S4 E7: Peter Todd on Hardware Wallets, Security & Proofmarshall
Intellectually speaking, Peter Todd has been a bitcoiner before Satoshi Nakamoto even emerged on the cypherpunk mailing list. As a cryptography and computer science enthusiast, he would try to solve the double-spending problem with Hal Finney and Adam Back when he was just fifteen. His work and credentials definitely qualify him as a cypherpunk, but it’s his relentless critical spirit and adversarial thinking that make him stand apart.
As a true iconoclast, Peter Todd is not afraid to ask the questions that defy canons and would definitely call out the emperor for his nakedness in spite of authoritarian pressures to recognize the existence of clothes.
For these reasons, Todd is the perfect critic of hardware wallets, and the right kind of person to explain how ideal security setups should function. Though he avoids giving specific advice, Peter Todd does promote the development of a critical thinking mechanism which adapts to threats and preemptively phases out possibly disastrous scenarios.
The inclusion of Todd in season 4 of the Bitcoin Takeover Podcast marks a significant shift in tone, as for the first time during the series the guest has absolutely no involvement in the hardware wallet or cold storage business. By having no skin in the game, he can be brutally honest.
Throughout this two-hour interview, the cypherpunk is candid and merciless when it comes to criticizing the lack of transparency that certain manufacturers show.
And when he doesn’t explain why hardware wallets are terrible and how cold storage is best maintained, Peter Todd also talks about his latest project: Proofmarshall. If you’re able to help build the project (also described during the podcast at 1:17:00) or would like to audit it, feel free to contribute on the public GitHub repository.
4:02 – Intro
5:24 – Hardware wallet physical security
6:10 – Buying hardware wallets on eBay?
7:04 – Toothbrush analogy
7:26 – Supply chain attacks
7:40 – Fake seed cards
8:20 – Does Peter Todd use any hardware wallets?
9:10 – Hardware wallets as part of the Bitcoin lifestyle
9:30 – Dealing with Bitcoin in the early days
10:40 – Peter Todd running Qubes and multiple virtual machines
11:29 – Advice for newbies
13:00 – The economics of hardware wallets
13:50 – Markets for Bitcoin transaction data
15:00 – Are Electrum servers ran by Chainalysis?
16:30 – Chainalysis and Bitcoin exchanges
17:00 – Shapeshift’s KeepKey
18:31 – Does Peter Todd use a Coldcard?
20:22 – The issue of hardware wallet screens and checking addresses
21:55 – Packaging to discourage supply chain attacks
23:00 – Coldcard and PSBT
25:25 – Auditing trusted setups
26:10 – Which hardware wallet does Peter Todd recommend?
29:15 – Is the YubiKey better than a hardware wallet?
31:57 – Setting up a watch-only wallet for cold storage
32:58 – Is just using Bitcoin Core secure enough?
35:14 – The psychology of having a piece of hardware that makes you feel safe
36:36 – Ballet Crypto and trusted printing
37:45 – BitAddress dot org
39:00 – Generating randomness with a dice
40:10 – Security is hard and complex
41:00 – Security theatre
42:47 – Cryptography vs Applied Cryptography
44:30 – How can Trezor and Ledger steal funds from hardware wallet owners?
46:41 – Liability for theft
49:40 – Can hardware wallet manufacturers steal $1 from each user?
51:00 – The perfect theft that hardware wallet manufacturers can coordinate
52:10 – Bluetooth on hardware wallets?
53:10 – RS 232
55:20 – Faraday cages
57:20 – Practical advice for bitcoiners
59:00 – Tiger rocks, locks, and lock pickers
1:00:20 – Is multisig a good idea?
1:01:23 – Is memorizing your private key a good idea?
1:01:56 – Security from yourself
1:03:30 – Physical vs digital data security
1:05:20 – Does Peter Todd like weed?
1:06:16 – Bitcoin and drug sales
1:07:41 – Peter Todd’s prediction for Bitcoin’s success
1:09:50 – One day, Bitcoin will go to 0
1:10:00 – The US dollar will fail before Bitcoin
1:12:50 – David Gerard and stories that exist just because they have an audience
1:16:22 – Peter Todd’s Proofmarshall project
1:17:10 – Practical applications of Open Timestamps and Proofmarshall
1:23:30 – Why Peter Todd thinks Bitcoin should have inflation
1:24:51 – Replace By Fee (RBF) according to Peter Todd’s initial design
1:27:00 – Why it’s profitable but disingenuous to sell tokens
1:28:00 – Ethereum’s marketing was a scam
1:30:20 – We can’t replicate Bitcoin
1:31:30 – Post-profitability Bitcoin mining
1:37:40 – Does Peter Todd think Bitcoin will be around in 40-50 years?
1:39:40 – Why is Peter Todd not Satoshi?
1:40:30 – Does Peter Todd have anti-Bitcoin ideas?
1:41:30 – Gold is inflationary
1:46:25 – Does Peter Todd like the HTC Exodus 1s full node phone?
1:48:30 – Android is messed up
1:48:15 – Are iPhones more secure?
1:50:00 – Is Tails OS really safe?
1:50:40 – Why it’s good to have dedicated devices
1:52:30 – The mobile operating system choices we have are terrible
1:54:00 – Tor on Blockstream Green iOS
1:55:10 – VPN, Tor, or both?
1:57:30 – Should we run Tor exit nodes?
1:58:30 – Closing notes
“LXMI is a European Cryptocurrency exchange whose name is inspired by Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of Wealth, Good Fortune and Prosperity. It’s one of the regulated and legal Cryptocurrency exchange.
On LXMI you can buy bitcoins with most fiat currencies and you can also do the trading for top Altcoins.
They follow the “Not your keys not your bitcoins” philosophy with their integrated non-custodial wallet which helps you manage your own private keys. So if you’re into trading, then you don’t have to worry about having your Crypto frozen by whatever political decisions, since you’re empowered to hold and move your coins around whenever you wish.
It’s great to have new players like LXMI that respect your financial sovereignty.
LXMI is launching in 2020 for more information please check out – www.LXMI.IO/
If you’re not trading, it’s recommended to move your coins to a hardware wallet or some other form of cold storage, and in this episode, you’re about to find why.
Please keep in mind that this is just an ad for a sponsor of this show. It’s not meant to serve as financial advice, and you’re responsible to do your own research before buying anything and act according to your own decisions. Embrace your financial sovereignty with agency and precaution.
“Phemex is a Bitcoin exchange with derivative trading options which focuses on speed, robustness, and maximum uptime. Built by former Morgan Stanley executives, it manages o bring simple and accessible Bitcoin trading. In 2020, Phemex will also add S&P 500 stocks, stock indexes, FOREX, commodities, and more.
Sign up today at phemex.com/bonus and receive a bonus of up to $72.
Please keep in mind that this is just an ad for a sponsor of this show. It’s not meant to serve as financial advice, and you’re responsible to do your own research before buying anything and act according to your own decisions. Embrace your financial sovereignty with agency and precaution.”