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Why hold your own Bitcoin?

There’s a saying among Bitcoiners – “Not your keys, not your coins“. This has never been more evident than now, a few days after the spectacular end of one of the world’s largest exchanges, FTX.

Many of you have learned this the hard way, finding out that you can no longer access your assets on FTX, Voyager, BlockFi, Celcius, Mt. Gox, etc., etc., etc. Why did this happen to you? Because you trusted them with your money. It’s the same fate that happened with customers of Bernie Madoff.

What does not holding your keys mean? Well, it means that when you don’t hold the keys to your Bitcoin, you are TRUSTING an entity to hold them for you, and that entity can via malfeasance, negligence, fraud, governmental pressure backed by violence, or many more reasons can cause you to be unable to access YOUR asset that YOU paid for. 2022 has been a tough year for many, as they didn’t practice this mantra, and instead trusted someone else with their asset.

For those reading this that lost their Bitcoin, I’m sorry. We in the Bitcoin community have been trying to evangelize the importance of keeping your own keys, but unfortunately, this message has been muffled and muted because people want convenience over security, greed, or just simply don’t know any better.

And if what you lost was “crypto” other than Bitcoin, it’s a good time to check yourself and realize that you’re NOT going to get rich trading garbage alt-coins (ETH included) because you’re so smart. My advice – sell them / convert them all now for Bitcoin and Bitcoin only and be done with it. Take this advice, or leave it. Bitcoin will wait. There’s another saying in Bitcoin – “Everybody gets Bitcoin at the price they deserve“.

This guide is for anyone that has Bitcoin on an exchange now. It’s not too late to move it off. The best time was yesterday. The second best time is right now. Here’s a simple guide on the steps needed to take control and custody of your Bitcoin and protect yourself from the failures of others.

Two ways to hold your own Bitcoin – you choose

  1. Unchained Capital – My friends at Unchained will help you with their white glove concierge service. They will walk you through securing your Bitcoin on multiple Trezors, ensuring you’ve properly backed up your seed phrase, know your pin, etc. I really recommend them, and the small fee they charge for their personalized collaborative custody service is well worth it. To get started, go here, and no need to read the rest of this post.
  2. Personal Trezor – If you want to do it completely yourself, read on for the details.

Securing your Bitcoin on a Trezor

Buy a Trezor

There are many hardware wallets available, and if I had to pick one, I would pick Trezor. Trezor was one of the first hardware wallets and is still one of the best and going strong. You can buy one (any model is fine) directly from Trezor or Amazon.

Trezor has their own extensive guides which you can follow, and/or continue on for my more curated simple steps below.

Set up your Trezor

  1. Unboxing: Once you receive your Trezor, ensure that the device is indeed in its original packaging and hasn’t been tampered with. Click here for Trezor’s guide on how to do this.
  2. Install Trezor Suite: Download Trezor Suite on your computer and install.
  3. Run Trezor Suite: Launch Trezor Suite, plug in your Trezor, and follow the instructions:
    • Update the firmware of your Trezor
    • Create a PIN code – and do not forget it!
    • Create a Bitcoin wallet, and write down your seed words on the included paper booklet, twice

Send your Bitcoin to your Trezor

Click on your newly created Bitcoin wallet, and click “Receive”. This will show you an address and a QR code. More details here with screenshots.

Mobile: If you use your exchange’s mobile app on your phone, launch the app -> wallet -> send. From there you will usually see a scan icon where you can point your phone at the QR code on your computer. Send it all by tapping ‘Max’.

Desktop: If you’re logged into your exchange on the same computer you’re running Trezor Suite, simply copy the address under the QR code to the clipboard. Next, go to your exchange’s website, login -> wallet -> send, and paste the address from Trezor suite as the receiving address. Send ‘Max’ (all of it).

The Trezor will also confirm the address on the device. Follow the extra verification your exchange requires, which is typically an email or additional prompt for 2-factor authentication.

