Have you considered using eSIMs instead of your typical telco mobile phone SIM? Silent.link joins me to talk about: 

  • How the online eSIM service works and costs
  • Privacy and security with phones
  • How carriers have you pwned
  • zero day exploits
  • Convenience and travelling with an eSIM
  • Experiences using Bitcoin and Lightning



Stephan Livera links:

Podcast Transcripts:

Stephan Livera 00:02:39

Silent.link welcome to the show 

Silent.link 00:02:42

Hello thanks for having us

Stephan Livera 00:02:45

So, I’ve seen your service and I’ve actually been playing around with using your service when I’m overseas as well it’s an interesting idea and yeah would like to chat a little bit about what you’re doing how it works because I think some listeners might be interested to hear a little bit about it so do you want to just give an overview what is Silent.link just an overview of how it works as well

Silent.link 00:03:09

Silent.link is purely Bitcoin business that is a branch of traditional shiat company that that is a reseller and MV now of  Sim and e-sim services it was made as an experiment to try to adopt the changing market and kind of welcome the Bitcoin adoption in our field of activity

Stephan Livera 00:03:45

Right and as I understand you have different service offerings can you just outline what those different service offerings are

Silent.link 00:03:52

Our main service offerings are a data only accounts that allow you to access internet in more than 150 countries wherever you go automatically and the rates are much lower than those for normal roaming services they are other service is identity accounts that also in addition to the data access they offer a phone number from now we have numbers from United States and from United Kingdom you can register services like signal WhatsApp and whatever to these numbers

Stephan Livera 00:04:45

Yeah, and so can you give a rough idea of the prices so people get an idea there

Silent.link 00:04:52

Pricing is very simple the data only is same costs nine dollars and it’s a one-time fee you pay it and you get five dollars on your initial balance then you can spend this balance on data services and you can top up as needed plans are pay as you go there is no expiration there are no hidden charges no monthly payments nothing like that with identity plans we require an annual fee of 59 dollars for the U.S identity and 59 about 59 pounds for UK identity to keep the number if you do not wish to keep the number you can just skip your annual payment and your account will just turn into a data only account

Stephan Livera 00:05:56

And so these Services can be used like a throwaway service because basically the user can sign up without having to do any give any specific information they just sign up pay Bitcoin or Lightning they get this eSIMs and they can use it and then just throw it away when they’re done with it if that’s what they want to do or I guess on the other hand you can refill it with Lightning as an example

Silent.link 00:06:24

Yes, absolutely the use case is completely up to the user they can keep the number for a long time or they can just discard it when they do not need it this differs us from the services that allow one-time activation those are specifically for throwaway accounts R is more like a midterm but by the way we are going to roll out the this throwaway service too because we want to give our users all the options

Stephan Livera 00:07:03

I see yeah okay so it’s not currently quiet for the throwaway although I guess you could use it like that but that’s something you’re looking to have okay and so as you mentioned the 9 dollars and 59 dollars are the initial cost to buy the product and then in terms of the ongoing cost per megabyte used online can you give a rough idea there is it somewhat comparable with local providers in those countries that the person is going to

Silent.link 00:07:32

Yes, it’s comparable it will most likely be more expensive in most of the places unless there are some exceptions Maybe because definitely  we can consider a local mobile services subsidized by by the needs to surveil the population so it’s maybe even surprising that we still pay for mobile services 

Stephan Livera 00:08:09

That reminds me very much of the saying well it’s like the cliche now it’s that if you’re not if you’re not paying for the product you’re you know you are the product but so in terms of main types of users as I understand the service it’s useful for tourists in one case because they’re traveling around and they just want to be able to quickly or even business Travelers and then the Privacy Focus so main uses or do you see any other particular use would you see those as the two

Silent.link 00:08:37

Yes, and actually for travelers it’s a much less expensive option than using the traditional roaming Services because our  it seems were specifically made for traveling and we offer very reasonable rates in almost all the countries wherever it’s at all possible so it’s actually quite good for traveling and it saves you from the hassle of having to find a local Sim too yeah that

