This Month in Sovereignty: May 2023
While we already had a lot slated for the month of May, the combination of big releases, the Bitcoin conference in Miami, and the drama around Ledger’s new “Recover” service made for an explosive few weeks! We’ll get you all caught up with the latest at Foundation and in the space in this month’s newsletter 😎
Dive into the latest updates below, and be sure to subscribe if you want to stay informed on all things sovereignty moving forward!
This month at Foundation
With the rush to safety in open-source software and hardware in the wake of Ledger’s debacle, we’ve seen an unprecedented month of sales for Passport! As a result we sold out of all of our current stock, but were already ramping up production and have begun shipping pending orders. We’re expecting to have Passport back in stock for new orders in the next 2 weeks, and will keep you all up to date along the way.
Now onto the updates we have for you all this month!
We announced a groundbreaking release of Envoy, our mobile companion app for Passport, just in time for Bitcoin Miami. This new update transforms Envoy into a standalone Bitcoin mobile wallet with powerful account management and privacy features.
- Announcing Envoy Wallet: Bitcoin Simplified
- “Notably, Envoy Magic Backups take the pain and worry out of setting up and backing up a mobile wallet, allowing you to get up and running in 60 seconds and restore your wallet anytime, on any device, in just two taps. It’s time you experienced Bitcoin, simplified.”
- Learn how Magic Backups work in less than 40 seconds!
- “We expect Envoy Magic Backups will lead to a massive increase in self custody, with easier onboarding than you’d find at any Bitcoin exchange or custodian.”
- Download Envoy today
In the first week of May we debuted a massive new update to Passport to our fantastic community in Passport’s new firmware, v2.1.1:
- Passport version 2.1.1 is now live!
- “In version 2.1, we’ve leveraged all of the background work in recent versions to build out some amazing new features for you, including backporting v2.1 firmware to Founder’s Edition, sending to Taproot addresses, a Key Manager Extension for BIP-85 and Nostr key support and export, and BIP-85 SeedQR exports. Features, features everywhere.”
- This version of Passport firmware brings a wealth of new features, all securely backed up via encrypted microSD backups. Bringing the ability to manage all of your hot and cold wallets, all of your Nostr keys, and all of your friends and families wallets (if you choose to act as an “Uncle Jim”) under a single encrypted backup or seed phrase is a powerful thing. Peace of mind + powerful features.
- You can read more about our new Key Manager extension that enables all of these incredible features here.
Due to our approach with Envoy as a mobile wallet being so different from other wallets out there, we took the time to walk through every detail of Envoy as a mobile wallet, including the new Magic Backups feature that enables <60s onboarding and 3-tap recovery:
- Announcing Envoy Wallet: Bitcoin Simplified
- “Envoy introduces a new seed-less onboarding experience called Magic Backups. While Envoy users can of course manually handle seed words if desired, we aimed to engineer a solution that enables 60-second onboarding and automatic encrypted backups of Envoy’s private key and application data (such as settings and labels), with a full restore taking just three taps.”
With the release of our latest Passport firmware we debuted two major new features in BIP 85 (or “deterministic child seeds”) and Nostr key support. Because of the changes these bring and the possibilities they open up, we highlighted them in a special blog post:
- All your wallets, one backup
- “The introduction of a new “Key Manager” extension enables two powerful new tools in child seeds and Nostr keys, both of which are derived directly from your Bitcoin seed on Passport and automatically backed up to microSD. All of your wallets under one backup.”
Journey to Sovereignty
In May, we got the chance to sit down with Czino and Steph from Peach Bitcoin and learn what they’ve been building, why P2P Bitcoin exchanges are vital, and much more. We also used the latest episode to unpack all of the happenings at Foundation.
- EP #10 – Make Bitcoin P2P again w/ Peach Bitcoin
- If you’ve been hearing the hype around Peach Bitcoin or simply starting to look into acquiring Bitcoin via a P2P exchange, today’s episode is for you! We’ll be diving into why Peach exists, how it’s different from the other P2P exchanges out there, and answering all your questions.
- EP #11 – Open source is winning
- It’s been a crazy last few weeks here at Foundation, so we wanted to focus this episode on chatting about all that we’ve launched, how the Ledger Recover fiasco has played out, and what we’re working on next.
- We cover Passport’s new Key Manager extension, Envoy as a standalone mobile wallet, its new Magic Backups 60s onboarding and 3-tap recovery, and more on this episode of Journey to Sovereignty.
You can follow the podcast on your favorite platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Fountain, a Bitcoin-powered podcast platform where you can support content creators directly with your sats.
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What we’re following
If you’ve been following Foundation for any length of time, you’ll surely know that we’re huge fans of decentralized and peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchanges as an immensely valuable tool. This month our Head of Customer Experience, BitcoinQnA, put together a guide on using Robosats on his site, bitcoiner.guide:
In the wake of the Ledger “Recover” fiasco, we’ve compiled some of the best resources on the topic so far to get you up to speed:
- Ledger “Recover” in a Twitter thread | @sethforprivacy
- The Ugly Tradeoffs of Ledger’s New Recovery Service
This month in digital sovereignty
We were thrilled to see that the Federal court system in the US finally codified protections for those coming into the US when it comes to warrantless phone searches:
A fantastic organization focused on incentivizing and organizing the funding of open-source projects, OpenSats, announced that they received a $10m grant to drive open-source contributions to Bitcoin, Nostr, and more.
- OpenSats Receives Additional Funding of $10m from #startsmall
- “We are delighted to announce that OpenSats has received a generous donation of $10 million from Jack Dorsey’s philanthropic initiative, #startsmall, which will be used to support the development of free and open-source software and projects focusing on bitcoin, nostr, and related technologies.”
In the same vein, the Human Rights Foundation donated $450,000 in grants from its Bitcoin Development Fund towards Bitcoin development in May, focusing on “improving Bitcoin scaling, privacy, decentralization, supporting global education, censorship-resistant communication, and building communities worldwide. Areas of focus include Africa and Asia”:
- HRF Bitcoin Development Fund Grants $455,000 to 12 Projects Worldwide
- “In 2020, the Human Rights Foundation launched a fund to support software developers who are making the Bitcoin network more private, decentralized, and resilient so that it can better serve as a financial tool for human rights activists, civil society organizations, and journalists around the world.”
This month’s step towards personal privacy and security
Properly securing accounts can lead to much better privacy by reducing the amount of data leaks and hacks you experience as a result of stolen or leaked credentials. Password managers make it extremely simple to manage usernames and passwords across all of the sites and apps you use, without needing to re-use passwords (or username or email!) in order to remember them. This has drastic implications on security, and is a huge step forward in your journey.
Migrating to a password manager is also a great chance to think twice about which accounts you actually need, and close those that you don’t need in the process.
- Bitwarden has become the gold standard for open-source password managers, as it has rich features, a generous free plan, and excellent clients on all platforms along with fantastic browser extensions.
What we’re working on
Our focus this month is around iterating on Envoy as a mobile wallet, building out full Taproot support for Passport, and supporting the Oslo Freedom Forum by donating 15 Passports to activists attending the event.
We’re excited to continue helping bring freedom via Bitcoin to people across the globe, and supporting such a critical event is a key way we can help to do that. Keep an eye out for more on the freedom front, as we’re working on big things behind the scenes!