Bitcoin Privacy Guide

A beginners guide to Bitcoin privacy


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Safeguarding your Bitcoin

Table of Contents

  1. What is cold storage?
  2. Desktop node
  3. Plug + Play node
  4. DIY node
  5. Other options
  6. Trade-offs

Why safeguard?

So far all we have discussed are mobile wallets that favour convenience because they are internet connected devices that allow you quick and easy access to your bitcoin. The drawback with convenience is that interenet connected devices bring their own exposure which may not be desireable if you are storing larger amounts of bitcoin. So how can we safeguard that bitcoin in a more secure way?

Cold storage refers to a method of bitcoin storage that has never touched the internet. For most users this takes the form of a hardware wallet which is a dedicated device designed with one aim, to generate and secure your private keys. When looking for a cold storage method, look for ‘air gapped’ devices like the Coldcard or Cobo Vault. These devices never need to be plugged into your potentially malware infected computer to sign transactions and allow you to spend your bitcoin, adding a huge layer of protection from attack.

Desktop Node Version

Bitcoin Core + Specter Desktop + Coldcard

  1. Set up your Coldcard
  2. Download Bitcoin Core
  3. Open Core, go to ‘options’ and edit the config file to add the line server=1
  4. Restart Core, initital block download (IBD) will now recommence.
  5. Download Specter Desktop
  6. Select ‘run local Specter server’
  7. Bitcoin Core will be automatically detected
  8. In Specter press ‘add new device’ then give it a name and select the device type
  9. On your ColdCard export ‘Electrum Wallet’ to your Coldcard SD card and insert into your computer
  10. In Specter ‘choose files’ and select the .JSON file you just exported
  11. Press continue and the device will be added
  12. Press ‘add new wallet’, then ‘single key’
  13. Name the wallet, choose Segwit and select your Coldcard
  14. Press continue then ‘create wallet’
  15. Wait for IBD to complete in core
  16. Select your newly created wallet in Specter and press receive to see your first address

Here is a fantastic video version of the above steps.

Plug + Play Node Version

myNode One + Specter + ColdCard

  1. Setup your Coldcard
  2. Setup your myNode One
  3. Wait for initital block download (IBD) to complete
  4. Enable and open Specter from your myNode dashboard
  5. In Specter press ‘add new device’ then give it a name and select the device type
  6. On your ColdCard export ‘Electrum Wallet’ to your Coldcard SD card and insert into your computer
  7. In Specter ‘choose files’ and select the .JSON file you just exported
  8. Press continue and the device will be added
  9. Press ‘add new wallet’ then ‘single key’
  10. Name the wallet, choose Segwit and select your Coldcard
  11. Press continue then ‘create wallet’
  12. Wait for IBD to complete in Core
  13. Select your newly created wallet in Specter and press receive to see your first address

DIY Node Version

RoninDojo + Electrum Desktop + Coldcard

  1. Set up your Coldcard
  2. Assemble your RoninDojo node hardware
  3. Flash SD card then insert into device
  4. Complete Manjaro setup
  5. SSH into the device and install RoninDojo, ensuring you say ‘yes’ to installing Electrum Rust Server (electrs)
  6. Wait for IBD and Electrs compaction to complete
  7. Download Electrum desktop wallet
  8. Connect Electrum wallet to your Electrum Rust Server
  9. On your ColdCard export ‘Electrum Wallet’ to your Coldcard SD card and insert into your computer
  10. In Electrum wallet press ‘choose’ then select the .JSON file that you just exported to the SD card and press next
  11. Wallet will load and you should see a warning asking you to connect your Coldcard, ignore this message and press no
  12. Press receive to see your first address

Other options

There are plenty of other hardware wallet and node combinations, most will require some form of Electrum Server to act as a bridge between the underlying bitcoin software on your node and desktop wallet which the most commonly used hardware wallet interface.

Trade-offs


Now you have obtained, secured, segregated, labelled and coinjoined your bitcoin into both mobile and hardware wallets that are backed by your own node, let’s look at how to spend your bitcoin in a private way.