Stephan Livera 00:09:13

Yeah, that can definitely save time especially if you are just traveling through a country for a few days and you don’t have time to get a local Sim in every country but you also don’t want to pay the high roaming fees that many people have with their home country provider so that’s something I’ve actually used I’ve used Silent.link in different countries some countries have had issues with using it but others I’ve had a pretty good experience with it so for example in the UK or the US I think it’s worked pretty smoothly for me but in some other countries I’ve had issues connecting to the service but I think it’s a good option to have just as a back pocket option and so it’s useful in that way in terms of the speed of the service like 4G 5G is it comparable there to what locals in those countries would be getting or maybe just a bit slower or do you have a comment there around the the speed of the data service 

Silent.link 00:10:06

Actually roaming subscribers usually get a higher priority than local subscribers so you could expect even better speeds but some operators limit connections to like 4G or sometimes they do not provide 5G that this happens and it’s completely up to them so but it’s rare because actually local carriers are interested in you spending money in their Network 

Stephan Livera 00:10:45

Gotcha, yeah so it’s interesting then you say that yeah I think it makes total sense then that the roaming providers get roaming users rather get a better treatment than the normal paying customers because the roaming people might be paying more and so one other area that’s interesting is that it depends on what country you’re in but with some countries KYC or some form of identity verification is often required in order to get a local Sim I’m curious if you have any thoughts on whether that is a trend we’re going to continue seeing or is it a trend that’s on the the up or the down how are you seeing that if we look at different countries around the world 

Silent.link 00:11:29

Of course it’s a trend and it’s up but fortunately it mostly exists on the retail level it’s a requirement for retailers to collect this information pass it to the major operators whereas for us we are free to kind of make our own polish on that 

Stephan Livera 00:11:45

I see yeah and so it’s it’s not like what you’re doing is illegal it’s just they they just  the rules are different for what you are offering than what for let’s say a standard Telco in the countries have to do 

Silent.link 00:11:59

What we do is totally legal hence we operate for three years without any issues 

Stephan Livera 00:12:06

Yeah, that’s great well I mean I think it offers a lot of options therefore especially for Bitcoin and Lightning users out there who just want an easy ability to use a service and oftentimes there are apps that people want to sign up and use that require an actual phone number identity and not just the data so this is another way for people to get that whether it’s using signal or WhatsApp or sometimes if you’re in a country and you need access to a service like like a food delivery or a taxi app or something like this that’s probably another example where maybe if you don’t already have that set up in your home country then you’re going to need the identity service at that point right to be able to sign up with that service

Silent.link 00:12:48

Yes, correct 

Stephan Livera 00:12:53

And so when it comes to I guess phone usage around the world and identity and surveillance there was a recent news article which I’m sure you probably saw or heard about this where the French government wants the power to block social media and to tap into cell phones so I’m curious if you saw this news article and if you have any reactions on this as a obviously as a phone service provider 

Silent.link 00:13:23

As a telecom professional I have to inform you that  surveillance over mobile phones was always possible and actually the functionality of eavesdropping to calls and even the surroundings of the phone were implemented since day one and it’s a strict requirement for any operator like normal operator to provide means for the law enforcement to tap into phone calls and to initiate phone calls from mobile phones of the users without them even knowing it not very well known information but it actually is the fact and we are proud to say that we help our users in this regard because if you have a local card like you’re in United States and you have an 8080 account for example it’s pretty trivial for your adversary to  to to perform this type of attack by leveraging their law enforcement or chorus and people finding the ways but if you have a roaming account and you came from other countries it’s absolutely unclear how to try to tap into your phone because you need to Leverage The operator that issued the eSIMs and at the moment it’s not in the home network so the surveillance capabilities are greatly diminished

Stephan Livera 00:15:22

Yeah, that’s an interesting point and so as you’re saying basically many people are already pwned from the from day one because it’s that relationship that the phone has with the Telco where the Telco as you’re saying can tap into the phone calls that are being made and of course you know everyone’s seen like the Spy movies or whatever I’m sure it’s like a you know it’s probably not that hard to tap into the phone calls being made just on the standard network but I’m curious then in terms of something like signal calls as an example is that so easy to tap into or that’s harder to tap into 

Silent.link 00:15:56

Well depends on to whom for Signal of course it might be possible to tap into we do not know because their application is distributed as an binary encrypted and we do not know what’s installed in our phones but as for the traditional surveillance capability when you talk on WhatsApp or on Signal the microphone on your device is busy and for example law enforcement or  mobile provider cannot tap into your phone and listen through like Legacy Technologies while you are talking on signal for example because your phone is physically busy with other caller and they need to establish a call from your device to either to tap into ongoing call or just listen to surroundings or the form anyway they need to initiate a call so if your phone is busy at the moment it’s probably some kind of protection

