uses an older version of electrum.

Here’s the deal, older versions of electrum do not support a technology called “RBF” (Replace By Fee). RBF allows you to replace an already submitted 0-confirmation transaction with a replacement transaction that has a higher fee. This is useful if you need to speed up a slow transaction on the network. (Beware of RBF, the sender can double spend the transaction and rip you off!.)

But I digress. . .

Anyway, yeah. Tails 2.7.9 does NOT support RBF transactions, so it gets confused and doesn’t know what to do when it sees it and gets “stuck”. RBF transactions are common with bitcoin tumbling anonymizing service like bitblender. You basically have to upgrade electrum to a newer version that understands RBF.

Here are the steps:
1) Download the electrum binary from the official electrum site, https://www.electrum.org/ . MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON THE OFFICIAL SITE, THERE’S A LOT OF PHISHING SITES OUT THERE.
2) VERIFY THE BINARY. You want to do this just in case a hacker breaks into the site and puts an 0wned verison of the binary on there.
3) Backup the electrum key. in tails, this is under the /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/electrum directory. Either back it up in a separate directory, such as /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/Persistent/backups/electrum or back it up ona separate USB. Another alternative is to write down the seed on a separate piece of paper and keep that seed safe, away from prying eyes
4) Unpack the binary and put it in folder somewhere that is persistent. Example: /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/Electrum-3.0.2
5) Open your “terminal” window and load the binary /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/Electrum-3.0.2/electrum and it should run

You can create an icon on your desktop by putting a .desktop file in /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/Desktop/electrum.desktop

This is the desktop file that I use:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Lightweight Bitcoin Client
Exec=/home/amnesia/Persistent/Electrum-3.0.2/electrum %u
GenericName[en_US]=Bitcoin Wallet
GenericName=Bitcoin Wallet
Name[en_US]=Electrum Bitcoin Wallet
Name=Electrum Bitcoin Wallet


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