Billfodl co-founder Bryan Aulds is one of the people who understand the problems involved in managing Bitcoin private keys and offers a very simple and elegant solution: allowing anyone to write the seed words or string of cryptographically-generated characters on a hazard-proof piece of metal.
Even though season 4 of the Bitcoin Takeover Podcast mostly focuses on hardware wallets, it’s important to also understand the distinction between using one of these electronic devices to manage your private keys and resorting to actual cold storage solutions. By definition, cold storage is something that never gets connected to the internet and therefore cannot be stolen by a remote third party – and you can’t really use something colder and more robust than a piece of metal.
As a company, Billfodl offers an affordable way to replace private keys that you write down on a piece of paper with a kind of metal that can resist nature’s fury. Also, as Bryan Aulds points out during this exclusive interview, the Billfodl is complementary to the hardware wallet and not something that can completely replace a Ledger’s use cases.
If you enjoy this interview with Billfodl’s Bryan Aulds, then feel free to:
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Here are some of the topics discussed during the episode (in chronological order):
- Taking design cues from the CryptoSteel
- Does a cold storage device replace a hardware wallet or work in conjunction with it?
- First class Bitcoin citizens vs Firstcoiners
- Life before BTCPay Server
- Coldcard & nvk
- What makes the Billfodl stand out from the competition?
- Billfodl and Ledger partnership?
- Faraday bags by Billfodl
- Faraday bags at airport security
- How Billfodls get tested
- Having keys dispersed geographically
- Improvements for Metal Plates
- Arranging letters on the Billfodl
- Hodler’s Bundle by Billfodl
- Safe deposit boxes
- Costs of building your own Billfodl
- Survivalists in Bitcoin
- BuyBitcoinWorldwide dot com
- Scary stuff about exchange hacks
- Bitcoin is like teenage sex
- Casa and other similar service-centered companies
- Bitcoin for mainstream users
- Funding for development in Bitcoin
- Why Bitcoin is conservative
- The deep rabbit hole
- Mircea Popescu’s Cult
- Is Bitcoin like the oil boom?
- Cypherpunks and their power
- Booths at Consensus in 2018
- Ironically, blockchains are sometimes better than the old supply chain systems
- Who came up with the Billfodl?
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Vlad Costea (00:04:02):
Hello and welcome to the fifth episode of season four of the Bitcoin takeover podcast. My guest today is mr Bryan Aulds, who is one of the cofounders of the Billfodl cold storage solution. And he and his brother have basically engineered this solution to work in conjunction or separately from your hardware wallet as a very effective way to store your private keys without ever connecting to the internet, which is basically the definition of cold storage, if I’m not mistaken.
New Speaker (00:04:36):
But my first question to you, Bryan, is, did you engineered this as something that you needed and something that you wanted to use and then produced the retail version of it? Or was it the other way around the, you saw business potential in the Bitcoin space?
Bryan Aulds (00:04:58):
Yeah, so the design itself is actually an open source design and we did not engineer the, the basic design of it all. It’s actually crypto steel has they, as part of when they made the original product they open source the design of it. And so I guess it’s more of the latter kind of, we saw a place in the market that wasn’t being fulfilled.
New Speaker (00:05:31):
Um people were having a hard time, like this was during the late 2017 kind of a run up and there just weren’t like crypto seal ran out of supply basically at that point in time. And so I, I couldn’t get any and there was a lot of other people who couldn’t get any. So kind of to fill that hole. We thought that we could make them and, and make improvements on the design. We had some, some there were some quality issues with just the way that they were being manufactured that we thought we could do better. So we did those and, and we also thought that we could do better just in like getting it to people and customer service and that kind of thing.
Vlad Costea (00:06:25):
As I recall back in may or June, 2019, there was this presentation by Jemison lob who showed off his methodology in destroying any kind of cold storage solution. And I know that the Biddle fuddle was there and it did okay. I don’t think it ended up being the one that resisted all of the chemical elements and all of the heat and everything that he used to destroy every existing cold storage solution in his attempt to replicate earthquakes and fires and what not. But I was quite impressed and I remember I thought to myself, okay, so when is the moment when somebody should consider getting a Billfodl or bill foetal
Bryan Aulds (00:07:21):
Yeah, so that’s a good question. And you know, it’s going to vary depending on what your, you know, risk tolerances are. But our general rule of thumb is we say, okay, if you have more than one paycheck in crypto then, you know, that would be the point in time when you probably need to be thinking about a hardware wallet, like a Trezor, Ledger.
New Speaker (00:07:48):
I’m sure all the other coldcard, I’m sure a lot of the other products you’ve talked about on the show and then, okay, maybe you already have that. It’s also time to start thinking about like is a pay a piece of paper really what you want backing up the Ledger. Cause I’ve had Ledgers freeze up on me where I had to reset them and Ledger even disclaims like, Hey, this could happen. And I like Ledgers. I think it’s a great product, but you do have to have some kind of backup. And do you just want it like on a piece of paper in a desk drawer? I’ll probably not. If you’re backing up 10, 20, $50,000,
Vlad Costea (00:08:30):
That’s actually a very useful insight because I will be recording with one of the founders of Ledger later today. So nice. I will let him know that one of the cofounders of Billfodl has praised his product.
Bryan Aulds (00:08:50):
Okay, good. All right. I like the way you phrase that. Yeah. I D I I do not want to throw mud at Ledger at all. I really do like their product. So
Vlad Costea (00:09:00):
A lot of people in this space have sometimes mud to throw at Ledger for the simple reason that they don’t open source everything and they just act in a way that you have to trust them. But my, my next question to you is you think that the Billfodl can replace the hardware wallet or does it work in conjunction with it?
Bryan Aulds (00:09:24):
It works much better in conjunction. I would not recommend you. You need to be a power user to use it to basically replace the old paper wallet. And, and I would not recommend your average user doing that. You’re much better off using a hardware wallet to generate a, your seed phrase for you and then just using the Billfodl to store the seed phrase. And then, you know, continuing to use the hardware wallet to generate private keys and addresses. So I think that is, and that’s what it’s designed for based on, you know, the number of tiles it holds and how they’re divided up and that kind of thing.
Vlad Costea (00:10:14):
I’ve spoken to some Bitcoiners in private and when they got drunk they were like, Oh, these hardware wallets, they’re so silly. And back in my day we didn’t have them and we just ran Bitcoin core and we just backed up our wallets from Bitcoin core and we encrypted them. And that was it. And it’s just better sometimes to just write down your words and maybe print a paper wallet. And that’s it. And that’s why sometimes people are reluctant in relation to hardware wallets because you put trust in a company that handles your financial privacy, especially if you decide to use the app, which comes with the product life. I think with the exception of the ColdCard, which is very pro power user, you’re not going to find any kind of product. I think only the BitBox02 allows you to connect your full node, which is still a step ahead. But otherwise you rely on SPV products and you connect to their servers and you have to register with your email address. And this can be very difficult to process once you figure out that it happens.
Bryan Aulds (00:11:37):
Yeah, I think there’s different tiers of user or do you know, and I, I know a lot of people talk about like first class citizen running their own node and that kind of thing. But I just mean like, I think about my dad a lot when I’m kind trying to step into the like first coiner if you will. A, and like they, they’re just getting into Bitcoin and, and it’s intimidating and not only that, but like they don’t have a background in a lot of this stuff. So like expecting them to download Bitcoin core and to back up their own, like they’re not going to be able to do it. They’re just not. And so then the question is, do we want people like that in the ecosystem? And you know, I don’t know if that’s where we really want this conversation to go.
