Beyond the basics: Expand your bitcoin knowledge
Where are you in your bitcoin journey?
There are so many facets to the innovation behind bitcoin from the code itself to economics and game theory, and that education is just the beginning.
Once you’ve learned the basics of bitcoin and holding your own keys in cold storage, you can continue exploring much of the underlying and adjacent technology. Here are some subjects that can help you expand your bitcoin journey into the adventure of a lifetime.
If you believe in bitcoin as a long-term store of value, it’s a good idea to start learning more about privacy. Whether you want to keep your on-chain activity private or want to harden your personal privacy against future threats, there are many steps you can take to become more private as an individual.
You can start anywhere you like: finances, browsing activity, communicating with friends, etc. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to privacy, and privacy is arguably a deeper rabbit hole than bitcoin. You don’t have to necessarily go off the grid to increase your privacy. Below are some technologies to explore. Choose your adventure!
- Tor Browser
- Burn phone numbers/email addresses
- Encrypted messaging apps like Signal
- Linux OS distributions, such as TAILS (Advanced)
Prefer to watch and learn? Below is a workshop led by our co-founder, CTO, and in-house privacy expert Jameson Lopp on upgrading digital privacy.
When bitcoin emerged in 2008, it was the culmination of decades of work in cryptography by a group of enthusiasts known as cypherpunks. Cryptography is the art of private communications, and it’s been enhanced over the years with academic, commercial, and military projects.
Whether you realize it or not, you are leveraging cryptography when you secure and spend bitcoin. If you’re just getting started in bitcoin, now’s a good time to get up to speed on private keys and what they do. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of how to protect them.
If you’re interested in the math behind bitcoin, below are some subjects to enhance your knowledge. Write code and become a cypherpunk!
- Trustless consensus
- 256-bit numbers
- Elliptic curve multiplication
- PGP signatures
Are you curious about how bitcoin works? Here’s an in-depth workshop on public and private keys and the cryptography behind bitcoin.
Hardware wallets and security keys
Working with hardware wallets and other devices can be a fun, hands-on way to learn more about bitcoin. Who doesn’t love a new gadget? 🤓 Casa integrates with five devices, and our team has spent a lot of time experimenting with hardware wallets and how they work.
There are also numerous ways to use private keys in everyday life. Security keys allow you to protect your most important accounts with a device that you must physically interact with to log in, which is a much more secure form of two-factor authentication than just a password or even a SMS text message. Explore the settings on your favorite hardware wallets to see if they support security/hardware keys.
Want to set up and maintain devices like a pro? Check out this workshop from Casa Head of Security Ron Stoner on device initialization and maintenance.
Do you find yourself using the cloud for everything? Self-hosting software is an alternative that allows you to own your data, reduce your reliance on third parties, and maintain a more private lifestyle. After all, the cloud is just someone else’s computer.
Bitcoin nodes and personal servers are great opportunities to learn more about open-source software and home networks, verify bitcoin transactions, and get started on the command line.
There are several ways to get started, but you need to choose hardware before you can start building your own tech stack. You can start with an affordable computer such as a Raspberry Pi, find a refurbished computer, or even repurpose an old machine you have lying around. Self-hosting is highly customizable, but below are some avenues you can choose from.
- Bitcoin Core
- Lightning applications
- Plug-and-play bitcoin nodes such as Start9
Are you intrigued by the potential of self-hosting? Below is a panel discussion on node applications for bitcoin and other use cases.
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