DIY USB Wallet - Version MAY 2020

By TONY HARDDON | tonysoft | 5 May 2020

DIY USB Wallet - Version MAY 2020

One of the biggest problems people face is crypto security. We must know what we are dealing with to protect ourselves from it. One of the most important things is that we should never give private keys to anyone.

"... we should never give the private keys ..."

Private keys are the same as having cryptocurrencies, whoever has the private keys will have full control over the crypto assets we have. In other words, everything we have could be sent to another account.

To avoid all this chaos and before investing in a real "Hardware Wallet", we have a slightly safer solution than having it in software wallets or "Hot Wallets" and even in exchanges. We must have our own solution, a USB wallet or "Cold Wallet".

The solution I propose is with the use of TAILS and Electrum.

Secure USB Cold Wallet

  • Create a bootable USB pendrive using TAILS (TOR)
  • Run TAILS from USB and use Electrum Cold Wallet
  • Create a “watch only” wallet on your internet connected PC or Smart Phone
  • Control Bitcoins in a secure way

First thing first, let’s create a bootable USB using TAILS. But before all that, we have to do the following. We need to get at least an 8 GB USB pendrive, I bought mine at ALIEXPRESS.


Cold Wallets such as the Ledger Nano S  are around 64.28 USD (59 EUR), at the time of writing this post.


After a few clicks on the ALIEXPREES  website we bought our USB pendrive for 2.94 USD (2.70EUR). Compared to the Ledger Nano S, that’s a 95.42% off!


Now we are going to do the first step of this tutorial. Let’s create a bootable USB pendrive.


Create a bootable USB pendrive using TAILS (TOR)

Download any tool to record an image on a USB, I use Rufus  since it is a portable tool and its license is GNU General Public License (GPL) version 3 or later. You are free to distribute, modify or even sell the software, insofar as you respect the GPLv3 license.


Record the TAILS USB image  on the new USB stick with Rufus 3.10.


Run TAILS from USB and use Electrum Cold Wallet

When we have the image recorded on our flash drive, we must boot from the USB drive and install TAILS on our USB with the "Persistent Storage" activated. The welcome screen will appear before entering the GNOME Desktop.


Now we must enable persistent storage on the USB drive.


Additionally, we must enter an Administrative Password to perform administrative tasks, installations, updates and many other things.


Then we press the "Start Tails" button to enter the GNOME Desktop.


Once there we just have to start the Electrum application and create our new “Storage Wallet”.



Remember: it's very important that the internet connection is turned off.


"Disconnect From the Internet"


Create a “watching only” wallet on your internet connected PC or Smart Phone

Next we must obtain the public keys, to be able to use the wallet in “watching only” mode from any PC connected to the internet or from any Smartphone.


The Master Public Key is the one that will allow us to create the “watching only” wallet.


Create a “watch only” wallet on your internet connected PC or Smart Phone

We are going to restart the PC without the USB attached and we will enter an environment with internet access. We can also do it from a Smartphone.

It is here where we will create the new "watching only" wallet using the Master Public Key.





Finally your wallet in "watching only" mode has been created successfully. This means that you can see, receive money, confirm transactions made with the "Cold Storage" wallet, but you cannot spend any of the money deposited in your "Cold Storage" wallet.


" cannot spend any of the money deposited in your "Cold Storage" wallet."


Now the final step, managing your "Cold Storage" wallet.


Control Bitcoins in a secure way

Now is the time to do a secure staking of your cryptocurrencies. But if you are thinking of spending or moving money to another place, you should do it in the following way:

From the USB TAILS
- Restart your computer to boot from USB
- Start Electrum
- Make the transaction
- Sign and save the file on any USB


From any PC with internet connection
- Restart from a PC or Smartphone with internet connection.
- Start Electrum
- Load the transaction from the file
- Broadcast the transaction


Here are some images that will familiarize you with the process.





You already know how to make a USB with Tails and the Electrum wallet.


Final thoughts

I hope this POST will give you ideas to make your own USB where you can store cryptocurrencies in a more secure way.

As long as the amounts of cryptocurrencies are small, this is a very good solution.


If you are serious in the world of crypto assets, I recommend that you invest money and buy a "Hardware Wallet", these devices are really safe and will give you that extra confidence that we all need.



I'm not an expert nor do I give investment advice.

Do an extensive research before investing.



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