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Silent Auction & Loud Bitcoin Mining At Home

Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin 2021: Q&A with speaker Econoalchemist and auction update

Only seven weeks until Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin 2021! Last week we announced a new speaker for the conference, Econoalchemist. He writes Bitcoin related guides and tutorials with a focus on self-custody, censorship resistance, and privacy. His guide, Home mining for non-KYC Bitcoin is especially impressive, so we invited Econoalchemist to present it at Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin 2021.

To give you a preview of the man behind the words, we present the following Q&A.

GnB: Why should people mine bitcoin at home, rather than buy bitcoin on an exchange?

Econoalchemist: KYC, permission, and censorship. Mining at home solves all three of these problems AND in the right conditions, bitcoin acquired through mining at home can be significantly cheaper than market price. 

KYC – Every exchange, broker, or on-ramp engaged in “regulated activity” will comply with KYC regulations. This means that users will often go as far as sharing a picture of themselves holding their license in front of their residence with these companies. Some requirements are even stranger but all of the requirements involve exposing personally identifiable information about a user that would prove beyond a reasonable doubt their ownership of bitcoin. In the wrong hands, by way of data breach for example, this kind of information tied to a person’s bitcoin holdings can put their lives at risk. In the hands of a government, this kind of information can put a person’s freedom at risk. Any company that collects KYC information, actively works with law enforcement upon request. If a government decides to enforce a 6102-style order or worse, then these KYC-collecting companies are not going to stand at the users’ defense. The onus is on each user to defensively guard their privacy for their own protection and freedom, and that starts by not providing KYC information to anyone and reclaiming that ground. When a person mines Bitcoin at home, they don’t have to share any KYC information with anyone.

Permission – So long as a person depends on an exchange, broker, or on-ramp for their bitcoin; then that person is subject to the company’s rules. If the company decides a user doesn’t qualify for an account, then they have given up all their KYC information only to walk away empty handed. If the company so graciously grants a user permission to buy bitcoin, then the company may decide to limit or cease withdrawals abruptly while the bitcoin is still under the company’s control. In recent months, we have started hearing rumors of users being required to verify ownership of their receiving address when taking bitcoin off an exchange. The next logical step is that the exchange will start requiring the users’ xpubs, and if a new user hasn’t properly segregated their KYC and non-KYC funds then they could potentially expose themselves to even more risk. When a person mines Bitcoin at home, they don’t have to seek permission from anyone.

Censorship – If a user has been rejected by a Bitcoin exchange, broker, or on-ramp, then they have experienced censorship. Mitigating bottle-necks and keeping things as decentralized as possible is crucial. No one can censor a user from mining Bitcoin at home, but if the pool deposits the coinbase reward into their own wallet before distributing portions to mining operators then we have a bottle-neck and potential point for censorship to pollute the Bitcoin ecosystem. This is closely tied to permission but it goes further.

Whitelisted mining pools are beginning to materialize and although these pools will operate at a loss initially, they will probably be subsidized by government contractors using federally awarded funding to remain in operation long enough to start causing problems. The main problem being that they will reject transactions from addresses on an OFAC-style list, but if this gains traction then there is no stopping that kind of list from being expanded. The work being done at Laurentia Pool is a crucial step in the right direction; they pay the mining operators directly from coinbase rewards to eliminate potential censorship bottle-necks at the pool’s wallet. I am a firm believer that if there is a white market/black market bitcoin in the future, then the black market will always dwarf the white market. It would be unfortunate to deal with a whitelist handicapped system though. When a person mines Bitcoin at home, they route around exchange-enforced censorship and if they have a Whatsminer pointed at Laurentia Pool, they route around potential censorship of a pool’s wallet. 

As of this writing, I have actively been mining for 22 days. In that time, I have generated 0.01412832 bitcoin. If I had spent the money I used in electricity at an exchange to get bitcoin instead, I would only have less than 0.00444536 bitcoin. I would have had to pay exchange fees, given up my KYC information, and then have that bitcoin associated with my identity too if I had bought from an exchange. When a person mines at home, they can get bitcoin much safer and cheaper than buying from an exchange.

GnB: What was the hardest part about setting up your home bitcoin mining operation? What was the easiest part?

Econoalchemist: The hardest part was definitely procuring a machine without getting scammed. I earned a few gray hairs throughout that process. I nearly sent a scammer ~0.25 bitcoin the day after Thanksgiving. I didn’t know anything about mining or what to look out for. People like me are prime targets because we don’t know anyone so we’re more hesitant to ask for help. We don’t know how this works so we’re more likely to screw something up. And we don’t have a lot of money but we have enough to be worth a scammer’s time and effort. If it wasn’t for @Diverter_NoKYC and @Crazyk_031 giving me pointers along the way I would have been lost. Anyone who is interested should check out: https://t.me/Hardwaremarketchannel

The easiest part was plugging in the miner, pointing it to SlushPool, and starting my steady stream of non-KYC sats. I just had to locate the miner’s IP on my home network, open the configuration page, and paste SlushPool’s URL. That was it. Setting up a RasPi node was way more difficult than setting up a miner.

