NVK of Coinkite rejoins me on the show to talk about how Tapsigner, a Bitcoin NFC Hardware card may be the next big iteration in UX for the masses given it’s price and ease of use. We chat:
- Low cost devices
- Tapsigner features and use
- Bitcoin and NFC support w/Nunchuk
- SatsCard – the new OPENDIME
- BlockClock Micro shipping
- Bitcoin.Review – NVK’s new podcast
- Twitter: @NVK
- Site: Tapsigner.com
- Site: Coinkite.com (code LIVERA)
- Site: BitcoinTreasuries.net
- Site: Bitcoin.review
Stephan Livera links:
(Note: There are some errors in the transcript that have not been corrected)
Stephan Livera – 00:00:01:
NVK, welcome back to the show.
NVK – 00:00:03:
Hey man, thanks for having me. It’s been a while.
Stephan Livera – 00:00:06:
Yeah, it has. And I mean, there’s so much always happening in this space. And finally, just as literally 20 or 30 minutes ago, I got this. So for audio listeners, I’m just holding up the Block Clock Micro. So I just got the new one, which is fantastic. And as other visual listeners can see, I’ve got the Block Clock Mini in the background behind me. So I’m excited to chat about that. And I know the tap sign a conversation as well. I think it’s starting, the NFC conversation is happening, so maybe we should chat a bit about that also. So I’ve had a chance now to play around with Tapsigner also and Nunchuck, so that’s really cool as well. So maybe you want to just give us a bit of an update on what’s going on with Tapsigner and NFC bitcoin.
NVK – 00:00:49:
Yeah, so I think we announced this, was it early this year or late last year, I think, about that time, and started shipping sort of like smaller batches for devs and throughout the year. And we were sort of like helping the devs get NFC integrated and get the NFC sort of understood because nobody was doing NFC, kind of like PSBTs, right?
Stephan Livera – 00:01:17:
NVK – 00:01:18:
So we were doing all that sort of uptake work, right, to sort of educate and teach people and sort of like help them code NFC solutions and all that stuff. And Hugo was the first to market with Nunchuck. Nunchuck is this fantastic multisig wallet for people that don’t know it’s cross platform and they’ve done a fantastic job with the Tapsigner and Coldcard NFCs. If you’re coming out on the next release.
Stephan Livera – 00:01:47:
Release, I think it’s already out, actually.
NVK – 00:01:50:
Yeah, but backing up a bit. The whole idea of this project really is to sort of like, okay, how can we make a truly affordable, like not just BS affordable, actually truly affordable hardware wallet that the whole world can have for single sig or multi sig that is also cheap to ship and it’s concealable and it’s physically secure, right? Would you put a million dollars in it? Probably not, right? It’s not the model, right. It’s not as secure as a Coldcard kind of thing. It is very resilient. It’s fairly, fairly secure. But if you want extra security, you can just use two with multi sig or something. But anyway, that’s the idea. And we sort of managed to get this first sort of like a few batches at about $40 price point and we’re sort of like trying to get it down to probably like 19, 20 something bucks. As we scale this, we’re going to be very aggressive on pricing on this because bitcoiners like us who live in the first world have a bit more money and all this stuff seems like whatever, but when you’re talking about normies in North America, so your average sort of like boomer or people outside of North America, things that are sub $30 are now very enticing, right? We hope that all these people can sort of like finally take the leap without feeling like there is risk or they’re not going to use it or whatever and take on self custody because otherwise everybody’s going to be custodial.
Stephan Livera – 00:03:44:
Yeah, I’ve got to say I’m bullish on this Tapsigner project and where it’s going because I really do see it as opening up the market for people who are newer and they’re not willing to kind of shell out. Let’s say you want the latest and greatest. You want the Mk4, you’re paying about $148 for that. Whereas if you’re getting hit today as we speak, the tap sign is about $40. And as you’re saying, if it’s coming down to in that 20 or $30 range now it’s kind of like that’s the price people pay for an Uber or like a main at a restaurant. So it’s kind of bringing it down, the accessibility and speaking from using it, like I’ve played around with Nunchuck, the user experience really is very fantastic, right, because basically, at least from what I’ve found playing around with it, you just basically tap it and you type in the Pin code and basically it’s very self explanatory, right? It just says, do you want to spend okay, tap. And now the transaction has been signed and basically in the background there’s all this stuff going on. But a lot of that has been abstracted away from the user. Because I think the other point that’s really interesting is it’s something physical for people because Bitcoin can be quite conceptual, right? You’ve got private keys, we have software wallets, we have software devices coordinating software, we have Bitcoin nodes. And all of this stuff is out there and it takes a lot to teach and explain that for people. So I think this might be a really great next step. So for a lot of people, their first exposure might be moon wallet or some phone wallet, but then maybe this is their next step for a lot of people.
