Jevi of Unchained Capital joins me on the show to talk about the “crypto collapse” earlier this year, and why this is the time to learn about bitcoin self custody. We chat:

  • Coming into the space
  • Fiat and yield chasing mindset
  • Why so many new bitcoin investors are reluctant to self custody
  • Why now is the time
  • Removing single points of failure
  • Unchained’s new Trading Desk product



Stephan Livera links:

Podcast Transcript:

Stephan Livera – 00:00:08:

Hi, and welcome to Stephan Livera podcast show about bitcoin and Austrian economics. Today my guest is Jevi from Unchained Capital. Jevi joins me to talk about the crypto collapse earlier this year and why this is the right time to learn about bitcoin and self custody. We talk a bit about his journey coming into the space, as well as the fiat and yield chasing mindset, as well as why now is the time to learn about self custody and removing single points of failure. 

This show is brought to you by Swan bitcoin. And Swan is organizing a conference, Pacific Bitcoin. It’s going to be on in November on the 10th and the 11th. It’s called Pacific Bitcoin. This is going to be an allnew west coast event deeply dedicated to bitcoin and bitcoiners. There will be multiple stages. There will be a main stage, there’ll be a Swan dome, there’ll be a bitcoin lab. There’ll be all kinds of fun and events, as well as opportunities to network and make those connections that we all need in this space. So if you’re interested, I highly recommend getting together with some friends or family members of yours. Bring them along. It’ll be really fun. I’ll be one of the hosts and there’ll be so many awesome bitcoiners there. So get your tickets over and use code livera for a discount on your tickets. 

For those of you interested in bitcoin mining, is the site to go. They’ve got a range of different products and software that you can use as part of your bitcoin mining journey. If you have bitcoin mining ASIC machines, make sure you check whether Braiins OS+ is available for them, because if it is, you can upgrade your performance by as much as 20%. You might be getting a higher hash rate, or you might potentially be using low power mode so you can reduce the power consumption and maximize your efficiency in terms of joules per terra hash. So those are some great options for you. They also have Brain’s Farm Proxy, which can help you manage your fleet of mining machines. And they’ve also got an analytics dashboard which you can use to do all kinds of bitcoin mining profitability calculations. So you can find all of this over on the website. Over at That’s Braiins with two Is. is the bitcoin explorer, built by bitcoiners for bitcoiners. It features realtime transaction tracking and mempool visualization. And recently, the big new feature coming out is the Lightning Explorer. So you can now use to search the Lightning Network. So if you have a Lightning node that you want to search, let’s say you want to just see what are the biggest nodes in terms of connectivity or in terms of liquidity, or maybe you want to actually trace down the transactions that involve channel opens and channel closes. You can see all of this over on And don’t forget, this is available over tour and it’s completely open source. So if you want to, you can run it yourself on your own hardware. Over 1 million people use every month. It’s operated freely for the benefit of the Bitcoin community without ads or third party trackers. Go to and check it out onto the show with Jevi. Jevi, welcome to the show.

Jevi – 00:02:58:

Thanks for having me. Great to be here.

Stephan Livera – 00:03:00:

So, yeah, it was great to meet you. Just recently over in Austin at BitBlockBoom had a chance to quickly chat. Obviously, you don’t really get a chance to kind of have in depth conversations with everyone, but I think that was cool. And I know you’re working at Unchained, you’re doing product management there as well. Lots of things we can chat about today, but let’s get a bit of a background on yourself and I guess a little bit of your story with Bitcoin before we get into everything.

Jevi – 00:03:28:

Yeah, sure. So I’m an American, but I was born in Germany. My parents worked over there for about 20 years. I moved back to the States to finish high school. I’ve effectively been in Minnesota since then, and I went through I worked in tech for a long time, doing user and support, doing some IT work, and during that period kind of transitioned into pursuing a passion in photography and video work, which then became a full-time operation for me for better part of five or six years. And then I had an opportunity to work at a startup in Minneapolis where I started out as kind of a video photo expert and that kind of migrated into product management for me. That startup was acquired by Microsoft, so I was at Microsoft for a few years, and during that period of working at Microsoft was when I started to really get into Bitcoin. I actually fell down the rabbit hole initially with Brandon Quittem, who’s a really close friend of mine. Our wives are actually friends with one another, and we actually were roommates before we were friends because Brandon and his wife needed a place to stay after coming back from Thailand or somewhere else. And so we were sitting around the dining room table, just falling deep into the rabbit hole at the end of 2017. And during my period of kind of slowly shifting into understanding Bitcoin better, understanding our economic system, that period, during that bear market, there are a lot of distractions for me. I got married, we had our first kid. The startup that I was with got acquired in the summer of 2018. So I lost track of Bitcoin a little bit. Brandon kept going and occasionally would nudge me a little bit like, hey, don’t forget this is over here. But then it wasn’t really until the pandemic hit. And I’ve always been a little bit of a gold bug in years past. Had some silver and gold in a safe. And then when I saw the money printers fire up after the pandemic started. I was like, oh, Brandon, they’re just going to print, aren’t they? He’s like, yeah. And so I started to then realize that I had a good run with the startup I was working at and I really enjoyed the people that I worked with, but the product was starting to move in a different direction than what I was interested in. We were building an EdTech platform and they were wanting to drive it more in the social media direction. And at the same time, it became very clear to me that Bitcoin is what I’m passionate about and I really wanted to pursue an opportunity in Bitcoin. And so in the fall of 2021, it was actually at BitBlockBoom last year, I was waiting in line to get my name badge and Brandon pulls Parker Lewis over and says, Parker, I’d like you to meet your new product manager and start chatting with him, start chatting with Will Cole. And about a week later, I had applied for the job and I started there. So I’ve been there now a little over nine or ten months.

