Skip to main content
Skip to main content
Specter Solutions has integrated the Liquid Bitcoin sidechain network into its desktop and hardware wallet solutions and added support for Blockstream’s hardware wallet Jade, according to a release sent to Bitcoin Magazine. The integration will enable Specter users to transact in the Liquid Network with Jade and Specter hardware wallets.
“At Blockstream, we believe self-custody is a fundamental element of Bitcoin,” said Samson Mow, Chief Strategy Officer at Blockstream. “Running a node, whether it is Bitcoin itself or a layer-2 solution like Liquid or Lightning, unlocks the full potential of the asset and the ability to self-bank. We look forward to continuing our work with Specter to help make running a node more accessible and enjoyable for the everyday Bitcoiner.”
Liquid is a federated sidechain of Bitcoin, meaning it is a separate blockchain network, different from Lightning which runs on top of the Bitcoin blockchain as a layer-2 solution. Blockstream created Liquid to empower traders and exchanges with faster and confidential transactions and the ability to issue digital assets at the expense of a few tradeoffs.
Liquid allows bitcoin to flow between the Liquid and Bitcoin networks with a two-way peg. Bitcoin used in the Liquid network is referred to as L-BTC, and its verifiably equivalent amount of BTC is managed and secured by the network’s members, called functionaries.
However, functionaries can be interpreted as requiring trust in third parties because although full nodes can ensure functionaries’ correct behavior by verifying transactions and peg-ins, only functionaries have the power to secure the network.
The uprising of different options for users to interact with and leverage the Bitcoin network is a net positive, but the tradeoffs are essential to understand. Liquid is a meaningful tool for a particular set of use cases, primarily for exchanges and high-frequency traders. Still, everyday users might be put off by the introduction of trust and permission into pegging in and out of a BTC IOU — which goes against some principles of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin has a place for many skill sets and backgrounds, as we’ll see in this episode of “Meet The Taco Plebs.”
Watch This Episode On YouTube
Listen To This Episode:
Oftentimes, those who have the greatest impact go unseen. Here at Bitcoin Magazine, we have an excellent copy editing network, which includes the highly talented Keith Mukai. Mukai contributes to Bitcoin in so many ways, and we are very lucky to have him here at the magazine. In this episode, we discussed his background that brought him into Bitcoin, including the skill sets which have allowed him to contribute to the space. We also talked about how Bitcoin has changed his life, his favorite piece he’s edited here at the magazine and what he’s personally looking forward to in the industry. After listening to the podcast, be sure to check out the written interview below!
What’s your Bitcoin rabbit hole story?
Unfortunately, I didn’t have that nerd friend who could have told me about Bitcoin way back in the early days. It just took the usual 3+ touches over the course of a few years for me to finally take a closer look and make the plunge in June 2017.
But I did learn a valuable lesson. Before 2017, every time I encountered Bitcoin I’d think, “Man, that sounds cool! I need to check it out!” But I also had no clue what I would do with it if I had some. Seemed hard to justify the time and effort for something that, at the time, was just a nerdy curiosity. And then I’d just forget about it. Good lord, what regrets I have!
So now when I encounter a new tech or even just a new skill, I dive in. I don’t think about how it’ll be useful or whether it’ll advance my career or have some future ROI. If it interests me, I’m in. Period. Every bit of expertise and knowledge and skill that I can acquire will someday pay off in some way that I couldn’t possibly anticipate today. Circuits, woodworking, astrophotography, endless side rabbit holes in Bitcoin itself … I’m here for all of it. All these unique combinations of expertise give me a unique perspective. That’s my ROI. I’ll see solutions that others can’t.
How has Bitcoin changed your life?
I feel like I’m finally making a difference in the world!
In late 2019 I was following a very new, raw project called Specter Desktop. I loved what Stepan Snigirev was doing with it, but his focus was on supporting airgapped hardware wallets that never get plugged into a computer. I wanted to use Specter but I only had USB wallets. I asked him if he’d be open to me adding support for USB wallets. He gave his blessing so I got to work. Fast-forward to today: Bitcoin Beach has helped propel Bitcoin to the world stage. And their custom community wallet uses Specter to manage their cold storage. If they’re using USB hardware wallets, they’re using my code!
And then, after Jack Mallers’ incredible announcement about El Salvador at the Bitcoin 2021 conference, I was so inspired that I really wanted to add Spanish language support to Specter. And the way code works, if you add support for one language, you can basically add every other language. So I recruited volunteer translators and we ended up fully translating Specter into 11 languages, with lots more to come!
And most recently, my previous tinkering with a Raspberry Pi has paid off now that I’ve discovered SeedSigner, which is this amazing open source, super cheap hardware wallet. I’m having such a great time adding cool new features to this project, all with the hopes of it eventually finding its way into places like El Salvador where people can’t afford a $100-300 hardware wallet. Because of SeedSigner’s unique stateless approach, a whole family — or even a whole town — could share a single $50 SeedSigner reasonably safely.
