ABOUT THE ARTIST
Evan Kaloudis is the New York based developer behind Zeus Lightning Wallet, a phenomenal Open Source Android/iOS app that connects with your Bitcoin/Lightning node on the go. Connect to your node over VPN or Tor, make payments with lightning or on-chain and manage your Lightning channels.
Evan got his start on web projects building a music blog called ‘Beats Per Minute’ which he still publishes. After University, he worked in Cybersecurity Engineering for six years and now specialises as a Cyber Defense Network Analyst. Alongside Zeus, he’s an advisor to Hexa Wallet and also works on an a mysterious, undisclosed Lightning project (very hush hush about this unfortunately). He’s a big React Native fan.
"In a world of creeping authoritarianism & unprecedented levels of uncertainty, bitcoin is that shining light and source of certainty."
At College 2010-2014, Evan studied Computer Science and read Austrian Economics. He heard about Bitcoin as a Freshman but things didn’t really click for him until Senior Year. In retrospect he finds that ‘kinda telling’ – for someone already somewhat versed in Economics and Computer Science to still take so long for the dominoes to fall, “It says a lot.” Part of this, he feels, is the disinformation campaign from financial publications. “It’s a Ponzi, unsustainable, low tps, energy FUD etc.” It shows that we’re not even close to terminal velocity yet. We’re still so early. He’s massively grateful to all those that nudged him towards Bitcoin and he’s dedicated to paying that forward.
"Bitcoin isn’t an easy thing to wrap your head around."
At a party recently, playing a drinking game with friends, a card had the question, ‘Drink if you’ve ever invested in Bitcoin’. It’s just a small example of it cracking into the culture, but still so few people really know what it is and what it provides.
"Maybe we’ve got 10 years of Bitcoin propagating through our world. This really is the perfect time to get involved."
Evan’s eyes were opened to the rot in the Global Financial System after seeing the 2008 Crisis, housing bubble & subsequent bail outs. Seeing Occupy Wall Street & the practical application of Bitcoin in the Silk Road was inspiring too and presented to him the potential for a working, alternative free market system. Seeing the message in the Genesis Block “Chancellor on the brink of second bailout for banks” shows just how much of a political project Bitcoin has always been.
"I think it’s a direct response to what has been happening in the world."
Ultimately, it’s NGU that’ll bring in the masse though. The paradigm shift doesn’t really hit you until you use Bitcoin though – until you create an account without permission, transact with it, HODL and experience NGU. People just don’t get it until they use it themselves.
"Sending wire transfers with traditional banking was always unpleasant, but after using Bitcoin … it’s like pulling teeth."
His view on altcoins is pretty binary, “People don’t realise they don’t have the same robust, decentralised Network. Bitcoin is rules without rulers. Ethereum’s rulers WITH rules that are subject to change at any moment!!” No-one’s thinking about holding altcoins for years or decades in the way they are with Bitcoin.
Evan built Zeus primarily for himself, after setting up a Raspibolt Lightning node and not being satisfied with only having desktop interface apps to interact with it. He felt a real need to have good mobile tools to interact with his own LN node. Zap was great but iOS only at that stage.
"Payment layer Tech needs a mobile UX."
He reached out to Jack Mallers about building a version of Zap for Android, using React Native, which allows you to write once and publish to multiple platforms (Android/iOS). Jack preferred to stick with the iOS native framework path with Zap but Evan was intent on hacking his own wallet together with React. So he did, up to a point and then thought, “This is pretty cool. Let me put this out there and get some feedback, maybe see if anyone might contribute code.” He got both! What started as a project to support LND has expanded to become a Swiss Army knife to connect C-lightning, Eclair too and transact and control more and more Lightning features.
He feels we’re in the Golden Era of Bitcoin software development right now. Just in the last few months, multisig software has gone from 0-100 with Specter and Caravan. Evan’s expecting things to ramp up even further as Shnorr and Taproot become integrated.
SELF SOVEREIGNTY LEVELS
The way Evan sees it there’s levels to Onchain Bitcoin & Lightning. Onchain Level 1 is buying bitcoin on an exchange. Level 2 is holding Bitcoin in a wallet that you hold the keys for. Level 3 is moving to a hardware wallet, maybe air gapped like a Coldcard. Level 4 is self validating transactions on your own node. Ad infinitum.
Similarly in Lightning : Level 1 is using a fully custodial solution like Bluewallet or WalletOfSatoshi. Level 2 is using a hosted LN wallet that you control your own keys for like Phoenix or Breez, where alot of the trust has been removed. Level 3 is running your own full node and Lightning node, connected to your own wallet like Zap or Zeus and having full control of your channels.
People don’t have to get to those higher levels but we need to show them what the benefits are. You don’t want to overwhelm your user but education is a really important part of this whole thing.
PROPERTY RIGHTS & TGR
Evan’s convinced that humans, in the end, will push forward, work around the bullshit and live their lives the way they see fit. He admits that “some birds do want to be in their cage” and that’s their choice, but for those who do want to be free, he’s optimistic they can. Since the 90s, we entered into a new stage of human evolution – the Information Revolution. The possibilities for these individuals will be incredible. The human & asset capital that Bitcoiners will be able to contribute to jurisdictions that welcome them will be huge.
"The countries that embrace this will jump in status. Those that put the clamps down will decline. It has the potential to even out many wealth inequalities."
The Great Reset is some technocratic, dystopian bullshit. In this crazy new world, Bitcoin redefines what ownership is. Even the biggest purchases we claim to own like homes & property, can be taxed as and when they see fit.
"You don’t really own anything other than bitcoin. Empowered Bitcoiners might rent everything & taking advantage of jurisdictional arbitrage opportunities."
As Bitcoiners increase their status in society, how are we gonna be altruistic and even out wealth inequalities? “I want us to think and be empathetic about this before it happens.”
In some ways the Bitcoin Revolution is tough. It disciplines you, challenges and changes the way you see the world. In other of ways it’s the easiest revolution you could have. “I just sit at home in my jammies, drink my coffee and stack my sats. I don’t need to put on silly hats or storm a building.”
"We’re really lucky to have this thing. We don’t know how or when things are gonna change again socially or economically – but fundamentally, we know Bitcoin won’t change."