Bryan Aulds (00:12:28):
I think they will provide some value. And I know when I first got in there, there’s no way that I would have been able to run Bitcoin core. And, and so, but to go back to your question about the hardware wallets, what I do and, and the team has made it incredibly easy to do is I run a BTC pay server and you can connect your Ledger directly to it and the Ledger like BDC pay server copies the the public keys down and, and generates the public keys for you. And then, you know, the Ledger has stored all the private keys. So I think that’s a great way to do it. You don’t give Ledger any of your information and you don’t have to use their app. It’s running Bitcoin core underneath all of it, but Nicolas and the rest of the team may have done a great job making it beautiful and easy to use on the front end. So, and you get lightning on top of all of it, so that’s great.
Vlad Costea (00:13:34):
Oh yeah. BDC server is something different and something that we needed because otherwise, yeah, the vision for adoption was to just convince some kind of retail store to accept Bitcoins for a payments processor. And that’s not the kind of mechanism on which we should rely because otherwise Bitcoin is pretty much dependent on legacy financial systems that it’s actually trying to replace. So the fact that we have it right now is definitely a net positive and a backbone for future developments. How are you supposed to accept Bitcoin payments before BTC Bay server? Just put an address in there and the QR code, which is static and you cannot generate a new one for each payment. That’s kind of insane.
Bryan Aulds (00:14:26):
Yeah, it was crazy. And people were like generating like they would generate the invoice so that it would end in like a, a very unique like Satoshi amount, but it always go to the same address. And then they were identifying on that and it was just a mess and you know, leaking lots of privacy and stuff like that. So yeah, always mad props to the BTC pay server team.
Vlad Costea (00:14:58):
Oh yeah. But I think you name dropped the Ledger for the second time during this interview. And I just have to ask you, why do you like the Ledger over the Trezor? What is it that it has? Is it the design? Is it any kind of software or do you like the clicky buttons?
Bryan Aulds (00:15:20):
It’s a, yeah, you’re right. You can connect the Trezor and, and I think a Coldcard. And I like Coldcards too, especially now that they’ve fixed the buttons. But why do I keep name dropping the Ledger? It’s because that was the first hardware wallet I bought. And so it kind of is just the, the GoTo for me. Yeah, and from a, from a UX perspective, like an, I’ve worked on all of them a lot. It’s actually a clunky with the two buttons, like kind of like if you have to recover on a Ledger, it takes forever. Whereas on a ColdCard or especially the new Trezor model T it’s, it’s very fast cause you can type more or less.
Vlad Costea (00:16:07):
Actually the Ledger nano S was also my first hardware wallet and I got to play with it. And I taught it was nice. And what I liked most about it is the fact that I had a USB flash drive, which looked exactly the same. So if I were to go to some sort of airport checks, unless they looked at the logo, which I could scratch anyway, they would not be able to tell that I have some sort of Bitcoin device. Whereas in the case of, let me think of something else. Hmm.
New Speaker (00:16:43):
Maybe the key that’s very particular. It looks like something fancy or, yeah, the Trezor, the Trezor looks like your car keys, you know, the remote which opens your car, unlocks it. I mean, it’s very early here and unless you own a car, it makes no sense to carry that around. So this, from this perspective of op sec, it’s better to own the Ledger as opposed to Tresor.
Vlad Costea (00:17:20):
I actually had this debate about the ColdCard because it looks like a calculator, but the screen is too small. I mean, when you buy a calculator, you want to have as many digits as you can to be able to add, add up numbers, and also you need some sort of operation buttons. Right? Yeah. Like a plus or minus or whatever. Hey, exactly. If you want people to believe that you have a calculator, just need to have some sort of physical proof to make it believable. Okay.
New Speaker (00:17:56):
Otherwise there are going to be, Oh, this looks like something dubious. And I think about this because I live in a country which until 30 years ago used to be to tell the Tarion and I’m very skeptical about their intentions. So if I am ever to leave my country and travel somewhere else, like not travel, but move with all of my stuff, I have to take all this stuff into consideration.
Bryan Aulds (00:18:27):
No, that’s smart. I do know that when a ColdCard ships them, they shipped them as calculators on the customs declarations, which I think is pretty funny.
Vlad Costea (00:18:39):
Oh yeah. I remember picking up the two Mark 3’s that I got from Rodolfo Novak. I got to thank him and give him a shout out because I wrote a review for Bitcoin magazine of the five most important hardware wallets and it was very nice to get them. And I liked the packaging. I like the fact that you get to check the serial number on the packaging and on the device. Yeah. Which is unique.
Bryan Aulds (00:19:14):
Yeah. That is pretty unique that it comes on the device too. Yeah, I agree. They do a great job. I’ve, I’ve met a Rodolfo three or four times now and he’s always, always great to hang out with a lot of fun and, and knowledgeable, but like cares a lot about Bitcoin and that’s apparent through everything they do. Coinkite. So a shout out to them. So if I’m, if I’m plugging lecture too much, I apologize. Yeah. Cause he deserves it.
Vlad Costea (00:19:42):
I mean also Ledger they have been around for a long time maybe correct or greatest sin is that they indulged too much in shitcoinery and right now…
Bryan Aulds (00:19:56):
Yeah. I mean they’re very, Eric is like very business focused. And so I think it’s just more of a like, you know, where, where’s the money going to take them kind of thing. And maybe that’s what some people don’t like. I don’t hold that against them at all.
Speaker 8 (00:20:15):
Bryan Aulds (00:20:16):
Like, if someone wants your product then like, yeah, market to them or you know, make your product useful for them and provide value to them.
Speaker 8 (00:20:27):
Bryan Aulds (00:20:29):
I, I guess some people would say that perhaps they have compromise on like some kind of Bitcoin security by shifting focus away from, from Bitcoin.
New Speaker (00:20:40):
But I, I find that hard to believe. I think they just have a lot more resources now to, to throw into making their product better. So I do somewhat question the addition of Bluetooth, but I am not a security expert. That’s what I guess be more of a question for you and, and something that you could talk to a BTC chip tomorrow or later today.
Vlad Costea (00:21:06):
Yeah. Actually I am happy that I get to talk to BTChip because I’m always happy to talk to engineers and people who are into developing and building stuff as opposed to a PR person. We’ll just see all the nice words talk about the advanced security and how they are at the cutting edge of innovation and stuff like that.
Bryan Aulds (00:21:31):
No, that’ll be good. I, I I’m going to listen to that one for sure.
Vlad Costea (00:21:37):
But what about the Billfodl? What is special about it? What makes it stand apart from the competition?
Bryan Aulds (00:21:46):
Well, so one of the, one of the things that, I guess there’s, there’s a couple of factors. One, we use three 16 stainless steels. That’s like the
Speaker 9 (00:22:01):[Inaudible]
Bryan Aulds (00:22:02):
Well that’s what you would use. It’s like some of you would call it surgical stainless steel. It’s used in like offshore drilling rigs. It’s very corrosion resistant. So our product is gonna, you know, it will last I guess against a corrosion and other threats. And the other differentiator is all of our pieces are laser cut and everything is laser engraved. So one of the problems with our competitors is the tiles don’t slide nicely into the device. And so you will, like, sometimes you’ll get ones that don’t fit at all. Sometimes you’ll get ones that like you have to jam them in there and start.
New Speaker (00:22:42):
Uh it’s just, it’s a pain in the ass for the customer. And so since everything that we have is laser cut, like it’s all exactly the right size and you know, everything closes correctly and you’re not trying to jam things, jam tiles into the, the tile trays. So and then we also improved our packaging so that it doesn’t come apart in shipping. So that you don’t get a bag of like 400 tiles that are all mixed together. So we just tried to think about little things that would improve user experience and you know, I think we’ve done a good job of it and you know, we’re always innovating and trying to come up with new products like the multi shard to, you know, help people huddle better, safer.
Vlad Costea (00:23:37):
Yeah. I was just looking at the products that you’re selling and bite away. As far as I can see, you only sell Billfodl bundles with Tresor one’s Tresor T’s and keep keys. So no Ledger partnership for now.
