By Jack M. Germain
Aug 23, 2019 12:05 PM PT
If you are ready to jump into the digital world of a bitcoin economy,
Cryptocurrency OS might be your most convenient way to fast-track your entry.
Cryptocurrency OS is a specialty Linux distribution that serves a niche user market destined to grow as the crypto economy continues to develop. This distro is packed with all the tools you need to create and manage your crypto accounts.
It also is a fully functional Linux operating system. It is easy to use this distro as your daily computing platform.
Cryptocurrency OS Default Desktop Screen
Cryptocurrency OS is based on Linux Mint 18.2 running only the Cinnamon desktop. This is an older version that has proven to be a solid and stable performer. For some users, newer versions of Linux Mint — versions 19 and 19.1 — have presented a few performance issues that are not present in the version 18.2 release.
A major Linux Mint upgrade to version 19.2 was released in July. To be clear, the Linux Mint community offers several other desktop environments besides Cinnamon with all of its releases.
Cryptocurrency OS ships with multiple cryptocurrency wallets preinstalled. These wallets include
These are some of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, but this is not the entire list of available transaction sources.
The developer created this distro to help those who wanted to have secure wallets for their cryptocurrency but lacked the technical ability or time to download or set up their own environments. This distro solved those problems. The crypto disc has all that set up in a secure operating system.
Speaking of the distro’s developer, he is Areeb Soo Yasir, the CEO of
Techrich Corporation, a cybersecurity-centered cloud company based in Hong Kong, with offices in Singapore, Canada and the U.S.
Yasir has been active in the tech industry for some two decades. He also operates
The Tech Guy Blog.
These certainly are reassuring credentials. I would not feel comfortable starting to engage with cryptocurrency using tools parked in an OS by someone who was clueless about hightened security.
Further reassurance comes from the industry-standard crypto wallet apps that he hardwires into the Linux Mint base platform of Cryptocurrency OS. Yasir made the Cryptocurrency OS but uses the resources from his Techrich company.
“It was initially a small project that I started, to make it easier for my wife. I wanted her to be able to access our crypto and be able to use it should something happen to me,” he told LinuxInsider.
That access issue is something that people often do not consider when doing crypto, but these are assets that Yasir would like to leave for his wife and children.
“It would be easier for her to manage with something like an OS that had everything pre-done for her,” he said.
Crypto Mishap Sparked Decision
It took a major security lapse,
the QuadrigaCX incident, to help Yasir realize that too many people were just leaving their crypto on an exchange. That is completely unsafe, he said.
So he decided to put his energy into finishing and launching Cryptocurrency OS to guard against a similar incident. He also wanted to provide a safe way for people to leave their crypto assets is to their partners or children. Yasir is confident that his open source, Linux-based distribution will help bring secure cryptocurrency to mainstream users.
“Creating a secure environment where users hold their own private keys and wallets virtually eliminates the risk of your funds being stolen on an exchange, whether via a hack, fraud or something like the shutdown and insolvency of QuadrigaCX,” Yasir said.
He purposely isolated the crypto wallets so they each run as a separate user account for further and enhanced security, he explained.
Yassir plans to add some screenshots and video instructions to his Cryptocurrency OS website so people who are not familiar with it can learn to use it. He also hopes to add more wallets.
“I have been asked by Digibyte recently to add them, which I was able to do. A few more cryptocurrency coins are also asking to be added, but I simply haven’t had the time to put them on yet,” he said about upcoming additions to the OS.
Linux Mint Low Key
If you are not familiar with the Cinnamon desktop in particular or Linux Mint in general, you are not at a disadvantage. If you have little interest in cryptocurrencies, this distro still can be an inviting OS alternative.
The design and integration of its components make this distro’s purpose clear. It is intended as a vehicle to foster the management and use of banking anonymously without an organized central bank.
Either way, you can set aside the portion of this specialty distro that you do not need and have full use of its other functions. When you load the distro, it automatically runs the default Firefox Web browser to display a cryptocurrency Web page. You can change that.
The desktop defaults to a black background and is populated with a series of icons to launch a few system tools and a variety of preconfigured crypto wallets. You also can remove the launchers.
They are duplicated on the favorites portion of the main menu. You can replace the dark desktop background with any of the standard Linux Mint background images or one of your own.
The menu in Cryptocurrency OS is designed as two separate panels. Switch between Crypto and OS apps by clicking the arrow in the upper right menu box corner.
Set It Up Your Way
The menu structure is similar to Microsoft Windows. The default bottom panel functions in much the same manner. You will find very little learning curve in working with the Cinnamon desktop.
You can expand the functionality of the OS by adding some of the built-in panel applets or desktop applets. Both are menu-driven.
You can ignore basic computing tasks and load Cryptocurrency OS only as a convenient vehicle for managing your cryptocurrency transactions. In fact, you can run this distro solely from a DVD live session almost as a standalone cryptocurrency application.