Stephan Livera – 00:06:40:

Fantastic. That’s great. And I think it’s a great example of networking and the connections that you make in the space, especially when you go to some of these events, whether it’s a conference or a Bitcoin meetup, if you have even one or two friends who are already there and they can introduce you to people. Brandon is a colleague of mine. It’s one and obviously I’m a big fan of Parker and Will over at Unchained, and I think they’re doing great work and their ability to help educate and explain and build products, as well as write content and all kinds of stuff. Yeah, it’s really cool to see the interconnections there. And so coming in as a product manager, I suppose. And you mentioned you were previously a gold bug, so were you already into Austrian economics or was that like, kind of there or not really.

Jevi – 00:07:25:

Austrian economics was entirely new to me and that was something that I began to learn and starting to dig in a little bit on the Mises Institute, obviously discovering the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute. And when you approach these concepts with an open mind, they become very apparent very quickly for a lot of people. They’re so scared of letting go of what they know and what they’re familiar with, and so they see these new concepts and they immediately hit a wall and there’s apprehension, there’s a lack of interest in better understanding how things could work if you give proper economics an opportunity to thrive. And I think that often this concept applies broadly in a lot of different areas of our lives, is that when there is an existing framework, the notion of moving to a new framework seems impossible. And the distance that you need to close in order to get there seems so hard to overcome that even the thought of pursuing it or entertaining it just seems unwarranted or impossible. And so there’s no need to apply any thinking to that area. But if we took that approach throughout humanity, we would never have progress. And so I think that there is a fundamental mismatch in terms of people’s capacity for recognizing that there can be revolutionary changes in a very short period of time. People often will not recognize how quickly the Internet came about. I mean, even in my lifetime, I recall a time when the Internet was in its infancy. I was there relatively early on. I was lucky enough to have a computer and access to the Internet from the time that I was eight or nine years old. But commercial enterprise online is something that’s really only, what, less than 30 years old. And to think that we can’t have these kinds of monumental, innovative changes in our lifetime is, I think, short sighted.

Stephan Livera – 00:09:35:

Yeah. And I think as well, that point about how sometimes there are things where people just don’t really think about it. They just use this technology or whatever it is. It’s only if somebody focuses your mind to it, and then all of a sudden, you actually start reading further about that. Right. Like, it’s like how everyone uses fiat currency without really understanding. If you ask the average person, how does Fedwire work? Or how does the ACH system work? No, there’s basically no chance they’ll be able to tell you unless they’re like, working in the industry, there’s basically no chance. But if you talk to a bitcoiner, there’s a very strong chance that they’ll be able to explain at least some of the basics. Okay, this is like a transaction, and it’s broadcast to the network and things like this. And so I think it’s about awareness, and I think that’s also a conversation as well around risks. And I think a lot of people are unaware of the risks that are just sitting out right there, and they’re just taking them right now in the fiat system. And I think that really plays into, I think, what we saw with this recent with the recent collapse as well of the, quote unquote, crypto world. We saw all these providers and companies BlockFi, Celsius, Vault, Voyager, Babel Finance. I think it comes down to just awareness, and maybe people’s awareness was not up to the level. What do you think?

Jevi – 00:10:52:

Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. Well, I think, for starters, there was a lack of proper disclosure amongst many of these companies in terms of making clear what the risks were. And you’ve got people on Twitter and places like, let’s call it fake vision, who talks about risk free yield, and there is no such thing as risk free yield. If you’re looking to get yield on a product, you ultimately have to put capital at risk. And a lot of people misinterpreted the notion that, well, 5, 10, 15, 20% yield, they’re only looking at the big picture like, okay, well, worst scenario, maybe they reduce that yield over time, something that like a BlockFi would do, where your yield on your deposits were slowly shrinking over time. They would update their yields every six months or whatever. But most people wouldn’t take into consideration what the other side of the coin was. What happened if there was an insolvency? What if there was a contagion event that would cause everything to collapse? No one thought about the fact that, well, the upside is 5% or 10% annually, the downside is 100% overnight. So I think that there is blame to be had on both sides. A lot of people were just taking, were putting too much risk out into the market and not accepting responsibility for understanding the risk that they were taking on. And then on the other side, there are a lot of industry businesses that were not properly disclosing the real risks and the real tradeoffs. And we saw that with the way in which people responded to the recognition that Coinbase had in their legalese that in the event of bankruptcy or other kind of event where they needed to close things down effectively, people that had Bitcoin or any other crypto in their account were the last in line effectively, and they were likely not going to get their money back. And people think, well, these institutions are so big and they’ve been around for so long, there’s no way they could go down, but anything is possible, right? And that’s one of the challenges that I think a lot of people see in crypto broadly, is that it is this Wild West and this free market and it’s still very early on. And so there’s a lot of volatility involved and not everyone is in a position or doing a very good job of mitigating that volatility and thinking about the long term and lowering their risk profile and being smart. You may notice that there are far less instances of Bitcoin, only companies that are having these challenges during the bear market of, you know, reduction in staff and doing all of the rescinding offers that they had already extended to people, whereas in the crypto space, that was pervasive. And so I think that is a perfect example of how there is a different approach, a different modeling in terms of what is risk, right?