Stephan Livera 00:17:16

Interesting and as I’m aware that I know there are for example zero day attacks that are out there and exploits that are sometimes published or you know found and people get them on the dark net market and sometimes governments and police and law enforcement will use those exploits even and so as I understand some of those exploits can be based on getting a person to install something on their phone and maybe others are more like they can be done remotely to somebody’s phone and so I guess that could be an opportunity for whether that’s law enforcement or somebody else it could be done in a malicious way or it could be done in like a law enforcement way that they may be trying to use that exploit on a person to understand what’s going on that phone and so as an example it may be it may well be that signal is end-to-end encrypted or WhatsApp calls and end-to-end encrypted as an example if you know in some other country and you’re using signal or WhatsApp and you might think okay the call is encrypted but what if the device has been pwned I guess that’s probably one other area where even if the calls encrypted the device is pwned and from there you know whoever is trying to tap into the phone at that point can hear the call or see the text right

Silent.link 00:18:35

Sure or the device of the person you are talking to or any member of a group call definitely if you want to kind of attack on a mobile user you can attack either his device or the mobile network or just the user himself so that he installs and exploit to his device then attack his device those are three main roots of attack

Stephan Livera 00:18:57

Yeah and so I’m curious if you have any thoughts on the main vectors for some of these exploits so people who want to stay secure what are the main things that they need to be careful about with exploits 

Silent.link 00:19:09

They would definitely need to minimize the number of apps they use because definitely any app can introduce a vulnerability even though in the modern mobile operating systems apps work in sandbox but sometimes there are zero days in these sandboxes too so if you really have a operational security requirements then you should be very very picky about your hardware and how you use it and the software that runs on it for example you might want to explore GrapheneOS it’s a Googled Android very popular among our users

Stephan Livera 00:20:02

Yeah, I see and so as I understand the graphene OS team do a lot of things to try and Harden the operating system though imperfect because nothing’s perfect but they Harden the system against I guess attack and it is a more secure way of using the phone how much how much would you say that helps if you know as an example if somebody is using graphene OS but they still use a standard phone SIM and they don’t use Silent.link ECM or something like this then they can still get their phone obviously their phone calls can still be tapped by the provider or by law enforcement right 

Silent.link 00:20:43

Well, big shout out Graphene development team they’re doing absolutely incredible job and they actually are giving us the only working option today to have a privacy phone they mitigate some attacks actually it’s stated in their docs that they cannot even they probably can even prevent the attack that I described before so that it won’t be possible for the operator to initiate a call from the device but that’s not for certain they write about some measures that they undertake to mitigate this issue but we obviously were never able to test it

Stephan Livera 00:21:33

I see, yeah so again I’m not saying you know listeners go out and do illegal things I’m just saying for the yeah for the sake of people who are you know privacy and security conscious that might be a step for people to take whether that’s using you know they get a pixel is a typical phone and then they install GrapheneOS and then they might use an eSIMs and as you said be restrictive about what apps they install on that phone then I guess those are sort of the the basic steps that get you a phone that’s a little bit more secure let’s say than the typical phone but with let’s say reduced functionality and maybe it won’t be as slick and easy to use  compared to obviously other phones

Silent.link 00:22:17

I think that the most important thing is to actually understand your security requirements rather than trying to incrementally add privacy features to your life like understand your actual threat model

Stephan Livera 00:22:30

Okay, but in that case let’s say how would you tune your how would you tune it then in a way so if the idea is okay you have to first understand which I agree with you you have to first understand what’s your security model what’s your privacy threat model how would you then tune that like depending on what your worried about or trying to protect against what kinds of actions you know would you what levels would you go to

Silent.link 00:22:58

For example if you’re a higher network worth individual you probably should be very careful about the information about your private life for example so GrapheneOS yes it’s very good for you having roaming data account yes it’s very good for you probably it’s enough for this use case of course if you are a foreign spy or I don’t know some critically maybe you’re a whistleblower in some foreign country that doesn’t like whistleblowers the security requirements are of course much much higher you should be conscious about the hardware that you use that if you just change the seller account the new account can be linked to your old account if you use the same mobile phone because every mobile phone has an IMEI identifier that it sends like all the time even if there is no SIM card in it at all and you might be safer if you take care of your like location habits because a person can be identified by the rules how he travels every day quite precisely so it really depends on your use case