GnB: What other DIY bitcoin related projects have you completed?

Econoalchemist: I’m a fan of securing backup seed phrases in metal, which is a fun DIY project. I’ve tried steel plates, steel washers, & others. I’ve documented most of them on my blog. I also run two RasPi full nodes, one running BitcoinCore, and the other running RoninDojo for my Samourai Wallet and Whirlpool. Both of those endeavors are also documented on my blog. I don’t know how to write code and I’m not a developer, but I am an all-around Do-It-Yourselfer so anything I can do myself I will give it a shot whether that means fixing my own car, fixing a broken water pipe, or mining bitcoin. I really don’t like relying on other people for the things I need, I reluctantly hired an electrician to help me when I was starting my mining endeavor and that ended with me finishing the job myself. 

GnB: What are you most looking forward to at BANB2021?

Econoalchemist: First and foremost, I’m looking forward to spending some child-free time with my wife while we engage with a community of people that are as passionate about Bitcoin, guns, and freedom as we are. I’m also looking forward to meeting the people I’ve been interacting with online for the past several months. I consider many of these people friends and I’ve never met any of them. I have a ton of respect for many of the people that will be in attendance and I’ve been looking up to them for the past couple years while I have been venturing down the Bitcoin rabbit hole.

The Samourai Wallet & RoninDojo community in particular has really accelerated my understanding of Bitcoin anonymity and the importance of privacy, they have helped me with every question I’ve ever had and I owe them all a debt of gratitude, so I’m looking forward to being able to say that in person. I hear rumors that Texas has some good BBQ so I’m also looking forward to verifying these claims for myself.

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Big Gringo, Big Shotgun, Big Innovations

Q&A with Jeff Rodriguez, inventor of the #12K Liberator platform

Our annual conference, Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin, taking place April 10th and 11th in Austin, Texas will feature the most innovative doers in freedom technology. In this week’s newsletter we talk with one of these experts, Jeff Rodriguez AKA BigTanGingo.

Liberator12k ZigZagRevolver Blast Shield Testing

GNB: Please summarize your 12K Liberator shotgun/platform.

JEFF: I started the #Liberator12k project to improve on the slamfire 12 gauge pipe shotgun. To make ejection easy and give it a trigger – so I made a break-action pipe shotgun. The project grew to include a pump revolver and a few other “exhibition” guns that use factory gun parts.

I’ve conquered most angles of gun control, at least in demonstration: World’s first printed cartridges, first 3D printed ECM rifling for DIY barrels, DIY nitric acid for smokeless powder, and electronic primers, there’s a whole list on the Liberator12k.com website. I open sourced and publicly documented these advancements so others in the community can carried some of that work forward into detailed instructions for things like the Deterrence Dispensed FGC9.

At SHOT Show with 12K Liberator shotgun

GNB: What are the advantages of the Liberator12k design over a traditional one of the same caliber or type?

JEFF: With regard to the ZigZag Revolver, the action is extremely simple and most of the parts are big and chunky, making it unlikely to jam. It’s also reasonably easy to DIY, although the tools and skills required for a 12 gauge revolver are higher than, say, a break-action. In all honesty, a factory-made pump shotgun is still better, if you can get one. But they’re plain and boring range toys. Another one of my ‘exhibition’ designs, BARBB (Bolt Action AR Barrel Bullpup) was designed to be an ultra-lightweight single-shot hunting rifle.

GNB: What are you most looking forward to at Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin 2021?

JEFF: I’m looking forward to meeting the other designers pushing the envelope of DIY guns. It’s also great to hear from people who’ve been following my work over the years, so stop by and say hello!

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3D Printed Firearm World Championship

$600 in bitcoin prize purse! At Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin 2021

We’re excited to host the first ever shooting competition for 3D printed guns, at Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin 2021. The conference is only 10 weeks away. Buy Early Bird tickets before they sell out and you’ll save $140 off of the Standard ticket.

The 3D Printed Firearm World Championship contest will have three stages, each utilizing a different aspect of the firearm: accuracy, speed, and reliability.

CATEGORIES

  • 100% build (barrel and bolt carrier group permitted)
  • 80% build (barrel, bolt carrier group, fire control group, slide/upper)
  • Peoples choice (any submission will qualify entry; however, a vote will decide after the competition which gun was most liked)

The prize money will be $200 in bitcoin for each category, for a total prize purse of $600.

The cost to enter is $25 per category.