Stephan Livera – 00:14:03:

And I think it also comes to, of course, we’re living in this fiat currency world. The fiat system is the dominant one today. Of course we wish it wasn’t that way, we wish it was the bitcoinized future. But accepting that’s the model, that’s the paradigm for most people today. And they are probably coming from a paradigm where they are looking for yield, right? And there’s just such a strong demand for yield that perhaps people are willing to overlook certain risk factors. And so I think I wonder how much of that plays into it. Is it just that so many, I guess, non-orange pilled bitcoin types, they’re just looking for yield. And either they individually or let’s say the fund that is investing their money, it could even be a pension fund, right? So as I’m sure you saw, and many listeners probably saw, there were those lists floating around of who had put money into Voyager or who had put money into some of these different ones. And it was quite surprising to see who had put money. And there was even a Canadian pension entity who had done this. And so it’s quite pervasive. It’s not just individuals just getting wrecked on these platforms. It was large institutions, I think.

Jevi – 00:15:11:

Yeah, as you rightly point out, because we have been trained into this inflationary monetary system where we assume that the only way that we can stay ahead and retain our purchasing power is by chasing yield. And I think most people in society don’t even actually understand that, right. Broadly speaking, financial literacy is woefully under prioritized, especially in our education environment, which we could argue whether that’s intentional or not, but we’re not going to go there today. However, most people don’t understand the risks that they take on. They don’t understand why they’re chasing yield. They just know that they need something that continues to grow over time, because otherwise they’re not going to be able to retire. They’re not going to be able to pay for the college, for their kids. And I think that for a lot of people, there was this spark, this light up moment where crypto may not have appealed to them, but they could understand stablecoins because they were a US Dollar. And here was an opportunity to deposit money into a bank and get a yield, right, but nobody actually asks. Well, the only person that really asks is Alan Farrington, who asks, where does the yield come from? Right? And if you try to follow the yield back, often times you end up right where you started. It was a very cyclical system of, you know, one one person having a can’t miss trading scheme, as Will mentioned during his talk. And when you actually follow that background, it’s really just kind of recycling the same stuff over and over again. And people think that they aren’t going to get involved in a Ponzi scheme, but if you aren’t looking for what is actually there, it’s going to likely end up turning out, as we saw with the Three Arrows Capital and all of the other unsecured lending, whether all of the shenanigans that were unfolding during that period. Once everything came to light, it was very clear like there’s really nothing here. It was just people recycling existing money. And I think that that was very the concept was very appealing to people, right. And in a world of inherent volatility, bitcoin still feels too risky. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges that we face in terms of providing an understanding of bitcoin to the average person is that they just see the volatility and they don’t think about the broader perspective and they don’t understand scarcity, they don’t understand supply, demand and elasticity. And so ultimately I think that this last cycle was instead of ICO craze where people are just chasing massive 100 XRS or whatever else might be happening out there, I think people were actually being misled into thinking that they had stability, into thinking that they had something that they could rely upon to provide them with a very comfortable 15% to 20% return. It was guaranteed, it seemed. And I think that lulled people into a false sense of security. And unfortunately, most of those people now are just going to simply swear off crypto altogether. They just no longer have any interest in playing that space. They think it’s too risky. Even the stuff they thought was safe is risky and it harms the opportunity for people to be able to start retaining their pursuing power in something that is provably scarce and has an immutable issuance and that value proposition is still too hard for most people to understand.

Stephan Livera – 00:19:15:

Yeah. And I also think to the point from earlier about the can’t visit trading strategies like our friend Will spoke of, it’s that people weren’t quite aware that there was almost this CeFi to DeFi recycling going on because people were on the front side putting their money in with the likes of Voyager and so on. But actually, Celsius and so on. They were out putting their money out to Three Arrows Capital and others out there. And when the cycle turns, or perhaps in the case of Three Arrows Capital where they were coming up by profiting from the GBTC arbitrage and when that arbitrage flipped, it went from going a premium into being a discount. Perhaps maybe that was when three AC started to come undone because they started to take increasing amounts of risk to try to make it back.

Jevi – 00:20:07:

Right. Instead of unwinding the trade, they just simply tried to figure out ways in which they could keep that same strategy alive by going elsewhere. And they probably would have been much better off had they just unwound the trade, taking a small hit on their overall profit. But they’ve, you know, they had it’s still massively off.