Bryan Aulds (00:23:53):
Yeah, not for now. Where are we? We’ve, we’ve talked with them before. But yeah, in yet, Leger actually bought a pretty large number of bill bottles and they sell them on Amazon as a bundle. So we didn’t see the need and us buying it and their MOC has been changing around. So it’s kind of, it’s, it’s a lot harder to become a Ledger reseller now than it used to be. And we just recently started adding hardware wallets.
Vlad Costea (00:24:33):
Yeah. And also you’re selling in day bags or just Faraday bags?
Bryan Aulds (00:24:41):
Yeah, we do sell fair day bags as like an add on item to orders. We found that that was some something that a lot of our customers were interested in and just wanting to provide extra value to them. So yeah, we, we had some branded fare day bags made up and you can use them to store your hardware wallets in or your car keys passports or cell phones while you’re traveling, that kind of thing.
Vlad Costea (00:25:13):
I guess that’s the tinfoil degree of paranoia.
Bryan Aulds (00:25:19):
Yeah. Yeah. And I guess one of the questions we get with the Fairday bags is like, your product is all metal. Why do you, why do I need it with the bill? Fadul and it doesn’t really have anything to do with, you don’t need it with the bill bottle itself, but it’s just something to put your electronics on.
New Speaker (00:25:38):
Yeah. If you’re a nice and tin foily. But there are, you know, in airports and stuff, people do get skimmed. I got skimmed at an airport a couple of months ago. I was kinda surprised about it, but so it does happen. I wasn’t using a bag. I should have been using a bag, should have been following my own practicing what I preach. So,
Vlad Costea (00:26:04):
But don’t you think that using your third bag at the airport may raise more suspicions?
Bryan Aulds (00:26:13):
Yeah, maybe. I, I do know that a lot of the I’m trying to think of what people would call them. Like the things that people are buying now to replace Fanny packs and they kind of like are worn under the shirt to hold your passport and stuff like that. A lot of those are made out of the same like nickel, copper material. So those are fair day bags now. So I mean, maybe it would give you scrutiny, but I don’t, I, I think most people wouldn’t.
Speaker 10 (00:26:48):
Bryan Aulds (00:26:49):
Wouldn’t know what it was just like, Oh, it’s just the bag. It comes back with a weird return on the X Ray machine, whatever. Next.
Vlad Costea (00:26:57):
All right. So when I think about anything like the Billfodl and metal place on what you write down on your seed keys, I associate them with some kind of workshop where you try all sorts of crazy stuff and you pour asset and your pieces of metal into the fire and leave them for 15 minutes and see what happens. And then you should a couple of bullets to see how they resist. What is your testing methodology?
Bryan Aulds (00:27:30):
Huh. Well, we did. Let’s see. Internally, we did some corrosion testing. So we got some anodes and hooked it all up to that and put it in like a salt bath for like two or three weeks. So that was what we did for corrosion testing. And then for fire, we bought a they’re called pair burners in Texas and it basically is like a flame thrower that you connect to a propane tank.
New Speaker (00:28:08):
Um and so it puts out like some ungodlike like 30,000 BTUs. And so we got the Billfodl up. Let’s see. We think it was a, we can only base it on glow testing, but somewhere around 2100 Fahrenheit. So I think that’s worked back to about 10 to 11 Celsius. And let’s see, what was the other testing we did? But the, the tests that I’m most proud about is we had a contact who works for the department of transportation in the U S and they, for whatever reason, have to test army ordinance sometimes to make sure that it’s like safe to drive on the road and like won’t spontaneously explode.
Bryan Aulds (00:29:03):
And so they got a 500 gallons of jet fuel. And he said that if you send me a Billfodl, I’ll put it in there the next time we do this test. And so we did and you know, it survived a fire of 500 gallons of jet a jet, a I guess their JP five whatever, you know of jet fuel. So I was, I was proud of that one, that one, that one, that’s probably the kicker. So if you’re thinking about throwing your Bitcoin keys into 500 of jet fuel, you probably want to make sure they’re on a bill bottle.
Vlad Costea (00:29:45):
That should be some kind of tee shirt that you sell on your website.
Bryan Aulds (00:29:52):
Yeah. But that, that kind of goes back to what you were talking about with the lob tests and like, Oh, this wallet stood up to this and this one didn’t stand up to that. And, and I guess, you know, while I do think people need to have their keys backed up on something more sturdy than paper, I think that if they’re worried about like sulfuric acid being spilled, like on their house and eating their keys away, then they need to be thinking about having their keys dispersed geographically.
New Speaker (00:30:31):
Uh because just because you have them written down on like something, maybe even something that’s indestructible that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to find your indestructable object in the rubble of, of your house or wherever it was. Like maybe it’ll get blown away or swept away in a flood or something. So geographical diversity is important once you reach a certain amount. And again, that’s gonna be different for every people, every person. But you know, and it’s dependent on your risk tolerance, but it is something that you need to be thinking about.
Vlad Costea (00:31:10):
So when you deal with basically metal plates, what kind of improvements can you bring to them? Can you come up with better materials or can you cut them and shapes that are easier to ship and easier to keep in one piece or can you make them easier to be written on?
Bryan Aulds (00:31:33):
Well, I mean, one key thing that they, that I guess doesn’t like to be discussed is like you can improve processes and you can improve price. And so, you know, I’m proud that we were able to bring down the price point and then that helps people with a lower amount of Bitcoin kind of be be able to justify the protection level that the metal offers. So, you know, coming in at a lower price point isn’t just, you know, undercutting. It’s like you’ve, you’ve made the world a little more efficient. So I think that’s important to emphasize. And then the other, the other stuff is important too. So if, if I can arrange the tiles in the Billfodl tiled tray with a, B, C, D in alphabetical order. And our competitors had arranged them in an order that like
Speaker 11 (00:32:39):
Bryan Aulds (00:32:40):
Them ship less tiles. So like they didn’t have to make as many tiles to do it that way. But the order was all mixed up. You’ve kind of just passed on a cost to the customer because it’s going to take them more time to find the tiles if they’re like arranged in this weird order. Does that make sense?
Vlad Costea (00:33:03):
Yeah, I guess it’s like a keyboard and you have to set the order.
Bryan Aulds (00:33:09):
Yeah, exactly. So one of our competitors had like A’s and E’s on the opposite side of each other. So like in a, it was on the opposite side of an E and that’s because you need the most a like the letters you need the most of our A’s and E’s. So I understood why they did that. But like I put on every bill bottle, we put an a on the back of a little a in a big B on the back of a little B. And so it just gives you a lot more ability to put whatever key you want in there
Vlad Costea (00:33:50):
Right now. I’m sorry, go on.
Bryan Aulds (00:33:53):
No, no, no. And it costs more to make it that way. Like, I could have done it the other way, but, and had a lower cost of goods sold a lower cost to me on the bill bottle. But by doing that, I’ve really just offloaded and even larger costs on the customer in their time.
Vlad Costea (00:34:14):
Yeah. But right now I’m looking at your website. You have to pay $49 for the basic bill. Fuddle no, 55, sorry. 55. Yeah. And you have a discount for the multi shard version. It’s actually $10 cheaper to get the multi sharp packaging as opposed to ordering free different bill funnels. And you also have the Huddler bundle. What is special about the hustlers bundle?
Bryan Aulds (00:34:44):
So in the [inaudible] bundle we built like a plastic, like, like a Cate, like a wall Mount. It’s like a case that the bill bottle goes inside and then you can Mount it in a wall. So it lets you get a little more creative with where you put your bill bottle. So a lot of people either they don’t have a safe or they don’t want to put their bill bottle in a safe because that’s just the honeypot. And so maybe they want to hide it like in an attic somewhere, like underneath the eaves or something.
