That’s paranoia, what are you afraid of?

man in blue and white stripe polo shirt

Last night, a guy told me he had 4.5 btc without me even asking. He said he was into crypto since 2018. I said I got into Bitcoin last week, I went all in, but I obviously don’t have enough. He started laughing and said, “You’re a novice!” I said I was at a big Bitcoin meetup last month and I realized that it’s stupid to say since when you are into Bitcoin. “That’s paranoia! What are you afraid of?”

Then I showed him Lopp’s list of physical Bitcoin attacks.

So yeah, if I were public and vocal about my Bitcoin holdings I could have reasons to be afraid of unpleasantness such as torture, robbery and kidnapping. There’s a disconcerting number of incidents in many countries. Fortunately, most of these events are related to some of the following activities, which seem easily avoidable for a humble hodler who’s stacking sats:

  • ATM related
  • buying fancy real estate
  • crypto YouTube trading bullshit
  • big mining operations (simple home mining seems okay)
  • associating your real name with Bitcoin on social media
  • being extremely public about Bitcoin and your life on TV, in newspapers

So not publicly associating yourself with Bitcoin, nor displaying lots of wealth (this is so easy this year! Yay! We HFSP!) seems a pretty successful strategy to avoid most of these attacks. And if you do this you can sleep much better at night, even just because there is an abundance of low-hanging fruit, people who drive around with BTC license plates, or even fully branded vehicle with BIG BITCOIN marketing stuff on it.

Consider: Keep a small stash just in case

When traveling in the Andes, I was robbed. A guy with a mask and a gun popped up, asking for money. Fortunately, I was prepared for this. I always keep a $100 bill on me at all times in Latin America. Similarly, even if you set up your extremely secured cold storage multisig solution, consider keeping a stash of sats at your home that could appease an intruder.

Geographical arbitrage

If you are nomadic, or you are thinking about moving, it is worth taking the dimension of peacefulness into account. The Global Peace Index can be a useful way to put it in numbers.

But we need public profiles

Yes. I am grateful for people like Anita Posch, ODELL, Saifedean, Gladstein, McCormack who are putting themselves out there with their real names. People who are now recognized in the street. We need them. But if you are now not publicly known as a Bitcoiner, it’s better to think long and hard before you take this step. It’s a one-way street. There are many associated rewards, but to me this path seems too perilous.

Matthew Avatar

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