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Presently I have some BTC in a custodial wallet which I want to transfer out. I don't want a use a wallet at all. Neither hardware nor software.

If I install Electrum on a live Ubuntu session, create a wallet, transfer BTC to it, note down the seed phrase and terminate the live session, will I still be able to recover my wallet with coins several years from now?

What are the downsides of this method over a cold storage wallet?

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Essentially what you are proposing would be a cold storage if you install electrum via usb stick and not connecting your computer to the internet. What is really important that you note down not only the seed but also the derivation path to your HD wallet. This is necessary for recovering the coins years from now. There is a good side where you can check:enter link description here

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  • Also note the name of the wallet (Electrum) and the version, master key fingerprint, and date it was created. I'd also note the approximate block number, but that can be looked-up if you have the date. Some wallets like Electrum do NOT use BIP39 to generate the seed phrase. I have met people who have a seed phrase, but forgot the name of the wallet program/app because it was many years ago. Now they are trying to recover the wallet and the wallets available today are rejecting their seed phrase. Knowing which wallet was used would help them a lot, in addition to derivation path, etc.
    – Donn Lee
    Mar 12 at 6:41
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The seed is supposed to be a backup to your offline storage rather than your primary storage, so you're reducing your storage security.

You're also limiting your ability to access your funds quickly.

But if you know that you don't need to access the funds and you're happy about where you'll keep your phrase, there's no reason you can't do this.

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If I install Electrum on a live Ubuntu session, create a wallet, transfer BTC to it, note down the seed phrase and terminate the live session, will I still be able to recover my wallet with coins several years from now?

Yes. Your mnemonic phrase is all you need to store to recover your funds and your passphrase if you added one.

What are the downsides of this method over a cold storage wallet?

I mean technically what you are describing is a cold storage wallet, it's a cold Hierarchal Deterministic wallet with a bip39 mnemonic backup. The wallet being electrum which you used to derive a bip39 mnemonic. Since the backup method is a popular standard even if Electrum disappears you can be sure you will be able to recover your coins several years from now.

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