NVK – 00:05:18:
You know, humans have been doing physical custody of things for as long as humans were around, right? So to take that away from people confuses people, right? I really think it’s important to have the physical component. And the physical component also exponentially increases their security, right, because realistically speaking, most people will lose their BTC either to viruses on their computers, right, or phones, especially on Android and shitty Android phones that are rooted by carriers in poor countries. Or they will lose the stuff due to actual loss, right? Like they misplaced it. They lost their phone or whatever, or forgot the pin or forgot the password, right? So giving them a card that they treated with a little bit more respect than just like an app on their phone, I think just greatly creates the correct mindset, right? Like this is money, the money is in the card, even though it’s not. Technically, if I don’t lose this card, I have my money, right? And we went sort of like a step above of that. We actually encourage nearly enforced backup. So what happens is when the user sets up the card, for example, Nunchuck immediately asks, do you want to back this up? And it’s safe to backup because the backup is encrypted. So you can just save it on your Icloud, on your phone or whatever, right. So in case you do have an issue that is saved and to decrypt the backup, you still need the code that’s on the back of the card, right? So it does sort of like greatly improve your set up there and you could write down that backup key somewhere in a piece of little paper and leave it in your office, right? Nobody can do anything with that backup key because it’s not the actual backup.
Stephan Livera – 00:07:22:
I see, and so I guess as part of where this all goes, it may make sense to talk well, let’s firstly talk about who does it make sense for this? Who does it make sense to you? As I’m seeing it, it seems like people who are not in the first world and let’s say they can’t afford the higher level hardware devices and potentially as part of a multi sig. So even if you are in the first world, you might just want this as part of multi sig. Or potentially maybe the third use case is like, let’s say you just want this as like a little day to day spending amount. So let’s say you’ve got a smaller wallet, obviously the hardcore stuff, that’s where we’re using our Coldcard or multi sig and passphrase and all that stuff. But for this kind of, let’s say day to day spending, maybe it makes sense to have a little NFC tab as well.
NVK – 00:08:08:
Yeah, this is extremely like a broad reach product, right? It’s very flexible because all it does is message, digest, sign, right? So it doesn’t care what kind of transaction it is. It doesn’t care if it’s multi sig single. It’s just signs. That’s why I call it Tapsigner. And what’s cool is that you can have people use it very simply just with their app single sig. The boomer now has some other medium that is not just the app wallet, right? And then you have the affordability part so people in developing world can do it and they can maybe leave the card at home so they don’t carry it with them, so they’re not at risk of being robbed. And then you can do the multi sig. And the multi sig gets interesting because now this can be part of your true ultra paranoid crazy set up too, right? So you could have this against two other Coldcards, for example, that are buried under mountains right? But what’s cool is that you have a different vendor for the chip mixed in as well. So it’s essentially I know it’s the same company, but it’s kind of multi vendor at least on the stack, right? You’re not dependent on a single chip. We went further on this, right? We wanted to provide as much as we could from what we learned on ColdCard. And we learn about trust, minimized things to the sort of like more economically incapable societies where I don’t want people to trust that we are generating private keys for them with the secure element random number generator.
NVK – 00:09:51:
So what we do is we ask the user to pick all of this in an extremely easy, abstracted, non complicated way. You just press a button on the app. But what the app is doing, and it’s not an app by us, so you’re not trusting us, right? You’re trusting two separate vendors to do this. It’s providing chain code as part of the entropy so that you’re not trusting us either. Right? It does provide sort of like a higher level means of security even though it has these compromises. You could have the paranoid, you can have the third world, you can have for company multi sig, like enterprise. This thing is amazing. Enterprise have been doing smart cards for keys, for key shuffling for decades, right? So you can have your CEO with a card, you can have your controller with a card, you can have treasury with a card and then you go on your Nunchuck on your desktop wall that’s a little bit more capable in terms of like UI and stuff. You can coordinate the transactions over encrypted chat, right? And then you just tap to sign and you know exactly which executives sign for what. It’s pretty amazing that’s not even getting into using this for authentication because this thing can just sign messages too. So you could use this for authenticating to websites and apps and whatever you want is dev. Sort of like see how it’s better to use Bitcoin encryption versus something else for authentication as well.
Stephan Livera – 00:11:29:
Yeah, lots of possibilities there. So we’ll just have to see where the market goes and what the uptake is. But I could also see this as like even at this price point, it’s probably cheap enough that let’s say if you’re an advocate, you’re a Bitcoin or you’re an educator, you’re a promoter, you might buy a lot and give them to your family and friends, right?
NVK – 00:11:52:
So we have like white labeling as part of the product idea, right? So we want to have a Casa card, right? We want influencers or whoever, like educators to have a card with their brand on. We have a few already in production so that you go to some Bitcoin, meet up in your city and you trust those guys, right? They’re the people who are teaching you about seeds anyways. So if they give you a card to start using now. You’re not just like some guy with some app, right? You actually have a hardware solution. It’s just so cool to have something so cheap, right?
Stephan Livera – 00:12:32:
Yeah, for sure. I think probably, of course, we’re dealing in a world of trade offs here. Of course it’s not the same level of security, but I suppose how does this compare with say, air gapping?
Stephan Livera – 00:12:44:
So this is part of that. This has come up and I know obviously there’s a bit of an Eternal September in this space, right? So we sometimes see people ask the same questions that have been sort of discussed and fought about years ago, but then sometimes the debate comes up again. So in that whole conversation around air gapping, where do you think this sits? Like, would you say a Tapsigner accounts as an air gap device or do you see it like NFC allows that sort of back and forth rounds of communication. How would you I would say that.