Stephan Livera – 00:20:25:

Right, right.

Jevi – 00:20:29:

Greed and ego play a huge role. It is very difficult for people to be able to, especially once the numbers start adding up. There is this sense of pride in thinking well, I clearly am very good at trading and finding these Arab opportunities and there’s no way that I can give up on this, I need to continue to pursue this. So there’s this ego component that I just described and then there’s the greed component of I’ve seen number go up in my bank account. It’s now eight figures. It’s nine figures. I don’t want to give up on this new lifestyle that I’ve achieved. It’s this, like, insane process of thinking, like, okay, five mansions, one in Singapore, one in Malta, one in Miami, and one in the Bahamas, wherever else is somehow normal. Like, that’s the new normal for you, right? And you have to keep the system going. You have to keep it alive. And I think that there’s a lot of people that would benefit from just staying humble and stacking sats.

Stephan Livera – 00:21:37:

Absolutely. And I think, as you say, it comes down to ego, overconfidence, and people just thinking that they’re above it all. And I think that is so seductive as well. Being honest, it’s also during the time, like in 2021 when the heat is on and everyone is going crazy about it, there are so many times I’d be getting questions, oh, hey, what do you think about this platform? What do you think about yield here? It’s quite seductive. So I’d be constantly being like, look, I wouldn’t I’d rather just stacks out and huddle. But you also risk looking like a boomer, right? You end up looking like the conservative fuddy duddy who doesn’t get the new thing. Don’t you get the new thing? It’s all about yield. And look, it’s 8% risk free or it’s 20% risk free or whatever, right? So I think there’s a possibility to run with it all and get lost. And it could be even like it doesn’t just have to be in this context. It could be even like bitcoin mining if they stretch themselves too far or if they leave her up too far. And like the whole industry, no matter where your place, your position, I think there are ways to get wrecked if you’re not staying humble, as afraid Matt O’Dell would say.

Jevi – 00:22:44:

Absolutely, yeah. I try not to rub the receipts in friends faces, but from last summer, there were friends of mine who are asking about Celsius, and I was like, okay, well, can you explain to me how this works? It seems suspect. How are they offering this high of a yield? What’s the risk? You’re still ending up on a custodial exchange that has its own risk profile. Not all custodial exchanges are equal, but certainly some of them seem a little bit more suspect. And Celsius fits the profile for me. And you’re absolutely right. You come off as a boomer that doesn’t want to take on a safe 8% yield on their bitcoin. And on the flip side, when it all comes undone, you don’t want to rub it in their faces. You want to find a healthy way of being able to explain. This was why I was thinking about it in this way. This is why I saw the potential risks and why I was recommending that you not take this approach or that you limit your exposure as much as possible and that you’re ready at any point in time to get out of there. But keep in mind that Celsius flipped the switch on withdrawals before anyone really had a chance to do anything about it. And to me, that’s the unfortunate risk that most people don’t take into consideration when they think about the trade offs of convenience versus security and ultimately what bitcoin is supposed to offer you. Bitcoin is a bearer asset, and it is the first time that we have the ability to really hold something tangible in the digital world and we can control it in a way that no one else can do anything about. But I think that for a lot of people, there’s just fear of the unknown. There’s fear of how do I approach securing those keys? How do I make sure that I don’t lose them? There’s a lot of personal responsibility that starts to add up. And so I think a lot of people are apprehensive about taking that leap of faith. And they think to themselves, a custodial exchange is basically like the crypto version of a bank. And I trust my bank to secure my larger deposits on my behalf. I don’t like to be worried about that. I know that I can go and take those out at any point in time. And I think that an analogy to present here is most of society at this point doesn’t remember a world where a hot war was really part of their daily life. Most of Western Europe and Japan relative peace time for the better part of seven years. Obviously, I’m not discounting other military engagements that have happened in the years since. But a large swath of the people that are in particular engaged in modern society in the crypto space don’t have that context. And they don’t know what it’s like to suddenly have their bank accounts frozen. They don’t know what it’s like to go through this experience of being insecure in your own space and needing to leave on a moment’s notice, of having to cross borders, potentially, and having all of your belongings stripped from you. And when you have enough of a gap between generations that have experienced war, there’s this growing complacency and this lack of understanding of what that experience is like. And you can draw that comparison into the crypto space. Most of people haven’t experienced any type of government intrusions on their wealth. I think what the prohibition on owning gold privately in the United States ended in 1974. And so you have to consider the possibility that just because we have an experience in our lifetime doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible and that we shouldn’t consider potential risks. And especially as the world now in terms of military engagements is heating up again a little bit, people need to be mindful of what might happen in those situations. People in Eastern Europe are certainly far more aware on a more recent basis, or people in Lebanon or people in Turkey. They’re seeing what happens if they leave their hard-earned value in a legacy system, in an inflationary currency, or in an environment where they need to extract themselves. Those legacy financial systems do not serve them well. They do not hold up under pressure and I think we are very likely going to see an increasing pressure across the world. I think that we’re heading in a very interesting direction, in particular as it pertains to energy policy in Europe and how that may spread in terms of risk into broader economies. Even though other places might have energy security, one area’s energy constraints can create a credit issue that then can spread to elsewhere. We’ve seen that happen with the housing bubble in 2008 that had a massive impact across the world.

