S8 E4: Lawrence Nahum on Blockstream’s Jade

In January 2021, Blockstream has taken the Bitcoin world by surprise by announcing the Jade hardware wallet – a device which natively works with the Blockstream Green software wallet, but has far greater ambitions. Jade comes with a built-in camera which allows users to scan QR codes, and also offers bluetooth connectivity to seamlessly work with the otherwise third party device-unfriendly iPhones. But the most unexpected part about the Jade is how inexpensive it is: it costs about half of the usual hardware wallet price.

To offer more insights about the Jade, I’ve decided to invite Lawrence Nahum to the show. Depending on when you joined the Bitcoin space, you may know Lawrence as the creator of the GreenAddress and ABCore wallets, or the Blockstream Chief Architect who also does a popular podcast with Udi Wertheimer (whom you can hear in S2 E2 of the Bitcoin Takeover Podcast).

The self-proclaimed “better half of Reckless Review” is a fine connoisseur of the hardware wallet market and, as you’re about to find out in this interview, has put a lot of effort into choosing the best parts and features for the Jade. Lawrence Nahum also has some innovative ideas about automating Bitcoin transactions through the Jade, in order to either manage CoinJoins on JoinMarket or perform trades according to data provided by exchanges that act as oracles.

But for now, the Jade aims to add HWI support for extra compatibility with wallets such as Electrum, Wasabi, and Bitcoin Core. Also, Blockstream’s hardware wallet will soon benefit from PSBT support and more integrations that increase its usability. And hopefully, the supply of devices will increase by then so enthusiasts can get their hands on the shimmering Jade.

In the latter part of the interview, Lawrence Nahum explains how he came up with the name GreenAddress, provides some details about his collaboration with HTC to improve the Exodus 1s full Bitcoin node phone, and also tells the story behind ABCore. And if you listen to the whole episode, you’re going to hear about a special hashtag that you should tweet as a way of showing off your superior social status and impressive intellect. And yes, you do find out under which conditions Reckless Review will release a new episode.

Listen to Lawrence Nahum on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

If you don’t have an account on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, then I recommend you to use my RSS feed. It will help you get better privacy, as there’s no third party corporation to register your listening patterns, record your cross-website browsing, or try to get your identity. As a matter of fact, I hope that you use the Tor browser so not even my rented server can register your real IP. Your privacy is a lot more important to me than my statistics.

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This Episode is Sponsored by Vaultoro and Wasabi Wallet!

Want to learn more about the values of the two companies? I have recorded episodes with both Joshua Scigala (Vaultoro CEO) and Nopara73 (Wasabi Wallet creator).

If you would like to support the show and you’re into trading hard money like bitcoin, gold, and silver, then sign up to Vaultoro using my referral link. Vaultoro will help you forget about shitcoins and focus on sound money. They also allow you topick up your gold bars or have them shipped to your address, so you don’t have to trust any custodian with your money. Keep in mind that you are responsible for your own decisions and I am not providing you financial advice.

And if you would like to increase your network and transaction privacy, you should download Wasabi Wallet on your computer. It routes your connection through the Tor network to hide your IP, it downloads block filters so you validate your own transactions locally without appealing to a trusted third party, and it also connects to your own full node to boost your financial sovereignty. Wasabi is best known for its link-breaking CoinJoins, which are giving a hard time even to the EuroPol. Use the wallet to increase your financial sovereignty, but don’t do any illegal stuff – use your financial sovereignty with responsibility (also read the Wasabi terms of service).

Time Stamps for My Interview with Lawrence Nahum:

00:00 – Intro

03:38 – Why did Blockstream join the hardware market?

05:46 – Blockstream’s version of the anti-klepto, anti-Exfil 

06:46 – How Jade can fix the multisig user experience

08:45 – Wait, isn’t Jade a green stone?

09:37 – Bitcoin wallets and colors 

10:10 – How does Jade work with Wasabi and Electrum?

11:39 – Do Jade’s QR code scanning and bluetooth connectivity make it a mobile-specific hardware wallet?

12:40 – Making Jade work as a stand-alone device

13:46 – Air-gapping and false promises by other hardware wallet manufacturers

15:54 – Jade vs Trezor, Ledger, and BitBox02

22:55 – Does Blockstream have a bounty policy for responsible security disclosures for the Jade hardware wallet?

24:44 – Building your own Jade from the open sourced specifications

25:59 – What was the reception like for the Jade? Have any experts tried to hack into the Jade?

28:37 – Tropic Square and open source security chips for hardware wallets

31:10 – Buying a hardware wallet vs building your own from general-purpose parts

35:32 – Does PSBT make your coins more secure? Will Blockstream’s Jade add PSBT?

37:08 – How can you protect your privacy when ordering a hardware wallet?

43:38 – Multisig vs Shamir Secret Sharing

49:27 – When do you know that you need a multisig?

52:39 – What’s next for Blockstream? 

53:45 – What’s the next Jade update going to include?

57:09 – Lawrence Nahum’s ideas to integrate Jade with Lightning and JoinMarket

1:00:30 – Shitcoins lying about their contributions to computer science and how newbies fall for it

1:03:00 – Promoting shitcoins is bad

1:04:21 – Bitcoin sidechains integrating interesting ideas from shitcoins (Drivechain, RSK)

1:06:58 – The tradeoffs involved when using sidechains

1:08:10 – When will Jade production meet its demand?

1:08:55 – What is the service life of the wallet?

1:11:46 – The Jade roadmap, revisited 

1:15:06 – Can you use Jade for multisig in a quorum?

1:16:20 – Wen Reckless Review?

1:19:20 – Lawrence Nahum also created ABCore

1:20:59 – Why is Lawrence’s wallet called GreenAddress?

1:25:00 – Lawrence Nahum consulted HTC for the Exodus 1s full node phone

1:27:53 – How Lawrence Nahum came up with ABCore after receiving an Android TV accessory 

1:30:13 – #BringBackRecklessReview #BuyUdiAMicrophone

Vlad Costea

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