NVK – 00:13:15:
This is like at least a couple of orders of magnitude better than USB in terms of security, right? Because the device is not connected to something it’s very hard to and there is a secure element on this too, right? So this is not the banana security of some devices out there. This is still a very secure device, but it does have like it is radio capable, essentially, right? So you want to keep it in your sleeve. It comes with a little RFC blocking sleeve. And a lot of wallets nowadays, actual money wallets have RF blocking because of your credit card. So it’s like everybody has nowadays like tap capable things in their pockets. So it’s not like a huge deal. Another cool thing too is there is a pin, right? So it’s not like somebody can just tap or intercept the radio. It’s very complicated equipment to try to get that because also it’s near field, right. So you actually need to be very close because the power comes from the phone. An induction on the coil needs to be like millimeters away from it.
NVK – 00:14:23:
So you have that. I am not very concerned about that, but when you’re talking about tens of millions of dollars and you have super paranoid set up, that’s a different story. Right now, if you’re just carrying around what you would have carried as a stack of cash in your wallet anyways, like, who cares?
Stephan Livera – 00:14:43:
Yeah, I think that all makes a lot of sense and I think it might be interesting as well to chat a little bit about where the software is right now. So obviously we’re early days in NFC. Bitcoin like it’s literally less than a year old, right? It’s probably less than six months old in terms of software support in the wallet. So obviously right now, Nunchuck is one of the well known wallets. I suppose what we’re looking for here is to see other software, wallets and applications kind of start putting in support for this kind of thing. What’s your hope there?
NVK – 00:15:17:
Stephan Livera – 00:17:52:
I think the use case there definitely the NFC for phones. Absolutely I think because nowadays basically any modern smartphone has NFC. So that’s pretty given. What’s the thought there for laptops and desktops? Is the user just going to have to buy some kind of NFC reader USB plug that to the laptop or the PC or what’s your thinking there?
NVK – 00:18:14:
Nobody’s going to buy it, realistically speaking, it’s silly. I think that as NFC technology with mainstream and major consumer electronics sort of like spreads more, you will start seeing NFC laptops as well. I haven’t seen I’m sure there must be one or two out there, but I haven’t seen anything interesting. But realistically speaking, the people who are seeking these solutions are phone first, right. So third world, developing world, all these places are phone first. Most of these people don’t have a computer anyways. They are at max a tablet or something. Those all have NFC. I really think that NFC is for the phone solutions and then like for computers and desktop, we’re looking at different sort of we can do better and different with computers, but if they do integrate, they’ll be great because then you can cosign your more complex stuff on there.
Stephan Livera – 00:19:18:
Got you. So as an example, if you had as an example like two or three or three or five where maybe one of the keys was a Tapsigner but the other keys were Coldcard and others, then it might be difficult on the computer aspect of it unless there’s some kind of paired app. Right. So I guess in the case of Nunchuck. You can have a mobile wallet and I think if you have a Nunchuck account. That might maybe that can kind of help you deal with that across. Like when you’re straddling across one part that’s on the computer and another part that’s on the device. Or the other way in that case might just be to do it all off the phone.
Stephan Livera – 00:19:55:
So if Coldcard has NFC and then you could kind of do it together, like where you have one piece here, one piece there, one piece in another, let’s say in the future, other hardware wallets get or hardware devices get bitcoin and hardware devices, to be clear, get NFC support, then you kind of manage it all off the phone first anyway.
NVK – 00:20:15:
Yeah, I mean, and we’re pushing this from different angles too. Right, so Coldcard has NFC, Tapsigner has NFC and then there’s Satscard, right, which is essentially the Opendime replacement and Opendime has an incredible market penetration. Pretty much all Bitcoin is have it. So we hope that that happens to Satscard as well. And then because the market is going to have a lot of Satscard, it’s also going to incentivize wallets to.
Stephan Livera – 00:20:42:
Integrate, right, to support it and so on. Exactly, yeah, right, so we’ll see. I’m hopeful, I’m bullish on it. I think there’s going to be a lot of use for that. Like we were saying, whether that’s people in the developing world and I think it’s just because you’re coming in at an extremely low price point compared to other wallets. Now, of course the security is different, but I think it’ll definitely be part of the conversation. That’s probably the Tapsigner conversation. Let’s just chat a little bit about kind of where the Satscard is at as well. So in terms of how this one works. It’s a similar kind of flow, like if you’re using with Nunchuck, right?
NVK – 00:21:24:
Yeah. So it’s actually even simpler, right. The Satscard, we want it to be like the truly stupid simple UX.
NVK – 00:21:32:
So if you tap it with your phone without any app, okay, it just pops up on the browser. We double check that the card is actually a card that Coldcard that Coinkite made.
NVK – 00:21:43:
So there’s a certificate there that we check in our servers, and then it gives you an address for you to deposit. And that’s it. You don’t need to install, you don’t need to do anything.
Speaker C – 00:21:54:
Got you. Yeah.
Stephan Livera – 00:21:55:
So that’s the deposit case and then the withdrawal case as an example. Nunchuck and tap to spend and stuff.
