K3tan of Ministry of Nodes rejoins me on the show to chat about his recent survey and review the year in Bitcoin. We discuss:

  • Practical tips on using Bitcoin
  • Which Bitcoin projects/software/hardware came out on top and why
  • Self sovereignty and adoption
  • Lightning
  • Fedimint
  • What to expect for the next year


Prior episode: 


Stephan Livera links:

Podcast Transcript:

Stephan Livera – K3tan, welcome back to the show.

K3tan – 00:02:35:

Thank you, Stephan. Thanks for having me. How are you?

Stephan Livera – 00:02:38:

Yeah, doing well. I am just reflecting on the year gone by and yeah. Ready to talk about what happened this year? I mean, obviously so much happened this year and in many ways it’s very cyclical, right. Like, we’ve seen blow ups and things happen over the years, right. Mt. Gox in the 2013-14 sort of era, and then there was Quadriga CX in the 2018-19 era, and now 2022, we’ve seen FTX, Celsius, Terra, Lunar Voyager, you name it. Right, so, yeah, I guess at an overall level, what’s been your thought about how this year panned out in the world of bitcoin?

K3tan – 00:03:17:

Well, I think people are learning more, as far as I can see, towards the latter end of the year. The learning curve for people in terms of just getting wrecked, I think is showing it’s starting to really I guess, more people are tuning into the signal and trying to disregard the noise because there’s a lot of noise there. And I think this year has probably been that one catastrophic event that has altered people’s perceptions and altered people’s thinking. And I’m seeing that a lot. So that’s a positive. People are wanting to learn more about bitcoin.

Stephan Livera – 00:03:59:

Yeah. And I think for many people, if we think about the world today, probably a lot of people now, they know about bitcoin, but have they used it? Have they even purchased some? And of course, you can think of it like that funnel, right? Like there’s so many people who might even they think they hold some bitcoin, really. They have a paper IOU claim on an exchange somewhere or a custodian somewhere. But of course, maybe that’s part of the journey for a lot of people. But I think it’s worthwhile pointing out there is that distinction between, let’s say you and I and bitcoin Twitter and podcast and Nostr and people like that, who are in this world, let’s say, versus people who are more peripheral ,and maybe they think of it as just like, oh, just having it on my custodial exchange, or they kind of think of it like that. But nevertheless, you did a survey recently, so let’s go through some of the results and just chat a little bit about each category, what we saw, and maybe just some of the key innovations even as well, while we go through it. Right. Tell us a little bit about that.

K3tan – 00:04:57:

Yeah, it sounds good, but before we get into it, well, basically, look, this is just for fun. This is more of just it’s not a scientific sort of objective poll. It’s just a poll that I’ve ran out on Twitter. Mostly my followers are bitcoin Twitter people, and so those are the types of people that are going to be responding as well. It may not have objectiveness, it’s a popularity contest at some grade. So, yeah, just keep that in mind as we go through this. It’s not something it’s not designed to give you. This is the best solution ever. And that’s it full stop. It’s more around. What are people thinking, what other suggestions from left field that some other people are contributing to the space that may not be as well known, which could be fantastic as well. So I just put out this tweet with categories of parts of the bitcoin ecosystem and then tried to sort of pick out some of the very, very best projects that I’m seeing in the space and seeing are we hitting the mark here, what are some comments? And let’s go through those results.

Stephan Livera – 00:06:12:

Yeah, I think one other point just, it’s worthwhile pointing out is, as you say yeah, there’s a little bit of an element of popularity contest and sometimes the crowd can be a bit fickle, right? Like what was a popular thing two years ago or three years ago it might have been super popular and now it’s like only not that it’s kind of like it’s okay. And now there’s some new hot thing.

K3tan – 00:06:31:

And I reckon I can give you an example of that in this very poll that I’ve sort of put out all this. Let’s come to it.

Stephan Livera – 00:06:39:

Yeah, we’ll go into it again. So, best hardware wallet. What was the best hardware wallet?

K3tan – 00:06:44:

Okay, so clear signal, the choices were Trezor, ledger, Coldcard, passport. We had 852 votes on this one and we had 58% voting for Coldcard. A clear signal there for the market that bitcoin Twitter echo chamber loves the Coldcard. So, yeah, it looked fantastic project by NVK and it is one of the better hardware wallets. It’s bitcoin only source viewable. I wish it was Foss, but hey, and then the other thing that was also a clear signal and this was more in the comments is that seedsigner I got laid into for not even putting that as one of the options. So, yeah, seed signer seems to be a very, very popular pick amongst the bitcoin Twitter followers. So that’s something to be said. And the other thing that another comment that I found was interesting was that one thing that I think the seeds like one thing that came out of this poll was the fact that people didn’t like the words hardware wallet. They actually preferred signing device. So I don’t know if that’s kind of something that will be used in the future. I think hardware wallet is probably now stuck. But yeah, a lot of people like to use the more correct term, which is assigning a device. It is what it is.

Stephan Livera – 00:08:09:

Yeah. And look, I mean, I’ve been trying again, old habits die hard, right? But I’ve been trying to say hardware signing device, but then I’m stuck as well. When I talk to people, I say, oh, previously known as a hardware wallet, then it’s very worthy. You can’t quickly and easily say, oh yeah, just get your hardware wallet or just get, you know, I guess you say your hardware signing device is the technical term but nevertheless, and I think it also gets to that point of is multisig going to get popular or not? And I know there’s a big debates on Twitter about, oh, no, stop pushing some people say, no, stop trying to push people into multi SIG. And other people like, no single SIG and a passphrase is good enough. And I think that conversation is still ongoing.

K3tan – 00:08:47:

Agreed, Stephan? Very much so. Agreed.

Stephan Livera – 00:08:50:

Yeah. Okay. So, yeah, maybe we’ll come back to some of that other stuff later. But we got a big list, so let’s try and get through it. So we got news source. What was best news source?

K3tan – 00:08:58:

All right, so this one surprised me. We had 689 votes on this and the options were Stacker News, no BS bitcoin, the sovereign bitcoin art, and bitcoin magazine. And bitcoin magazine took it out at 38.6%. So a clear signal there to say that a lot of people are reading bitcoin magazine for their trusted source of news, which is interesting. I really like stacked news. I thought that that would be higher up than what it was. I thought that would have taken the leading spot. But it kind of felt very much similar to no BS bitcoin as well. So, yeah, those are my news sources. I frequent Stacker News all the time and no BS bitcoin, their blasts come out and I get a lot of my news from them. What about you? Is that where you get your news from or are there any other places?