Stephan Livera 00:26:37

I say yeah and I guess that’s why some of the settings are locked down and things like this on some of these operating systems like graphene OS I’m curious how you are seeing some of the other competitors in that space whether it’s calyx Os or some of these others out there how do you view the competitors to graphene OS

Silent.link 00:26:55

Most of our users use GrapheneOS seems to be the most robust the most ported cannot really speculate on the Alternatives

Stephan Livera 00:27:11

Okay, yeah fair enough and so then yeah I guess at the end of the day the there’s certain things that you just if you’re using a phone at all it’s probably just a difficult thing I understand there are some there’s some people out there who are taking it to that level where maybe they don’t even have a phone I know people like Janine j9 Rome has mentioned before that she doesn’t even use a phone like she just does it all off a computer device to to be more you know extra privacy conscious but of course there is more difficulty associated with all these things right and even with using the likes of GrapheneOS maybe it’s a little more difficult to use some of these services that require location like as an example it might be a little more difficult to use let’s say Uber or things like this so if you’re traveling around maybe that’s a little more difficult although I’ve heard people will use the web app version as an example for Uber so that’s one example there and I guess where things are going in terms of e-sim I’m curious obviously you’re in the industry so you probably have a bet you have a better view of this than I do but it seems like there’s a slow but gradual shift towards eSIMs in general like not just not like not just for you know users of Silent.link but even just normal Telco users are being pushed in the direction of using e-sim is that the trend that you are seeing or do you see it like physical Sims are here to stay for something

Silent.link 00:28:40

Of course definitely plastic Sims makes no sense anymore and they take a lot of place in the devices so the manufacturers are very happy to kind of ditch them completely 

Stephan Livera 00:28:57

I see and then does that have any implications for you and for your service or it doesn’t really matter it just means like actually it’s probabl less friction for somebody to now switch and use something like silent.link or any other e-sim provider 

Silent.link 00:29:12

Unfortunately at the moment only premium phones have a Sims but the trend is definitely in the direction of completely replacing physical Sims with Essence in Old Hardware

Stephan Livera 00:29:25

I see so I guess at the lower end the devices will still have physical Sims and that’s where it’ll still stay for some time until let’s say the more premium devices until you know and maybe that will be some time you know until let’s say most people on Earth can afford a premium device whereas let’s say today maybe the Western countries and the rich people in poorer countries can afford the premium firms I do not consider

Silent.link 00:29:59

I do not consider and it seem as a premium feature it’s not like an expensive camera so it will be absolutely everywhere

Stephan Livera 00:30:06

Yeah, and so when it comes to that then what about locking of phone so do you need an unlocked I presume you need an unlocked phone in order to use Silent.link or these e-sim Services because a lot of other phones might be carrier locked right

Silent.link 00:30:22

Sure you would need a carrier unlocked form

Stephan Livera 00:30:28

But I suppose that would be reasonably common nowadays and then for probably privacy focused users they might be buying a secondary phone as their privacy phone or burner phone let’s call it and maybe for that that’s where you know I’ve seen discussion online people might use the likes of a pixel like the pixel line the six you know the 6A or the 5A or that a line is a like a budget version so I hear that’s a common one that people do is they get the pixel at like 6A or whatever the latest a 6A 7A whatever the latest one is they’ll use that one as just a low-cost device that they install Graphene and then get an e-sim so that’s my understanding of how you know some privacy enthusiasts are going about this currently

Silent.link 00:31:19

They might even go as far as having two phones like one pixel that they use them as a their handheld device and the other pixel that works is a mobile router that actually carries carries our Sim it makes some sense and you can swap the second maybe less expensive form more often and this way you avoid tracking by IMEI identifier 

Stephan Livera 00:31:50

So I guess at some level the like in that example let’s say you have your kyc phone and your quote unquote non-kyc phone 

Silent.link 00:32:03

No it’s the first one is not KYC phone the for the first one is just a phone without a SIM card that does not connect I see a cellular network it connects through the second phone that works as a personal hotspot and kind of shields the main phone from the cellular network 

