Bitcoin NFTs on Counterparty (and How to Get or Create Your First One)

Omnipresent all across media channels and yet largely misunderstood, NFTs are this cycle’s subject of fascination and (mostly) irrational speculation. Due to the excessive hype associated with the “looks rare” movement, some commentators even went as far as comparing NFTs to the ICOs of 2017 and 2018 – and rightfully so, the exuberance for scarce assets and the ease of “minting” NFTs has led to a situation where everybody seems to issue and sell whatever they may perceive as a collectible. Just fiat inflation issues.

But unlike ICOs, with NFTs what you see is what you get. Nobody buys these tokens expecting anything else other than receiving a unique digital asset which is associated with a piece of art. While ICOs come with roadmaps and promises about the future of the project, NFTs are cryptographic hashes written on the blockchain. Basically baseball cards for nerds.

It’s also worth mentioning that not all NFTs are created equal: while the most widely-known and commercialized are ERC-721 tokens on Ethereum, there are also Liquid sidechain tokens that get traded on Raretoshi. However, the truly special ones get minted on the Bitcoin blockchain via Counterparty, benefit from the most secure network of them all, get stored on pretty much every sovereign node, and receive unique names that act just like internet domains that can’t be replicated. If the token is the art, then it’s the most resilient and provably one-of-a-kind of them that matters the most and is most likely to stand the test of time.

And yes, there’s also the associated art. Presented under the form of a jpeg, gif, YouTube link, or even audio file, it’s basically the mutable and changeable visual representation of the token. But the art file itself does not get stored on the blockchain: most of these only exist on Imgur, IPFS, or some other centralized website which specializes in allowing users to upload and share images. This means that one shouldn’t regard the jpeg as anything more than the nice wrapping which offers visual details about the token’s significance.

Though some users start lawsuits and get offended when the same image gets used to mint another NFT, they should remember that they actually paid for a unique token that provably can’t be replicated. It’s “non-fungible” (you can’t replace one with another, as there is no identical hash) and it’s essentially what Hal Finney described in 1993 while suggesting how cypherpunks can have “hours of fun”.

As previously established, the images are mere visual representations that help you understand what the token is about. However, it’s this totally fungible and replicable art that initially draws your attention and makes you want to support a certain artist’s work. Some of these files (most commonly jpegs and gifs) are meritoriously artsy, others come with an amateurish dankness, but most of them seem lazy, half-baked, uninspired, and most likely only exist to make a quick buck on the hype train.

Which is why I’m bearish on Ethereum and Solana NFTs, but bullish on Bitcoin Counterparty creations: the art isn’t only better, but also timeless enough to stand the test of time and make a comeback even after the investment bubble bursts. Bitcoiners build protocols and layers that last and find a purpose years after they were declared dead and abandoned. The Ethereum side is all about finding new sources of hype and conveniently burying the past failures. In 2021, the Omni layer was revived through John Calvalho’s Synonym project, while Counterparty once again rose to prominence thanks to its rich history of art. Don’t expect to read similar news about Raiden or Plasma.

Where do NFTs come from?

There’s definitely more to the jpeg than meets the eye. And much like everything else that Ethereum turned into a soulless VC-funded yet unscalable snake pit, NFTs were first popularized on Bitcoin’s Counterparty protocol between 2014 and 2016.

Mind you, it was Namecoin (formerly known as BitDNS, a hard fork of Bitcoin which Satoshi Nakamoto himself endorsed) which gets credited for issuing the first NFTs in history: Quantum, Blockheads, Comicons and Cryptoeggs were basically avatar projects which sought to provide every new user a unique digital identity. They weren’t meant to become collectibles, but people started trading them and they accrued market value. Several years later, Ethereum would copy this approach with CryptoPunks and other similar computer-generated avatars that you can see in Twitter avatars today.

But after the Counterparty protocol launched in January 2014, bitcoiners started to create their own form of tokenized art. From this point onwards, you can identify two significant schools of thought: the video game asset innovation side (Shaban Shaame’s “Spells of Genesis” and Christian Moss’ “SaruTobi Island” cards being two of the finest examples) and the meme side (Rare Pepes, Fake Rares, Leftist Tears, Bitcoin Heads).