Stephan Livera – 00:09:48:

I think it’s fair to point out people like you and I who are really more plugged into the discussion, we see it happen live on Twitter, right? Like, we sort of see the certain posts and things in terms of where I would point a newcomer. Yeah, I might point them to bitcoin magazine because fair enough for them, it’s like, look, now conflicts of interest be disclosed here, right? I do write for bitcoin magazine here and there. They do invite me for their conferences, obviously. But honestly, honestly, even putting that aside, even if I know people might not believe me, but even if I didn’t write for bitcoin magazine, even if I didn’t speak at bitcoin bitcoin magazine conferences and things, I genuinely think there’s a purpose to that, right? Having like, professional people who are researching journalists and researching and writing articles and things, there’s a point to that, like having it explained, right? Whereas you’re not going to have on stack a dot news, it’s not necessarily going to explain every little thing about, oh, this is what Taproot is, or this is what I think from that point of view, maybe that’s why people are saying, yeah, bitcoin magazine, because it’s kind of a more professionalized news and education source. That’s my best guess as to why.

K3tan – 00:10:55:

Fair enough.

Stephan Livera – 00:10:56:

So let’s move on to best coin join yeah, three options here.

K3tan – 00:11:00:

Whirlpool, wasabi, and join market. Clear signal here with Whirlpool all up 664 votes. 64% went to Whirlpool. So there’s some clear signal there that bitcoin. Twitter likes Whirlpool, so that’s the coin joint implementation of choice. Any thoughts around that, Stephan?

Stephan Livera – 00:11:20:

Yeah, I think there’s just been constant battles back and forth about all the constant privacy battles and people getting pulled into the crossfire, people like me and maybe even a bit yourself and people like Odell as well, where we might be out here trying to help educate people. And then you mentioned something and then all of a sudden the fans of the other side will go after you for not being as enthusiastic about their thing as they are. I think we should just leave it.

K3tan – 00:11:48:

There and move on to the next.

Stephan Livera – 00:11:49:

One before we get canceled for saying anything more, I don’t know. Electrum Server. So this is a big one. There’s been some kind of shifts over time for this.

K3tan – 00:11:57:

Yes, definitely. So the best Electrum Server implementation, this only had 497 votes. We had Electrum Rust Server, we had Electrum X and the Newcomer, which is Fulcrum and surprisingly Electrum Rust Server. And Fulcrum tied at both 37.4%. And so that suggests to me that people are looking towards a Fulcrum server that would help the guys who are probably coin joining with Whirlpool who are going further down their keychain. And so that would be a bit more efficient than an Electrom Rust Server. But again, an Electromrust Server is a little bit more lightweight if you’re just a casual user. Electrom server runs phenomenally. Well but yeah, Fulcrum is the newer contender here, mostly popularized by Craig Brawl, probably because I think he was looking for something, another back end to support. And I think that Fulcrum provides that. So if you’re thinking about whirlpooling and continuously mixing your coins, then Fulcrum presents a phenomenal option for you there.

Stephan Livera – 00:12:59:

Yeah, right. Yeah. And I noticed it is even part of the Ministry of Nodes Ubuntu node box guide. I have Fulcrum running on the laptop just under this desk right now. And I think some of the debates there were some people sort of have this sense of that’s like a quote unquote, that’s a shit cloner indexer, right, because it’s being run by apparently being run by a B casher or something like this. But I mean, nevertheless, the software can be used for Bitcoin Core and people are using it for that. And so maybe what we’re seeing there is just distinctions in which node package people are using, right? Like if they’re doing their own yeah, they could just do Fulcrum on the Ministry of Nodes guide, but if they’re doing something like if they’ve got a Raspberry Blitz or Nodl or one of these, then it kind of just depends what they’ve got, what they’re supporting on there. So maybe it’s kind of related to that. But I think nevertheless, of course it’s a great thing that people are running their Electrum Server because again, we’re kind of deeper down the rabbit hole here. So for someone to even be running any Electrum server, it’s a big plus. That’s a big win, right. And the thing is, it’s a very good tool for an Uncle Jim, right? So if you’re a listener right now and you are like us, we can’t stop talking and thinking about Bitcoin and you want to help your family and friends, the Electrum Server, having any of these is a great option because then you can tell your family and friends, hey, just connect to mine, right? Just open up Electrum or Sparrow or something similar or even Bitfinex and these and point it to my Electrum Server. So that’s a big tool. It’s really actually very useful for an Uncle Jim. So worth pointing out, definitely. All right, so next up we got desktop software.

K3tan – 00:14:33:

Yes, the best desktop software wallet. We had a turnout of 740 votes for this. The options were Sparrow wallet, Spectre desktop, wasabi wallet, and electrum wallet. And the clear signal was Sparrow Wallet at 68.5%. Let’s not beat around the bush here, Stephan. I do think that Sparrow Wallet is the best wallet that has been in the Bitcoin space since forever. I really, really like it. Craig Ross has done a fantastic job on it and I’m really, really happy to see these tools being developed out. But that doesn’t you know, I think Electrum Wallet was the OG wallet as well. I don’t think we can discount that Sparrow Wallet somewhat stands on the shoulders of the Electrom wallet giant. So I think having said that, though, Sparrow Wallet is yeah, I think the community here agrees that Sparrow Wallet has been, for this year at least, it’s been a phenomenal tool. And it gets better and better. They’ve got Sparrow Server where you can run it in a terminal now, so they’ve got the Whirlpool implementation in there and you can connect up all your hardware wallets. You can connect up all the way through to your Fulcrum or Electrum Server. And it’s a phenomenal all in one package that just works across Linux, Mac and Windows. And I just wish that we had an Android or iOS application of it, but maybe one day I can convince Craig.

