Hacking for Technology Independence

My open source mission is to empower people to be technologically independent; to know that technology is not magic, so that nobody will ever be a slave to technology.


Personal journey on hardware

For those who knows me, I am not a hardware guy.

Those who knows me better suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the sight of me handling a screwdriver or a hammer.

The first ever rockpro64 (device like a raspberry) I ever plugged burst to ashes when I discovered it was possible to “over power” a device.

Swallowing my pride, I considered many things in life are just magical. I am a just a Bitcoin developer.

It is when I discovered a book on the desk of @anditto_h called “Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering” by Andrew ‘bunnie’ Huang… with the real signature of the author himself!

Now, I will tell you: I read almost all of it, and I understood next to nothing, my electronic background limit to basic forgotten high school level. But damn this book got my mojo back! I wanted to learn again about hardware. I dashed to my local library in Tokyo, the selection of book about hardware in English was tight, but one book caught my attention: “Hardware hacker”, the content seems great. Then after buying it, I found out bunnie also wrote this one.

While I lacked the electronic bases to make good use of those books at this point, it ended up re-igniting my thirst for knowledge of hardware, and I ended up buying a bunch of electronic books, gadgets and kits to better understand things. The hack0 we have been working on in DG, is part of this journey as well. My medium term goal now is to repair one of our broken remote control… might take me a few months! 🙂

Hacking mojo of the Bitcoin community

Now, if you have been participating in the Bitcoin community, you probably felt that more and more people have been dipping their toes into small hardware.

This is not a coincidence, despite most of our differences, there is one principle that unite everybody in Bitcoin: Self-Sovereignty.

Using Bitcoin is empowering, as it feels like we can finally have complete control over our money. This feeling of empowerment is contagious, the more you know, the more you want to know, as you feel this knowledge put you back in control of your life. This is the common rabbit hole moment that most of us experienced.

This is why Bitcoiners embrace open source. You can understand everything. You can read the code, you can modify it and you don’t need any credential, you only need the willingness to learn.

Our interest in hardware can be seen in various form:

  • Our crowded market of hardware wallet solutions
  • The success of DIY hardware wallet sessions in Bitcoin conference given by @StepanSnigirev
  • The passion of people like @arcbtc and @21isenough working on many Bitcoin gadgets and the amount of interest it gathers
  • The countless of Bitcoin node in a rockpro/pi projects (shameless plug: working on the hack0 with DG Lab, more soon!)

It is obvious that many of us want to know more. Our hacking mojo is pretty high.

Bunnie’s mission and whole history has been about revealing the magic tricks of technology so you expand self-sovereignty to the hardware territory. This is quite appealing to us.

Bunnie’s new hardware project: Precursor

You know what is a hardware wallet right? For most, this is one of the safest way to store your Bitcoin.

One of the most popular mantra in Bitcoin is: Don’t trust verify!
And yet, after seeing this video from bunnie, I now understand how little we actually verify.

Bunnie wants to make a hardware that his mother can verify.

His attempt at doing so is called Precursor . Now, let me be clear:

  • You won’t run a bitcoin full node on such device.
  • I don’t even know what you will even be able to run on it.
  • I don’t even understand most of the spec of this device.
  • I don’t know if we will be able to sign a bitcoin transaction on it.

But what I know is:

  • I can hack it.
  • I can understand it.
  • I can verify it.
  • Bunnie will work his ass off so we can understand.

Now, we tend to accept that we can’t verify everything. But wouldn’t it be great if you could at least learn enough to increase the scope of what you can actually verify?

Wouldn’t it be great if you can start understanding, through what you will learn with the Precursor, how hardware wallets actually work at a much deeper level?

Preorder a Precursor with Bitcoin

Now, crowsupply, the crowdfunding platform bunnie uses, does not accept Bitcoin.

This was a major turn off for bitcoiners. I complained about it and bunnie contacted me!

With DG Lab we decided to help him accepting Bitcoin. You can use our store (powered by BTCPay Server of course).

Now there are two things:

  • Max 35 orders
  • The crowdfunding ends on Dec 15, 2020 at 03:59 PM PST (11:59 PM UTC)
  • Shipment will be December 2021
  • Shown price is tax exclusive
  • No shipping fee

I really wished we could help more than a few day, but it took us a while to contact bunnie. We hope helping as well after the crowdfunding, but this is not decided at this point.

Crowfunding site if you can pay in credit card: https://www.crowdsupply.com/sutajio-kosagi/precursor

Our store if you want to pay in Bitcoin:

Follow @bunniestudios