NVK – 00:22:01:
Exactly. Then you tap and then you give the pin, and then it lets you sweep the key. But what’s cool is, unlike opendoor, this one actually has ten slots, so we can actually reuse it ten times. Heck, you could even unseal and sweep the ten keys at the same time as a single transaction out.
Stephan Livera – 00:22:19:
Got you. And so this might be handy as well for people. As an example, a lot of bitcoin is likely to give this as a wedding gift or opened up as a wedding gift. So maybe you can easily slip that one into the wedding gift card or the birthday card or whatever, and it’s very easily giftable. And so the price range for this one is even cheaper. This is like six or $7 per card or something like that.
NVK – 00:22:41:
Yeah. I think right now is like a lounge save at 7.99 or 6.99, something like that.
Stephan Livera – 00:22:48:
Satscard first edition is 6.99. And then some of the different branded ones. Again, this is like a branding opportunity for people as well.
NVK – 00:22:54:
We’re an artist, right? Yeah. We want to support artists too, right. So it’s kind of fun to have art in it. It’s collectible. It’s very like having some play and some fun with the bitcoin scarcity.
NVK – 00:23:09:
Because people like a lot of Bitcoiners love to collect stuff too. So we figured we make this into something like that.
Stephan Livera – 00:23:15:
So it’s perfect for giveaways and really makes a lot of sense for gifting opportunities, right. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries.
NVK – 00:23:25:
We’ve been talking a lot with people in the African continent that want to essentially get large batches of this, denominated, and then use it as being essentially like the mint there. Right. Because I don’t know if people know this, but a lot of African countries actually use money printed in France, and the French have a signature on it. It’s like a world of bullshit. There is a lot of guys there trying to find physical solutions that need to be affordable, right, in terms of the actual device to sort of fulfill some of that, at least for the higher value bills.
NVK – 00:24:09:
So we’re trying to experiment with that in some of those places. It’s always been the dream of Opendime. Opendime is too expensive. So we think with this, maybe we start to get closer to the idea. And personally, I’ve used it to buy stuff from people because I don’t want to wait for you to like I bought a piece of art that was not cheap and I didn’t want to sort of like, send money in front of the person on the phone and know which utxo I’m used or whatever. Right. No, I just have a stack of this. And they’re all denominated a bit higher.
NVK – 00:24:44:
It’s like, here’s two cards to make the whole sort of cost and that’s it.
Stephan Livera – 00:24:51:
And then as an example, in that scenario, they could hold it to their phone and then see the address and they could see, okay, let’s say $100 or whatever has been sent to this card sitting on the address. And at that point they can be like, okay, I’ve got $100 or whatever, and then walk off.
NVK – 00:25:10:
Maybe a lot of the new bitcoiners were not around for the years where we did all this with paper wallets. The problem with the paper wallets was that the originator could redeem the private key because it was shared by both.
NVK – 00:25:22:
But back in the day, we used to just print paper wallets and give it to people. That was sort of like the bitcoiner way of giving BTC.
Stephan Livera – 00:25:31:
And it’s like nowadays paper wallets are just universally discouraged.
NVK – 00:25:35:
Yeah, that’s correct.
Stephan Livera – 00:25:36:
But of course, back in those days.
NVK – 00:25:37:
You know, Coldcard can still generate paper. Wallets as PDFs. It’s kind of fun, right?
Stephan Livera – 00:25:42:
Yeah, I think it’s in one of the advanced menus. I think I’ve seen that.
NVK – 00:25:45:
It’s very deep in there.
Stephan Livera – 00:25:49:
Okay, let’s chat a little bit about the Mk4. So what’s been the latest there and what can we expect to see coming?
NVK – 00:25:59:
Mk4 is now really sort of moving, which is kind of fun to see. People really like the plastic upgrade on the design and there’s the sleeve and these two SBC. It really sort of hit the spot in terms of the things that people wanted to see upgraded. We are now seeing like, a lot of miners using that as they’re also mining wallet because now they can make very large transactions, which was not possible before, and I think it was not possible with any harder wallet before.
Stephan Livera – 00:26:30:
Right, just to clarify here, so what we’re talking about here is if you’re using a transaction that has a lot of UTXOs in it, and theoretically that means the transaction is very large in terms of size. And then some people have noticed difficulty either doing large multi sig or just a lot of outputs, a lot of UTXOs going into that transaction, meaning it’s difficult to sign on a hardware device. So what we’re talking about here is basically with this device, it’s got a faster CPU, it’s got more Ram, so it can handle it basically.
NVK – 00:26:58:
Exactly. And that was true also for multisig, as you mentioned, there was a huge bottom act for some people doing especially like, business, like your corporate sort of wallet.
Stephan Livera – 00:27:11:
So as I understand then basically, let’s say you’ve got a business, you’re receiving a lot of coins, you’ve got a lot of UTXOs in your wallet and so then when you’re trying to spend naturally the transactions might be quite large also. And so it can be impractical if you don’t have a wallet, they can handle it, basically. And then same for the miners, right, because if they’re getting payouts, each of those payouts can be relatively small, but they need to be able to consolidate them to do stuff with it.
NVK – 00:27:36:
And we heard this from the collaborative multi sig solutions, like Unchained, right. Some of their users did have like a lot of UTXOs and they were having a hard time trying to sort of transact out with any of the harder wallets.
