Make Your Own Cold Storage USB Crypto Wallet

By SB •  Updated: 01/27/22 •  5 min read

If you want a secure and affordable alternative to more expensive cold storage options like a Trezor or Ledger, but you still want the easy access to your wallet that a paper wallet doesn’t provide, then consider making your own USB cryptocurrency wallet.

All you need is a Live Linux operating system installed on the USB drive, and then to install whichever wallets you want, making sure the USB has persistence enabled.

For Bitcoin, Use TailsOS as a USB Crypto Wallet

Use a Live Linux USB installed on a USB stick that is encrypted and large enough to hold the number of wallets you choose to create within it.

Tails OS

TailsOS is an obvious top choice, as it utilizes a Tor network for all internet activities, thus encrypting and anonymizing your connection.

When installing TailsOS, choose the option to save the files persistently in its persistent storage. Everything in the persistent storage will be secure and encrypted with password protection.

What you’ll need to do:

Configure the Persistent Storage for TailsOS

There is a now a Persistent folder in the home directory where you will save your crypto wallets.

You can open the Persistent folder from Places -> Persistent.

Make a backup of the encrypted persistent folder. Copy it to another USB or external drive for safekeeping. Do your due diligence; USB sticks can become corrupted or damaged at any time.

Storing Your Crypto Keys in Tails

Find other wallets and see if they will install properly on your new wallet.

Quick and Easy Pirate Chain USB Cold Storage Wallet

Pirate Chain (ARRR) has its own USB-powered wallet. Pirate Chain created the Pirate OS (called Ghostship) that connects via a Tor node to give more wallet privacy and security. The operating system installation automatically encrypts the USB drive during install.

To create your Pirate Chain USB wallet:

Creating the Pirate Chain USB wallet is as simple as burning the ISO to a USB.

Simpler DIY Cold Wallet: Encrypted Passwords on a USB Stick Utilizing VeraCrypt

As long as you have your passphrase (seed words) for your wallet, you can reconstitute your private key. So, while you’re busy memorizing your 12- or 24-word seed words, why not also encrypt those important words and keys in a bunch of USB sticks you can hide all over the place?

Encrypted, of course.

How to Encrypt & Hide a Folder with Veracrypt

Important note – how to use the outer volume without corrupting the inner volume:

Because it is considered “free space,” you could easily accidentally overwrite the inner hidden volume’s contents by accident. This will definitely cause problems if you forget you have a hidden volume on your USB stick.

The solution for those creating a cold storage wallet: When mounting the outer volume, you need to go into mount options and select to protect the hidden volume, which will require the hidden volume password. This means any attempts to write to the “free space” of the hidden volume will result in a write error, preventing you from overwriting any hidden data.

Crisis averted.


I've been practicing OSINT and utilizing Linux as my daily operating system for over twenty years. The tools are always changing and so I'm always learning, but helping you understand the value of protecting your own data remains at the forefront of everything I do.