Bitcoin Summer Recap : Day 2 — Hodl Day
The second day of workshops at Bull Bitcoin’s Bitcoin Summer event saw the likes of Veriphi’s Tristan Borges & Gustavo Flores, Coinkite’s NVK (Rodolfo), Dux Reserve’s Thibaud Maréchal, and Start9’s Matt Hill present their ideas of what it is to hodl on to your coins securely as well as how users can do it with their products or others’.
In case you missed it or would like to refer back to it, here’s my recap from Day One. While the opening day gave us a good sense of how user-friendly the Bitcoin experience can be for new users as well as how and why privacy matters and can be done, Day Two’s promise was to teach us how to securely hold to our coins and which tools are ideal to achieving this. The theme : HODL Day.
I was very much looking forward to the experts’ presentations, specifically how they were going to bridge the technical gap that exists between simply using Bitcoin versus securely storing coins and private keys for the long term, reducing risk.
It is undoubtedly a vital step for Bitcoiners to learn best practices of safe & secure storage and while it may take some time for many of them to get there in their journey, it can be intimidating for the simple fact that it requires a bit more technical comprehension. Then again, this is precisely why services like Veriphi exist; to guide users through the whole process.
Coldcard with Tristan and NVK
We kicked the day off with a presentation from Tristan Borges meant to introduce us to the concept of cold storage and what tools are there to help us do it. Even though there are multiple options to choose from, the Veriphi team (and, frankly, most experts and advanced users) will primarily recommend using Coldcard devices.
The main arguments behind prioritizing Coldcard are quite simple: the devices have been around a long time and proven their worth, they’re Bitcoin-only wallets (meaning that they do not support other cryptos), and they’re completely air-gapped. This term is important, as it means that the device never has to connect to a computer to be used, thereby considerably reducing risk from unwanted events happening.
Tristan’s presentation contained plenty of technical explanation, yet remained easy to understand for the not-so-tech savvy crowd out there. I urge everyone to watch it over and benefit from the expertise on display.
Following this introduction was Coinkite’s Rodolfo (aka NVK) joining us for a presentation of his products. It was highly interesting to hear the thought process behind the conception of those devices and why they include the specific features that they have.
From Coldcard to Opendime, and from Seed plates to Seed XOR, the audience was treated with a true Bitcoiner’s approach to the importance of securing your coins, the tradeoffs that are presented not only when building such devices but also when deliberating on the various features to add, as well as his insights on how to deal with the challenges that the supply chain presents.
Multisig with Tristan
Coming back from lunch, Tristan was up at the front again ready to deliver his presentation on Bitcoin’s Multisignature concept. It was interesting to benefit from his expertise on the matter. As mentioned previously, Multisig requires some more advanced tinkering. Nevertheless, it’s a challenge that should be embraced since it presents multiple advantages & use cases.
Individuals or companies looking to create “vaults” for their bitcoins can do so by employing the use of multisig contracts. Basically, a multisig contract makes it so that a certain amount of signatures are required to enable the broadcasting of a transaction. For example, a 2 of 3 multisig scheme means that the coins cannot be moved unless at least 2 signatures have signed the transaction.
Knowing this, it is easy to imagine how multisig can become useful to a board of directors, for example, and how it adds an extra layer of security to the storage of funds. The process inevitably presents its own set of challenges and risks, which Tristan demonstrates with brio.
Thibaud Maréchal — Dux Reserve
Following the introduction on Multisig was Thibaud Maréchal, an established Bitcoiner that is well-known locally but also across the industry. He is currently working on a free and open-source project called Dux Reserve which is branded as a neo-bank.
The objective of Dux is to present a simplified user experience for folks who are interested in managing their keys securely, especially via multisig. The alternatives currently occupying the market, such as Sparrow or Specter, are mostly geared for power users and that is where Thibaud and his team have come in to create a product focused on ease-of-use, for friends & family.
Dux Reserve, out in beta version at the moment, is based in France where, according to Thibaud, the regulations structure around Bitcoin is well defined.
Hearing Thibaud’s eloquence and observing his passion towards his project and the Bitcoin community in general was inspiring and I believe everyone will profit from watching the presentation he gave.
Running your own node with Gustavo
As I’m writing these lines, I’m amazed at how that day was absurdly packed in quality content! We took a short break after hearing about Thibaud & Dux Reserve, then Gustavo jumped in to introduce us to Bitcoin nodes and the benefits for users to running one.
Most users are probably using a light wallet instance to transact on the Bitcoin network or to simply hold on to their coins. While such practice is already miles better than leaving coins on a centralized exchange, it still requires trust from the user towards a third-party (except for Wasabi wallet).
That is where nodes shine. Running one of your own considerably decreases your vulnerability because it allows you to verify your transactions according to the rules & protocol you adhere to, i.e.: you choose the version of the protocol you want to run, no one can impose it upon you.
Additionally, having your own node (and the wallet that comes with it) removes the need to query a specific software’s server which can be made aware of your IP address or your transactions history, for example.
Watch Gustavo’s presentation here for a more in-depth look into blockchain structures, wallets, and nodes!
Matt Hill — Start9 & EmbassyOS
Gustavo’s introduction was a fantastic primer for what we had lined up : Start9 labs’ Matt Hill and his presentation of Embassy. In all honesty, I’m almost embarrassed to say that I did not know about Embassy prior to it. A shame because I got very excited about Umbrel’s latest update that aims at making an OS out of your Bitcoin node.
Matt’s twitter bio sums up Start9’s mission well : “Building technology for the sovereign individual.” One of the company’s slogan is “Welcome to the era of Sovereign Computing.” I was new to this term of sovereign computing in particular and it struck me as profoundly interesting.
What followed was a remarkable presentation and a comprehensive overview of the current Embassy software that is available already. Embassy not only helps you running Bitcoin, it lets you run your own self-hosted software, your own personal cloud, all of which is designed with a focus on privacy. This is truly empowering for the individual and creates a vast multitude of possibilities for users. To sum it up, “It is your sovereign territory in the land of the Internet.”
Matt claims that Start9 is on the customizable side when compared to its competitors on the market. I sincerely encourage people to watch the presentation in full to better grasp the angle taken by Start9 to develop Embassy OS. It just might change your perspective on sovereignty, I know it did for me!
Hodl Day’s conclusion
Here we are then, two recaps done out of five! I felt overwhelmed on the second day, telling myself that it could hardly get any better with three more days ahead.
The value of the content was definitely well worth it, especially the quality of the speakers. In fact, I tweeted this out during Hodl day :
The organizers then invited us to hang out at Lord William’s pub in the old Montreal. Gustavo told me that the pub is owned by Greg Foss so it was a neat extra detail, we had a good time!
Stay tuned for another recap coming soon!