New Speaker (00:35:20):
Uh like way in the back of their attic. Well this lets them Mount the huddle, the, we call it the [inaudible] Mount, the like plastic coddler case to the wall and then just slip the bill bottle inside and, and you could hide it wherever you wanted. You could put it inside the drywall of your house. So like creativity is the only thing that’s limiting you on where you want a story or, or you can put it in your safe, you know, so, and, and not get that it’s up to you, but it’s just something that we thought was missing.
Vlad Costea (00:35:54):
Speaking of safes, you just reminded me of some ridiculous, but at the same time, interesting choice of storing private keys. I recall reading on Reddit about a year ago or two years ago. It’s very fuzzy in the Bitcoin space, but it was about somebody who was storing private keys in a bank. Like they had some kind of safe at a bank and they just put the keys on a piece of paper and started there. That’s kind of insane. Right?
Bryan Aulds (00:36:29):
Yeah. we, we’ve re read some horror stories about safe deposit boxes and yeah, it’s just tough like, like, because I mean, I would not put raw private keys in there for sure. I might would put like one of three or one of five multisig in a safe deposit box.
New Speaker (00:37:02):
Um but even that like maybe you would even want that passphrase protected. What I think if you put a Billfodl in in a safe deposit box and the, and it was pass rates protected, that might be a good, a good way to do it if you didn’t have a good place to store it in your house. But yeah, raw private keys or just a raw seed in a safe deposit box that’s asking for trouble.
Vlad Costea (00:37:32):
Yeah, it’s always difficult, especially in these early days before we find some kind of standard for security. It’s the same with hardware wallets or they all do research and they all try to find some kind of cryptographic method of combining hardware and software to safely protect your keys.
New Speaker (00:37:55):
And it’s the same with writing your private key or seed words somewhere. Some people just rely on a piece of paper and thing that are intangible. Some people buy metal plates and they engrave or they write down and some other way. Yup. And
Bryan Aulds (00:38:15):
Or, yeah. Or stamp it themselves as another method. So
Vlad Costea (00:38:20):
Yeah, I mean, how difficult is it to, I mean, let me phrase it in a different way. If you were to build your own Billfodl, what would it be? The costs in terms of money and time.
Bryan Aulds (00:38:38):
So costs, I guess it depends on how, how much, how handy you are, how much do you have around your house. Like, but the easiest way I would think would be buy a block of steel, just like a standard plate. So maybe that would cost like a dollar or two on Amazon.
New Speaker (00:38:58):
I have no idea. And then a hammer and some of like tile like a stamping kit. And then you could stamp your, own your own letters into, into the piece of steel. And then, you know, store that somewhere a stamping kit is probably about 15 to $20, I don’t know. And then hammer, you get a hammer for five bucks if you’re in the U S on Amazon, maybe a little more than that. So maybe 25 30, somewhere in that range. But time-wise, it’s gonna take you a while to stamp it out and you’re going to need, you know, a place to do it probably outside and it’s gonna make a lot of noise and that kind of thing.
Bryan Aulds (00:39:48):
So that it’s just, that’s, that’s what the bill follow provides is it frees you from that. And you could put your, you know, your seed in there and probably it realistically, if it’s your first time doing it, I’d say 20 to 30 minutes. If you find all the tiles first and lay them all out on a table and then put them in, you know, you could cut that down to 15 minutes.
New Speaker (00:40:13):
I can do a Billfodl in five to 10, but I’ve obviously had a lot more practice than most people. So I do like to be realistic, but to stamp it, it’s going to take a longer than that. And so, and one of our competitors that sell stamping kit sins, their product with earplugs. So that’s another thing to realize it’s going to be very loud. Oh yeah. And you won’t, you won’t want to do it while the kids are in bed. I guess most Bitcoiners are not quite the handyman types.
New Speaker (00:40:47):
Yeah, I dunno. I guess there’s two. There’s like the like survivalist like strong libertarian bent, like plus survivalist kind of people. Like I would, I would almost put lop in that category. Like mountain man for what? Like I dunno. And then there’s the, yeah, a computer nerd. I’m not sure where I fall on the spectrum, but probably means I’m in the computer nerd spectrum. Ah, I guess it’s always good to not be served. Where would you fall in a spectrum? Because it means you can do both.
Bryan Aulds (00:41:29):
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. What about you? Are you what, what is is? Is that just an American Bitcoiners stereotype or do you think that applies worldwide?
Vlad Costea (00:41:38):
I think even at this point, most people who got into it and aro round during this phase of the market, because I suppose the speculators have been driven away, but yeah, that’s nice. It’s been interesting in the last couple of days because the price see the prices increasing and we’re going to see a lot of scammers come back and yeah, the people who are around these days are either computer nerds or libertarians who are very hardcore or just people who like the community or have found jobs within this growing industry, which I hate when it gets called a blockchain industry. [inaudible].
Bryan Aulds (00:42:24):
Yeah, it, yeah. I would say that like the people that are around now are here for a reason, but the scammers are going to come back a lot quicker this time than it took them to come in, you know, before. So if it does start shooting up again, which is so sad to see. It was sad then and there like looking back on it, it’s just kind of depressing. So I dunno, I am not looking forward to that part of it, that’s for sure.
Vlad Costea (00:42:54):
I mean, it’s really hard to work and get stuff done when you have so much price action going on and so much pressure and so many people calling you and saying, Hey, I heard that Bitcoin thing, I heard about that, that kind of thing on the news. Do you think I should buy some right now? Yeah. And you’re in a very delicate position because if you tell them no, when something gets on the news, it’s a bad idea to invest in it and then maybe it pumps for another week or something and they’re going to hate you.
Bryan Aulds (00:43:26):
Yeah. Yeah. We, I, I’m good friends with the person who runs buy Bitcoin worldwide.com and which is a huge website and most most like hardcore Bitcoiners don’t know about it cause that’s like the entry point where, you know, people kind of get into Bitcoin. But it’s a huge site. And he gets like he’s shown me some of the messages that he gets and it’s, it’s, Oh, just crazy funny.
New Speaker (00:43:58):
I’m like, show me, show me how to buy Bitcoin. It’s like, well, that’s literally what my site does, man. Like, why did you email me about this? But yeah, the volume and the craziness that he gets. And, and I think that’s one thing that a lot of the hardware wallet companies struggled with then, and they’re going to struggle with even more if it happens again. And that’s just a, and, and we will to, it just the inflow of customer questions and, and just uneducated questions know.
Bryan Aulds (00:44:32):
So our number one question is why do you only have space for four letters? Like my seed word has 10 letters or not 10, but has six letters. And so, you know, I’m sure most of your audience knows, but the, the bib 39 word list there’s 2048 words on there and they’re each uniquely identified by the first four letters.
New Speaker (00:45:01):
So when you go to like recover a Ledger or a Trezor or a keep key and you start entering in, you know, let’s say the word was a, I dunno, market and you enter it in a R, so you get to the R and then it knows that you either meant Mart or market or you know, some other Mar March. And so it pops those three up there like, and lets you select between them like, Oh yeah, I meant market, not March.
Bryan Aulds (00:45:35):
And then boom, and then it goes to the next word. So you rarely ever even enter in four letters, usually just three. But all the words are uniquely identified by their first four letters. But we get asked that question probably once a week. And so I can only imagine if, if, if things start going crazy again, I mean we’ll be getting that question via email and it’s on our FAQ, but people, you know, they’d rather email you, which is fine. I don’t mind taking care of our customers. But can you imagine that the amount of volume and and range of questions that Ledger gets? Yeah. I mean it’s crazy and it’s going to be hard for them to keep up with.
Vlad Costea (00:46:11):
Yeah. On one hand I can understand that we might be having this ivory tower perspective and possibly because we are more computer science literate, we tend to look down on others and say, you should not get into this unless you can properly use it and handle the whole concept of financial sovereignty. But at the same time, there are people who genuinely see nothing wrong and just using Coinbase and keeping their acquaintance there and they’re too ignorant to even consider that Mt Gox happen.