NVK – 00:27:47:
So we sort of went into harder devices. We wanted to sort of like really not be the bottleneck anymore.
NVK – 00:27:55:
So now it doesn’t matter if it says transaction, we could sign it. The max transaction of the network is still below our threshold, so we’re fine and you know, and then there’s the virtual disk. So we brought in a whole new sort of like slew of new users that wanted to have a very sort of like plug and play kind of a way of doing things. So they’re doing that now. And then we have a lot of like new features coming in the next firmware upgrade. We’re sort of like fixing a few little things. We’re doing menu, wrap around, the people want it. And we have two things we’re working on. I don’t know if they’re going to make it in the next one. One of them might just take another couple kind of thing. But we’re working on ephemeral seeds. So if you want to load a temporary seed in there, you can. We see people especially trying to help like family, friends or whatever, we don’t want them loading those seeds on a computer to help them sort of transfer or whatever. So you’re going to be able to just type in that seed into a Coldcard as temporary thing.
NVK – 00:29:01:
Do the business you have to do and then the Coldcard, forgets it.
NVK – 00:29:05:
But because we have secure elements and all the stuff, we can sort of like do a little bit a better provable way of showing that things were sort of like properly erased.
Stephan Livera – 00:29:14:
So just talking that through, listening to a new what we’re talking about here is if, let’s say, a family member has twelve or 24 words and rather than type that into a hot online connected computer, which is a bit of. A no no. From a security point of view, the advice generally has been to type it into a hardware wallet. But then the question is unless you’ve got spare hardware wallets or it can be expensive doing that. So I guess this feature is for that use case where as an example, you have this sort of you the stacker, the pleb, the hoddler might already have your Coldcard and you can maybe use that as a feature to help your family member not have to type it into a computer online, connected with potentially a lot of coin and putting themselves at risk. So this is a way there sometimes.
NVK – 00:29:59:
You just have like seeds, you have to want to check balances or something, but they’re not actually loaded into any device.
NVK – 00:30:05:
So you can just put it in export an Electrum file or Sparrow file, right. Put it on the computer and then erase the seed and then it’s gone.
Speaker D – 00:30:15:
NVK – 00:30:15:
And then you just rely on your metal backup and stuff. So I feel like it’s sort of like a very useful thing for familial kind of relationships or uncle Jim kind of relationships. And we already support the BP 85 seeds as well. So we figured, hey, if we already can support temporary seeds, BIP 85 might as well sort of let people generate even a temporary seeds.
Speaker C – 00:30:42:
Stephan Livera – 00:30:43:
So that feature will be called Ephemeral Seeds, is it?
NVK – 00:30:45:
NVK – 00:30:46:
I couldn’t find a better name.
Stephan Livera – 00:30:49:
Yeah, some of this stuff is a little technical.
Stephan Livera – 00:30:51:
But that said, if you’re already a Coldcard user, chances are you trying to learn a bit more anyway. And so you can sort of deal with learning a little bit and dealing with a little bit of the complexity because you’re sort of helping your family and your friends figure things out.
NVK – 00:31:07:
Yeah, realistically that’s the scenario. And then the other thing that we’re working on is integrating Schnor signing. We’re still in the face of Schnor. That’s sort of like more hype, right? In the community. Everybody wants it, everybody finds it cool, but nobody uses it and there is no sort of like major advantage to it aside from saving a little bit of fees. But fees right now are near zero. But we still don’t want to sort of like neglect it. So we’re working on adding that. I think we just made a PR to libNgu, which is like glue for the actual crypto library from Core libsec. So we’re sort of like just progressing because for us it’s a little bit different than other hardware wallets. We don’t sort of YOLO transactions, transactions on Coldcard. They are sanity checked and they have a little bit more scrutiny before the device signs it. It checks. The deposit addresses are yours, so the change addresses are yours. It changes for fee size relative to transaction size. There is a lot of checks that happen and all those checks break if you change fundamental parts of transactions.
NVK – 00:32:25:
So we have to essentially rebuild all those checks and all those things. So it’s substantially more work.
Stephan Livera – 00:32:32:
Yeah. And that will get more complicated as all these more fancy advanced scripting and things come to Bitcoin. And I know even with trying to do Schnor as well, as I understand, I guess, speaking cynically, it may be the case that a lot of people choose to just keep using the common multi sig types today as opposed to switching to like musig2. Because musig2. Let’s say once we do have that, it might be a bit more complex and involve a lot of rounds of back and forth. Right. So we’ll sort of see what happens.
NVK – 00:33:03:
That’s another reason why we added NFC to the Coldcard is that you can be interactive over NFC. Why you can’t do that with QR’s, right.
NVK – 00:33:15:
So if you want to be really cold, go with SD card. We can still display QR’s in the Coldcard screen. Who knows, maybe in the future there is both camera and NFC on a Coldcard.
NVK – 00:33:26:
I’m not opposed to anything, but I’m just trying to think cost effectively, what can we do to advance bitcoin self custody, right. And it needs to be economically reasonable too.
NVK – 00:33:40:
It’s easy to make a $400 hardware wallet, right. Like making a harder wallet is like $150. That’s like a little more challenging. And that’s sort of like where we want to really sort of like focus for now.