Of course, not all of these NFTs emerged in 2014. The Rare Pepe directory was first created in September 2016, Spells of Genesis cards first appeared in September 2015, while Fake Rares and Bitcoin Heads were issued in the second half of 2021.

Yet the element that makes them stand out is the fact that they’re user-generated via graphic design software or even hand drawing. Bitcoiners love proof of work – so unlike their Namecoin and Ethereum counterparts (no pun intended), they don’t issue art that a computer generated automatically. You can find a charming human element in all of these Bitcoin NFTs.

To find out more about the history of NFTs, read WhiteRabbit1111’s excellent article “The origin assets of the digital antiquities market (NFTs)“. It’s a deep dive into all sorts of projects, some of which are lesser known but deserve praise for pioneering what would later turn into a thousand-bitcoin industry (most notably, OLGA is really endearing).

What is Counterparty?

Counterparty is a Bitcoin protocol that history books rarely mention. Even “Mastering Bitcoin”, arguably the most extensive and exhaustive of all publications on the topic, only describes Counterparty in one paragraph before moving on to altcoins (which get more coverage).

One could argue that Counterparty is a relic from a long-forgotten past, a ghost town which serves as a reminder of the early intentions and aspirations of bitcoiners. Essentially, it’s a protocol which enables anyone to permissionlessly issue tokens and set up contracts which pay dividends to holders. Counterparty is a bona fide prototype of what would eventually get turned into the Ethereum project – except that it had a fair launch, it has no blockchain of its own, and all of its transactions (from issuance to transfers) get settled on the Bitcoin blockchain and pay transaction fees to the Bitcoin miners.

Counterparty NFTs often depict moments from Bitcoin’s history.

In 2014, bitcoiners dreamt of tokenizing stocks and commodities on their beloved network. Trade Apple stocks, cocoa bean futures and gold tokens on Bitcoin? Sure, why not! Build decentralized companies whose assets exist natively on the Bitcoin network? That’s also possible on Counterparty. Tokens that do fundraisers and pay dividends to their owners? Yes sir!

This was before the scaling debate and before deciding that blocks should remain small to preserve decentralization and censorship resistance. Most people behind the project would later jump ship to the new and shiny Ethereum, which could technically do more and theoretically scale better for these use cases.

Because for a while, Counterparty transactions were unfairly regarded as “spam” which doesn’t serve the best interests of the Bitcoin project. One could argue that someone’s money doesn’t get confirmed faster due to the intensive trade of Counterparty tokens, since the former pays higher fees than the latter. Also, the OP_RETURN transactions that Counterparty uses to insert arbitrary data in Bitcoin blocks takes more block space than a regular transaction.

But then again, this means that a higher fee gets paid. Also, to keep the Bitcoin project’s incentives sustainable, we must build a competitive fee market. There’s also another small bit about the Bitcoin network being permissionless and enabling users to be sovereign (i.e. use their own money however they want). So how can it be spam if it pays its fair fee to the miners?

Counterparty has been on the “wrong” side of Bitcoin history and many chose to not talk about it at all. It has a native token (XCP) which is used to give arbitrary name to assets: if you pay 0.5 XCP, then you can call your new NFT “BTCTKVRMAG” instead of allowing the protocol to automatically name it “A11113761191968729490” (where “A” stands for “asset”). You can also sell your new tokens and give dividends to holders by using the XCP token.

But there’s a catch: Counterparty was created by bitcoiners who witnessed the Mastercoin ICO (which later turned into the Omni layer) and hated it. The creators of the protocol didn’t want to do a fundraiser and offer investors a token. That’s not Bitcoin enough.

So instead, they asked participants to “burn” their BTC and receive XCP in exchange. What this means is that in January 2014, almost 2131 bitcoins were irreversibly sent to the address 1CounterpartyXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXUWLpVr. They purposely made up an address that’s hard to generate, and to which nobody has access. So in order for the entire supply of 2,648,755 XCP tokens to get created, real BTC had to get burnt.