New Speaker (00:46:51):
There’ll be like, yeah, that was in the past. I guess by now the engineers have learned their lessons, even though we have exchange acts taking place every year or every few months, we care about them. And right now it has gotten worse in the sense that you see exchange hacks in the KYC data, which is used like some kind of leverage or what’s the word for it? Blackmail. Yeah. To extort some Bitcoins.
Bryan Aulds (00:47:25):
Yeah. And, and, and then not only do they know you have crypto or, or you are very, very likely to have crypto, but they also know all the information they need to, to port your phone or you know, find you or, yeah. It’s kinda scary. So yeah, the exchange acts are a big deal. But it almost like, it’s almost like telling a teenager like, you shouldn’t have sex because like, and until you can understand how like important it is or how, you know, like you can say that to them, but like if they, if they think that they’re going to get rich from it, like saying that is not going to keep them from it.
New Speaker (00:48:12):
So we need to be kind of, I think maybe kinder about just like more welcoming and then like showing them the light like no, no, I’m not telling you that you can’t do this because I don’t want you to have fun or I don’t want you to get rich. I’m telling you this so that you don’t get scammed. I’m telling you this so you don’t like, you know, knock up your girlfriend when she’s 16 like that. That’s not why I’m telling you not to do it. I’m telling you cause like there’s actual real danger here and you know you need to open your eyes. Is that, does that make sense?
Vlad Costea (00:48:47):
Oh yeah. And also since 2017 when we had that massive bull run. Yeah. I suppose we have also developed some solutions which are friendly to newcomers and exchanges, have tried to launch new products and we also have services. Like I think Casa has that inheritance system where they establish a multisig where they own one of the keys and you own the other one. And I have no idea what happens to the third. But in case you die or something happens to you, you are able to pass your Bitcoins to somebody.
Bryan Aulds (00:49:22):
Yeah, I think they’re, they’re doing some good stuff. So they, they get some shit sometimes deservedly, but for the most part I do like them and I think that they’re, they’re doing good things in the space so and, and the inheritance thing is definitely something that’s needed. For sure. And yeah, there’s no like good solution for it yet. And I haven’t looked into the cost of thing yet, but I did hear that they were doing something along those lines.
Vlad Costea (00:49:50):
Yeah. I don’t like the cussing. I would just wear the record. I think it’s overpriced and they don’t even tell you just to know that they sell you an annual subscription and if you want to benefit from their product and from their service. And coming back to the idea of customer service, as far as I remember, most of their money’s spent on customer support and whenever you have a problem, you’re supposed to just email them or call them, which is a paradox because on one hand they sell sovereignty in a box, but on the other hand, if it doesn’t work or you’re having problems with it, yeah, FAQ sucks. If you check out their documentation, it’s very vague, not complete. It’s like they didn’t fully bothered with it because you’re supposed to call them or send them an email and they have invested a lot of resources into this department.
Bryan Aulds (00:50:49):
Bryan Aulds (00:50:51):
Yeah. I do know that they have, yeah, some very, very well-paid customer service people, which I mean, they also deal with like people who are holding a lot of funds on, on the higher levels, tier services. So that part makes sense. Yeah, I mean, I, I mean, I help out with some, you know, acquaintances and friends that, that have that hold a lot of, of funds. And I mean, they’re just busy guys and, and like, there’s no way that they could know as much about it as, you know, they run like big businesses and stuff like that and there’s no way that they could know as much about it. And so if something happens or whatever and they, and they’ve never seen something before, like, you know, they reach out to me and, and so, I mean maybe that like Casa is just providing the service that I provide them just for, you know, a premium. So it’s, I mean
Bryan Aulds (00:52:01):
Like for everyone to be as big of an expert as me and, and I don’t even hold myself up to be like that, that knowledgeable about it. Like I would think you would be a lot more. And then someone like BTC chip, like even, you know, even further up there for us to have like that level of knowledge of the system. Like will, is that sustainable? Is that what we really even want for society, for everyone to be that big of a, Oh, a Bitcoin expert. Like probably not. Like, you know, I know a whole lot about flying planes and, you know, but to get on a plane, like most people don’t know anything about it. And so, and just for background, I was a military aviator before I got into, before I started Billfodl. And so like, but when you get on a plane, like you don’t how, you know, you don’t have to know how, why a wing works, you just, you know, and it takes you from a to B, and hopefully we can make Bitcoin be that smooth and safe and reliable.
Vlad Costea (00:53:14):
I think it’s becoming like that with lightning. You see all of these custodial solutions. Do I like,
Bryan Aulds (00:53:23):
Oh, well, yeah. I mean, I, I like zap and the, what, what they’re doing and, and, and we, I mean, yeah, it would be easy to build something. Like, why even use lightning if you’re going to fit, it’s going to be custodial like it needs to be it needs to be a non-custodial solution, but I, I think we’re going to be able to get there. And, you know, I love what what Mallers is doing with zap. So yeah, I so I, so I think we’ll get there. I just like, we’re still like such baby steps and we’re still so early and, and if you think about it, there early hasn’t been that, that much money or resources thrown into the space yet.
New Speaker (00:54:13):
I mean if you, especially if you cut out all the like bullshit money that was thrown at the scams that is just gone now. But like actual like development of Bitcoin products. I mean you know, starkness over at lightning labs chain stone labs Blockstream those are kind of the, I, I’m sure I missed the hardware wallet companies too, but, but there’s not like a lot of big things going on or a lot of big companies that are getting involved in throwing, throwing money at it yet. And I think that’ll change.
Vlad Costea (00:54:57):
Oh yeah. Right now it seems like you only have a handful of companies which have funds and can afford to invest in development. And that made it makes a lot of sense because not so long ago it was just a bunch of nerds who were working on this open source project and Vladimir vendor lad as far as I could find out was working on some sort of open source graphics engine for a video game and he ended up working on Bitcoin. And maybe that from a complexity point of view, it’s a lot simpler to work on Bitcoin.
New Speaker (00:55:37):
Dan, some sort of treaty graphics engine. I suppose you have many more components to that sort of mechanism, but it’s the consensus part that’s difficult and it’s that this social layer in which you have to explain to people why their ideas are bad and why they should not be implemented and why they should have rigorous testing on some kind of alternative network or test Testnet before putting anything or merging it into the main code.
Bryan Aulds (00:56:14):
Yup. Well if you think about like how staunchy and conservative and especially if roll back the clock to like a hundred years ago, but even today there’s not a lot of like big changes that happen in banking. Like, because you’re messing with money and, and the like underlying layer. And if you think about like, I hate what’s happened with monetary policy, but that has been like a slow trickily change that started almost a hundred years ago. So I mean when we, when we, when the U S anyway was, you know, off took, taken off the gold standard. So like it took a hundred years to do all that.
New Speaker (00:57:00):
Like you don’t want to mess around with money and, and do things quickly because the effects of your, of what you’re messing with might not take effect for quite some time as we’ve seen with quantitative easing and all the money that’s getting pumped into the economy now.
Vlad Costea (00:57:19):
I think so I agree. I think I like what people like Greg Maxwell advocate for in the sense that they, they want anyone to be able to run their own node and validate their own prison’s actions, which is a decision that got thrown away in the dustbin in the Trashmen during the early days of the internet because the original vision of Tim Berners-Lee, the guy who created the worldwide web and the early nineties was for every user to run a computer and the server and they would store their own files and share them with the rest of other participants through the network.
Vlad Costea (00:58:03):
And this was quickly replaced by custodial services. And right now we use a service which hosts, and I think, I don’t think this podcast as a recorded gets stored on my hard drive directly. I will have to download it from some sort of cloud service and cloud service is just an elusive term for somebody else’s computer. But in the case of Bitcoin, we still have this purity of intentions. It’s been 11 years since the launch and people still care and they say you should validate the whole block chain and participate into this consensus political system.
