Plan not to use bitcoin privately – Bitcoin Magazine

This is the opinion of Anthony Feliciano, Bitcoin event organizer and advisor.

Now let’s move on to the second part of my series on how our smartphones are spying on us. You can find the first part here.

In this part I will talk about:

– Advertising –

  • Degoogle your mobile operating system.
  • Navigate between SIMs, eSIMs and IMEIs while using your phone
  • Bitcoin and Lightning Network apps that can be used on a de-googled phone.
  • Steps to create a failure plan.

CalyxOS and GrapheneOS

GrapheneOS offers a Google Play Sandbox:

“GrapheneOS has a compatibility layer that allows you to install and use official builds of Google Play in a standard application sandbox. Google Play gets absolutely no special access or privileges in GrapheneOS, instead it bypasses the app’s sandbox and gets a huge amount of privileged access. Instead, the compatibility layer teaches it to run in the full application sandbox. It is also not used as a back end for OS services as it would be anywhere else since GrapheneOS does not use Google Play even when installed. ”

CalyxOS also offers a hands-on option with their Aurora store. The principle of the Aurora Store is that the Google Play service is replaced by microg:

“[It] replaces some features of Google Play Services while maintaining greater anonymity and privacy.

This allows you to download apps that you already know and use every day.

I’ve been a current GrapheneOS user for a few years now – it’s my retirement plan when I get tired of big tech and draconian governments. I have tested a lot of GrapheneOS features and tools that I can and cannot use. In my next article, I will also share what you can do.


Every time you buy a new phone from a provider, you are following KYC (know your customer) protocols by sharing your information with the cell service provider. In return, you get a new smartphone with a SIM card (or eSIM on some newer phones) and an IMEI number that allows you to access the provider’s mobile network. This information can be part of a subpoena to the records provider along with all your data, text, web history, etc. So what can you do? You always want to communicate with friends, family, have Internet access and be in touch with the whole world.

You can still go to Best Buy today and buy unlocked phones for cash. Buy a cell phone directly and it won’t be tied to any carrier like Verizon, ATT or T-Mobile. No personal information is leaked and you can give your phone to any provider you need access to by purchasing a SIM or eSIM card.

*Bitcoin Pro Tip: You can buy an eSIM and pay with BTC or Lightning.

Bitcoiner Pro Bonus Tip: Make sure you are using a VPN and/or Tor when visiting the website before purchasing to further reduce your online footprint. If you plan to buy with BTC, be sure to use BTC after CoinJoin via JoinMarket. For Lightning, make sure the funds you use to open channels from your underlying BTC level come from a CoinJoin publication to make Lightning payments. An example of a website offering eSIM for BTC is SilentLink.

This is the last step in my plan to quit. When buying a SIM card, the choice is yours. When you buy a SIM card with cash, the phone’s IMEI number will be provided as part of the activation to ensure it doesn’t get blacklisted (stolen). My opt-out phone was never activated with a SIM and my phone is older so there is no eSIM option. I use WiFi hotspots to access the internet with VPN and Tor. There is an advanced technique called IMEI spoofing. I haven’t tried this method, but the goal is to bypass blacklisted IMEIs in order to access network providers. Changing the SIM card won’t help either, as the IMEI is still blacklisted.

*Note. When using Wi-Fi, very little information about the device is saved, i.e. MAC address, device model, browser used and operating system – SIM card numbers and IMEI numbers are not saved. However, if your phone pings a cell tower, the information is logged and the records can be easily obtained by simply looking up the IMEI number.

Bitcoin and smartphone de-Google

Now, for those bitcoiners who are finally sick of spying and being tracked, let’s add some Bitcoin and Lightning Networks apps to really make your phone optimal for your deactivation plan.

Below is a list of Bitcoin and Lightning Network apps released by developers and companies that release them as Android Package Kits (APKs). APKs are vital when using non-Google phones because their developers allow you to install them on your phone without the need for the Google Play service and all the tracking behind it. As Samourai discovered, having your app in the Google Play store means you have to comply with their request to remove security features. Samourai has taken the next best step, direct download via APK.

Below are the Bitcoin and Lightning Network apps I use and where to get their APKs, but there are probably more.

  • Zeus: There is an APK download right on their main page. The perfect app to connect to your node.
  • Breez: On their Github page: “Breez is a mobile client and Lightning Network hub. It provides a platform for simple and instant Bitcoin payments.
  • Electrum: Download APK for Android. **Note: connect Electrum to the .onion address of your node network, do not use automatic servers when connecting**
  • Thor: Download APK. This is the Tor browser used to connect to the Internet.
  • Samurai Wallet: Download the APK. Log into your Samourai Dojo or use it for Whirlpool.
  • BlueWallet: BlueWallet is an easy to use Bitcoin and Lightning wallet.
  • SBW: A Simple and Convenient Application for Bitcoin and Lightning
  • ProtonVPN: This is the VPN I use – they have a free client with limited country connectivity, but they also offer paid tiers. Find a quality VPN service that offers its app via apk.
  • Telegram: You can buy a SIM/eSIM card with Bitcoin to get a phone number for a one-time SMS verification. (You may want to create a new Telegram account as you may have used your personal number to verify your account)
  • Element: A chat application used by many people. Some have heard of Matrix, element is an app that you can download on your phone.

Anyone using APKs should only use those found on the project’s main website or Github page. It’s highly recommended to avoid websites that offer an APK for an app you can’t find – I don’t trust them, they’re rebuilt sites, and who knows if you’re getting a real app or a remote download. any information you enter into it. So, if you can’t easily find the APK of a project on their site, contact them directly and ask.

Steps to create a failure plan:

  • Select operating system degoogle.
  • Charge the Bitcoin and Lightning apps at home.
  • Add security apps like VPN browser and Tor.
  • Get out of the house, take a spare phone with you.
  • Find out what works / doesn’t work for you.
  • What Apps Can’t You Live Without?
  • Ask yourself, “What security vulnerabilities have I missed?” »
  • Get the confidence to use Bitcoin privately.
  • I hope you found this article helpful. To me, this is just another rung as you go down the bitcoin rabbit hole. The use of technology does not mean that we have to give up freedom for simple and convenient options. This means that we can develop a choice plan and continue to use Bitcoin. If you liked it, check out my other two articles, It’s Mobile Banking – Bitcoin on the Go, where I make my Lightning Node mobile and take it with me when I travel. Then read How to make a Lightning Network node mobile, which is a technical guide on how to make a node mobile. If you can combine all three themes, you will be well on your way to a real suspension.

    I have included three photos to illustrate the end goal.

    Google Pixel flashed with GrapheneOS. No SIM card – to show that I don’t have a SIM card and the IMEI was never registered.

    Operating system Android Graneos

    All bitcoin and LN apps I use and downloaded APK files to be able to use bitcoin privately.

    Operating system Android Graneos

    I’ve been called a “boomer” for taking pictures of my GrapheneOS instead of screenshots, but it really looks and feels “real”.

    This is a guest post by Anthony Feliciano. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

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