Speaker C – 00:33:55:
Stephan Livera – 00:33:55:
Because the approach that you see with some people is it almost looks like using an Android phone, right. As an example, what used to be cobot now the keystone is kind of like using an Android phone as a wall.
NVK – 00:34:08:
And that’s a problem too.
NVK – 00:34:09:
Because you lose all the security.
NVK – 00:34:11:
I mean, now in order to maintain the price point, like you’re using a Chinese secure element and you have a complex screen that’s like full of holes and then you have like Android. Android is like a whole other millions and millions of lines of code.
NVK – 00:34:28:
You can’t audit that. So you’ve got to do the reasonable things, at least in my opinion.
NVK – 00:34:35:
And then sure, if you want to put your shit coins, they’re going to go to zero anyways in one of those things. It’s fantastic.
NVK – 00:34:41:
I mean, they are very good use experiences. You have to give it to them.
NVK – 00:34:44:
But I think it’s important to sort of like keep bitcoin secure, right?
Stephan Livera – 00:34:49:
And it’s about finding that right balance. I think it sort of reminds me people talk about like well, it’s like the classic project management one, right? Like it’s a cost versus time versus quality. And you’re trying to sort of find the right balance of these things as opposed to just trying to be the outright like, lowest cost etcetera. Or having the most features, or you sort of trying to find that right balance. And I think that approach makes a lot of sense to me.
NVK – 00:35:17:
It’s kind of funny. Right. We use that sort of, like, low type preference mentality, too.
NVK – 00:35:22:
I’m not going to package this thing in a ten to $20 box, right. Just because the box is pretty. Like, I’d rather put $10 into actual components. That increases the value of the device by $10, 20.
NVK – 00:35:40:
Then sort of like doing silly things.
NVK – 00:35:45:
We do have a very expensive bag. That bag is not cheap because it’s very similar to airport booze bags or, like, TSA bags, and they have an airport it’s like a level four tape in there. But that’s the idea. It’s like, how can I deliver value as opposed to deliver, like, shiny things?
Stephan Livera – 00:36:05:
Right. And I think there’s a big segment of the market who just love that anyway, right. They’re all about that. And I think that’s kind of like a very Bitcoin thing anyway. It’s almost like in Bitcoin culture, it’s almost anti buying a Lambo, right. You’re not meant to buy a Lambo. You’re meant to buy a family van to fit all your kids in. It’s about reliability and practicality. So that’s cool. What else have we got? You’ve got a new podcast, you’re competing with me. What’s going on here?
NVK – 00:36:35:
That’s right. I’m already overtaking you in the charts. I’m even over Peter McCormick now in England. No, it’s a joke. I got really sick from hearing shitcoiners is saying that nothing happens in Bitcoin, so I created a Bitcoin.review. That’s the domain. I had the domain. There’s a nice little site there. And the idea is I always have guests. More than one. Matt and Justin came quite a few times. I had the Pierre and the Bitstein, and then I had one episode that I tested. It was kind of fun, where we had, like, a wallet roundtable with actual security experts, not like a bunch of LARPers.
Stephan Livera – 00:37:21:
I listen to that. That was a good one.
NVK – 00:37:24:
And we will go through the software update list and discuss projects and discuss things with people who know what the fuck they’re talking about for, like, two and a half hours kind of thing. And it comes out, like, every two, three weeks. I figure, like, I pack it in and sort of, like, deliver sort of like very high signal. We have a little bit of banter in there, so we favor being boring, but, yeah, it’s a lot of fun and it just helps me see what’s going on in the space as well. It’s just so much being developed. I think we have six episodes, seven episodes now, so people should definitely check it out.
Stephan Livera – 00:38:09:
Yeah, for sure.
NVK – 00:38:12:
Sorry, you’re going to have to come on, of course.
Stephan Livera – 00:38:19:
And offer some commentary and it’ll be good.
Stephan Livera – 00:38:22:
So for people who are not as fortunate. Tell us a little bit about this Block Clock Micro. I haven’t had the chance to plug it in and turn it on yet as I just literally got it.
NVK – 00:38:34:
Yeah. So that was born out of okay, we are in a bear market. It wasn’t bear market yet, but it looked like it was going to dunk anyways. So we were trying to find a way to make like a block clock mini like alternative version that was affordable. Right. The mini is still $400, right. Which is a lot better than the $5,000 of the original clock.
NVK – 00:39:04:
So what we did is we tried to leverage the same parts, right. So we were using the same display, just turned horizontal. It’s just one display. We learned a bunch of things and it only has one acrylic on the front, but it looks like really pretty. It’s still heavy. It’s got that quality look.
NVK – 00:39:25:
We still use expensive gold in the PCB. It’s like three microns as opposed to one micron in normal PCB boards. And it’s got a beeper as well, which is kind of fun. The functions for the beeper are still not in the UI, but they will be soon. It’s USBC and it’s still WiFi. It’s the same brains and stuff. But we managed to get it down to like sub $200 and we pre sold a ton of these. Yeah. I can’t wait to see what people do with it and what kind of memes come out of it. We started shipping now, but it’s still sort of like if you want to get in line, do the reservation thing because it’s kind of out of control.