Stephan Livera – 00:28:16:

Back to the show in a moment. I use the website to periodically check on a range of things through the day. It has things like the price, it has bitcoin network stats, Lightning stats, mining stats. You can see things like sats per dollar, so you can value things in sats. It’s also got a bitcoin magazine feed as well as comparisons of things like the inflation rate and comparison versus other assets such as gold or GPTC, what’s the premium? And you can see things like the projected halving dates. As you might have seen on Twitter, there was recently some discussion about when the actual halving date will be. It’s not going to be in 2023 and you can check that on the website 

Now when it comes to bitcoin self custody, really stop and think, do you have single points of failure in your setup? If somebody came to your house or if somebody got your hardware wallet, would they get your coins? Well, with Unchained Capital, you can improve that by going to multi signature and removing single points of failure from your setup. So with multi signature you can have two keys in different locations alongside two metal backups for those seats, again in different locations, and on chain holds the third key. So if you need help with this kind of set up, they’ve got a Concierge onboarding program and they can on board you very easily and they can even guide you through the process of withdrawing from the exchange into your own multi signature vault. So this is a great set up for those of you who want to improve your security. You can find out more. Go to the website and use the code livera for a discount on your concierge onboarding package with unchained capital. 

Now, when it comes to bitcoin hardware, my favorite are the products over at I find them really reliable. My favorite is the ColdCard. I find it very versatile and useful as a tool that you can quickly spin up new wallets, you can import wallets, you can use a passphrase, you can use bit 85. There’s just all these different ways that you can use your ColdCard. To help you secure your bitcoin. I particularly also really enjoy the address explorer feature, which is available in the ColdCard. You can use it to check your receiving address to make sure that you really hold the private keys associated for that bitcoin address. So there’s all kinds of features and you can learn more and you can order your ColdCards either for yourself or for your family and friends that you’re helping onboard. So you can get all of that over use code livera for a discount on your ColdCard. 

And now back to the show with Jevi. Yeah. And as our friend Brandon talks about, he talks about cycles, right? He’s big into this idea of the different cycles and paying attention to what’s happening around us in the world and looking at that, where are we in that cycle? And I think it’s also relevant that at various times in history, there would have been some people who said, hey, we got to get out of here. Like, it’s not safe here. And other people are like, oh no, it’s all good, we’re good here. And then unfortunately, the ones who just said, hey, it’s all good, they got wrecked. And unfortunately, there’s a little bit of that in the bitcoin culture in that we’re trying to help warn people about, hey, these are the problems with the Fiat system. Your money is being inflated, you’re guaranteed to lose budgeting power over time. Like, if you just wait long enough in Fiat and there’s a chance they’ll freeze your money. And so it’s like the burning platform analogy that people normally make. But I think what is it that’s stopping some of those people from jumping off the burning platform to the bitcoin, to the bitcoin world? Is it fear of the unknown? And I’m curious as well, from the Unchained Capital perspective as well, I’m sure you get some customers or potential customers who are maybe you hear of customers who are not ready to take that step to self custody. And what are the typical objections or things going through their mind that are like the barrier stopping them?

Jevi – 00:31:56:

Yeah, I think it’s just new. It’s a new concept. There are those rare individuals who have been gold bugs, who have put a giant safe in their basement and they have bars of gold, and they understand what it means to take self custody of a hard asset. I think once gold bugs get over their mental block of bitcoin, not being tangible, physical, something they can hold, they very quickly understand everything else and they’re ready to jump in people. A perfect example would be Lawrence LePard, who was an ardent gold bug. And then once the light switch went on, all of a sudden it was like, oh, this is the best tool to secure our wealth over a long period of time. But I think, as I mentioned earlier, most people just don’t have they have this apprehension of taking that responsibility. They want to offload and outsource as much of the responsibility to a trusted individual, a trusted third party. This is one of the reasons why large centralized governments are working so well right now, is that there is this complacency that is pervasive in society. People don’t want to take on personal responsibility, they want to have those safety nets put out underneath them for them at all times. And so I think that there’s that fundamental apprehension that most people have, not just in terms of getting into Bitcoin, but then in going into proper self custody of their Bitcoin. I think once they overcome some of those apprehensions, they’re still seeing that risk in terms of, well, I don’t necessarily know, I’m not technical, I don’t understand what this private key is. How am I supposed to secure it? I’ll do something wrong and then it will all be gone, which is certainly an issue that people have experienced. They put their money onto a ledger, but then they only do a paper backup and then there’s a fire or a flood and both of those copies are done and people have a fear of the unknown. There’s a lot of different variables that come into play when you’re dealing with self custody that you need to be mindful of. And for many people, it’s just not something that they’re interested in putting a lot of energy into. Right? For us as bitcoiners, this is what we live for. We love better understanding how you can directly interact with protocol, how you can take control, how you can be self sovereign. Most people don’t have that desire. So I think from there, if they get beyond that apprehension, maybe they understand the risk of having just a single ledger wallet with a paper backup. Creating a metal backup on a seed plate or on washers is a manual process. Some people are just not interested in pursuing that and they don’t want to take that on. But even if they get beyond that, then they maybe understand well enough that a single copy of their private key or two copies is still putting them at risk. One of those gets taken and whoever gets it on the other end has the ability to potentially sweep their bitcoin. And so I think slowly, over time, as people become more educated, they start to recognize the value proposition of multisignature. But then you open up this giant can of worms of well, now I need to maintain three private keys and three backups and I need to maintain the wallet descriptor file. And all of a sudden there is so much more involved and I need to in order to be really secure, I need to geographically distribute them. I don’t know where else I would want to put these. And I think that it’s just what you end up with is these at each step along the way, as they drop further into a comfort level with self custody, there are these new barriers, there are these new blockades that create challenge and create apprehension. And so, ultimately, our goal at Unchained is once somebody has been able to better understand the importance of self custody and are understanding the risk profile, they want to secure their Bitcoin as best as they can. They understand that multisignature allows for distribution, removing single points of failure. But it’s a lot to take on and it’s a lot to take on on your own. Getting a quorum set up and doing all the individual keys, understanding what an X Pub is, dealing with, derivation paths, I I don’t think anybody could say that it’s simple. And so not only are we there as kind of a guide to be able to help you through the process of setting it up, but in letting us take on the responsibility of one of your keys, it means that you don’t have to take full responsibility and take on all of that risk of if something gets misplaced, your Bitcoin is gone, right? When you walk away from setting up a multisignature vault with Unchained Capital, you end up with five pieces of information. You have your two private keys, your two backups and the wallet descriptor file. And in theory, with Unchained with you there, you can lose four of those five pieces of information and still be able to recover. Technically, you leave the wall descriptor file out of it, you could lose three out of four, right? You could lose two private key, two private keys and one backup, and still you be able to recover your Bitcoin. And so I think that starts to shift the perception of the risk that you’re taking on versus the trade off of what security you get in the process. Ultimately, we want to help people secure their Bitcoin for the long run and to ensure that, you know, whether it’s five years from now or four years from now, that they can recover their Bitcoin and still be able to use that for their own lives or for the next generations to come.

Stephan Livera – 00:38:10:

Yeah, absolutely. So let’s just walk that through for any listeners thinking it through. And maybe you haven’t self custody before. So the idea here is it’s a two or three multi signature vault. And as an example, let’s say you’ve got one ColdCard and you’ve got one Trezor as an example. And each hardware wallet has a metal seed backup, right? So for each one, you’ve got a metal backup and then Unchained has the third key. And Unchained, obviously, is presumably doing its own backups. And then that wallet descriptor file you mentioned is kind of like the map to find your keys, to think of that. And now if you really want to be self sovereign, that’s where you keep a backup of that also. So maybe you’ve got a USB key, maybe you encrypt that or don’t. It’s up to you. So in the end, you have, let’s say, two different locations. So in practice, let’s say if you’ve got a safe at your home, you might keep one of your devices there. And let’s say you go and pay a safety deposit box or a vault somewhere else, ideally with security, and you can keep material there. And then slowly, you can slowly start to geographically distribute your keys and the key back up the seed metal plate backup information. And so I think to that earlier conversation as well about people wanting safety nets, and I think that’s the way maybe in bitcoin land, we have to help people with that conversation. Say, look, the safety net you’re using right now, it’s actually not that safe. In certain ways it’s safe, but in other ways it’s not. Here’s a better safety net, here’s the bitcoin safety net, and here’s the multi sig safety net, if you will.

Jevi – 00:39:37:

Well, and not only that, but when we go through a setup of a multi-sig arrangement, we instruct the user to download that wallet descriptor file and to maintain that for themselves. And one of the key reasons for doing that is we’ve designed our multisig to be interoperable and native to the bitcoin protocol. And we’ve also released now for well over two years, the caravan software that allows for an individual at any point in time to decide that they no longer trust us or something happens to unchained. We’re down for website maintenance. You get spooked, you want to take control of your bitcoin, you don’t need to rely on us. You can take that wallet descriptor file and your two private keys, you can load them into either caravan. It also works in sparrow, a ton of other open source software, and you can create a spend transaction to move your bitcoin somewhere else. What we often like to say is that we’ve set up collaborative custody in such a way where you don’t need to trust us. And for a lot of people that really starts to click a little bit more. Even though they might not necessarily be technical. But simply understanding that there is a way to still remain self sovereign and to take advantage of what bitcoin has to offer while being able to leverage in the event of a calamitous outcome. To be able to have someone that’s there to be able to help you recover. That’s really the key balance in terms of safety. I think that to your point that people perceive the current legacy systems as safe and the bitcoin system as unsafe, I think that there’s just simply an education gap, that they see it as volatile, they’re unwilling to look beyond that volatility. And even if they do start to look beyond that volatility, more often than not, that comfort level in terms of taking on the volatility and the risk involved is then unlocking a desire for pursuing speculative investments. And it can be very difficult to find that pathway from thinking of Bitcoin as unsafe to moving beyond the speculation and into this method of getting away from and protecting oneself from currency to basement. I think that people in places like Venezuela, Argentina, Lebanon, Nigeria, Turkey, they are much more open to this because they feel it tangibly. I’ve occasionally referred to it as like frogs boiling in water. In places like the US or the EU, up until recently, inflation was running at such a low click that people didn’t really notice it. They would just hang out in the water. It felt like a nice hot tub. But in places like Turkey or Lebanon, you’re very acutely aware whether you had any interest in financialization of anything. You’re very acutely aware of the negative impacts of currency debasement and the resulting effect on your purchasing power. So I think that there’s unfortunately, as much as I would like to get as many people as possible into Bitcoin before all of these systems start to come completely unwound, I just don’t necessarily see it happening. I think that ultimately, and this goes back to the broader conversation that we’re having of taking on risk without realizing it, is that oftentimes you need to get burned before you take that responsibility. If you are a Bitcoiner and you’ve held on an exchange, and that exchange has disappeared and done a rug pull, suddenly you better understand why self custody matters. People that are still living in this Coinbase Gemini cracking world haven’t experienced that, and it’s possible that we don’t see that. But there is still a risk there. It is a nonzero chance that something happens that results in their Bitcoin being seized or taken away. Even with Coinbase, there have been instances, there’s people that work in unchained who have had family members that have had Bitcoin on Coinbase, and for years, despite not doing anything illegal, despite being a US citizen, having their Bitcoin seized, effectively frozen in their account for well over three years. And so to think that it couldn’t happen to an individual in one of these environments is just simply naive. And we need to find a way to be able to bridge that gap before people ultimately have to get burned by everything going to hell.

Stephan Livera – 00:44:29:

It’s important for everyone to really think through the infrastructure we’re using every day, because it’s quite feasible that you think something is safe and working, but it’s really not. And if that infrastructure were to fall down, would you be capable of running your own infrastructure? And so of course, this applies in things like running our own Bitcoin node and then an Electrum server, and then connecting our Sparrow wallet or our Specter or Electrum as an example to that server to actually be self sovereign and with our own private keys. And I think that’s also important when it comes to, let’s say, in the case of the unchanged vaults customers, where if they do it right? They can’t be frozen out of their own money because they have the keys that are required to spend and they’ve got the wallet descriptor. And if they run their own infrastructure and over time, that gets easier and easier. There are different full node packages out there, things like Umbrel and RaspiBlitz and myNode and so on. So you can actually run your own infrastructure. And I think this is a great probably a lesson for listeners. So if you’re just listening and maybe you’re earlier in your Bitcoin journey and maybe you’re investing a little bit in Bitcoin, but you’ve never actually run it properly, like you’ve never run a Bitcoin node and actually tried it with your own node and connecting, let’s say, Sparrow or Electrum to your own Bitcoin node, I think it’s a great exercise for people to do. Or even some of the node packages also even bundle in caravan as an example. So you could literally run caravan on your own infrastructure and that gives you that feeling of freedom and safety. And I think that really gives you a real sense of sovereignty. But it takes time to get there, right? I think what we’ve seen with the Celsius blow ups and all of this is just like how after Mt. Gox went down, a lot more people were focused on this idea. I recall back in those days, I think Andreas had not yet popularized the saying not your keys, not your coins. That’s how early it was. I think he popularized that. And maybe off the top of my head, someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think around 2015. So that was when he popularized that thing. And obviously now that’s part of the Bitcoin ethos, if you will, it’s not your keys, not your coins. And it’s important that people learn that and really believe in it and really stand to that. And as a community, what do we stand for? And I understand this, different communities, whatever you call this, educators, advocates, promoters, builders, developers, whatever we stand for. And I think part of that also comes to the way products and services are made. I think it’s important that people are coached and educated in that direction. Also, I know you’ve got a new trading desk as well, so do you want to just tell us a little bit about that? What’s the structure of this and how does this differ from what is there just prior to some customers who could purchase on the platform?

Jevi – 00:47:16:

Yeah, so most people don’t realize this, but Unchained has offered buying and selling Bitcoin directly into cold storage for better part of two years now. But it was an OTC desk, so it was a more manual process. You got on a call with us and we talked through a quote, and this was only available during business hours. Our minimums were relatively high. And when I joined this is kind of the primary focus for my work was to help build out a tool that is built into our website, into our platforms, that clients can log into their account. They can see an option to go and buy bitcoin and they get a real time quote. The unique value proposition there’s a few. One is that you face us directly as a counterparty. So when you buy bitcoin, you’re buying it from our bitcoin reserves. So when you send us funds to pay for that, we are then settling directly into your cold storage vault. So it is the time and the distance between you making a purchase and settling final settlement of bitcoin into a multi sig quorum with keys that you can control without any additional processes involved. That’s really kind of the value proposition that we have. We’ve lowered our minimums, we’re looking at $5,000 minimums. And so clearly it’s still not appealing to the DCA army necessarily. I don’t see most people doing $5,000 DCA, but there’s probably people out there that are doing so. But for a lot of people there is also this hesitancy of needing to purchase on, say, a Coinbase or a Gemini and then making that spend transaction, entering an address. It’s just an extra step. And I think that’s actually one of the things that Swan has done really well, is to find ways to integrate that more tightly into set up auto withdrawals. That you can set it up once, know that you have it set up right, and then be able to worry less about it. But what we ultimately try to offer is a solution that allows for there to be less distance between you and your counterparty and the time in which your bitcoin settles into your own cold storage. And because we’ve now been able to integrate this into our website, that means that it’s available twenty four seven, so you no longer have to wait until Monday morning at 08:00 a.m.. If there’s a good price on the weekend, you can execute that trade. And then next business day you can wire us in the funds and we send you the bitcoin.