According to the March 23rd 2014 article “Why Proof-of-Burn”, the bitcoiners who created Counterparty didn’t want the developers to gain an unfair advantage and they didn’t want big investors to get any control over the network either. Everyone had an equal chance to burn BTC and receive XCP in exchange. Also, nobody got a first mover advantage so there would be no centralized entity to coordinate a pump and dump scheme. Everyone is just as interested in the project’s success and faces the same risks.

However, this doesn’t mean that the value of the XCP token is pegged to the price of BTC, or that the market cap should be equivalent with the 2131 BTC. As of December 28th 2021, 2131 BTC are worth $105 million while the entire XCP supply is only worth $32.8 million. This comparison was not even necessary to prove a point about XCP being a utility token that doesn’t compete with bitcoin. It’s not supposed to be a store of value, you only buy it to issue your named asset and use it for its intended purpose. Holding XCP speculatively would be foolish, as the token is not even listed on popular exchanges and the only way to acquire it is through dispensers.

Speaking of dispensers, Counterparty is a bona fide decentralized exchange. Anyone can sell assets without anyone’s permission and have the BTC (or some other Counterparty token) get automatically sent to a personal wallet after each transaction is settled on the main chain.

If you want to buy 0.5 XCP with your BTC to name your brand new NFT or issue dividends to your existing NFT holders, then you go to a dispenser and search for the user offering the most advantageous deal. FreeWallet.io, possibly the best Counterparty interface available right now, lets you navigate between exchanges (open markets for various token pairs) and dispensers (vending machines where you buy/sell Counterparty tokens and NFTs for BTC).

The vanity aspect in issuing named tokens is pretty unique to Counterparty. If you look at Raretoshi NFTs on Liquid, you’re going to observe that they’re named after the random cryptographic hash (for example, e9f53c1fd6f71eccbe2f3bf5523ef29d1de9fbb9a155c7682808ffcd17299728). On Ethereum, they bear the name of the contract (for example, JScrilla’s PEPEGOAT spinoff Rare Pepe Wallet ReDux is called 0xb932a70A57673d89f4acfFBE830E8ed7f75Fb9e0). The major difference is that on Counterparty you buy appropriately-named assets and you can use the token name to search for any kind of transaction information on the xchain explorer.

Counterparty is basically an early version of Ethereum which got built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain as a protocol whose transactions get settled with BTC while paying fees to the Bitcoin miners. It was most likely abandoned because it scales really poorly. But in the summer of 2021, when the NFT mania was at its peak and Ethereum was dealing with ridiculously high fees, bitcoiners remembered about Counterparty and seized the low demand for Bitcoin block space to bring some old art back to life.

While some will discourage the use of Counterparty and recommend Raretoshi on Liquid or RGB Spectrum on the Lightning Network, the reality is that none of these are as secure or as decentralized as the Bitcoin blockchain. Also, none of them is guaranteed to live for as long as the base layer itself. And since there are lots of collections which exist on Bitcoin, there will be collectors to acquire an interest in them. The goal is clearly not to “scale”, but to grant the highest security and longevity to assets.

Counterparty has been pronounced “dead” many times before, but it made a couple of comebacks specifically because it’s built on Bitcoin and requires minimal maintenance – the assets will always exist and they’re secured by a global network of miners and full nodes, so it’s only the user interfaces (wallets) that need improvement from time to time. Your NFTs may cost more to create and transfer (as compared to centralized platforms like Liquid and Ethereum), but they are also safer because shutting the network is virtually impossible. Also, is it really shitcoining if you build it on top of Bitcoin and contribute to the network’s security budget by paying fees with every transaction?

How to create your first Bitcoin NFT on Counterparty with Freeport

Depending on how much you care about the name of your asset, there are two ways of issuing Bitcoin NFTs on Counterparty and they have different difficulty levels. By far, the simplest way is to get the FreePort wallet by Joe Looney (available as a Chrome and Firefox browser extension), transfer a couple of transactions worth of BTC, and then follow the simple user interface to upload your jpg/gif and issue your NFT.