So my code has the potential to help spread Bitcoin self-sovereignty to more and more people around the world. Incredible.
As one of the copy editors here at the magazine, you’ve worked on many of our articles – what have been your favorite pieces to edit and why? (could be specific pieces, could be certain types of pieces, what have you)
Definitely Arman the Parman’s “DIY Bitcoin Private Key Project”! It’s a fun step-by-step guide to generate your own private key totally offline without using a computer at all. He lays out the steps so clearly and it really helps you understand how the process comes together. What would otherwise be mysterious Bitcoin magic just becomes something simple and mechanical that’s not even that hard to understand.
Just an incredible piece of high-quality, accessible education.
What are you most looking forward to in the Bitcoin space?
I’m reorganizing my professional life to fully commit to working in the Bitcoin ecosystem. There’s a ton of work to be done as Bitcoin sees greater and greater adoption around the world. I’m not savvy enough to be able to predict where we’re going or what the world will look like, but I’m just dying to build like crazy to provide the tools and services that become necessary along the way.
Price prediction for the end of 2021, and the end of 2030?
Oof. It’s early September and we just stumbled off $50k through El Salvador’s Bitcoin launch. In three and a half months? $85k.
The end of 2030 includes two more halvings. A Lot more global adoption. Uncountably more fiat money printing. I’d say, $675k after falling off a 2029 mania peak just shy of $900k.
Two hands-on hardware wallet developers discuss bitcoin custody and its technicalities
Watch This Episode On YouTube
Listen To This Episode:
In this episode of “The Van Wirdum Sjorsnado,” Aaron van Wirdum conducted one more interview without his regular co-host Sjors Provoost. Instead, he was joined by Blockstream’s Lawrence Nahum, one of the developers behind the Jade wallet; and Ben Kaufman, one of the developers of the Specter wallet, which is specifically designed to work with hardware wallets.
Van Wirdum, Nahum and Kaufman talked about what hardware wallets are, and discussed the design tradeoffs that different hardware wallets have taken by focusing on — the Trezor, Ledger and Coldcard specifically. In this light, Nahum and Kaufman explained what secure elements and secure chips are, and why some hardware wallets choose to rely on using such chips more than others.
Then, Nahum explained which tradeoffs the Jade wallet makes. He also detailed how an additional server-based security step is used to further secure the Jade wallet, and he briefly outlined some additional differences in hardware wallet designs, for example those focused on usability.
Finally, van Wirdum, Nahum and Kaufman discussed whether the concept of hardware wallets are a good idea in the first place, or if it would perhaps be better to use dedicated smartphones to store your bitcoin.
This week, Specter Wallet, an open-source bitcoin wallet that emphasizes privacy and security by allowing users to more easily run their own full nodes, released its latest version (you can download it here).
The biggest feature of this latest release is the new setup process, which makes it possible to go from zero to a ready-to-go Specter setup with Bitcoin Core and Tor in just a few minutes. The process is done via a simple one-click setup wizard which will install, configure and manage both Bitcoin Core and Tor for you.
On startup, Bitcoin Core will begin with initial block downloading (IBD), which could take a few days. However, for users looking for a quick setup, Specter comes with a quick-sync option, which will get your node up to date in just a few minutes. This optional quick-sync will download a trusted snapshot of the Bitcoin blockchain, maintained and signed by the Specter team (at http://prunednode.today), and start verifying after the snapshot point like any other node (you can read more on the tradeoffs involved in the setup wizard on the Specter app).
Another big feature in the new release is with replace-by-fee (RBF) transactions. Up to now, Specter had limited its functionality strictly to increasing the transaction fee. But with the new version, it allows the user to fully customize the replacement transaction. This makes it possible, for example, to add or change recipients, modify the coin selection, edit the amounts and practically do anything that it’s possible to do when composing a new transaction.
Also around the subject of fees, Specter has now integrated the http://mempool.space fee estimation API, so that users can get a highly-accurate fee estimation based on how fast they would like the transaction to get confirmed, with all of the communication going over Tor by default, or even with the user’s own, self-hosted http://mempool.space instance.
This update also has some news about hardware wallets support. Specter now upgraded to hardware wallet interface (HWI) version 2.0.1, which means BitBox02 multisig is finally available from Specter. Since not all hardware vendors have good multisig support, having BitBox02 as an option is an important addition for a better multi-vendor multisig setup.
In an attempt to improve the user experience, there has also been a lot of work done to simplify the connection of USB hardware wallets when Specter is running on a remote machine (such as on Umbrel or myNode). This was thanks to the help of the http://bitcoin.design community, which helped redesign the process for setting up and configuring the USB connection.
Other changes worth mentioning are support for more fiat currencies and precious metals in the bitcoin price feed data, an option to abandon old transactions which were purged from the mempool due to low fees, significant improvement in startup and loading time and various bug fixes.
This is a guest post by Ben Kaufman. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.