Stephan Livera 00:32:23

Gotcha so it’s sort of like a proxy for your phone almost okay so yeah okay so it’s more like you have two phones and maybe the premium phone is just connecting to the Wi-Fi that’s being  produced or created with the mobile hotspot of the cheaper smaller phone let’s say or not smaller but you know what I mean the the phone that’s actually connecting through you know the Sims the eSIMs service and I guess that’s one way to sort of get around some aspects of it but I guess where people might fall down is as an example they have to be careful what services they would log in on because if you once you log into a service let’s say whether it’s you know Gmail or Facebook or something like this that’s again where things can get tired again you can tie your real world identity to maybe your location or what you’re doing or what you’re searching so I guess that’s another area that people have to be mindful of right 

Silent.link 00:33:19

Of course if the identify themselves then but not help with that the other the other feature that easily identifies mobile user is talking over Legacy phone calls that’s why if we had initially disabled the outbound calling feature actually it was one of the reasons why we did it we may enable it in future products but still the recommendation is to not talk over  the phone over Legacy phone calls because the equipment to fingerprint users by voice was deployed to most mobile networks more than 10 years ago so you could expect  this equipment to work very well and to be able to identify if anyone with several seconds of their voice

Stephan Livera 00:34:20

I see and so in some cases you might still need an inbound call or you might have the option of having an inbound call maybe for some Services maybe they want to do like an OTP that’s done over a phone call is that something people can use your identity e-sim for or is it more like you can’t do that and you need to use the SMS function for that

Silent.link 00:34:47

No, we haven’t bound calls activated on these accounts so you can activate over text or over voice call 

Stephan Livera 00:34:57

I see yeah but it says the outbound calls that are stopped okay understood yeah so I guess the is it could it be that if there’s a lot of people using this kind of service could that then create more suspicion for users of this service right yeah because many of them will just be legitimate you know Travelers or whatever 

Silent.link 00:35:39

Sure it could happen on some networks for some reason they start blocking users that were kind of roaming in their networks for several months or more this happened but very very rarely and all they had to do is just change the eSIMs and they’re good to go again

Stephan Livera 00:36:01

I see is there any recommendation about cycling between e-sim between data only e-sims like is it something that people should be refreshing every three months every six months every year like having a new one

Silent.link 00:36:15

We don’t mind but actually it’s completely up to their security or privacy requirements so mileage may vary 

Stephan Livera 00:36:22

And for some users I guess the security part of this might also play into obviously if they’re a Bitcoin user they want to be careful or cautious in terms of how much they keep on that device in a hot online connected device and that’s where obviously the recommendation about using Hardware devices and Hardware security Hardware wallets etc. can come in because you know if we’re talking about exploits and things that people are trying to protect themselves against but then maybe that’s another area where people want to be cautious about the private keys to any Bitcoin wallets that are let’s say living on that device maybe that’s also another aspect where people want to think about okay how much Bitcoin am I going to keep on this device quote unquote on this device what we really mean is the private keys for that Bitcoin or the access to spend but maybe that’s another thing to consider and then maybe for the larger amounts that’s where people use Hardware devices to secure obvious to larger amounts of Bitcoin 

Silent.link 00:37:32

Actually a pixel with the GrapheneOS is a pretty good wallet solution because you can you can create multiple user accounts with GrapheneOS and each one of them is can be encrypted so when you log in into another account you can disable network access to this account and it can be considered as an air gapped not completely air-gapped but at least offline wallet

Stephan Livera 00:38:11

Yeah I’m not sure how to agree with that I mean the air gapping part is meant to mean like no internet there are no internet connectivity but I think you I would say it’s probably more secure than the non you know Graphene version of that phone and has more security features right like it has this Titan chip as well I’m curious if you have any thoughts on that Titan ship and any security that’s added there

Silent.link 00:38:36

That’s the best we have at the moment definitely and actually yeah as I said it’s a pretty good solution for a wallet so I wouldn’t trust my life savings to it but as a wallet for like medium amounts it’s much better than almost anything you can imagine in a mobile device

Stephan Livera 00:39:04

Yeah okay and so I guess in the age of increased surveillance right like this obviously the French the recent news with the French government wanting to give French police the right to basically spy and take geolocation of users where do you see all that going do you see that that’s going to get worse around the world like that other countries will also try to bring the same functionality in or that it already exists in various other countries