If you use FreePort, you’ll never have to touch XCP or complicate your existence with buying from dispensers. You’ll be able to mint, send, and admire the NFTs in your collection in a very simple interface. So here are the steps involved:

  1. Go to https://github.com/loon3/Freeport-extension
  2. If you’re using Chrome, click on the URL below the “Install from Web Store” subtitle and follow the on-screen instructions. After you’re done, you will notice the Freeport logo on the top-right side of your Chrome window, right next to the address bar and to the left of the options menu.
  3. If you’re using Firefox, you must use web-ext command line to install the file available at https://github.com/loon3/Freeport-extension/raw/dev/packages/freeport-0.3.0-fx.xpi. This is the more complicated way and you’re going to have to read the syntax for instructions such as “web-ext run”. However, if escaping Google’s panopticon is what you’re after, then it’s going to be worth it.
  4. Set up a new wallet with Freeport. By default, it’s going to generate a 12-word BIP39 seed and you should also set up a passphrase (I recommend using both letters and numbers) to unlock your assets. This is basically a Bitcoin wallet, so treat it as such – take care of your seed phrase, never reveal it to someone else and write it down on a piece of paper or on metal sheets.
  5. Once you’re set up and logged in, you will see the Freeport main menu which features three buttons: Collect, Create, and Buy/Sell. In the top-left corner you will see your Bitcoin Counterparty address, and in the top-right corner you will find an orange button which displays the Bitcoin logo – this one allows you to check your BTC balance and send arbitrary amounts. Also notice that on the bottom menu you have a “Settings” button. You can use it to change your receiving/NFT minting address (a feature that you’ll never find on Ethereum because it has no UTXOs by design), view your passphrase (never take screenshots), set transaction fees manually, and reset the app to load a different wallet.
  6. Go to the “Create” menu and pick “Create New Item”. A menu will pop to ask you to upload a gif, jpg, or png image. After you upload it to Freeport, it actually goes to Imgur servers and gets its own URL.
  7. Next up, you will have to name your asset (keep in mind that this is the token description, not the token name), set the supply (for instance, the Leftist Tears collection has a limited supply of 21 cards per edition) and decide whether or not you want the asset to become divisible (is it going to be traded in whole units or also enable fractions?). After this, you must choose between a priority fee and an economy fee – these are estimations based on the wallet’s own observation of the Bitcoin transaction mempool. To set the fee manually based on your own analysis and time preference, return to the “Set transaction fees manually” menu.
  8. Once you’re done setting the parameters, press the “Create” button. If you have enough BTC in your wallet to pay the transaction fee, then the OP_RETURN transaction will get broadcast across the Bitcoin network and await confirmation. After your first network confirmation, your NFT will appear in Freeport’s “Collect” section. You can send it to friends who share their Bitcoin addresses with you, but the Freeport wallet is not advanced enough to let you set up dispenser to sell it. You can also receive NFTs from friends by sharing one of your addresses with them. But if you want to unlock the full potential of the Counterparty protocol, you will have to use an advanced wallet like FreeWallet.io on desktop.

Create and manage your Bitcoin NFTs with FreeWallet.io on desktop (Mac, Windows, and Linux)

The second and more difficult way to mint and manage Bitcoin NFTs involves a desktop wallet like FreeWallet.io. If you want your new asset to bear a certain name, you’re interested in accessing dispensers, and you also want to pay dividends to your NFT holders, then you must make this upgrade.

Before getting into details, you should know that the mobile versions of the FreeWallet.io software haven’t been maintained in years and will definitely cause unwanted bugs. They’re fine for generating a wallet and receiving NFTs, but for every other feature you should use your desktop computer or laptop (or any device that runs MacOS, Windows, or Linux).

To name your assets, you’re going to need 0.5 XCP (Counterparty’s native utility token). And since exchanges no longer list it, the only way to acquire some XCP is from dispensers.

A dispenser is basically a vending machine: someone locks an arbitrary amount of an asset and enables everyone who sends the right amount of bitcoin to get ownership of the asset. You see what you want to buy, choose the deal you prefer, and then proceed to make the purchase.