Stephan Livera – 00:40:12:
Right. I think there’s big things coming.
Stephan Livera – 00:40:16:
Because with the Block Clock Mini, there was also memes.
Stephan Livera – 00:40:20:
That was where the Moscow time meme came. Jack Dorsey had it in the background of his I think it was some congressional appearance. And I think the former Thai prime minister had it in the background when he went on a show as well. So it’s like crazy who’s got these things?
NVK – 00:40:37:
It’s going to happen. Yeah, it’s kind of fascinating. It’s also fascinating some of the people that reach out to us that we can’t really talk about that have these clocks. It’s kind of hilarious. I think eventually we will leak that, like, these people are going to be taking a picture on something and then it shows on the back and they’re like, holy shit, I didn’t know this guy was a bitcoin it’s like the.
Stephan Livera – 00:40:59:
Subtle, if you know, you know, kind of thing.
NVK – 00:41:01:
That’s right. I love it.
Stephan Livera – 00:41:03:
That’s cool. And then also you’ve got a bunch of websites that are out there that kind of obviously help point people back to Coincart and to buy Coldcards and things. But I see one, you’ve got some different ones around Treasuries as well.
NVK – 00:41:20:
Yeah. So bitcoin Treasuries kind of like really got big last year and then we end up selling the domain and then the folks that bought it didn’t want to sort of carry on the project as was and there was a whole conversation about it. So we relaunched as .Net, so it’s bitcoin treasuries dot Net. And this project is sort of like too important for pumpoinomics not to carry on. So I’ve just redid the site now. It’s properly data driven, it’s got like beautiful charts on it and very soon, probably a week or two, I hope, we’re going to have a means for you to create an account and contribute data, help clean up the data. Contribute data. I’ve been talking to the Glass Node guys as well to maybe get some of those wrapped bitcoin values and contracts also listed there. Because what I really want to do is I want to have a place where I have a picture of what’s going on with institutional or large holders. I’m trying to sort of get that all in one place, but I want people to sort of contribute the data too.
NVK – 00:42:39:
And we should have APIs for people to use it as well, to use the data. That project is coming along nice. It’s fun. It’s a fun little thing.
Stephan Livera – 00:42:52:
And speaking of sociologically, I think having the leaderboard aspect is cool because then people are competing because they want to get higher up on the leaderboard. And yeah, it’s interesting because as I glance at the list now, obviously MicroStrategy are up at the top. They’ve got .619% of the overall 21 million. And I suppose there are always going to be these questions about accuracy as well, right? Because how do you sort of tread that line of, let’s say wanting to be a complete list, but then also not wanting to put up inaccurate listings or if people just say they’ve got people can just say they’ve got 2% of the supply, but who’s going to believe that?
NVK – 00:43:33:
Yeah. So for public companies, it’s kind of easy, right, because they have reporting requirements. So we go look at the actual filings. Let’s say they could be lying on the filings, but then they go to jail for I feel like all the bigger, more meaningful actors there are sort of like they kind of resolve themselves because they are public companies, they’re not going to go to jail because of this. So they try to be a little bit more honest about it. God knows it could be fake bitcoin that they have on the balance sheet too, right. They could claim that it’s bitcoin, but it’s actually like, I don’t know, some other synthetic bitcoin product or whatever, so we don’t have a way of going above that.
Stephan Livera – 00:44:14:
Or they could even get wrecked or rug pulled.
Stephan Livera – 00:44:15:
Like if they’re not securing their own coins and they’re just leaving it on a custodian.
NVK – 00:44:19:
Well, exactly. And then the smaller players is not a big deal if their numbers are fake because they’re also, like, much smaller numbers on the list.
NVK – 00:44:28:
So they’re not as economically relevant either. So I kind of like, in a way, I kind of feel like it resolves itself by just sort of like big economical actors have more to lose to fake numbers and smaller economic actors are more economically relevant.
NVK – 00:44:44:
And now with this new way for people to submit data and help curate the data that I have coming, it should help with the quality too, because now we can have more scrutiny even on the data. Sort of like input.
NVK – 00:44:55:
Because I make mistakes.
NVK – 00:44:56:
So I want other people who spend a lot of time with this stuff to help contribute and sort of, like, clean up the data and stuff.
Stephan Livera – 00:45:03:
And so in terms of the rule here, are we talking generally public companies, public entities? We’re not really talking about individual hodlers here. Like Michael Saylors. However many thousand coins he has.
NVK – 00:45:14:
Would never have people listed. I don’t like that idea. There is something deeply wrong about doxing, or even if the person is self doxed. But I don’t know, it just rubs me the wrong way to have people. Maybe if there are politicians, I don’t mind right now, the bar is you have to be public company or you have to be, like, have someone a priority, like, say, like a state actor or something like that. Or you have to be, say, a private company above a certain, like, say, $50 million revenue per year or something.
NVK – 00:45:48:
However, I have the capability of having user input and user help curating the data. We can lower the threshold because now we have more people looking for data and try to sort of, like, clean it up because ideally I want to have, like, Tahinis in there.
NVK – 00:46:04:
That’s the goal. Can I get all the way down to a small business?
