Marc Steiner was our guest today on the Relai Bitcoin Session podcast. Marc is one of Switzerland’s leading Bitcoin experts. He runs a Bitcoin advisory firm in Zurich and is the author of the book ‘Bitcoins Verwahren und Vererben,’ which covers bitcoin estate planning.
….or listen to it on Anchor.
We sat down with Marc to discuss Bitcoin, his work in the industry, and how to handle bitcoin estate planning.
Falling Down the Bitcoin Rabbit Hole
Marc is a techy through-and-through and was immediately hooked when he first came across Bitcoin. As he explains, Bitcoin is not just interesting from a technical point of view but also in terms of economic theory and philosophy, making it an incredibly existing area to contribute to.
“Bitcoin is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
While there are people that want nothing to do with Bitcoin, the ones that make an effort to truly learn about it typically fall down the so-called “Bitcoin rabbit hole” and end up in the same boat.
Investing in Bitcoin
When we asked for Marc’s take on investing in bitcoin, he told us the story of the time he gifted bitcoin to his 16-year old godson.
“Instead of giving him 100 Swiss francs, I gifted him an OpenDime and told him I would send him 25 francs in bitcoin for four weeks. At the end of the month, he could either figure out how to take out the 100 francs worth of bitcoin or hold onto it and in the hope that it will be worth a lot more than 100 francs in the future.”
Marc believes that if you want to invest today, there is no way around bitcoin, especially given the state of the world right now.
Additionally, he thinks that investing in bitcoin is excited for people. It’s something new, and people get excited trying it out to see how it actually works.
Securely Storing Bitcoin
Marc explains that it’s important not to think of storing bitcoin as “saving” it like a file on a USB stick. Instead, bitcoin investors should use bitcoin hardware wallets to securely store, especially if it is supposed to be a long-term investment.
“For large, long-term investments, cold storage is a must.”
However, Marc recommends hardware wallets over paper wallets. Things can go wrong with paper wallets when it comes to retrieving the stored bitcoin. Hardware wallets are typically much more user-friendly.
Bitcoin Estate Planning
Marc told us that he surveyed bitcoin holders on social media to find out how many of them are thinking about estate planning when it comes to their bitcoin holdings. It turns out, not many have.
“People don’t like to deal with the topic of estate planning.”
It’s important to take estate planning into consideration as a bitcoin investor. Death is only one scenario where you would like your family members to access your bitcoin, but there is also the possibility that you could have an accident and end up in a coma or that your memory (of your passwords and seed phrases) fades as you are older.
The three steps are:
- Choose who will inherit your bitcoin and how your coins will change hands once the time comes (Technical setup, etc.)
- Decide how the information about the bitcoin estate planning strategy will be securely stored
- Determine how your bitcoin estate planning strategy will be communicated to the recipients
In his book, Marc provides templates for bitcoin investors that want to ensure that their bitcoin investments remain accessible to their family in the case of their passing.
There are many stories about “lost coins” to which people lost access because they forgot their passwords or lost their wallet backup seed phrases.
Marc wants to ensure that you will tell a story like that one day and, thus, encourages you to take bitcoin storage and estate planning seriously.