Stephan Livera – 00:16:05:

Yeah, well, I mean, and that’s the other important point because we are going to see and you know what, maybe next year this is going to become a thing as well. Maybe you’ll have a new option of mobile coordinator, right? So for example, like a nunchuck or a keeper, right? Because that’s the thing, a lot of people nowadays, they don’t have a desktop or laptop PC. They just literally only have a phone. And so that may be even a prediction for next year, right? Like the rise of this kind of mobile coordinator. Even like a Blue wallet, I think you can do like Blue wallet, multi SIG and things like this. Although I haven’t played around with it much myself. Maybe that’s something as well. But, yeah, certainly of the desktop software, sparrow is fantastic. So, yeah, it is hard to beat, right, because of the range of features, the range of hardware, wallet support and the ease of use, the reliability is really good. So shout out to Sparrow wallet there. Now, best payment processor. Who’s the best payment processor?

K3tan – 00:17:00:

Okay, so we had 575 votes for this one. The options were BTCPay Server, Tally Coin and Sat Sale. Clear. Clear signal here with 93% BTCPay server. If you are trying to accept Bitcoin for your goods and services, I think BTCPay Server presents a phenomenal option for you. Having said that, though, because there is really no competitor to BTCPay Server, I’m looking for disruption. Maybe that’s something that we can say, okay, well, BTCPay Server, yes, it’s the premier one, but is there something lighter? Is there something a little bit snappier? Is it something that’s, you know, just maybe we have a BTCPay Lite? And I think I think, you know, Sat Sail and Telecoin may be that middle ground. Maybe those things come into fruition. Maybe there’s a new project that comes out or BTCPay Server delivers something like a BTCPay light version where you don’t have to run a full blown server. But who knows?

Stephan Livera – 00:17:58:

But I think that may end up running against their whole intent because the whole reason they started, right, it was because of all these lines on Bit Pay. So it’s kind of hard now. You could say, what if they did some kind of light version that was like Neutrino only and only maybe it made certain trade offs that like, it still was. Although I think, for example, Nicola Doria was quite critical of Neutrino. So I think it’s unlikely to happen like that. But I take the point, right? I use BTCPay myself. I know you have it. Again, basically, if you are serious in this space, it’s one of the best tools. You pretty much have to use it unless you’re using some other third party payment provider. And so the whole point of Bitcoin, of course, we’re trying to make it so people can be self sovereign, of course. But I mean, that’s it. There are other things out there. So, for example, I can think of, say, a Coin OS or things like that, but of course they’re not the same level of self sovereign. And in some cases, I think coin OS is custodial. So it’s certainly a tool out there. So maybe yeah, we’ll just have to see what comes in the future there. So let’s move on. We got podcasting. 2.0 So who’s king of the heap here?

K3tan – 00:19:14:

Yeah, so we had 420 votes on this one, and the options were Fountain, Breez, and podverse FM. And the clear winner here with 73% is Fountain. So I haven’t used Fountain too much. In fact, I haven’t used it at all, but I know do you? I think you may have an account there. So tell us about it. Is it any good? Are you making banks? Stephan?

Stephan Livera – 00:19:37:

Well, I mean, I do have it enabled, to be honest. I don’t talk about it as often I do here and there. Kind of do the shout to kind of mention here with some boost to grams I got and things. Basically money I earn from that, I basically just donate that to bitcoin open source projects. I don’t actually kind of keep it to myself. It’s not like a massive, massive amount of money. But for me, it doesn’t have quite the same feature parity as what I listen on. So, for example, Podverse has the parity between its web interface and my phone. So I can kind of seamlessly be out. Let’s say I’m in the gym listening on my phone and then later I’m back on my desktop. It’s all synced up, right. So that for me, I still need that just for me to be able to get through all the in terms of for me personally as a listener, but in terms of speaking about the Podcasting 2.0 phenomenon, I think it’s cool to see. I’m kind of just seeing how it goes. I think what matters is getting users who are not bitcoin as per se, will someone use this kind of thing even if they’re not a bitcoin per se? I think that’s really the mark in the road, or that’s where the rubber meets the road for me. I need to see that before I kind of get more bullish on the whole idea personally.

K3tan – 00:20:48:

Fair enough.

Stephan Livera – 00:20:49:

Yeah, fair enough. So, yeah. Now, Lightning implementation. So this is obviously going to be hotly debated. So let’s see who came out on top here.

K3tan- 00:20:57:

Okay, so Blitz best Lightning Implementation. We had 507 votes. The options were LND Core Lightning, eclair and rust Lightning. And actually LND and Core Lightning are sort of neck and neck. So LND 46%, and Core Lightning came in at 42%, which, to be honest, I was surprised about that. Having said that, though, I think if I did this poll about a year or a year and a half ago, I think LND would have been the 85% to 90%.

Stephan Livera – 00:21:29:


K3tan  – 00:21:30:

And Core Lightning. Yeah. Right. So I just see that and go, wow, well done, Core Lightning, in being an alternative implementation to the Lightning Network. And maybe it could also be because LND did have a couple of bugs throughout the year that basically shut down the entire implementation. So that was a pretty nasty bug there, but it got resolved very quickly. But, yeah, it’s not ideal. So I think Core Lightning was the sort of alternative that kind of gets ridden a lot.

Stephan Livera – 00:22:08:

Yeah. And perhaps, I mean, in some context there. Right. I think the Core Lightning team is a lot smaller, or at least it was a lot smaller. It was basically three full time developers, right? And now they’re getting more people on. And I think that may be part of it. And maybe it just at the time, maybe one or two years ago, l and D was easier for a lot of the other people to work together with. So a lot of the Node implementations were using that and other software was kind of more easily playing together with LND. So maybe that’s part of what happened there. But hey, it’s a good thing to see more competition. We’re seeing even the rise of LDK as an example, right? Like we’re seeing LDK being used as part of bitkit. And I know when Blue Wallet, I believe now, Blue Wallet as a default is custodial and using like LND hub, which is like it’s a wrapper of LND. But I believe the next iteration they’re moving towards is an LDK based version. We are seeing a bit more hot competition, let’s say, amongst the Lightning implementations. So let’s see what happens there. Let’s go to on chain. So what was the best on chain bitcoin wallet?

