Beginner’s Guide #12: Bitcoin Privacy & OpSec with Jameson Lopp

Location: Skype
Date: Monday, 17th February
Project: Casa
Role: CTO

Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to Bitcoin.

Bitcoin can be intimidating for beginners. The protocol is complicated, the community can be aggressive and unforgiving, silly mistakes can lose you money, and it is easy to succumb to altcoin marketing. 

Bitcoin does though, offer you the opportunity to hold a new type of monetary asset, one which can’t be seized by the government and is censorship resistance and It has the potential to change the way the world. 

The goal of What Bitcoin Did has always been about making things simple; there are no stupid questions, and the show is here to help beginners navigate this new world. To kick off 2020, we are launching a special series to help beginners understand Bitcoin. We will be looking at the basics from breaking down the protocol to explaining the economics and discussing the potential societal shift. 

Beginners Guide Part 12 – Bitcoin Privacy & OpSec with Jameson Lopp

When entering Bitcoin, you leave behind the traditional banking system. Bitcoin allows you to take back your monetary sovereignty, and with that, you must secure your coins. With Bitcoin, there is no insurance or fraud prevention, and if you mismanage your private keys and someone can access them, hackers can steal your Bitcoin.

There are several techniques that you can use to protect your Bitcoin from hackers as well as your transactions and personal information from data-hungry companies such as Facebook and Google:

  • VPN – Running a VPN masks your identity and location.

  • 2FA – Two-factor authentication such as Google Authenticator & YubiKey adds another layer of security to your accounts. (Not SMS 2FA)

  • Browsers – Privacy focused browsers such as Tor & Brave help shield your online activity from trackers and fingerprinting

  • Hardware Wallets – Using a hardware wallet such as ColdCard, Ledger or Trezor takes your private keys offline and if your seed phrase is stored correctly is a very secure way of holding your Bitcoin. For a breakdown of how hardware wallets work, you can check out this article.

  • Running a Node – A node is a program that directly connects to the Bitcoin network and allows you to verify the state of the blockchain and validate transactions. This removes the need to trust someone else’s node to verify your transactions and balances.

In Part 12 of the Beginner’s Guide to Bitcoin, I talk to Jameson Lopp, co-founder and CTO at Casa, and renowned Bitcoin privacy expert. We discuss Bitcoin privacy, best practices and operational security.