NVK – 00:46:08:
I think that would be a lot of fun. This is very clear. This is not a trading instrument. You shouldn’t be using this as part of your trading charts.
NVK – 00:46:18:
This is a fun thing. This is a popular culture thing. This is for us to sort of, like, help the pumponomics and have CEOs of companies measuring their shoe size and sort of try to compete with each other, right?
Stephan Livera – 00:46:36:
Yeah, I think so. I think it’ll be interesting to see what happens with that. And obviously, we’re going in a bit of a bear market and sometimes you need a bit of fun, bit of memes to kind of keep people going. And then sooner or later and again, none of us have a crystal ball. None of us knows, but eventually the cycle turns and then we’re back again. So I think that’s kind of where it’s at. I’m curious if you have any, I guess, predictions or any other things you’re expecting to happen over this, let’s say this bear cycle.
NVK – 00:47:07:
Oh, man. It’s such a weird one with all this like gag macro thing. I think with one amazing thing that’s happening this year is that I think mainstream is starting to realize how idiotic central banking is. They can cause inflation, but they cannot fix inflation. And they can cause interest rates paying and not accomplish anything with that.
NVK – 00:47:35:
It’s kind of fascinating. I think people are starting to realize, including the fact that they can’t taper a ponzi. Like, math doesn’t work that way. So if you try to taper a ponzi, what happens is it breaks.
NVK – 00:47:51:
You need new fresh sucker money coming in if that’s from the printer or from the suckers to sort of pay off the other people that came in before.
NVK – 00:48:01:
So the sponsonomics that is central banking now is starting to really break.
NVK – 00:48:07:
So it’s going to be very interesting if the meme of the printer is coming sort of like turns out to be a reality. I think things are going to get worse than people think, but not as bad as the doomers think. This is something that I think bitcoin is miss, generally speaking, about economics, is that the world has a lot of inertia. There’s 8 billion people in the world, right? So there is a big incentive to fix the status quo. Just an innate sort of like inertia based incentive to sort of like improve the status quo.
NVK – 00:48:54:
Because everybody depends on that. So everybody wants to believe that. And modern money is based on belief, not on math. Right. So if everybody just believe it, you can kind of make it happen in a way, right. You’re pushing for later. You could still have the bottom drop because you’re on a tightrope.
NVK – 00:49:13:
But I think it’s very possible that these guys managed to sort of like steer this in a way that they push another 20 years, another 10, 20 years for this thing to have to be dealt again. If they sort of probably pivot soon. If they don’t, then, man, this shit is going to just pop.
Stephan Livera – 00:49:34:
Yeah, I think you’re right. I think this is one of those things where a lot of people want things to happen quickly. But the reality is it’s going to take some time. And so I think it’s important to just be patient and to keep stacking, keep building, keep doing things that are moving the ball forward from a bitcoin point of view. So on that side, what are you looking forward to? What are you hoping to see in terms of bitcoin and like, technology or culture around bitcoin?
NVK – 00:49:59:
I think we need to get back to more toxicity. The toxicity decreases, all the scams increase.
NVK – 00:50:07:
I think it’s important that people use castiron pans to make their steaks because stainless steel is a shitcoin and we finally found out that Saefedean is a stainless steel shitcoiner.
Stephan Livera – 00:50:19:
It’s a shit panner.
NVK – 00:50:21:
No, but in all seriousness, I think what’s happening in this cycle that was not true in previous cycles is the amount of capital flowing into bitcoin companies to build wild in a bear. There is a lot of that going on and it’s actually quite surprising. It’s probably the reason why the price has held so well between quotes. I mean, if it wasn’t for the 3AC guys, because I would have probably crashed to 20 something like 25, and then stayed at 28 forever, right, until the next boom. But those guys knocked down an extra ten k in bitcoin. But it’s surprising that it stayed at this sort of like 19 level this far, even with this insanity going on in the world. So I think it’s because there is all this capital going into bitcoin companies. I think bitcoin companies are being profitable. They’re still selling, so they are buying bitcoin. Miners are not selling as much bitcoin as they need because they are finding outside capital. To come in all these buildings is great. My wants are more like I want to see more sort of like for normy wallets, like wallet apps trying different things. I want to see more products that are not sort of like pie in the sky economics. I want to see things that people pay money for as opposed to just hope to profit later. I think a lot of that’s. The good thing about bear markets too, is that it forces companies to find profit. But this space is quite incredible. The amount of stuff that’s happening right now, it’s almost weird. It doesn’t feel like a bear market aside from the price.
Stephan Livera – 00:52:10:
And I think it’s fair to say that the bear markets are progressively becoming less cold or the bitcoin winters are becoming less cold because there’s just more people in the ecosystem either. Building, educating, doing something, making a business. But I definitely agree with you. I like your critique about because sometimes we see like, VC subsidized model, right? And we don’t really want that in bitcoin. We want actual workable models.
NVK – 00:52:39:
Produce value, sell for money. It’s not that complicated, right?
Stephan Livera – 00:52:44:
Sustainability, profitability are important metrics for everyone. So, yeah, I think those are probably a good point for people to think about. Listeners check out coincide.com follow NVK so it’s at NVK on Twitter. And thanks for joining me again.
NVK – 00:52:59:
Hey, thanks for having me.