K3tan – 00:23:18:

Okay, so the best on chain mobile wallet was Samurai Wallet. Okay? And the other options were Samurai Wallet, blue wallet, green wallet. And we had 725 votes. Samurai Wallet came in with 50% of those votes. So I think there’s a clear winner there in terms of on chain mobile wallets. Having said that, though, I do think that Samurai Wallet, I’m surprised that it’s only 50%. I would have thought it was something like in the 70% to 80%. And maybe it’s because I think potentially Samurai Wallet has maybe lost a bit due to the Tor connectivity issues that users are facing. And I’m hearing that a lot of users are just when they open up their app, it obviously starts off by default over Tor and the Tor network obviously this year has not been very favorable. It’s been attacked. And so maybe Samurai Wallet has lost a little bit there because Blue Wallet is not too far behind them with 38%. So maybe yeah, let’s see what happens with those factors there. But Blue Wallet is another very strong contender.

Stephan Livera  – 00:24:27:

And I think it’s one of those things where from hearing some of the Blue wallet developers speak, for example, Eagle at Baltic Honey Badger earlier this year, he was commenting about how it’s not just Bitcoin Twitter echo chamber using it, right? There are like random people in African countries or wherever around the world who just use Blue Wallet, right, just because it is such a simple wallet. And so it’s funny because there are times where wallets can be really criticized in the online discussion, but they are very widely used out in the real world. Let’s say that’s where the rubber meets the road, right? So it’s important to consider that the next one is going to be contentious as well. What about the best mobile Lightning wallets.

K3tan  – 00:25:08:

Okay, so we had best mobile Lightning wallet. We had 653 votes on this. The options were moon wallet, Breez wallet, phoenix wallet, and wallet of Satoshi. Clear winner there with 47 or 48% going to Muun wallet. And next was Phoenix and then Wallet of Satoshi, and then finally Breez. So, yeah, that was the a lot of people have been sort of promoting moon wallet as a very, very easy way to get Lightning funds straight into your wallet instantly. And then it combines both on chain and Lightning together. So I think that’s probably one of the seamless processes that people want to experience, and it’s good for noobs. So I think that’s probably why it’s been promoted that much.

Stephan Livera – 00:25:58:

Back to the show in a moment. When it comes to securing our bitcoin, we need bitcoin hardware, and my favorite is the stuff over at coinkite.com. Most notably, they have the cold card. So this is a very versatile hardware signing device. It looks like a little calculator. You can use it to generate your private keys and to sign messages, sign transactions. It’s got all kinds of features. You can use it as part of a single signature or as part of a multi signature setup, and it’s just really reliable. You can also notably spin up this device and initialize it without phoning home. So you can just plug it to the wall and initialize the device that way. So I find that really comforting also. So if you want to get your Coldcard, go to coinkite.com, use code Livera for a discount. When it comes to bitcoin, block explorers mentor space is the one to go to when you are about to send your bitcoin transaction mempool.space is a great site to check so that you can target your fee appropriately based on how quickly or slowly you are willing for your transaction to go through. So mempool.space offers a range of features. You can see the Mempool, you can see the blockchain, you can see second layer networks like the Lightning Network. And you don’t even have to trust a third party. If you want to, you can host it yourself. It’s free and open source software. Now, if you are with an enterprise member, dot space does have enterprise sponsors. So if you’re looking for features like having a custom mempool instance with your company’s branding or having increased API limits, it’s a very popular block explorer. And so this is a great way for you to get that exposure. So if you’re interested, go to mempool.space/ enterprise. When it comes to securing our coins for the long haul, especially your big stack, unchained capital can help you with multi signature. This can give you that peace of mind, knowing that you can remove single points of failure from your setup. And not just this. Unchained have solutions that can assist as part of the inheritance process. So their new concierge onboarding program also comes with the new iInheritance protocol. So that includes some step by step checklists, letters for the executor or trustee inheritance, seed phrase card and a tamper proof bag. So this can give you that peace of mind knowing not only are you securing your coins, but you are smoothing the process to pass that down to your heirs. So if you’re interested in this program, go to unchained.Com use code Livera for a discount there.

 And now back to the show. Yeah, and of course I know there’ll be some listeners who are saying, no, it’s not a Lightning wallet, it’s actually more like a bitcoin on chain wallet that can pay out a Lightning submarine swap. So just to explain what’s happening, right, in practice, if you use moon wallet and then you are making a Lightning payment, really what’s going on in the background is it’s almost like you are paying on chain to Muun and then moon is actually paying your Lightning invoice for you. So because of that and because of some of the RBF controversy as well, there are some users who run into issues when they are trying to do a bigger Lightning payment on Muun because they’re paying out, let’s say, $500 in Lightning or using a Lightning payment. And so Muun is saying, well, you’re going to have to wait before I make that payment because I need it to confirm into me before I send out the $500. And then people are in an awkward spot if they’re in an in person exchange. I thought it was Lightning, right. So I can understand that confusion. But at the same time I like Moon and I promote it the way I would say it is. If somebody is looking for a first wallet, maybe Moon is the right choice. But if they’re looking to actually do day to day Lightning, then I tend to point them more towards Bitfinex or Breez personally, that’s where I’m at because Bitfinex and Breez are what we might call natively Lightning and noncustodial. So they do make other trade offs around that. Of course there’s no kind of holy grail here, but it I think is more suitable for the native if you’re like actually spending and receiving on Lightning and you’re actually doing less on chain transactions that way. But if you’re just like a total newbie who just needs to take their coins off the exchange, moon is a fair and totally fine choice. That’s how I see it.

K3tan – 00:29:45:

Yeah, fair enough, fair enough.

Stephan Livera – 00:29:46:

Now, mobile Lightning controller. So I guess we distinguish a little bit here because what we’re talking about here is like an app that helps you remote control your Lightning node. So who is the winner here?

K3tan – 00:29:57:

That’s right. So best Lightning node remote controller. The options were Zeus wallet, zap wallet and spark. We also had 439 votes there with the clear winner at pretty much 80% with Zeus. So Zeus is great. It supports all node implementations pretty much. It’s got C Lightning support it’s got or sorry, core Lightning support. It’s got LNG, and I think it does even Eclipse, potentially.

Stephan Livera – 00:30:24:

Yeah, I think they do. Yeah.