New Speaker (00:58:50):
After all it’s all about all parts agreeing and you also get the benefit of having greater privacy and being able to store your transactions locally, which is really big but most people overlook this dimension and I’m actually curious to see how long it takes until some sort of big money corporation comes around and creates this very simple service which gets very popular and don’t think any other company than Facebook can pull it off at this point, but to just bring so many users that it obliterates all of these efforts that have been made to preserve a certain line of thought and a certain methodology when it comes to approaching Bitcoin because you, when you entered the space, you’re taking baby steps.
Vlad Costea (00:59:46):
I think today if you want to get in, you most likely get Coinbase or wallet, like a very bad one, like blockchain.com or something because these show up when you look for Bitcoin in the app store and you get these, and if you somehow choose to engage with the rest of the community and discover that there is a bigger world out there, you’re going to maybe move on to a more advanced wallet like black string green, which has door and lets you connect to a full node.
New Speaker (01:00:22):
And then you’re going to understand that this type of digital gold needs some sort of validation and you need to check that what you’re receiving is I would tend tick. And you also need to take care of your privacy because it’s scary. You’re operating on a public Ledger where every transaction can be linked to another one.
Vlad Costea (01:00:47):
And when you receive funds and you send them, you’re not just revealing how many Bitcoins you have, but you veal, how many Bitcoins, the person before you had. And it’s a whole chain. And that’s why it’s called a blockchain. And should you coin join? Should you manage UT XLS? These are possibly advanced features as from a user perspective. I think they’re much harder to comprehend than to use because you read a lot and there’s this process of learning and then you get to an interface which has been made very simple and Bitcoin core and especially the wallet which I praise the most is wasabi. That one is just incredible. It has all the features and they are so simple to use.
Bryan Aulds (01:01:40):
Yeah, they’re, I mean it is a deep rabbit hole and that’s how everyone describes it. And, and yeah, I think you’re right. I think you are going to come in on some, some site like Coinbase you know, or you’re going to Google like how to buy Bitcoin and I guarantee you the number one site that’s going to cop is Buy Bitcoin worldwide.
New Speaker (01:02:02):
And so the good thing about that is there’s cool people like my friend who Jordan who like, he is a hardcore pit coiner and he’s going to point you in the right direction. So, and, and that direction for that user might be Coinbase, you know as unfortunate as that might be, but they haven’t taken all those learning steps. And the other thing that I think that, that Bitcoiners of, of my era, and I don’t know when you came in, but maybe it was even before me, it probably was is like the history is, is getting to be impossible to catch back up on.
Bryan Aulds (01:02:46):
Like we talk about when you spin up a full node, like it goes back to block one and starts downloading. But like when a new user comes in, like they’re kind of entering in and like their Bitcoin history starts right then and it’s very hard for them to go back and kind of relearn everything that’s happened. And I’m even now like finding out about character hers. Great. You mentioned Greg Maxwell.
New Speaker (01:03:14):
He recently posted on our Bitcoin about some guy who like had a cult more or less, who like w like wanted to enslave all the, no corners after, you know, Bitcoin became, you know, after Bitcoin moon. And apparently safe a Dean like thanked him in the back of his book. So I don’t, I mean I’m not trying to throw mud, but it was just like, I haven’t even heard of this guy and, and yet, I don’t know. I can find it. It was, we were talking about it in the Unhashed podcast a telegram group.
Vlad Costea (01:03:55):
Yeah. It sounds like Mircea Popescu, he’s a big Bitcoin whale is said to own a lot, possibly more than 100,000.
Bryan Aulds (01:04:09):
Oh wow. And, and does he talk about
Vlad Costea (01:04:13):
He has his own cult
Bryan Aulds (01:04:15):
In enslaving people? Yes. Yeah. And he runs his own core, own a version of Bitcoin. Yeah. With like all kinds of crazy holes in it. But he also apparently believes like basically if someone were to steal your Bitcoin, you kind of deserved for that to happen. Like you should have been like, you’re obviously not a power user. So like Bitcoin’s going to go to the strong hands. Who will steal from you?
Vlad Costea (01:04:44):
Oh yeah. He even claimed that he was the Dao hacker. He’s like, if you’re writing bad code, then you deserve it. That’s generally his approach. Yeah, yeah. Basically. Yeah, that was that was she, she’s quite a character. Yeah. It just like
Bryan Aulds (01:05:07):
Characters like that, like and, and I think Greg is the one that brought this point up. Like if you talk about someone like this to someone who hasn’t been in the Bitcoin space for very long, they won’t believe it. They won’t believe that there is someone like this who exists. But if you’ve been in Bitcoin for long enough, you will definitely believe that these types of people exist. So, Oh man, it’s just this space. It never stops. Amazing me. And I’m sure there’s going to be, you know, something else that’s going to come up. It’s just, it’s unbelievable. It’s always entertaining and it’s wild. It’s sad that that part is sad. I hate, I hate laughing at it, but you like,
Vlad Costea (01:05:50):
Can you think about these early nerds who got into Bitcoin very early on and in the case of Mircea Popescu, I think he was also interested in e-gold, which is a precursor a Bitcoin and he possibly found it very early on and minded hardcore at some point. You also own some kind of exchange and she does a lot of crazy stuff.
Bryan Aulds (01:06:16):
Yeah. And exit scam. There’s something. Yeah.
Vlad Costea (01:06:19):
At some point she was rewarding women for writing down block Heights that were being mined under boobs and taking pictures and he was giving them Bitcoins and he has an entire website, blog posts, which is just what pictures, like this is his way of bragging. He also bought a castle at some point. He single handedly saved a Linux distribution from going bust because it had some very advanced security features and the team ran out of funding and was about to shut down the project. And he was like, Oh yeah, I can totally handle this. I’ll take you people who you are for me now.
Bryan Aulds (01:07:10):
Wow. Yeah, definitely full of larger than life characters. I’m from I’m from Texas and so it reminds me a lot of the stories I would hear about the oil boom and just the, the characters that came out of that. So, I guess maybe it’s just like, like a combination of booms and like technology that’s on the edge, you know, and it’s hard to think about oil like that, but at one point it was kind of on the fringe so to speak. So that just kind of attracts those kinds of people.
New Speaker (01:07:50):
So, and it’s, it’s interesting how much wealth and power that has flowed to the early cypherpunks that were in Bitcoin. And I think that’s going to be, especially if the price goes up again it’s going to cause like political, there’s going to be political ramifications to it. And that that’s interesting to too,
Vlad Costea (01:08:17):
I’m not sure if they are interested in politics per se, but they are definitely interesting in disrupting the system.
Bryan Aulds (01:08:24):
Say yes. Exactly. Exactly. You know, like if you gave, if you, if you wound back the clock to like 1960 and gave, or I don’t know if that’s the right timeline or not, but if you gave iron ransom, borders, you know, billions of dollars, you know, even though they were trying to annex themselves from the system and it didn’t want to support the system, like that’s still going to have ramifications to the system and I think it will be [inaudible]
Vlad Costea (01:08:59):
Sometimes. I read the blog of Nick Szabo and I say sometimes because it’s a very difficult and tedious process of comprehending what he’s trying to say really. He has a very complex mind. I have a lot of respect for him. I’ve learned a lot from him, but it’s never as simple as just reading one article. You have to sometimes stop and process the information that you just acquired and maybe come back later.
New Speaker (01:09:29):
And it’s this on and off process. But he got me into David Chaum, because David Chaum is like the grandfather of all of this movements. And back in the 80s he was envisioning all of this situation with the NSA that we’re having right now and the fight with big brother. Maybe he was influenced by some sort of literature and try to implement it into technical terms that he was aware of, but he’s a very fascinating character and he, he was the one who created the first form of electronic cash and he was obsessed with privacy.
