This article is designed to explain the importance of self-custody and the dangers of know your customer (KYC) regulations; to demonstrate to Bitcoin beginners how to install, secure and use a Bitcoin wallet; and to explain how to acquire KYC-free bitcoin.
You can find the articles in this series published individually as well:
Bitcoin Wallets For Beginners, Part One: Self Custody And Avoiding KYC
Generally speaking, new Bitcoin users discover the importance of self-custody and the dangers of KYC after they have already started acquiring bitcoin. Since bad habits are hard to break, I wanted to cover this topic for Bitcoin beginners first. This tutorial has been designed for a total Bitcoin beginner, someone who is interested in Bitcoin but has no idea where to begin or what a Bitcoin wallet is or what to do with them.
With this ongoing five-part series, I hope to have put together an informative guide to some pitfalls to watch out for for new users with a focus on the installation and use of their first Bitcoin wallet and how to obtain non-KYC bitcoin. This way. anybody can bookmark this tutorial and reference it when they have the time and interest.
This first part is my attempt to help Bitcoin beginners understand my opinions around the importance of self-custody and the dangers of KYC. I wanted to take the time to share these thoughts in long form because I believe that if a person can understand what is at stake, then they will take this stuff more seriously, forming better habits from the beginning. I’m making the guides I wish I had when I was first getting started with Bitcoin.
FIVE REASONS FOR SELF CUSTODY
When you install a Bitcoin wallet on your mobile device or desktop, you are taking the radical responsibility of self custody. This means that you and you alone are responsible for your bitcoin. Some of this may be alarming, but it’s the honest truth; if you lock yourself out of your wallet, then that is 100 percent your fault and you are responsible for that loss. If you fall victim to a phishing attack and share compromising information with a scammer, that is 100 percent your problem and your loss. There is no customer support hotline in Bitcoin. There is no charge-back feature in Bitcoin. And there is no card-lock security in Bitcoin. Unlike using a bank, you and you alone are responsible for your bitcoin once you cross the threshold into self custody.
As the saying goes: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for.”
You may be asking yourself why I’m such an advocate for self custody after reading that last paragraph.The answer is simple: freedom. With non-KYC bitcoin in self custody, financial permission, confiscation and censorship have no effect on the way that you economically interact with the world. That may come across as hyperbole or a load of buzzwords but let me give you five very real-world examples that may resonate with your life experience.
1. Maybe you have worked your whole life but you have…