Secure your Trezor and seed words booklet

You’re done, but what to do with your Trezor and seed word booklet? SECURE THEM. Treat them carefully. It’s like having cash in your mattress. You need to know who can access it. If someone has access to your seed words or your Trezor and PIN, your coins can easily be stolen, and you’ll never see them again. Be careful out there. Here are some strategies for “where” to secure your Trezor and seed words. I do not recommend storing your seed words in a safety deposit box – bank employees can get to those boxes. Again, it’s about trust, and sadly, history has taught us that you should trust no one.


If you made it this far and you’ve successfully removed your Bitcoin from the exchange, and now have it yourself, you’ve taken a huge step towards self-sovereignty. Your Bitcoin is now really yours. This is a huge step. Doesn’t it feel good?

For more, check out “Brett’s Bitcoin Rabbit Hole Guide” and follow me on Twitter.

Tesla LogoI’ve seen the future and it’s all around me in Santa Monica, California.  I’m talking about Tesla, and the Tesla Model S.  This future will soon be all around you – wherever you are in the world.  I had the experience of driving a friend’s Model S last month and was completely blown away.  I immediately got on the phone with my friend’s Tesla contact and placed an order for one.  No hesitation, no regret, just a knowing that this is the beginning of something very, very special.

I was interested in fuel car alternates once before, in 2006, when I felt that it was important to at least try and be a little more environmentally sensitive and bought a Prius.  In less than a year, I had enough and sold it.  I completely cooked the front tires after 6 months and just couldn’t drive it anymore.  Around corners it felt like it was tipping over, and at highway speeds, it felt like being in a noisy piece of cheap tin.  My mind was in the right place on buying that car, but it was far from being the right car.

Fast forward to now.  This time it’s much, much different.  I have a feeling and an instinct that I haven’t felt since Steve Jobs first revealed the iPhone in January 2007.  The Tesla Model S is going to change the way we travel forever.  It is a completely different experience to driving a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) car.  It has pure, smooth, linear torque and acceleration.  You press the accelerator, power is delivered, and the wheels spin.  It’s that simple.  There’s no pumping fuel from a tank, through a filter, into a complicated engine where sparks are fired, explosions are detonated, pistons ascend and descend, rods turn (and I’m sure I’m missing some more gross inefficiencies) as the power makes its way to the wheels.  This all ends with the expulsion of carbon monoxide forced through the muffler, the exhaust, and then out in the atmosphere to damage mammal lungs, the environment, and lots other nasty effects.

To think we’ve gone this long without Tesla is shameful.  Others have tried and failed. The film, Who Killed the Electric Car? shows just how corrupt, political, and greedy some people are.  People, not corporations or government, thwarted progress and stopped the electric car from happening sooner.  Individuals make up corporations – individuals make up government.  Greed, and lack of vision of individuals were the enemy.  The misguided need to coddle foreign governments, wage wars, kill innocents – all around the economy of oil is going to end.  We as citizens of the United States and the rest of the planet are going to reduce the need for oil dramatically – very, very shortly.  We will still need it for airplanes, rockets, large trucks and other specialty vehicles for some time, but for passenger vehicles, the electric car is now.

It’s here now thanks to one person.  One individual decided that he was going to make this happen.  Elon Musk did something where others failed to, and decided by his own sheer force and his determination that it was not acceptable to NOT have a viable electric car.  His vision is now reality, and the second car from Tesla is one word: PHENOMENAL.  It is an absolute brilliant piece of engineering, design, and utility.  I’m completely convinced that ICE vehicles are done.  It’s not IF, it’s WHEN.  There is NO CHANCE they have a future.  The only future ICE vehicles have is their soon-to-be place in museums as relics of history.  They will be joining other obsolete objects such the dumb mobile phone, typewritersvinyl records & 8-tracks, film, and DVDs – all objects that have been supplanted by better versions with NO DOWNSIDE.