K3tan – 00:30:25:

So, you know, this wallet, you know, handles pretty much any node that you throw at it, and it’s got a great graphical user interface. New changes are constantly being updated. New features are being updated. Yeah, I really like it, and I tend to use it all the time as my self sovereign Lightning Network payment gateway. So, yeah, I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s also got NFC connectivity, so you can actually NFC tap for payments, but I think it will be able to receive as well. So if someone puts down a bolt card, for instance, you might be able to receive from there as well. Maybe, I’m not sure, but I think.

Stephan Livera – 00:31:06:

It’s only one way, so I’m not 100% sure. Yeah, it’s one of the two. I don’t think you can tap to Pay with Zeus yet, but I think you can tap to receive someone correct me or the other way around, one of the two ways. It’s not both right now, but yeah, I’m a Zeus user and supporter myself. I donated on the project and I promote it often. I even use it in my in person demonstration videos often just to demonstrate Lightning.

K3tan – 00:31:31:

Was that the one with the instrument?

Stephan Livera – 00:31:34:

That’s also the firm gate. Sorry, no foam gate for me was actually with a Muun Wallet. Yeah.

K3tan – 00:31:40:

All right.

Stephan Livera – 00:31:40:

But when I was in El Salvador, I did another firm gate video just for fun, and that one, I think, was with this.

K3tan  – 00:31:48:


Stephan Livera – 00:31:48:

All right, cool. Got to bring it back back. Okay, so now, desktop Lightning remote controller.

K3tan  – 00:31:54:

Yes. So on your desktop, the options were Lightning terminal, Ride the Lightning, ThunderHub, and LN Bits. We had 460 votes, clear signal, Ride the Lightning with 47% there they did a fantastic UI with the bells and whistles. Again, supports a lot of the Note implementations, or the two major ones at least. And, yeah, it’s a nice graphical interface, really easy to see things and make payments, open channels, all those sorts of things in a nice graphical way, really, like ride the Lightning. But I also like ThunderHub as well. ThunderHub is another alternative. It has a nice look and feel to it as well. And it integrates with other projects as well, like Ambor Space and LN Orf and LN Markets and all those sorts of things as well. So both are pretty cool. But Ride the Lightning. Yeah, I like it. I like it a lot.

Stephan Livera – 00:32:47:

Yeah. And I use RTL myself with my BTCPay also, so, yeah, can’t really complain there. What about bitcoin explorers? Or blockchain explorers?

K3tan  – 00:32:57:

Yeah. Okay, so Bitcoin Explorer, this is the biggest turnout of the poll with 874 votes on here. And so the options were Mentor Space, Ambos OXT and Block Stream info 82% with Mentor Space. I mean, I can’t argue there. Mental Space is a really, really nice bitcoin explorer. You get to see everything. And they’ve now just recently added Lightning support made. Hats off to that team. They’ve done exceptionally well there.

Stephan Livera – 00:33:29:

Fantastic. Yeah. And I’m a user of mempool.space myself and I mean, the disclosure, they are also a sponsor of my show, but I am a fan and yeah, okay, so let’s go on to bitcoin implementation. So I think this one is kind of tongue in cheek in a way, but okay, what was the best bitcoin implementation?

K3tan  – 00:33:49:

All right, so we had 625 votes here. The options were bitcoin core, Knot BTCD and bitcoin. And the clear winner here with 91% was bitcoin core. Tongue in cheek again. Yeah, as you said, it was just something that I thought was interesting and I’d like to see who was using the alternative implementations. But it seems here clear signal bitcoin core is letting go.

Stephan Livera – 00:34:12:

I mean, as far as I’m aware, most projects use bitcoin core except for certain things. So from the top of my head, I can think of Wasabi Wallet. I believe they have Knots, which is the Luke Dasher version. And then LND has certain aspects where it’s calling out using BTCD. Right. Otherwise, basically everyone, every man and his dog is using bitcoin core. At least that’s how it is currently. And there are debates in the community about whether there should be multiple implementations or it should just be like, no, everyone just used the one because it’s too hard to make cross compatibility or cross implementation compatibility. And it’s very important that the network stays in sync. So that’s why it seems like pretty much other implementations seem almost like a rounding error, at least relative to bitcoin core, at least today. Speaking today in terms of bitcoin users today. Okay, so you’ve got the best no KYC platform.

K3tan  – 00:35:04:

So we had 678 votes on this. The options were BISq, hodl hodl, robosats and Peach. And clear winner here was with 53% was BISq. So a lot of the no KYC action and the trades and the liquidity is all pretty much going to BISq now. The surprising thing was Robosats that came in at second and so a lot of people are using it and it’s really, really nice and polished. So I think I’d encourage people to check that one out for acquiring non KYC bitcoin. And then a new contender on the street was just Peach. So I think that’s US based only, but it looks like it’s got a nice mobile interface to it.

Stephan Livera – 00:35:51:

I don’t think it’s us. I think it is around the world. Peach.

K3tan – 00:35:55:


Stephan Livera – 00:35:55:

I think they are a Swiss company, but they’re able to do it non KYSE. But I know, for example, Hoddle Hoddle is not available in the US. Right, right. And so maybe that’s also driving some of the result there that like bitcoin Twitter is probably more US biased, US based.

K3tan  – 00:36:12:

Yeah, fair enough.

Stephan Livera – 00:36:13:

Fair enough, that’s my guess anyway. So that’s over non KYC. Okay. Now node in a package, this could also get contentious. So who won here?

K3tan  – 00:36:21:

Very, very contentious here. So the best note in a package, we had 718 votes on the poll, but we actually had five options and you can’t do five options on Twitter and so I had to drop one. And so obviously I got shot on by the person that I dropped, understandably. But, you know, we had Raspi Blitz, myNode, Umbrel, Start Nine, and Run the Dojo. And the clear winner here was Umbrel with 40.9%. And I think that probably comes down to ease of use, beautiful, beautiful user interface and you know, an all in one solution to pretty much everything that you need and so, yeah, I wasn’t expecting any different of a result. Having said that though, Raspberry Blitz, Start Nine gaining some more traction there and I think Raspi Blitz has been around for a very, very long time and myNode and Run the Dojo are probably on equal footing there as well. So both of these are very it’s all across the board here. I don’t think there’s one clear, clear winner like we have with some of the other projects, but people are trying new implementations of their node packages and that’s great to see.

