S13 E5: Nicholas Gregory on MercuryWallet & Adding a Lightning Network Integration

Nicholas Gregory first joined the Bitcoin Takeover podcast in June 2022 – and in the seven months that passed between the two interviews, MercuryWallet has grown remarkably. What started as a simple design which enables untraceable off-chain CoinSwaps via Statechains is now aiming to also go mobile and add a Lightning network integration.

This means that, in an upcoming release of MercuryWallet, users will be able to trade UTXOs, use them to open Lightning channels and make payments to each other, and perform these actions from a train station on a mobile phone. The added privacy benefits can help millions of people worldwide, who live under authoritarian regimes which caught up with surveillance on the Bitcoin blockchain and may use the data against the citizens.

MercuryWallet is CommerceBlock’s main project right now. And Nicholas Gregory, who serves as director and CEO, is fully committed to maximize the potential of this software product. He makes use of Ruben Somsen’s Statechains, which were designed to offer cryptographic proof of ownership within a framework that resembles a sidechain. And in the context of allowing users to do CoinSwaps, this provides a layer of trustless interactions that facilitate the elements that make MercuryWallet so special.

Swapping your UTXO can be a great way to get someone else’s identity on the Bitcoin blockchain. When it works well, you trade a surveilled UTXO for one that gives you better plausible deniability. But if it goes badly, you can end up with coins that are associated with an exchange hack. This is why CoinJoins can be used as a complementary tool – while CoinSwaps leave no traces on chain but leave your privacy score to chance, CoinJoins add permanent records on the open ledger while increasing the anonymity score through intentional obfuscation.

Currently, MercuryWallet is only available on desktop operating systems. But in an upcoming update, all the CoinSwap features will also work on mobile devices. With portability, Lightning network integrations will also work. According to Nicholas Gregory, the implementation will take inspiration from Blixt wallet to create a non-custodial system which requires no manual channel management. Ideally, this system should also allow users to connect to their own full nodes.

During my interview with Nicholas Gregory, we discuss what’s new with MercuryWallet, future plans, but also other projects in which CommerceBlock is involved. In the second part, which starts at the 37-minute mark, I also do a guided tutorial which highlights all of MercuryWallet’s current features (as of version 0.8.9).

Listen to Nicholas Gregory on Spotify, Apple Podcasts & YouTube!

In the true spirit of privacy, I recommend you to not use any of these big tech platforms. Instead, open this player in Tor browser so you can enjoy the interview without me (or anyone else, for that matter) knowing your IP address. The experience is on par with the one that you get on Spotify and you can even download the file for offline listening – just in case you want to dust off your old Microsoft Zune or iPod Nano.

However, if you do choose convenience over privacy, then it would be really great if you could subscribe and leave feedback. Any comment, five-star rating, like, or other type of interaction helps tremendously. Essentially, the big tech algorithms get instructed to boost the content and rank it higher in search results.

So when people search for Nicholas Gregory and MercuryWallet, it would be really useful if they came across this interview. Thank you in advance for your contribution to increasing the visibility of the Bitcoin Takeover podcast!

Bitcoin Takeover Podcast Season 13 Is Sponsored By Wasabi Wallet, Cryptosteel, Bumbee & ShopInBit!

Wasabi offers a free and open source private-centric wallet which makes use of mega CoinJoins in order to provide excellent plausible deniability and obfuscation. If you don’t want your KYC exchange to know what you’re doing with your bitcoins after you withdraw them, join a Wasabi CoinJoin round and reclaim your freedom to do whatever you want with your money without being tracked – exchanges such as Coinbase and Crypto.com are interested to know where their users spend their BTC after withdrawing them.

Also, if you’re concerned that someone else you know in real life has access to your public addresses and knows how much BTC you own, Wasabi wallet has got you covered. For amounts lower than 0.01 BTC, you pay no coordination fee – but if you’re wealthier, the fee is 0.3%.

Download Wasabi wallet 2.0 for free today and reclaim your privacy!

Cryptosteel are innovators in Bitcoin cold storage. Back in 2013, they launched the Cryptosteel Cassette, which made it easy to back up your seed phrase, passphrase, or any other form of private key on the sturdy metal which resists water, fire, and earthquakes. 

Today, Cryptosteel offers the MotherLode: an all-in one box which endows you with everything you need to become financially sovereign. Inside the ModerLode, you get a Cryptosteel Capsule and a hardware wallet of your choice.

All Cryptosteel products are engineered and manufactured in Poland. Order your Cryptosteel metal backup system today on Cryptosteel.com and use promo code BTCTKVR at checkout for a 10% discount on your order. Cryptosteel – secure your wallet seed phrase!

Are you a writer, photographer, musician, or video creator who’s trying to generate some revenue? Bumbee is the Bitcoin way to monetize your content. It’s more censorship resistant than any other platform of its kind, with a low and flat one-time fee of 10%. 

Bumbee is as easy to use as any social media mobile app. Sign up today at bumbee.com and subscribe for free to the Bitcoin Takeover account to get access to some time-exclusive content. If you’re monetizing your creativity, why not get paid in bitcoin for it? Bumbee.com – the Bitcoin way to monetize your content.

Online shopping with Bitcoin is easy. ShopinBit is Europe’s biggest Bitcoin Store with over 800 thousand products. Ranging from Bitcoin books, toothpaste, mobile phones, computers, and watches. This month, I bought a Nintendo Game & Watch console with the classic Legend of Zelda – and it arrived in only 5 working days.

And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ShopInBit’s got you covered. Their concierge service will get you anything and ship it worldwide. Additionally they also have a Travel HACKING Service to get you the best deals on all things travel: Flights, Hotels and more, for business and for vacations.

Bitcoin Takeover listeners get a nice discount,  of course:

Use code BTCTKVR on your first order for a one-time 5 euro discount.

For more details, go to ShopinBit.com. ShopinBit – Europe’s biggest Bitcoin store.

Vlad Costea

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

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