Stephan Livera – 00:49:59:

Fantastic. And so that could also be handy perhaps, if there are people who want to buy the dip, right? Like if there’s a certain dip at midnight and you’re up and you’re like, hey, I want some coin, let’s do it. So there’s a few options there and I think it’s just great to see lots of options coming into the space that people can just buy directly to their self custody. I think ultimately what we need is to just drive the self custody message and obviously that’s why I’m a big fan of Unchained. I love what you guys are doing while we’re here as well. What states is the availability?

Jevi – 00:50:32:

So we prior to really pushing into this new tool. Our OTC desk was only operating in maybe twelve states. I think that’s one of the reasons why people weren’t really aware of it. It was kind of a niche solution for those specific states. 50k minimums, really priced a lot of people out. In the last few months we’ve been aggressively going after money transmitter licenses. We’re now at 30 states. It’s probably easier to list off the states that we don’t operate in than we do. You can always go to our website on slash trading desks, trading desk, and you’ll be able to see what states are available there. Currently only in the US. There is, I think we operate in the US virgin Islands now, so we do have one territory, not just states that are involved and we’re keen to try and push into all 50 states as quickly as possible. Obviously there are some that are always more challenging, the likes of New York, Louisiana, those are just inevitably going to take some more time. Hawaii is another example where the regulatory requirements are very strict and very difficult to overcome. But that is our mission is to make this as widely available in the United States as possible.

Stephan Livera – 00:51:45:

That’s fantastic. And it could also happen that let’s say if your customer is a high net worth individual. Which they might be if they’re buying 5k chunks at a minimum. And let’s say they’ve recently become more curious about Bitcoin. And let’s say they’ve got an allocation. They’re saying. OK. Look. I’ve got 200K that I want to put into Bitcoin over the next year. Or whatever. They want to do ten K a month. That’s also an example where they are able to buy directly into their custody. So that’s a great option, I think. One other question, I’m curious to hear what you think just around volatility. And so I think for people who are newer to Bitcoin and let’s say they’re buying larger sums, what are some of the ways that you would help explain to somebody how to deal with the volatility of Bitcoin, especially if they’re relatively newer in that orange billing journey or process?

Jevi – 00:52:40:

Yeah, I think that volatility is here for the time being. We’re not going to get away from it. I think most Bitcoiners who understand the value proposition recognize that we are woefully undervalued in terms of the dollar denominated price value. And as long as we’re such a long distance away from where it should theoretically be priced for the value that it offers, it is going to remain inherently volatile. So you should expect more volatility. You should plan your purchasing and your allocation around that volatility. You should only invest what you can genuinely afford to leave without touching or needing for anything for at least five or ten years, I think is a conservative approach to take. And you should assume that there are going to be we just had a nice 10% candle, but you should assume that there’s going to be another 60% drop from here. You shouldn’t assume that just because we’ve taken a big drop off that suddenly were. You saw that in the 2018 bear cycle where it kind of seemed to flatten out and stabilize around 6k and then the floor dropped out. And if you have this mindset of thinking longer term. Of lowering your time preference and building towards just growing that allocation and knowing that there is going to be a future where the value proposition is going to be better understood. I certainly feel as though the way that our society is evolving. The macro climate. It’s just a matter of time before more people suddenly switch that perception of bitcoin being a risk asset to being a risk off asset. And set a plan that you can leave and not necessarily think about have a plan and then let the price do what it does. I think that’s one of the really strong arguments for a dollar cost averaging tool is that you are able to define what you can afford to set aside. And when you think about a lower price, not necessarily being a loss on the existing position, but that you’re getting an opportunity to acquire more into that position at a lower price, suddenly that mindset shifts. I think a lot of people can still be susceptible to paying attention to the whimsical nature of the bitcoin price and it can create anxiety and stress. And so I think ultimately set a plan that you can afford to leave and not have to touch the money, don’t trade on leverage, don’t do dumb margin stuff, just have a plan and stick to it and I think you’re going to end up in a much better position.

Stephan Livera – 00:55:38:

Fantastic. Well, I think that’s probably a good spot to finish up there. So listeners, make sure you follow Jevi online. His Twitter handle is @jevidon. So that’s J-e-v-i-d-o-n and of course, So Jevi, thank you for joining me today.

Jevi – 00:55:52:

Absolutely, it’s been a pleasure.

Stephan Livera – 00:55:54:

Get the show notes at, thanks for listening and I’ll see you in the citadels.

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