Silent.link 00:39:37

Always has been they always could listen to your calls they always knew your location it was from day one it was kind of designed this way

Stephan Livera 00:39:49

I see well I guess maybe in this case I mean certainly I’m not disagreeing with you there of course cell tower triangulation and that has been around for a long time I think maybe what’s specifically being spoken about in this case is activating certain features that already are on that phone so for example activating the camera activating the microphone and the GPS on that phone when we already as you are saying as you correctly say things like cell tower triangulation have already been around for a long time

Silent.link 00:40:15

Yes, and triangulation is enough to track locations so GPS is not actually needed that much especially actually when you can surveil for a person for a prolonged time one thing to add about the GrapheneOS as a wallet there is a very good choice of secure mobile wallets for the Turok on Graphene for example Samurai wallets it’s kind of one of the industry standards in Bitcoin security

Stephan Livera  00:40:51

Right, and as I understand that with Android there are okay so from what I’ve heard with phone development now you tell me if I’m getting any of this wrong but as I understand with let’s say the Apple line and with the premium Androids they have chips and things that can give you additional security whereas let’s say the lower cost Android devices maybe don’t have that level of security and so I’m curious if you’re aware of  instances where let’s say Android wallet developers are able to use that let’s say the Titan chip as part of the device security 

Silent.link 00:41:33

Yeah we have Titan only in pixels and we have a GrapheneOS the work only on forms with Titan chips so we are kind of stuck with pixels at the moment

Stephan Livera 00:41:47

So yeah I mean certainly there are concerns about obviously you know privacy fundamental Liberties and things like this that are happening around the world where you know people who are not doing crimes that they just they merely want to not be treated as a Criminal by default which is how sadly some governments are or many governments around the world are treating people and so that’s where some of these privacy tools and security tools and techniques can come in and I think what’s interesting as well is they will often have this rhetoric and you see it in the news articles or in the press releases they’ll say things like we’re only going to do this only for a small number of people who you know let’s say let’s see what some of the wording they say it’s quote unquote when justified by the nature and seriousness of the crime and quote unquote for a strictly proportional duration right and they say okay it’s only going to be a few dozen cases per year but of course this is how many of these things start they get a foot in the door and then from there it just expands on and on as people like obviously people like Edward Snowden who have helped expose this kind of illegal surveillance that was going on and I think that’s sadly going to be a continuing Trend with what’s going on around the world I’m curious if you have any thoughts or reactions to add there

Silent.link 00:43:12

Yes, of course the first they say these things and then you find out the elixed kind of everything more than you could even imagine this is the normal route of operation another

Stephan Livera 00:43:23

Another common issue that comes up here is people governments or even corporations can say we’re going to use some of this data for our own analytics but don’t worry we’re going to deal we’re going to do Anonymous we’re going to sort of sorry they say we’re going to anonymize the data and then later it comes out that some researcher or someone else has found a way to actually de-anonymize the data from let’s say a few data points that they were able to then figure out actually based on what I you know did some analytical research and I found out based if I knew these two or three things I could basically pin it down to an individual or pin it down with a reasonable level of certainty about who that person was or maybe where they live or where they work or something like this and so it’s a another thing that people have to be wary about is that rhetoric that line of don’t worry we’ll anonymize the data and keep you safe that way but in practice it doesn’t happen like that and in practice it ends up being accessible and de-anonymizable say if that’s a word or people are able to de-anonymize

Silent.link 00:44:31

Sure they just leak it before it was anonymized

Stephan Livera 00:44:33

Yeah, maybe that’s another way as well on top of the clever analytical ways that my the out there so I guess the I’m curious like so some listeners may be listening and thinking well look I’ve just got my standard you know KYC phone with all my you know KYC stuff how would it work then accessing some of the services that they would need to would you say they could use like a two phone approach or is it more like you know they’re just going to have to lock down certain functions and you only use that stuff on let’s say a desktop computer where they need to and then have the phone as a more private device do you have any tips or recommendations for people out there

Silent.link 00:45:25

Well, people have a completely different use cases we have a lot of users that do not care about the privacy issues that much but they use our service out of the convenience of being able to pay with Bitcoin

Stephan Livera 00:45:42

And that’s that’s a great using that’s a great reason for having it to begin with I mean full stop right like just being able to pay with Bitcoin obviously means there’s less trading around or having to off ramp or having to sell some Bitcoin for cash to then be able to pay phone bills with that so I mean it’s useful  just in that sense