The contest will be part of Sunday’s activities, which will include target shooting across three lanes: open, rifles only, and 3D printed.

The championship will be directed by the 3D Firearms Association, started by Austin Black, cofounder of Apostles Firearms Academy, (AFA). The complete set of rules and instructions are available as a downloadable PDF on the event website, under the “Sunday – April 11” section.

To learn more about Austin and his love for shooting competitions and 3D printed guns we asked him four questions.

GNB: What is your experience or achievements with shooting competitions?

AUSTIN: I have been competitive shooting since I was 13 years old (I am now 28). The shooting sport that first caught my attention was Cowboy Action Shooting, which was something I went on to win several state championship titles and one world championship title in 2016. I spent the last 15 years competing in different sports from IDPA, IPSC, Steel Challenge, and 3 Gun matches. Additionally, I have spent several years doing stage designs for these matches.

GNB: Why did you start the 3D Firearms Association?

AUSTIN: After helping host the range portion of last years Guns N’ Bitcoin conference, I quickly realized the creative potential of the designers. I am a big believer in free market capitalism and competition driving performance. With this in mind, I wanted to provide an organization that will help set a more perfect trajectory in the development of 3D printed firearms.

GNB: Why should people enter the 3D Printed Firearms World Championship at Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin 2021?

AUSTIN: People should enter the 3D Printed Firearms World Championship 2021 for the chance to showcase their build and its ability, to test themselves, and obviously to win some bitcoin!

GNB: What are you most looking forward to at Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin 2021?

AUSTIN: I am excited to be a part of something I believe will be a historic event. There is a beautiful symmetry between cryptocurrency and 3D printed firearms and the liberty both bring. Also, I am absolutely elated to meet again with the wonderful people that this conference attracts.

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Wild, Wacky, and Sexy 3D Printed Guns

Q&A with Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin Presenter Vinh Nguyen

Our annual freedom technology conference Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin is only nine weeks away. In this week’s newsletter we pose some questions to Vinh Nguyen, a designer of many wacky and innovative 3D printed guns, and is a presenter at #BANB2021!

Our annual freedom technology conference Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin is only nine weeks away. In this week’s newsletter we pose some questions to Vinh Nguyen, a designer of many wacky and innovative 3D printed guns, and is a presenter at #BANB2021!

GNB: What are your top three favorite 3D printed guns you’ve made and why?

Vinh: I think my personal favorites thus far are my ASP 2.1, Superstar STR-15, and VS-22. The ASP 2.1 is a reimagining of Devel’s ASP carry pistol from the late 20th century, but in a modern Smith and Wesson M&P Shield frame- complete with windows and a “gutter” sight stand-in. The STR-15 is my take on a “compliant” design that gives any bufferless AR-15 upper a more “traditional” gun design (though if you are printing, it probably doesn’t matter anyways). The VS-22 is simply fun- it’s a frame specifically for the VZ-61 Skorpion .22LR conversion kit from Czech Small Arms. Great for cheap plinking and showing off.

GNB: What inspires your designs?

Vinh: Mostly convenience, but with a sprinkle of absurdity. My claim to fame was my stock and shroud kit for the 16-inch Heritage Rough Rider, which was my first design, and was just simply absurd. I usually make designs on whatever I can get my hands on, or make choice tweaks to existing ones.

A small sample of Vinh’s designs.

GNB: What are you most looking forward to at BANB2021?

Vinh: I’m definitely looking forward to connecting with the community in meat-space at BANB2021! I wasn’t a major crypto person early on, but after BANB2020 and some book reading, I was able to be more informed about the movement and purposes of Bitcoin. I definitely want to learn more at the event, and hope to share with others too about guns and stuff.

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Electric ignited 3D printed .50cal pistol And Tactical Geese

Q&A with SuckBoyTony & Brave The World

Our annual FREEDOM TECHNOLOGY conference Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin is only ten weeks away. Buy Early Bird Tickets while they last and save $140 off of a Standard Ticket. In this week’s newsletter we pose some questions to SuckBoyTony, and Brave The World, two of our many accomplished speakers at #BANB2021.

SuckBoy Tony

SuckBoy Tony is a former explosive ordinance expert in the armed forces. He’s currently a civil engineering student and intern with AtlasArms.org.

GNB: Summarize your BA-50 3D printed gun.

SB Tony: The BA-50 started as a way to prove that 3D printed barrels could work for many rounds. This involved making a custom low-pressure .50cal cartridge, based on my load data it should deliver more energy than a standard 9mm, at about 1/3 the pressure. I am starting to incorporate electronic ignition and solenoids to make it semi-automatic and more reliable.

GNB: What are you most looking forward to at BANB2021?