Stephan Livera – 00:37:39:

Yeah, and there’s been a lot of improvement and continual improvement. I saw just recently the Umbrel guys came out with the option and kind of related to what you’re saying, they came out with the option to not use Tall and just go clear net because again, the difficulties with that and they even offered the ability to use L2P, right. So it’s kind of like it’s interesting that they are doing that now. I understand some people criticize them for not being Foss, and I know there was the Run Citadel project that was basically started as kind of like an open source or a false fork of Umbrel and there is also Nodl as well. So not all is out there as well.

K3tan  – 00:38:12:

That’s right.

Stephan Livera – 00:38:14:

But they’ve all improved as well. I know Raspberry Blitz came out with a web interface and like Run the Dojo did a big update on their UI, so they’re all constantly improving. So that’s cool to see.

K3tan – 00:38:24:

And get this to fun. Mynode and Start Nine have come out with an option where you can buy a non Raspberry Pi option. So Start Nine obviously came out with their really nicely spec computer and my note also came out with a really nice spec computer as well. So that’s great to see that computers with more grants are doing the heavy lifting for these node packages. Fantastic to see.

Stephan Livera – 00:38:51:

Yeah, especially if it comes to Lightning and you’re trying to be a routing node on a Raspberry Pi. That’s why you see some of the people doing like professional nodes, they’re using a VPS for the professional level infrastructure and reliability and so on. And also because they don’t want to DOX their home IP, et cetera.

K3tan – 00:39:08:


Stephan Livera – 00:39:08:

Okay, so I guess those are kind of the key aspects around the survey itself. But I mean, just kind of speaking more broadly about the space. So, as we mentioned, there’s this sort of call it bitcoin Twitter echo chamber factor, right. How important is that? Because here’s two angles, right? One angle is bitcoin Twitter doesn’t matter, it’s just a bunch of irrelevant echo chamber people. But on the other hand, there are times that an important technology or project can become surfaced that way and things that that community is talking about now become very popular in a few years time. So maybe there’s like there’s kind of an interesting angle where you could make a case either way. Right. I’m curious, any reflections from you?

K3tan  – 00:39:48:

Yeah, look, I think some of the stuff that goes on in the echo chamber, it can be good in that we bring a lot of these projects to light. I know myNode, for instance, I found that very early on when it just had basically bitcoin core and Lightning in there and now it’s got all these other services that are implemented in there. I did a whole series of guides on it as well. And so people take to that and they look at it and they try it themselves and it becomes a popular piece of software. I think that’s sort of what’s happened with Sparrow Wallet as well. The community just really stuck onto that one as quickly as possible and ran with it. I think that’s what brings to service some of the best ideas is having these projects available as pages on Twitter that you can follow and you can get their latest updates and those sorts of things. And then obviously bitcoin is no other bitcoiners and they can refer to each other. They obviously talk and say, hey look, I saw this piece of software. What do you reckon? Give it a spin. I get asked to review sort of software all the time, so it’s really good to see that people are experimenting with software. Just be careful when you are doing that though. You don’t want to download something nefarious. So some of the key principles would be free and open source license, well vetted, something like that’s. Been around for a while. So yeah, that’s kind of what you want to do. But as to whether or not the results would have changed, I think so, yeah. If this was done on, say, Reddit, I think maybe that whole echo chamber might have different opinions. That’s probably a good thing.

Stephan Livera – 00:41:37:

Yeah, right. And I think it’s also important to point out that there’s that difference in terms of what the overall bitcoin users are. Right. Because I’m sure if we zoomed out and looked at the overall bitcoin users, it might be like more electromagnet users, maybe blockchain info or maybe even exodus, right? Like it’s a shitcoin wallet, but there’s a lot of bitcoin being spent using these shitcoin wallets. And so it’s important to just so people are listening, they understand there’s that distinction between what’s popular on bitcoin Twitter versus what’s used in the network and kind of the broader world. And how does the world view bitcoin compared to, how do, let’s say, our circles view bitcoin agree? Yeah. So this year we also saw some development around Feti Mint and for example, Cashew, which is listeners who are confused. So Feti Mint is like the Federated Mint idea. So it’s like this idea that you can have multiple and then Cashew is a single Mint and these are Chaumian e-cash. So you can have users who are a user of that platform and the point is that they have a lot more privacy. So even the operators of the platform don’t necessarily know the balances of what those users are doing. And the idea is it’s connected with Lightning.

K3tan  – 00:42:49:

But what are the trade offs for fun? No, what would be the trade offs there? Would it be a bit custodial? Would it?

Stephan Livera – 00:42:55:

Yeah, no, it is custodial. That’s absolutely the main risk. And of course that’s probably the main thing that the rug risk is certainly the main factor there. So I’m seeing it like there’s a rug risk, certainly, and there’s a privacy benefit, but it also depends on how you’re framing it. Right? Because I think some people are trying to frame this like, oh, this is the alternative to using an exchange. That, okay, it might be more private and maybe there’s some way that people can be onboarded this way. Or maybe there could be some services, I guess, to Steelman, right? To steelman their case. It might be something like currently custodial services might be able to upgrade their privacy in some ways like this. As an example. Stacker News. Right now it’s custodial, right? So right now when you have an account there, you can sign in with Lightning, of course, but then you deposit 5000 sats and you can tip articles and so on, and people tip you. But it’s custodial right now, so it is already custodial. I guess the argument is, could something like that be built using this kind of tech that’s more private? I don’t know. What do you think?

K3tan  – 00:43:57:

Well, look, for me, as someone who is pretty much I am 100% all about self custody. For me, look, if I’m going to use something like this, it will be maximum of what’s in my actual wallet. I don’t keep more than fifty dollars to one hundred bucks on there. Okay? So that I am more around, if I did want these features, I’d only be putting, at this point in time $100 max on there. Because I know that the rug risk is potentially real, right? So I wouldn’t be putting life savings on there, I wouldn’t be putting large sums of money in there. These sorts of things I probably wouldn’t be doing, but I can see that there may be some use case for private transactions and of course, if you accept those trade offs, sure, okay. But for some people, that might just not be a start up. They might not want to give away their keys to somebody else, and that might just not be a non-starter. And I see both ways there, but for me, again, I think it’s probably just I’d check it out, but I wouldn’t be checking out more than $100 in there. Right. So that’s kind of where I stand with it.