This future is soon going to be everywhere.  This future is growing, and there’s no stopping it.  This future is obvious to anyone that thinks rationally.  The other automakers KNOW IT.  And they’re NOT competing well at all with Tesla.  They’re failing to build a comparable product to the Model S.  So for now, some of them, and the dealerships, have been using their substantial political muscle to try and make it difficult for Tesla to grow as the market allows them to.  They’re trying to block sales of Tesla in certain states. These are dirty, nasty, and desperate tactics.  And they won’t work this time.  The world is too transparent now.  We see through these tactics with great clarity.  They may win a dirty fight or two against Tesla in the short term, but there’s no stopping the unstoppable market forces in a capitalistic society.

BMW, to their credit, has recently tried to build their own electric alternative.  I’ve owned 7 BMWs over the years.  BMW has always been a company that makes beautiful, quality products.  But, I look at their first electric vehicle, the BMW i3, and it’s completely underwhelming.  The range, the power, the styling, the price, are all pretty mediocre to put it nicely.  That said, BMW and the rest of them WILL eventually come out with great cars.  All of them will.  They will all be copying Tesla, they will pay Tesla patent license fees, and they will be able to compete.  The future will have EV versions of  beautiful luxury, affordable compacts, SUVs, trucks, motorcycles – all of them.  It will happen.  But right now, at least for the next 3-5 years, Tesla is going to DOMINATE this market.  Again, it reminds me of the iPhone.  There was nothing like it for a few years after it launched in June 2007.  Today, there are many comparable smart phones.  But Apple sure did get a head start and their stock price and company growth exploded during those first few years of absolute dominance.  The same thing is happening with Tesla.

It is a modern lesson and example to us all that one individual can make such a difference .  When one individual’s vision is clear and backed by relentless determination, something wonderful can happen.

I take delivery of my Black Model S at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California, USA later this month.  The future of vehicles is here now, and in MY very near future, I see myself smoothly driving out of the Tesla factory – smiling ear to ear.  I can’t wait…

UPDATE: To order your Tesla, be sure and click here for referral credit for both of us!


Dear Mr. Drabek,

I first met you during my sophomore year as a Computer Science student at the University of Arizona in 1988, where I had my first class with you.  I’m writing you to let you know how much of a positive impact you had on me.  I’ve taken what you’ve taught me and built a career on the lessons I learned from you.

You were very strict, very serious, and I respected your skill, your style, and your knowledge.  I remember focusing on what you had to say more than any professor I had.  I didn’t want to miss a word.

I remember anticipating your class more than any other, eagerly wanting to learn all the cool things you knew.  I learned a lot from you and it’s stayed with me – always.

One way you influence me every day is simply – coding style.  You were very careful about teaching the “right” way to code and pointing out the wrong way to code.  Your style still influences every line of code I write.  I now use a code analysis tool, ReSharper, to validate my work and every time I look up at the indicator in the editor and see what it needs to fix, I’m always happy when I see it’s only one or two improvements.  I feel like you made my brain ReSharp code as I develop it.

I came to you my senior year with an Independent Study project to write a Golf Handicapping Program on Microsoft Windows 3.0.  The first thing you said to me was – “Everyone here thinks Windows is a toy and will never go anywhere”.  I replied back, “Well sir, it’s not, I think it’s going to grow really fast”.  Too bad I didn’t have any money to buy Microsoft stock back then, but you agreed with me and you let me do it.  I remember showing you an early version of my work and the code behind Windows events and you nodding how clever it was.  I remember seeking your approval so much so I was so nervous delivering the final version of the software, and after taking you through it, I finally got a smile from you.  Moments like that could have gone either way, and who knows where chaos theory would have taken me had you not believed in what I was doing.

My success in that project motivated me in such a way, that 2 years after I graduated, after I moved to Silicon Valley, I convinced my company to port all the software from Motif to Windows, and I led the way.