Dispensers are a basic form of smart contracts. But their automated nature also comes with a tradeoff: there’s always a risk that the dispenser gets emptied before your transaction confirms. So if you set a low transaction fee and therefore wait a couple of days until the first confirmation, you expose yourself to the risk of dealing with a closed or emptied dispenser. There is no way for the Bitcoin transaction to get unsent and there is no mechanism in place to return your money if the entire supply of Counterparty tokens gets sold out before you got your hands on your desired digital asset.

This is why you should ideally pay for a higher transaction fee, as a way to make sure that you’re among the ones who get the fair deal. You should also try to only buy from dispensers created by addresses you recognize – if you know the owner and rely on their reputation, you’re more likely to get your bitcoins back if the trade doesn’t take place.

I’ve lost about $40 worth of bitcoin trying to buy XCP to name my NFTs: the first time, the dispenser got closed before I could receive my first confirmation (textbook exit scam); the second time, someone bought all the XCP from the dispenser before my first confirmation arrived. In both cases, I had no idea with whom I was dealing and didn’t know how to reach out to the owner. This is unfortunate, but a part of any decentralized, unregulated, and free digital market.

After you acquire your first XCP (remember, you need 0.5 per named NFT and you should use it ASAP as opposed to HODLing it speculatively), go to the “Actions” menu on the top right corner of the FreeWallet window and pick “Create a Token”.

Here, you’re going to have to select the source address and the asset type (named, subasset, or numeric). You must also input your token’s name and supply (which can either be divisible or not).

Afterwards, you must set a description. And this is where you point your image file to FreeWallet. You’re going to have to learn how to use proper syntax, as the structure is “imgur/imagename.jpg;DESCRIPTION OF YOUR TOKEN”. Notice that you don’t input the entire URL to your Imgur or YouTube asset, but use a shortened form. Also, there is no space before or after the semicolon. This is very important, as I’ve made this mistake before and the image was not being displayed properly and I had to send another transaction which changed the description.

There is an important discussion to be had here about Imgur and other centralized services, as they can censor and remove your image. However, you can upload it somewhere else and change your token’s description with a BTC transaction. This is why they say that the token is the art – because while the Counterparty asset is immutable and can’t be renamed, the description can be changed anytime at the cost of an on-chain transaction.

Last but not least, you must set a transaction fee which fits your time preference. Ideally, you should make sure it confirms within two weeks so most nodes don’t drop it from their mempool. But the low or medium priority fee recommended by mempool.space should suffice.

Notice that you don’t set your fee using the classic sat/byte or bit/kb system. Instead, you choose the total amount that you want to pay as fee. Keep in mind that these OP_RETURN transactions are generally larger than the average money transfer (they occupy more block space) and take a look at the dollar cost recommendations for a more accurate approximation. By default, FreeWallet won’t let you pay a fee lower than 0.00001 BTC (10 bits, or 1000 sats) per transaction, but you can change it from the settings menu.

Once you’ve set all these parameters, click the “Create Token” button and you’re good to go. Your NFT becomes available after its corresponding OP_RETURN transaction receives its first confirmation on the Bitcoin blockchain.

What can you do next? You can send it to friends, you can set up a dispenser to sell it, and you can even burn its supply to make it even more rare. If you value your token holders, you can also pay dividends to them.

As for the token itself, you are able to change its description and visual representation whenever you please. But the name remains forever. Just like in the case of domain names, something that’s taken cannot be used by somebody else – except that no periodic renewal is necessary. Once you issue it, you own the asset name. And in reality, this is what people buy.

You can also list the token on exchanges for XCP – but this feature is available on wallets such as Counterwallet (eds.counterwallet.io). The liquidity for new NFTs is really small and you’re probably better off opening dispensers which let you sell your tokens for BTC. But if you want to explore this financialization rabbit hole and do more with your XCP, you’re free to give it a try.