Silent.link 00:46:01

So, tin foil hat is not mandatory to use our service 

Stephan Livera 00:46:03

Sorry you’re saying tinfoil hats are not is 

Silent.link 00:46:06

It is not mandatory to use our service totally

Stephan Livera 00:46:09

Right yeah yeah of course yeah and certainly I mean the convenience factor is there if you are traveling and let’s say you’ve just gotten off the plane and you need you need to be able to get online and check your emails and things like this without paying you know Sky High roaming costs so those are certainly there’s that use case also the traveling tourists businessman use case 

Silent.link 00:46:34

Sure and the since there are no recurring fees and the balance does not expire you can just keep it in your phone in case you need it

Stephan Livera 00:46:43

Yeah, that’s certainly a useful Factor as well because I think people have seen these stories of let’s say you know maybe a child was using their parents phone and it was roaming and they ran up a you know multi-thousand dollar bill and they come back from the holiday or the travel trip and now they’re like what I just got this massive bill I wasn’t expecting it so I guess that’s one way that you can sort of pay what you know and then make sure you switch to using the eSIMs in your phone so that you’re not paying the roaming fees and you’re instead using the e-sim fee and you restrict the amount that you’re actually paying to let’s say you charge it with twenty dollars worth or something then that’s the amount that’s the amount that  you’re on the hook for let’s say or that you’ve paid you’ve already paid

Silent.link 00:47:34

Those are roaming fees too but the minimum Roman fees the greatly optimized a Roman phase the the several times maybe a magnitude order magnitude less than normal Roman fees from major operators 

Stephan Livera 00:47:51

Gotcha, so I guess yeah so it’s interesting that there’s two I guess two big uses right it’s one is the convenience convenience factor and then for other people it’s a privacy Factor so you know for whoever whatever people want they can I guess they can they can get what they need it’s like raw shark test you see what you need you see what you want out of it so okay so I think that’s probably the key points do you have any I guess any updates or anything else that you wanted to share before we close up 

Silent.link 00:48:24

Well, we will be offering new plans we already rolled out data plus plan from a new provider that seems to be much more reliable and we encourage our users to switch to this new provider or maybe have  two it seems from both providers in the phones this way they will achieve 100 reliability we will also be rolling out a new service for eight OTP codes very soon and we will also start a discussion group on our magic server so that our users will be able to share the privacy and security practices and discuss the use cases and hopefully it will help them raise their operational security to the absolutely new level  

Stephan Livera 00:49:24

Great, one other question actually just about on-chain or Lightning I’m curious as a Lightning you know Lightning enables service what’s your experience been like using Lightning 

Silent.link 00:49:38

Lightning is very good for us definitely actually we enabled it from day one and now I cannot even understand how Bitcoin Merchants can could live without Lightning it’s very convenient in payments and also submarine swaps are absolutely great this is the best best way to break the connection between your kind of income and your spending very very convenient and I think that any Bitcoin Merchant will have to run a Lightning node and the clever ones will run notes themselves it’s not that difficult

Stephan Livera 00:50:39

Yeah, that’s great to hear I mean I certainly I encourage people to take their financial self-sovereignty into into their own hands whether that’s Bitcoin on chain or Lightning and certainly when you’re running your own BTC pay or you know using your own Lightning node it’s certainly a new level of sovereignty that you’ve got and as you mentioned using submarine swaps that’s an example where let’s say you have Lightning channels and people are paying you and then let’s say after the week you’ve received all this Lightning money and then you need to periodically flush some of that back out and take maybe take some of that on chain then that’s where maybe you might use the submarine swap provider you pay them Lightning and they can pay you on chain somewhere else and so then that’s as you mentioned you can sort of separate out the the connection from what you’ve received to what you are spending later on so that’s also interesting there so I think that’s probably the the key points hopefully you know that’s been interesting for listeners and  yeah you can find Silent.link on the web at Silent.link and  thank you for joining me 

Silent.link 00:51:40

Thank you 

Stephan Livera 00:51:45

Get the show notes at stephanlivera.com/492 if you liked the show make sure to give it a thumbs up on YouTube a five star on Spotify a good rating or share it with your family and friends or on social media so other people can find the show thanks for listening and thanks for helping me out I’ll see you in the Citadels

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