How to install Electrum Bitcoin wallet on Debian/Ubuntu Linux

Electrum is a wallet for Bitcoin cryptocurrency. It has been around since 2011 and has remained a popular choice among users thanks to its advantages like being free, decentralized, redundant, and safe. It is possible to get started with using the Electrum Bitcoin wallet on Linux by installing it on distributions like Debian Linux and Ubuntu Linux. In this tutorial, you will learn how to install Electrum wallet on Debian/Ubuntu, and verify the download to make sure all is safe.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to download Electrum Bitcoin wallet
  • How to verify the integrity of Electrum Bitcoin Wallet download
  • How to install Electrum Bitcoin Wallet on Debian and Ubuntu
How to install Electrum Bitcoin wallet on Debian/Ubuntu Linux
How to install Electrum Bitcoin wallet on Debian/Ubuntu Linux
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Debian based Linux distros
Software Electrum Bitcoin Wallet
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Install Electrum Bitcoin wallet on Debian/Ubuntu step by step instructions

Follow along with the instructions below to get Electrum Bitcoin wallet installed on a Debian based Linux distro such as Debian Linux and Ubuntu Linux.

Easy Method

Before going into the steps below, some users will be happy to know that Electrum Bitcoin wallet can be installed in a single step via the Snap package manager:

$ sudo snap install electrum

If you do not have Snap, and do not want it, or just want to do the manual process, then follow along with the step by step instructions below.

Step by step installation

  1. Open a command line terminal and use the following apt commands to install the necessary dependencies:
    $ sudo apt update
    $ sudo apt install python3-pyqt5 libsecp256k1-dev python3-cryptography
  2. Next, we will download the latest version of the Electrum wallet from the official website by using the wget command. You should navigate to the official download page to verify what version you can get. In our case, it is version 4.4.6, so this will be reflected in the command below:
    $ wget
  3. The next step is to verify the GPG signature of the download. This helps confirm that we have indeed downloaded the correct file. Start by importing the Thomas V public key. This is the developer that signs the download.
    $ wget
    $ gpg --import ThomasV.asc

  4. Generate your own private key in case you do not already have one:
    $ gpg --generate-key
  5. Next, sign the public key we downloaded with your private key:
    $ gpg --sign-key ThomasV
  6. We can now download the key file and verify the signature:
    $ wget
    $ gpg --verify Electrum-4.4.6.tar.gz.asc Electrum-4.4.6.tar.gz

    As long as you recieve the following output, then you have successfully verified that you have an authentic download of the file:

    gpg: Good signature from "Thomas Voegtlin ( <>" [full]
    gpg:                 aka "ThomasV <>" [full]
    gpg:                 aka "Thomas Voegtlin <>" [full]
  7. If you would like to run the download without actually installing the application, use the following tar command to unpack the compressed file and then use Python to run it:
    $ tar -xvf Electrum-4.4.6.tar.gz
    $ python3 Electrum-4.4.6/run_electrum
  8. If you would like to install the application on your system so that you can continue to find it in the application launcher whenever you need it, then the following commands will install the dependency packages and fully install the Electrum Bitcoin wallet:
    $ sudo apt install python3-setuptools python3-pip
    $ python3 -m pip install --user Electrum-4.4.6.tar.gz
  9. If you receive the following warning, you will need to add another directory to your $PATH:
    WARNING: The script qtpy is installed in '/home/linuxconfig/.local/bin' which is not on PATH.

    See our tutorial on How to add directory path to $PATH variable in Linux for help with that, but basically you need to execute these commands:

    $ nano ~/.bashrc

    At the bottom of the file, add this line:

    export PATH="/home/$USER/.local/bin:$PATH"

    And for changes to take effect:

    $ source ~/.bashrc
  10. You can now open the Electrum wallet from your Debian or Ubuntu application launcher or by executing the following command, which will send you to the initial installation prompts to get your Bitcoin wallet set up:
    $ electrum

    Running Electrum Bitcoin wallet on Ubuntu Linux
    Running Electrum Bitcoin wallet on Ubuntu Linux

Closing Thoughts

In this tutorial, we saw how to install the Electrum Bitcoin wallet on Debian based Linux distros such as Debian Linux and Ubuntu Linux. This included an easy method via Snap package manager as well as the manual process which is more lengthy and involves verifying the signature of the package. Electrum excels in user privacy, and also proves to be very accessible, with clients that cater to a variety of systems.