Get your first Counterparty NFT

In Pokemon games, you get to choose between Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle. Inspired by this beginner’s choice, I’ve set up dispensers that offer affordable Counterparty NFTs for everyone who wants to understand how this works.

You can grab one of the first three cards from the Bitcoin Heads series for only 23.45 bits (2345 sats, which at the December 29th rate means slightly more than $1). And you get to choose between VLADHEAD, JOSHUAHEAD, and NOPARAHEAD.

Why didn’t I give them away for free? Well, because I technically can’t – unless you send me your Bitcoin Counterparty address in a private message, I make a list, and then I batch transactions to the interested recipients. Also, the goal here is to teach you about how NFTs work in a quick and affordable way. All funds that I receive will be used to create more assets from the Bitcoin Heads series and give them away for free.

So after loading up your FreeWallet with at least 0.00002354 BTC (the minimum amount to buy one card) and about 0.00001000 BTC for the transaction fee, you can choose one of the three cards to add to your collection. Sure, you can get all three of them and even get greedy and accumulate as many as you can for speculative purposes. That’s totally up to you.

But while I was experimenting with dispensers, I’ve discovered that some Counterparty wallets use the older BTC dust limit of 54.6 bits or 5460 sats. In the meantime, Core developers have set it to 5.46 bits/546 sats. But some Counterparty wallets may use the older policy.

This means that any transaction lower than 0.00005460 BTC may not broadcast to the network. If this happens, you’ll need to get at least 3 cards in one transaction. While I could close the existing dispensers and reopen them at a higher price per card to eliminate any inconvenience, I thought this lesson about how Bitcoin works would be more useful to everybody.

Anyway, the goal of these NFTs is to help as many people get their first one on Bitcoin to figure out how it works. I don’t encourage speculation, but what people do with the cards after they buy them is beyond my control and Bitcoin is a permissionless network which enables free and open markets.

I’ve also created QR codes that get you on the dispenser page for each one of the three NFTs. If you can’t scan QRs and want to find the assets on your computer, go to xchain.io (the most popular Counterparty explorer) and type VLADHEAD, JOSHUAHEAD, and/or NOPARAHEAD in the search bar. After you click on the token’s name, you’re going to find a dedicated tab for dispensers.

In the future, you will find more of these creations at btcheads.com and nftears.com.

What’s the point of NFTs?

Counterparty NFTs are a fun way to play with Bitcoin. You get to explore the features of an early protocol which sought to bring an entire spectrum of financial assets to Bitcoin. You also figure out where all of this craze started, join Telegram channels, and make friends with the OGs who created Rare Pepes and Spells of Genesis (whom you can also hear on season 10 of the Bitcoin Takeover podcast).

But to me, it’s important to prove that Bitcoin is so much more than a financial tool. It’s also a distributed computer network which enables free speech. Messages that would otherwise get censored or suppressed can find their way on the Bitcoin network – at the expense of a transaction fee, of course. But the intentions are not always financial and there are plenty of ways to express oneself via Bitcoin (Counterparty NFTs being one of them).

As US First Amendment attorney Justin Wales mentioned in S5 E4 of the Bitcoin Takeover Podcast, Bitcoin is free speech and should be protected under the provisions of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. So if we make non-financial uses of the Bitcoin network more common, then we strengthen this thesis and win important battles against regulators that seem to only lend their ear to oversimplified narratives. Bitcoin is not a commodity, it’s not a security, it’s unlike everything legal systems have ever seen and can be used to exercise free speech and have fun.

Of course, these use cases are not for everyone. If you’re into hoarding and HODLing BTC, then you won’t “get” NFTs. And that’s completely fine, not everyone aspires to collect trading cards and finds value in arbitrary tokens on the Bitcoin network that may also have a jpeg or gif attached to them.

NFTs aren’t an asset class, they are not “coins”, and they aren’t entirely like baseball cards either. They’re provably rare collectibles which tell a story, mean something to the collector, or else simply enable wealthier bitcoiners to support the work of a young artist. And even though there’s a market for NFT speculation, their purpose isn’t always speculative – sometimes it’s all about having fun in a pretty nerdy and costly way.