Stephan Livera – 00:45:10:

So that’s for you personally, I’m curious how you would see it then for, let’s say, a total new user, if somebody could say we could onboard a new person using some kind of feti mint or cashew sort of style mint.

K3tan – 00:45:22:

And they have no bitcoin whatsoever, like they don’t have a stack. Okay, they just got started.

Stephan Livera – 00:45:28:

So the idea is maybe this is how they’re getting their first bitcoin and then now, then later they can upgrade later, that kind of thing.

K3tan – 00:45:33:

Okay, sure.

Stephan Livera – 00:45:34:


K3tan  – 00:45:37:

I don’t know. Look, we have been beating the drum on getting your coins off the exchange. People do not upgrade like we know this, we know this for fun. People do not upgrade their setups until they get rugged. That’s when it’s too late, right? So people will probably start off with $50, $100, then that magically turns into $1000. That might then magically turn into five grand, ten grand, and then rug occurs. And they’ve all been meaning to go, yeah, I’ll do it, I’ll do it, I’ll do it. And they just don’t. I don’t know, man. I’m not quite convinced on that argument that it’s easier to switch because we’ve been beating the drum with self custody. No one freaking did it. FTX went down. Hey, lesson learned.

Stephan Livera – 00:46:26:

Yeah, I certainly, I take your point. There are certainly certain aspects of that. I take that. Right? But I’m in between, right? So, for example, I did a recent episode with the guy behind Bitcoin Ekasi, and so he mentioned that he’s onboarding some of them with custodial. However, the shop owners do have hardware wallets or hardware signing devices, and for their main stack, they are transitioning some of that out. So I think it kind of depends who’s doing the onboarding, but I certainly think right now blocks are really empty or not empty, but you can get for now, is it like a premature optimization, right? Are we trying to get people to this thing when like, hey, you can get them on chain right now? You can get them right now.

K3tan  – 00:47:10:


Stephan Livera – 00:47:10:

So for me personally, I’ll always be encouraging them, like non custodial for onboarding, but maybe in the future of, five or ten years down the line, I don’t know, maybe it’s part of an answer for people who cannot afford to go self custodial. I guess I can’t really pass a judgment on that yet, but I would say for now, today, maybe it’s premature optimization, maybe you just get them noncustodial.

K3tan  – 00:47:32:

To start with, and that’s what I would say as well. As of today, one set per byte is going through all the time you can onboard users, and we should be encouraging as many bitcoiners to go self sovereign, hold your own keys, run your own node. I think that has been it would have to be the theme for 2022, surely. Hold your own keys, run your own bitcoin node. And so I’m hoping that that will continue for a few more years to find maybe when I’m wrong in 2060 or something, that once that per block transactions may not go through, then maybe we can start to think about alternatives and maybe that alternative is Lightning. But yeah, okay, fine, fair enough. But then let’s look at the situation, what we have right now and then go from there. And I think the answer is self custody all the way.

Stephan Livera – 00:48:25:

Yeah, and certainly, I mean, I’m not disagreeing with you. I think it’s more just assessing the situation for people or trying to correctly steal man the case that the feti mint or cashew people might make right now. Speaking of Lightning, as we were just mentioning, you got any thoughts there? I’m curious, your view on payment reliability, adoption, usefulness of Lightning over this year, have you seen improvements there?

K3tan  – 00:48:53:

Yes, Stephan, I have seen improvements. I definitely have. I went to the Bitcoin Bush Bash back in November. I was expecting so I was going to sell so I was selling some books just over the Lightning Network. Payments ranged between $50 to $100, around that, you know, multiple times, times, and every single one went through. First time I did about maybe, I want to say seven to eight transactions there. Every single one went through first go, and custodial or noncustodial, like obviously non custodial. Your side for my side, obviously noncustodial. But it was a range, it was a mix. Some had Zeus, some had Muun, some had some others Wallet of Satoshi was in there. So, yes, it was a range. And I think that it worked every single time. And I was just blown away because I was expecting to go, here we go again. Reliability has significantly improved, in my opinion, just based on my experience. Obviously everybody else has a different experience, but for me right now, as of November 2022, I was impressed.

Stephan Livera – 00:50:03:

You mean that was when you did it?

K3tan – 00:50:04:

That was when I did it in November. And it was fine. It was great. So, yeah, Lightning, I’m really getting more like I was pretty bearish on it at a time when just payment failures and error messages and red screens and mate, it was the pits. But now I’m starting to see some seriously green ticks, which is phenomenal.

Stephan Livera – 00:50:26:

Yeah. And that’s really cool. To see. I think more and more people using it is a good thing for the network. I understand. And this is probably another area where there were some people criticizing as well. They were saying, oh, look at these people just sending Lightning to Lightning from, like, one fiat institution to another. Right? So, for example, people criticizing, say, Strike or Coin Corner or things like this because they were doing payments into Africa or let’s say, Coin Corner from Europe and UK into the Philippines, but they were using the Lightning Network to help transact fiat. So I can understand where some people would say, oh, that’s controversial. Why are you trying to promote fiat payments? But at the same time, more people using Lightning is arguably a good thing. It’s helping raise the awareness of bitcoin and Lightning in a way, and makes the network bigger and more viable in that sense. So I’m seeing a benefit there. I see it as overall, that’s a positive. Right? What do you think?

K3tan   – 00:51:17:

Yeah, if it has to be. Right. More people on Lightning Network, more people transacting. A lot of people will have these criticisms of privacy as well in the Lightning Network. And it’s like, Hold on, what are we comparing against? Right? If you had the banks and all of your transactions in there versus a Lightning Network, it’s chalk and cheese in terms of just privacy there. So I think more people transacting in a peer to peer fashion, ideally noncustodially, ideally without censorship. I think it’s a beautiful thing, and I think the Lightning Network enables that.