In 1998, I started my first company,, a photo sharing web site co-founded with fellow UofA CS alum Carlos Blanco.  Once I got the company funded, I bought us an awesome new 8U server from Dell, and when giving it a hostname, of course, I chose to name it after you: DRABEK.  Throughout the company’s life, all server requests flowed through a machine with your moniker proudly labeled in our data center.

Thanks for the impression you made on me.  Thank you for the teachings you gave me.  I really appreciate it and will never forget it.  You’re a great man, sir.


Brett Morrison, Class of 1991, University of Arizona

Here I am, a little more hair, a little more blonde, and a bit more girth, giving an on-air demo of one of the first Internet social sharing sites, my company Before Snapfish, Flickr, MySpace, and even Facebook, there was – ememories! Enjoy.


iPad Thoughts

Enjoying photos on the iPad while standing in the kitchen

So it’s been exactly two weeks since I’ve been using my iPad. I am confident when I say that this device is a GAME CHANGER. It will change the way we use computers forever. Although it’s not the first tablet PC, it’s the first relevant one. Apple got it right – building on the shoulders of the mighty iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad is really like a giant iPod Touch. But the difference is just that – its size.

Where an iPhone and iPod touch are great for getting quick pieces of information, they fall short for true media consumption. You don’t want to watch a movie, read a book, or read the news on a screen that small – but you do because it’s so convenient. With the iPad, you have all the benefits of the iPhone OS, but you want to spend the time on it. You don’t get fatigued by the small screen, the iPad’s size is just right.

Because of the nature of my job, my laptop is bedside every night. I’m on call 24/7 – perpetually linked to the health of web sites that never sleep. Now, in bed, I leave the laptop alone, and reach for the iPad and connect myself to the world. As promised, it really feels like you’re holding the Internet in your hands. And when showing someone next to you the screen, it’s much more engaging, intimate experience. You can hand the screen to someone and point at it – something not natural with a laptop.

The iPad is best described as a “Media Consumption Device”. It’s not meant to replace your laptop or desktop, but it can certainly do a lot of the things you do on them – and do them better. It will never be a substitute for a multi-tasking OS where you have to aggregate and manage simultaneous tasks to be productive. However, because of the low cost and meaningful every day usefulness, the iPad, and devices like it, will soon be ubiquitous, with households having a few of them as part of their every-day lifestyle.

The first moment I realized just how sublime the iPad was, was on the first night, when I watched the Donovan McNabb press conference on the device. I had missed it on TV, quickly found it on-line, kicked back on the couch, and enjoyed it on the iPad – true media consumption on demand – literally at my fingertips.

The iPad is a great eBook reader – and I recently gave away my Kindle. There’s no need for it anymore. The Amazon Kindle for iPad App works flawlessly, allowing you access to Amazon’s entire library of Kindle books. After using the iPad, paper media just feels odd now. I’m looking forward to someday canceling ALL my magazine subscriptions and getting them all digitally. It will happen – it’s just a matter of when.

The Apps work flawlessly, and over the next few months, I’m sure we’ll see some amazing progress as developers take advantage of the larger screen. Among my favorites, The Gilt Groupe App really shows how to do e-commerce simply, elegantly, and efficiently. Also, check out MLB.Com At Bat, Desktop Connect, and Zillow.

Of course there’s always room for improvement. Most notably, a front-facing camera would make the iPad the ultimate device for Skype. As a kid I always was fascinated by the idea of video phones, with Skype for iPad – it’s finally (almost) here. I also think it should have been designed with a wider aspect ratio, more HD like. But that’s a minor complaint – you get used to it.

I realize this is a gush-fest of a consumer device, but I felt compelled to share my experience of how amazing the iPad is. Get one – you’ll understand the value immediately.

Brett Morrison – Official Site

The official web site of Brett Morrison, Self-Made Technology Entrepreneur.


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