Not all NFTs are built equally and that’s the entire point of something “non-fungible”. It’s unique in its own way, has some particularities that others may find appealing to the point that they’d willingly pay money, and evokes a certain feeling or memory. Some are historic, others are amusing, but all of them are reminders that the Bitcoin community is really fun and diverse.

So next time someone tells you about this cool Ethereum or Solana collection, remind them that Bitcoin did it first and does it better with Counterparty. And if you ever want to send me some of your creations, my address is 1PzxS9DcfrYNNGaaGWUZi6hQd2VsGhVk7U.

Bitcoin Takeover is sponsored by Vaultoro and Wasabi wallet!

The Bitcoin Takeover project is sponsored by Vaultoro, the exchange which only allows you to trade with hard money. This is not financial advice, but on Vaultoro you can use bitcoin to hedge against inflation and switch to gold to avoid volatility. The trades are seamless and you can always switch to the other asset to maximize the value of your investment. 

Furthermore, Vaultoro also publishes monthly glass books to prove that it holds 100% of the user’s gold and doesn’t engage in fractional reserve banking. CEO Joshua Scigala is also a very committed and principled bitcoiner who supports the Lightning network and really wants to see it blossom (which is why Vaultoro was the first exchange to embrace Bitcoin’s second layer). 

If you would like to sign up to Vaultoro, you can use my referral link.

Also, Wasabi wallet has been among my favorite desktop wallets since early 2019. I was amazed when I discovered how seamlessly it could integrate elements from Electrum and Bitcoin Core, and it’s been a thrill to see the product grow and become more refined. Like Trezor Suite, Wasabi routes your connection via Tor to boost your privacy. Also, the wallet automatically connects to your local full node or else downloads block filters to specifically avoid the trust involved in SPV setups.

You can also use your hardware wallets with Wasabi. But the truly unique feature is the ability to make your bitcoins more fungible via Chaumian CoinJoins. It’s a neat little trick which makes all coins involved in the mixing rounds equally tainted, therefore reducing the relevance and accuracy of blockchain analysis and boosting the plausible deniability of resulting transactions. If you don’t want the electronics vendor to see how much you got paid in bitcoin, then CoinJoins are your best friend.

Wasabi also offers easy UTXO management (also referred to as “Coin Control”), prevents you from reusing addresses, and enables a privacy-friendly Lurking Wife Mode which hides all of your BTC amounts and key transaction data. Download Wasabi wallet for free by clicking this link: it’s available on Windows, MacOS and Linux.

Read the Wasabi wallet terms of service to be sure that you understand the limits of the software and to which extent the company is liable for the ways in which you use the product.

Vlad Costea

I'm here for the freedom, censorship-resistance, and unconfiscatability. What about you?

5 Comments

  1. zenonasz Reply

    in general the article is purely written, supporting arguments that do not exist. “While some will discourage the use of Counterparty and recommend Raretoshi on Liquid or RGB Spectrum on the Lightning Network, the reality is that none of these are as secure or as decentralized as the Bitcoin blockchain.” i do understand the Bitcoin maximalist tribalism of the article and the need to support the Bitcoin blockchain over the other blockchains but still, the arguments are not valid.

    So what is the difference of Counterparty and the liquid? put aside the RGB which they have not delivery not a single version for mainet till today.
    Counterparty is another layer on top of bitcoin to offer the concept of “Bitcoin colored coins”, if counterparty nodes stop exist their assets will worth nothing, and if you try to transact those assets it will just end up to be some sats on your Bitcoin wallet.

    1. Vlad Costea Post author Reply

      That’s a pretty good question. However, the validation process happens on the Counterparty protocol where nodes can figure out which entry came first. Also, if you try to register an already-taken asset name using a Counterparty wallet, you will get an error message. If you don’t use a Counterparty wallet and broadcast the OP_RETURN transaction some other way, you still can’t bypass the protocol’s verification.

      If you’d like to learn more about how Counterparty works, there’s a Telegram channel where devs regularly hang out and answer questions. Not bad for something that’s not part of the official history books.

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