SB Tony: I am most looking forward to showing off a side project of Atlas Arms that I have been working on. I think people will be extremely excited for it and we should have a prototype working by BANB2021. I am also looking forward to seeing the new designs.

GNB: Why is freedom technology important?

SB Tony: Freedom technology like cryptocurrency, 3D printing, encryption, VPN’s, and the entire DIY mindset, is all about maintaining independence from government control. Due to continuing violations of the U.S Constitution by the U.S government (and lack of protection for free speech and firearm ownership in many other countries), I believe it is extremely important for us to be able to exercise our constitutional rights without government control as was originally intended.

Brave The World

Brave The World is the author of the new book “Thank God For Bitcoin”.

GNB: What are some things you do in real life to help you and your family be more sovereign, safe, and happy?

Brave The World: We buy land. We have babies. We can protect ourselves. We don’t hold fiat.  Gardening and petting geese also helps.

GNB: Why is freedom technology important?

Brave The World: Many intelligent people, including one I trusted with such subjects, predicted that post Biden we will see a simmering down of events. The most radical left factions will no longer have an enemy, and the fight, in general will cease. Everyone will have peace, and more importantly, time. Well…that has not happened. Things seem to be escalating. The government is going after the speech of people who supported the previous president. It does not feel safe to talk publicly about politics unless you fit into the accepted narrative. Technology needs to continue to offer us private means of speech or else we will be silenced. 

GNB: What are you most looking forward to at BANB2021?

Brave The World: Hanging out with awesome people.

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The Navy SEAL of Money, KYC-Free Bitcoin

Q&A with Diverter – Featured Presenter at Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin 2021

Our annual freedom technology conference Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin is only eleven weeks away. In this week’s newsletter we pose some questions to one of our many accomplished speakers, Diverter. He wrote Mining for the Streets – Simple Guide for Acquiring Bitcoin Without KYC/AML Using ASIC Mining”.

GNB: What are the dangers of acquiring bitcoin with third parties who must comply with KYC/AML regulations?

Diverter: The dangers of bending to the will of regulators enforcing KYC/AML on Bitcoin users are readily apparent—Registration leads to confiscation. Nick Szabo’s legendary assertion that “trusted third parties are security holes” is more than just some quaint adage. It is a mantra.

Bitcoin protects your identity by default at the protocol layer. However, the baked-in pseudonymity offered is completely destroyed once you submit your name, SSN, DOB, and selfie to a crypto exchange. Now your identity is attached to financial transactions, visible to the entire world, and etched into the blockchain for as long as bitcoin exists. I’m not sure about you, but as for myself, I would rather not have 100% deterministic links visible to everyone showing I made a donation to fund development of a “ghost gun” (or whatever scary word they’ll use) for all time, especially knowing the incoming administration’s stance on guns.

There’s a fine, and often blurry, line between being brave and being stupid. It isn’t my fear of these agencies leading me to hide my bitcoin identity; it is my identity being hidden which is leading me to be fearless in the face of upcoming challenges.

GNB: What are you doing to help people acquire bitcoin without KYC/AML?

Diverter: I would like to think I have helped people at least begin to think more about the amount of their identity they are willing to reveal just to participate in a “permissionless” network. With so much data collection around us everyday, it can become quite normalized. Recognition of the problem is a huge first step that I strive to get out there.

In practice, I have had several people contact me on various platforms seeking more information; whether that be helping people get started mining and choosing the right miner or pool for them, or others just looking for peer-to-peer exchanges to use so they can avoid these invasive regulations. These “other” exchanges will never receive the same kind of media push as the likes of Coinbase, and so they’ll likely never have equal liquidity or recognition. But the other thing they’ll never have which Coinbase does is active contracts with the DEA, IRS, and Secret Service to track the bitcoin usage of their customers.

The choice between privacy and convenience becomes much easier to make once you fully realize what is at stake. I have spent countless hours helping guide users toward methods of bitcoin acquisition which empower them, not regulators. I’m not getting the least bit tired of doing it, either.

GNB: What are you most looking forward to at Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin?

Diverter: Easily the thing I most look forward to at BANB2021 is the personal interaction with like-minded and curious individuals. It is amazing to see how many others feel just as strongly about freedom and the technology we can use to protect it as I do.

The Guns ‘n Bitcoin team, along with their amazing sponsors, did a wonderful job last year of allowing everyone to decide for themselves how much (or how little) they wanted to reveal to others. This didn’t hinder interaction or participation at all; rather, it enabled a comfortable, safe, welcoming environment for everyone. I know things will only improve as this conference grows and ages.

It is virtually guaranteed you will be able to learn more about both bitcoin and guns from the terrific list of presenters, and for that I’m grateful. But not nearly as grateful as I am for the chance to shake the hands of fellow freedom enthusiasts from all walks of life, and to make connections that will last far longer than two days.