Today marks the 10-year anniversary of Bitcoin's genesis block. To celebrate the sovereignty from centralized financial institutions made possible by the Bitcoin network, known BTC investor and voice of the Bitcoin Knowledge podcast Trace Mayer is encouraging HODLers everywhere to withdraw their bitcoin held in centralized exchanges "to wallets they control that perform network consensus and use best practices."
In other words, he wants you to run your own nodes, and use them to store your crypto.
In particular, he advises HODLers to get their crypto off Coinbase, BitPay, and Xapo, and instead run a Bitcoin Core node and/or store their keys in an Armory or Glacier wallets.
Through this campaign, which Mayer dubs Proof of Keys, he hopes to establish a tradition wherein every year on January 3, crypto holders celebrate the birthday of Bitcoin's genesis block by taking control and ownership of their private keys. "Not your keys; Not your bitcoin," the Proof of Keys website proclaims.
In a video posted on the Proof of Keys website, Mayer describes bitcoin holders as falling into one of three categories: first, second, and third-class Bitcoin citizens. First-class Bitcoin citizens are those who control their own keys and perform network consensus, second-class Bitcoin citizens hold their own keys but don't participate in network consensus, and third-class citizens don't do either.
"And if you're a third-class Bitcoin citizen," he tells us with a contorted and animated expression, "If there is anything that history in this space has taught us, it's that you're gonna get WRACKED one of these days. Yah! It's just the way it is."
He excitedly provides an anecdote of a friend who lost 5,000 bitcoin storing it on blockchain.info. "So dumb. So dumb." He makes a gesture as if his head is exploding. His eyes widen. "They got so wrecked."
Mayer's message seems to be, "Don't be that guy."
The campaign is targeted at bitcoin holders, but the message is cryptocurrency-agnostic (though it may be unrealistic to expect holders of multiple coins to run nodes for each coin they possess) and has prompted support from a wide array of voices in the cryptosphere, including ShapeShift, Nick Szabo, Wall Street veteran Caitlin Long, and – somewhat ironically – the CTO of Coinbase, Balaji S. Srinivasan.
Mayer's delivery of his "my friend lost 5,000 bitcoin" anecdote may prompt laughter, but the message is an important one, especially in consideration of potential hard forks. For example, after the recent Bitcoin Cash fork, many crypto holders were unable to withdraw or trade their Bitcoin Cash ABC from Coinbase for five days or more, and are still unable to withdraw or trade their Bitcoin Cash SV. In the future, HODLers participating in the Proof of Keys tradition will be able to dodge such binds and maintain control of their assets.
Where's your crypto?