Practice Safety First
If you rely on the live session to avoid a full installation, however, you will have to include a few additional steps in conducting your transactions. Your crypto wallet data for all coins is in the /wallets folder.
The preconfigured cryptocurrency wallets are foolproof for first-time users.
All such data and system configurations beyond default settings disappear when you exit the live session. So you must back up your wallet and other transaction data in order to use your currency.
It is essential to reboot and restore your /wallets first to make sure that you can access your funds before sending your cryptocurrency to any wallets you create with the OS. This is a critical step whether you install Cryptocurrency OS to a hard drive or run it in live session using a reloaded backup /wallets directory.
The developer recommends doing an actual install and regularly backing up the contents of /wallets as a precaution.
The website invites users with questions to pursue answers in its forums. That might be a bit of a gaffe. Nowhere within the Web browser of the actual distro website could I find any reference to user forums. Of course, each of the cryptocurrency exchanges has its own help and user forum sections.
This distro uses a unique approach to its main menu design. The traditional Linux Mint main menu shows a vertical favorites column on the left, a list of software categories in the center and a display of installed applications for the selected category. The menu display is a square box that floats up from the lower-left corner.
The menu in Cryptocurrency OS is designed as two separate panels. It is considerably bigger, consuming nearly all of the desktop view.
Instead of a favorites column, you see a divided vertical list separated into Places on the top and major System categories on the bottom. The rest of the menu display shows the installed cryptocurrency applications.
A search window sits at the bottom of the crypto applications list. Type in an application’s name and hit the enter key to quick launch that program. Click the magnifying glass icon at the far right of the search window to get a more general search terms list from which to select.
At the top right corner of the main window is a button in the shape of an arrow to switch to the applications menu display. Click it again to return to the Crypto apps display.
Fully Stocked Software Inventory
Cryptocurrency OS is more than a vehicle for accessing cryptocurrency exchanges easily. This distro comes with the standard stock of software available in distros based on Linux Mint.
If an application you want is not preinstalled, launch the Software Manager, Package Manager or Synaptic Package Manager to get what you need. This distro has the default Control Center for all system settings.
Digital currency is a payment transaction mechanism in digital form. It has properties similar to physical currencies, but its digital nature allows for instantaneous transactions and borderless transfer of ownership.
For example, digital currency includes virtual currencies and cryptocurrencies. They have central banking systems that account for accumulated monetary value in a computer database.
Just like you use traditional money, you can use digital “cash” to buy physical goods and services. Some spending may be restricted to certain uses in communities such as online gaming.
Cryptocurrency is a more specialized form of digital currency. It has a decentralized structure without a central bank or a single administrator.
Another difference is the cryptographic wrapper that secures the transactions and record-keeping. Payment can be sent using a peer-to-peer network without the need for intermediaries.
How to Buy Cryptocurrency
Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography. That is what the preinstalled crypto applications in Cryptocurrency OS handle. The encrypted records are recorded in a publicly distributed ledger called a “blockchain.”
Buying cryptocurrency is a smooth process as long as you follow a few simple steps and use reputable exchanges, according to the Cryptocurrency OS website. The developer warns potential buyers of cryptocurrency to apply some forethought and planning. That will help secure crypto assets for the long-term.
The distro’s website provides these basic details about some of the crypto exchanges that are preinstalled:
- Coinbase is a simple, trustworthy and fast-responding place to buy, sell and exchange your cryptocurrency. You can use your credit card or bank account to buy. It is also a great feature that you can sell and get paid into your PayPal account. Coinbase provides the buyer and the distro developer $10 in BTC (bitcoin money) if you use the developer’s sign-up link from the website.
- Changelly is a trusted and efficient exchanger. The developer likes the ability to bypass the typical exchange setup by sending one cryptocurrency and receiving another, almost instantly, all without even signing up with Changelly. You can use your credit card or bank account to buy. However, no launcher or menu entry was available within the OS for Changelly.
- Binance is fairly simple to use, according to the developer. It is a full-fledged exchanger with a much larger selection of tokens and coins. Binance also now supports credit card purchases. Again, no launcher or menu entry was available within the OS for Binance.
I have not been heavily involved with cryptocurrency. This distro’s description piqued my interest, persuading me to check it out.
What I learned from my exchange with the developer bolstered my interest and reassured me that sufficient safety concerns are addressed in the Cryptocurrency OS. I am impressed with the tight integration between the Cinnamon desktop, the Linux Mint base and the cryptocurrency wallets.
One lingering thought, however, could become an elephant in the room. This point may particularly bother those who are hyper tech-savvy. The Cryptocurrency OS website’s URL uses the HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). However, the developer’s Tech Guy blog and his sponsoring company’s Techrich websites do not.
The distinction in those two SSL certificates is significant to security-minded computer users. An SSL certificate digitally binds a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. The https protocol allows secure connections from a Web server to a browser.
The HTTPS certification on the distro’s website is a halfway measure, but since the developer uses Techrich’s resources for some distro support functions, the absence of HTTPS certification on that end might raise a few eyebrows.
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