Stephan Livera – 00:51:48:

Yeah. And I think it’s important to compare there. Right. Because I think I tweeted something out. I think I was quoting an article saying Lightning payments are more private, or whatever. And I think one of the guys from Nym, Harry, came back saying, oh, look, see, lightning is not private, but I was saying, look, would you agree it’s more private than a credit card? And then he was, like, saying, oh, look, but look at this research showing that a global passive adversary or like a top 1% Lightning node could de anonymized 50% of the payments on the Lightning Network or something. It’s like, do you understand that right now these people are using a credit card where every person, like, everyone in the bank and everyone in the credit card company can see that payment and they can sell that data. Whereas right now, today, if you use a noncustodial or self custodial Lightning wallet or node, it’s massively better. It’s a massive improvement. So I think sometimes, like, the price, we need to see some nicknames, we.

K3tan  – 00:52:35:

Need to be a little bit more just understanding of the nitpicking as you were alluding to it’s, just more be, okay, look, let’s take a step back. What are we competing against? We’re trying to compete against credit cards and all those sorts of financial institutions and the privacy, the invasiveness of theirs versus what we currently can get on the Lightning Network. It’s chalk and cheese, in my opinion.

Stephan Livera – 00:53:03:

And I think maybe his argument was like, oh, people are being sold like a false sense of security or a false sense of privacy, which, okay, fine. Yeah. You’re not hiding from the NSA using the Lightning Network. You’re not Edward Snowden on the Lightning Network. You’re not James Bond. But are you better than the current system with credit cards? Yeah, probably. I think it is. I think it’s very fair to say that, especially in a self custodial Lightning context. So I think it’s fair to point that out. So I think then probably the other question I have for you is, do you believe we will see more of a lightning first approach, right? Like for low value or in person commerce? Will we see Lightning first next year?

K3tan  – 00:53:39:

Next year? I don’t know. If one sat per byte keeps going through, I’ll still buy my coffee on chain.

Stephan Livera – 00:53:47:

Fair enough, fair enough.

K3tan  – 00:53:51:

When I go onto the Lightning Network, it’s because I think that the on chain is just too clogged at the moment. That’s why I have my Lightning Network set up. Right. So whether it will be a first option, maybe, in person, maybe, but for me, commerce over the internet, when time is not that critical, like I don’t need to pay and tap and pay experience, then I think on chain presents a fantastic option there.

Stephan Livera – 00:54:18:

Yeah, fair enough.And so, yeah. Will we see that continue? I think so, but will we see more and more people get onto the Lightning Network?

K3tan – 00:54:19:

Yeah, I think we’ll do both.

Stephan  Livera – 00:54:28:

Yeah. And certainly I agree with you. In the cases where the timing is not of the essence, then, yeah, on chain, it still works. Right? It’s fine. What I’m saying is more like in the cases where the time does matter more like a quick example. Giacomo was telling a story about how in El Salvador, he was at the grocery store trying to pay with bitcoin and their payment system, the Chivo system at that time defaulted to bitcoin on chain. And so then it was like, oh, okay, fine, I’ll pay it on chain. And then he was, like, waiting for, like, 30 minutes or something, and then the line was backing up behind him because the checkout staff couldn’t move the transaction forward until the thing confirmed. So it was just, like, not practical. Now I think they have updated some of this now, so now you can more at least I think there’s a bit of an education conversation you have to have to sort of say, hey, choose the Lightning option so I can pay you straight away. But for an in person context, it’s just night and day. Right. So I could see that I could see this kind of Lightning first approach for in person commerce. But we’ll see what happens next year, right?

K3tan – 00:55:31:

I’m hoping for it. I’m hoping for it. Yeah. I think there should be a Lightning approach, sort of first approach when it comes to these in person. It just makes the experience much better. Just like, yeah, we have to compete with credit cards, right. Remember Stephan, we have to compete with them. So they offer tap and go. We also need tap and go.

Stephan Livera – 00:55:52:

Yeah, I think you’re right. I think we need to bring the best of what Bitcoin has to offer. Right. And I think if we’re kind of stuck with like on chain for in person commerce, even for small low value commerce, it’s not going to build, it’s not going to work.

Stephan Livera – 00:56:05:

Although, I mean, one other criticism, I think, and maybe not a criticism, but just an idea, is this idea that some people don’t spend Bitcoin until that’s all they have left to spend. And so that’s why they’re happy to just keep using fiat. Of course I’m happy to earn and spend and try to try to live. I’m not perfect, but I try to live Bitcoin native where possible. I’m curious if you see much of that changing next year or you think it’s going to take time there.

K3tan  – 00:56:28:

I think it’s going to take time for them. People are just dumping their fiat bags and there’s an unlimited amount of fiat going around. So I think it’s going to take some time until this whole thing completely decays. Yeah, I think that’s probably going to be a further while out before people start to use their Bitcoin as if it was the only thing that was left.

Stephan Livera – 00:56:50:

Yeah, totally fair. So any other thoughts or any other predictions or trends that you’re keeping an eye on for next year?

K3tan  – 00:56:58:

Yeah, look, I think honestly, a Maxi is being born pretty much on the daily. Ever since I think the FTX collapse and Terra Luna and all that sort of stuff just went down. A lot of people are just starting to go, okay, well, I want to focus on Bitcoin. I don’t want to deal with all of these other events and drama. I just want to focus on, okay, what is the problem that I have and what can potentially solve that? And I think when people are talking about transacting permissionlessly, when people are thinking about even saving, I think Bitcoin presents somewhat of an option, definitely. And so people want to should learn how to self custody it and run their own Bitcoin notes. And I am bullish on more people doing that, I really am.

Stephan Livera – 00:57:50:

Yeah. Fantastic. Well, I think that’s a great spot to finish up. Yeah. Any final comments? And where can people find you online?

K3tan  – 00:57:56:

Just hold your own keys, run your own Node, do privacy, best practices. People can find me at underscore K three Tan on Twitter and at Ministry of Nodes, which is the company that I run. Basically, we teach you how to hold your own keys, run your own Node, those sorts of things. So come book in a session. Would love to chat.

Stephan Livera – 00:58:17:

Fantastic. Thank you. I hope you found that show informative in terms of updates on what’s going on in the space. Of course. This will be the final episode for 2022, so I wish you all a happy new year, and I look forward to seeing you, whether that’s out at the conferences next year or just taking part in the online discussion. So thanks again to sponsors of the show. Thanks to everyone who supports me and shares the show with their family and friends. And thank you for being a listener. I’ll see you in the Citadels.

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