Speaker 12 (01:10:13):
Vlad Costea (01:10:13):
I think he still is, and I don’t want to advertise his shitcoin but is working on some sort of messaging application that’s definitely much more secure than WhatsApp or possibly telegram. Sometimes we blindly use telegram and think it’s private.
Bryan Aulds (01:10:37):
Yeah, it’s, it’s most definitely not. I mean it might be private for like nine, 9% of people who might try to look at it, but there are people who can look at it.
Vlad Costea (01:10:50):
I mean in some use cases and situations, I can agree with messages maybe that it’s good to have a backdoor, but with money, that’s not something on which I can agree.
Speaker 12 (01:11:04):
Bryan Aulds (01:11:07):
I would agree with the money. I don’t, I don’t know about the messages. I’d have to think about that some more. I mean
Vlad Costea (01:11:14):
Anyway, I Googled by how do I buy Bitcoin and after a few sponsored ads for websites about which I’ve never heard. Yeah, there is. Okay. There’s, it’s like the 20th result but Buy Bitcoin worldwide.com it’s here. I don’t use Google. I tried to switch to duck duck go because doctor, it doesn’t quite slip on the tip of your tongue, but it’s useful and it preserves your privacy. So let me also duck, duck go. How do I buy Bitcoin? Cause this is always an interesting exercise.
Speaker 9 (01:12:04):[Inaudible]
Vlad Costea (01:12:05):
Yeah, when I did it, he is on the first page, but he’s below bitcoin.com unfortunately. So it looks like he’s number eight and nine. When I Googled it, let me Google Bitcoin. Cold storage if you metal plate. Well actually this is Doug Darko. We’ll also Google. So there is Amazon, which is the first result and there is the cold bit. Haven’t heard of it up to this point. I haven’t heard of them either.
Speaker 9 (01:12:44):[Inaudible].
Vlad Costea (01:12:45):
There’s actually a website called Instructables, which teaches you how to build your own steal Bitcoin wallet.
Vlad Costea (01:12:57):
Oh, that’s cool. I’m, I’m fine. People building their own, if that’s something that, I mean, if the, if, and if it makes them like feel better about it, then, you know, I’ve had the same conversation with Rodolfo Novak of ColdCard and he published the whole schematics and a list of components that you need to build your own. And he told me when we had this conversation that he’s able to produce it for much less than it costs to have all the parts shipped to you.
New Speaker (01:13:33):
And it takes a lot of time and effort to actually build it because of economies of scale. He’s able to get better deals and have the products shipped at a reasonable price as opposed to having every small tip and the plastic case and the buttons and everything that you need to build your own. It takes a lot of time and effort and money to put them together. But for somebody who has no access to resources and may live in a country which is closed in terms of shippings and may not ever be able to have access to shipping’s from China, from Ali express or wherever you find these parts, this can be a lifesaver if you can just build your own.
Bryan Aulds (01:14:29):
Yeah. Especially if you have some, you know, circuit tree knowledge or [inaudible] knowledge. Yeah. I mean, I totally agree and I thought that was really cool when they did that. I saw that I was, I was a little surprised to be honest, but yeah, but I think that’s, I think that was really cool. Them and I, I mean, I, I definitely, even if you could get them at the same price, you know, that they manufactured that you’re going to have, you know, just it, I mean, how much is your time worth kind of thing. So it’s definitely worth the 99 bucks to go buy the ColdCard.
Vlad Costea (01:15:11):
Also, we spoke about the steel plate solution that Billfodl, but you didn’t tell me where the name comes from.
Bryan Aulds (01:15:22):
Oh. So my brother was my brother came up with it. He’s really good at branding. But it’s a play on bill fold, which in America is like a wallet like a, like a, a men’s wallet. You would also call it, you could call it a bill fold. And so if you, you know, turn it into Hodl or do the same thing with Hodl with bill fold, you get Billfodl. So it’s like a wallet, but it’s Hoddle Billfodl that that’s how we came up with the name. Do they, is that, I know, I know you’re in Romania, but is there a I dunno, does that English word, have you, have you heard of that before or is it just,
Vlad Costea (01:16:10):
No, I think that’s just a very American term. Is it a brand or is it just some kind of slang? Let me look it up on urban dictionary.
Bryan Aulds (01:16:23):
Oh, it’s a billfold. Yeah. No, it’s not a brand. It’s not a brand. It’s just a, you know, I don’t know. I wouldn’t even call it a slang and just, it’s just another, a synonym, if you will.
Vlad Costea (01:16:36):
So the top definition on urban dictionary is like a wallet, but harder to find usually does not contain any money or the same as a wallet.
Bryan Aulds (01:16:50):
I think they might be okay. Yeah, it’s like an older word maybe. Maybe like old people use it. I thought they were making fun of men not being able to find things in the first definition. Mmm. You know, like you always have to ask your wife like, where’s your bill? Where’s my billfold?
Vlad Costea (01:17:15):
This should also be a tee shirt. Like the definition of bill fold and why Billfodl is a smart way of huddling the bill. Fold idea.
Bryan Aulds (01:17:31):
Yeah. We’ll have to wait. I have a whole list of tee shirts and now that you’ve given me, so we’ll have to get to a, get to the tee shirt, man. I don’t know where we’ll be it a Bitcoin 2020. So well maybe we will,
Vlad Costea (01:17:45):
I’m not sure if I’ll make it there because the expenses of actually getting to San Francisco and staying there for 30 days, they cost me more than I make it two or three months plus thanks to the U S policy, I have to go to the embassy, go through a whole background check process and do an interview and then I find out if I’m approved. Wow. That’s quite the process. It is. And we’re an eight two members.
Bryan Aulds (01:18:25):
Yeah. Wow. I don’t know. I mean, how could they have a Bitcoin 2020 without you though? You’re like one of the superstar, right?
Vlad Costea (01:18:32):
Am I, I’m just one of the guys who works a lot, but I’m not a superstar by any metric. I think Gavron is it a superstar and Colin I guess is better known than me.
Bryan Aulds (01:18:48):
Hmm. I always see your, you know, when I’m reading articles, I see your smiling face on there, so,
Vlad Costea (01:18:53):
Oh, thank you. It’s mostly because ARA nowadays works on a book, which is about the pre Bitcoin history of electronic money, mostly about cipher punk stuff. Okay. And if it works on that book, she doesn’t have as much time to write articles, which means there is more work for me.
Bryan Aulds (01:19:17):
Well, I guess I guess that’s good for you
Vlad Costea (01:19:19):
At this point. Yeah, I’m very happy and I’m grateful that I’m able to find work in this space because it’s not that easy, especially during this phase of the market. Maybe like a year from now when we’re going to have that raging bull market, and this is not financial advice, this is not any kind of prediction. Please don’t get me into that. But you can review white papers for like 100 bucks an hour for ICLs and stuff like that and write their blog posts and they’re going to be like, ah, I don’t care.
New Speaker (01:19:56):
Just make it sound good. Make people spend money. Yeah, it’s someone else’s money. So I remember 2017 when people were throwing eater attitude, they’re like, Oh, you want to get paid in eater because I’ve made so, so many Janes on this that I can afford to pay you by the thousands. Not that it happens to me, but I’ve heard stories.
Bryan Aulds (01:20:21):
Yeah, no, I mean we saw this effect even going into 2018 like a booth at consensus was like 25 or $30,000 it’s like, are you kidding me? Like, and it was just because there was so much ICO money sloshing around that like they could charge whatever they wanted and the ICS were going to pay.
New Speaker (01:20:48):
So so like it just bids, they bid out any legitimate business because they can always bid more than you cause they’re just selling air. So I dunno I that that is like one of my big, that is one of the, I think worst ramifications among all the horrible ramifications of the ICO bubble was that like any legitimate business was just completely priced out of the market for advertising for, you know, especially at like conferences like that. But even on like Google, it’s just like you are always going to get out bid and there’s nothing you could do about it.
