Bitcoin Self-Custody Series - Part 4: Why Self-Custody Is A Gift to Us All
Now we get to the question many ask at this point:
Why would I need to have a Seed Phrase & go through all this when I can just trust the Custodial Service?
The truth is, there are many instances of that trust being betrayed & people being stuck without any means to access all their funds, especially during times of unrest or even war, which is what recently happened during the Russia & Ukraine conflict this February when Banks started imposing withdrawal limits in Ukraine.
Let's take that scenario further & say that during a time of unrest, or war, you need to leave the country & you can't access your funds at all. You leave & are on the other side of the border, alive but without any guarantee of keeping yourself that way without the aid of others. Your Life Savings are stuck in the country you came from & you have no way to access them.
If you kept your Life Savings in a Non-Custodial Bitcoin Wallet & have your Seed Phrase, let's say you used BlueWallet, you could destroy your phone/computer where the wallet is on, walk across the boarder, get access to a completely new phone/computer, download BlueWallet onto the new phone/computer, hit "Import Wallet", enter your Seed Phrase & start using that phone/computer just as you did your old one, with all your Bitcoin (Life Savings in this case) available to you & only you once again.
For many who keep learning about Bitcoin, they understand that it is not about getting rich quickly, but can rather be seen as you ensuring that you & only you can dictate how you use & store your Bitcoin; when you can & cannot spend your Bitcoin (subject to places accepting it of course) or to who you can send your Bitcoin.
Bitcoin was designed to be a purely Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Electronic Cash System that has, over time, come to tick all the boxes for what's required to be both Money & an Ideal Store of Value. Giving up Ownership & Control of it by using a Custodial Wallet/Service instead of securing your Seed Phrase & using a Non-Custodial Wallet should be nothing more than an academic exercise at this point.
Especially if you are African like me & understand how fast things can change between falling asleep tonight & waking up tomorrow morning.
Many argue that Self-Custody is one of the most invaluable cornerstones of what makes Bitcoin so valuable as a P2P Network & as such should be practiced a lot more.
I agree with this sentiment, but I also understand that people need to learn the "why" & "how" of it so they don't end up locking themselves out of their life savings, with absolutely no help in sight.
Hopefully, this will be a step in the right direction along that journey of Self-Sovereignty, because Bitcoin Self-Custody is a Gift to All.