I've received a question asking how to setup a Bitcoin client using Tor on a Debian based Linux system. Could someone provide a rough overview and perhaps a link to a tutorial?

  • This might be valuable as a wiki imho Apr 30, 2013 at 8:29
  • Not really, the steps are very simple. Apr 30, 2013 at 8:30
  • It's a surprisingly common question Apr 30, 2013 at 8:42
  • Doesn't mean that you need to wikify it :) Wiki is for when collaboration is needed. Not so much here. Apr 30, 2013 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


Setting up Vidalia

  1. Download the Tor Browser bundle
  2. Extract, go to the App folder, and double click Vidalia (and select "Run"). Let Vidalia load.
  3. If Vidalia doesn't work, run the "start-tor-browser" file at the top level of the extracted directory.
  4. Ensure that the port is 9150 (it usually is). If you're not sure, go to Edit>Preferences>Network>Settings and check that the opened Firefox window is connected to a SOCKS v5 proxy on port 9150. If not, make note of the port and use it in place of 9150 in the rest of this post.
  5. If Firefox was opened, close it. You don't need it for this.

Setting Tor up for your Bitcoin client


  1. Ensure Vidalia is running
  2. Download Bitcoin-QT, and extract
  3. On your Debian command line, run sudo apt-get install libqtgui4
  4. Go to the bin folder in the extracted Bitcoin, choose the 32 or 64 forlder depending on your system (32-bit/64-bit), double click the bitcoin-qt, select "Run"
  5. Go to "Settings" in the menu bar, "Network" tab. Check the SOCKS proxy tickmark, set IP as, port as 9150, with version 5.

enter image description here

Setting it up with Electrum

Run the following lines in your command prompt:

sudo apt-get install python-qt4 python-pip
sudo pip install http://download.electrum.org/download/Electrum-1.7.3.tar.gz

If you have trouble using pip, download Electrum from here and run pip install /path/to/Electrum-1.7.3.tar.gz (Usually will be pip install ~/Downloads/Electrum-1.7.3.tar.gz)

Run electrum on the command line

At this screen, you can choose either option depending of whether or not you've already used Electrum before:

enter image description here

Now, use these settings for the next screen:

enter image description here You may use a different default server if you wish. Try to get one that is situated close to your physical location.

If you selected "restore", fetch your seed (should look something like the one entered below) and enter it in the text field. If you had a lot of addresses in your old wallet, increase the gap limit. (that is the number of unused addresses Electrum generates before giving up on this)

enter image description here

Follow the remaining instructions: Safely store the wallet seed, and set a password if you wish. If the connection is working, you should see a green light at the bottom:

enter image description here

Setting Tor up with bitcoind

Simply run bitcoind -proxy= (or whatever the port is)

  • Are you sure of port 9150? I read 9050 instead in some sources... Apr 30, 2013 at 8:34
  • I've read both ports in respect to setting up a VPN with Tor. Should there be a difference? Apr 30, 2013 at 8:35
  • @StevenRoose: Depends. Tor browser bundle uses 9150. Apr 30, 2013 at 8:40
  • @CharlesHoskinson: Depends on how you have installed Tor. The method I've given usually sets it up on 9150. If not, I've mentioned a way to check. Apr 30, 2013 at 8:41
  • Could you include instructions for bitcoind?
    – GDorn
    Jan 28, 2014 at 3:40

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