Vlad Costea (01:21:25):
Aren’t you concerned that this statement of yours might make ICO investors wants to start their keys from their ERC 20 tokens and metal plates? Not by the Billfodl I’m sorry. I cannot say it with a straight face, but you get it.
Bryan Aulds (01:21:47):
Yes. So he, I mean, I guess they can do whatever they want. But I mean they would be, they could, I’m trying to think of the, the most tongue in cheek. They, they’d have much more time to scam other people if they would buy a Billfodl and store it that way. So maybe the world would be better off if they wouldn’t buy a Billfodl and, and stored it themselves and then they would have less time to spend you know, dreaming up more scams. I, I’d be okay with that. I, I can, I can sleep at night knowing that that’s what [inaudible]
Vlad Costea (01:22:24):
By the way, not that I’m very much immersed in the world of Materium, but I haven’t heard Ethiopian people talk about cold storage as much as Bitcoin people.
Bryan Aulds (01:22:36):
No, they, they, they really don’t. They don’t. I mean, in, in my experience, it doesn’t seem like they care about it as much. So, but I think that might come from like the, just where the Bitcoiners came from versus where the Ethiopian guys came from. Most of the theory and people are devs and they are comfortable, you know, leaving it on a computer because that’s what they understand. And then like at least our segment of the Bitcoin market is more of the like survivalist kind of people and they are probably gold bugs before. So they like having something to hold. So yeah, this is a different market segments.
Vlad Costea (01:23:27):
I think one of the most significant lessons that I’ve learned from the Bitcoin community is that computer scientists should not be trusted. And even computer scientists who are very good at what they do, they will say, no, we should not automate this. And for example, electronic voting, they will say it’s a bad idea because any system can be hacked and manipulate it.
New Speaker (01:23:52):
And a very good computer scientist will have these concerns and say, how about we just stick to paper ballots and put them in a box? And that’s a lot more secure. And you know that what gets in will not get out and will not get changed as opposed to anything which is crypto graphic and can be hacked. But a mediocre computer scientist will just enjoy the paycheck and say, yeah, sure I can do it. Yeah. They can go to governments and take a lot of money from them for services and governments will pay up because sometimes it just looks good to say you’re modernizing or automating a process and you’re removing doubts.
Bryan Aulds (01:24:41):
Yeah. I think, I think that phenomenon is what the, like blockchain for supply chain is all based on. It’s just like some operations officer wanted to, you know, modernize and, and so it’s like someone sold them a block chain and then that’s what happened. And then, you know, IBM knew that they could sell HyperLedger for millions of dollars a year to these big companies. So
Vlad Costea (01:25:12):
I actually know someone who works and works on the HyperLedger product and he’s making a lot of money.
Bryan Aulds (01:25:20):
I, and, and, and I’m sure that the other flip side of it is, I’m sure it is much better than whatever they were using before. But that just kinda shows you how like antiquated the, the, the paperwork in of, of most supply chains is like literally. So, and this is only like been three or four years ago. I’m sure it’s still the case, but like, if you have like a shipment of let’s say oil,
Speaker 11 (01:25:50):
Bryan Aulds (01:25:52):
You have to like when you take possession of it, so they’ve, the, the refinery has loaded it on like the ship that you’ve chartered. You sign literal paperwork on the dock and then that paperwork gets overnighted to, you know, some office in New York and it gets stamped and then it gets forwarded to the corporate office, wherever that is.
New Speaker (01:26:15):
And then sign there and then that paperwork has to get to wherever the ship is going before the ship gets there for it to be signed to the ownership of whatever’s on it to be transferred over for the next port. So there’s cases where the ship can actually get there before the paperwork and then the ship just has to sit there. So like if you, let’s say, I mean it’s fine if it’s doing like a transplant, like obviously the paperwork’s going to get there first, but if it’s going from like one day into Rotterdam, like that ship can get there in a day and a half and they still have to do this whole like paperwork, dance.
New Speaker (01:26:56):
So it’s an interesting like how antiquated some of these systems that we have to, to keep track of all these goods. So I’m sure the HyperLedger is better than that, but I’m also sure that like it is not decentralized or you know,
Bryan Aulds (01:27:16):
Any of any of the many other things it claims to be,
Vlad Costea (01:27:19):
Oh yeah, in many ways I think it defeats the purpose of having a blockchain in the first place. But they took advantage of all the hypers and it’s a centralized project which just delivers to this hype. But anyway, I don’t think we should give them too much credit or attention.
New Speaker (01:27:40):
And I feel like during the last or in the half, I have extracted all the information that I could and was interested in, but know that that’s a bad statement because I’m sure I can find out a lot more from you and especially since you’re a navigator, but you also deal podcast, which is called the on hashed podcast and therefore people participating get, can you advertise it? I can tell you this tense.
Bryan Aulds (01:28:11):
Yeah, sure, sure. Thanks for the for letting me give the shutout. Yeah, so we do the unhatched podcast. It’s Mario Gigney. He works for Blockstream and does, he runs the Blockstream store and does customer support for Blockstream green. And then Ruben Samson, who, I’m not sure what the official title is, but he’s like one of the head honcho or I dunno, head honcho, that’s not the right word, but like the, the curator perhaps would be a better term of the Bitcoin mailing list.
New Speaker (01:28:47):
So, and he recently attained that, so we were very happy for him when, when he got that title. He’s a co curator I guess. And I’m sure he’ll be mad at me that I stated that title and correctly, so don’t hold me to that. And then my brother Collin Aulds who runs both bottle with me, and then obviously I’m the low man on the totem pole over there.
Bryan Aulds (01:29:11):
I, I fulfill my role of asking dumb questions. So if there’s something that Ruben is talking about, he’s definitely a the most technically advanced person, and that there’s just something that he’s saying and I don’t understand it, then I get to ask the question that, you know, for the listener, I see. You know, obviously I know the answer to this question, but for the listeners, Ruben, can you please explain and then I get to ask the question. So, so it’s fun and, and hopefully I bring kind of the the business side to it all. So,
Vlad Costea (01:29:45):
So whose idea was it originally to create the billfodl?
Bryan Aulds (01:29:55):
It was kind of a collaboration between my brother and I. I would say more me. He definitely came up with the name. But I I, you know, found the, the, the fact that it was open source plans and you know, pushed the business side of it. I’m, I’m much more business minded. Well I won’t say that he’s very business minded. But yeah, so I, I would say the specifically, you know, building metal crypto wallets, that was, that was my idea.
Vlad Costea (01:30:29):
I’m not sure if I have anything else to ask you about cold storage, but this was definitely useful and I hope that listeners will find information that helps them better manage their private keys. And I’m happy that we cleared this confusion because a lot of people think if you store some kind of generated keys on a steel plate, you don’t need a hardware, hardware wallet.
Vlad Costea (01:30:55):
But actually it’s a good idea to generate that private key on a device that is not connected to the intranet and it’s brand new and neutral from a, an information access point of view. And then you write it down on something which stands the test of time. And when you need to use the funds, it’s definitely better to enter your seed words on a hardware wallet as opposed to typing them on the keyboard of your computer.
Vlad Costea (01:31:29):
So in this sense, I’m pretty sure, and I’m pretty confident that it’s a good idea to get cold storage to accompany your hardware wallet. And then again, there’s this confusion between cold storage and hardware wallets because hardware wallets can be used as cold storage. But I guess that’s another debate for another day. So thank you very much Bryan olds. I’m very happy that I had you and if you have any closing words, I leave you. The floor.
Bryan Aulds (01:32:02):
Oh, well thank you. I don’t have anything. Thanks for having me on. Vlad I, I really enjoyed it. It was a fun conversation. We went kind of far field from Billfodl, but I think that’s a good thing. There’s only, there’s only so much you can talk about about a piece of metal. So, so, but it was fun. It was good. Thank you for having me on.