How to Stay Safe at Bitcoin Conventions, Hackathons and Blind Dates

With the big Miami bitcoin convention happening in a few days, people have been discussing security. And they’re not wrong to be a little bit paranoid.

The phrasing in the above tweet is bad but it does show a major vulnerability, lonely men that can be easily tricked by women con artists.

Some of the advice has been:

  • Don’t bring your main phone/tablet/laptop.
  • Don’t bring your hardware wallets.
  • Buy a burner phone.
  • Load it with CalyxOS for extra security.
  • Turn off WiFi, bluetooth and charge it only in your hotel room with your own charger.
  • Don’t enter any weird situations inebriated.

BitcoinQ+A has a guide about CalyxOS right here, I believe it’s more than enough to get started

There’s a long-standing meme from XKCD’s comic, the $5 Wrench Attack.

Whatever your setup is for storing the majority of your bitcoin – be it hot or cold, online or offline, software or hardware – if you can access and spend it in a matter of minutes, so can a robber armed with a $5 wrench. The price for convenience is risk.

A security option is that of Casa. I haven’t used it or done any research on it but Casa is being suggested over and over in these matters.

As for dates, this goes for both genders:

  • Don’t tell people how much bitcoin you own, bragging is the best way to get robbed.
  • Trust your instinct and eject out of any situation that doesn’t feel right.
  • Tell your friends where you’re going and who you’re meeting with. This goes for men too. Tinder has a list of tips about meeting in person:
  • Don’t Be In A Rush Take your time and get to know the other person before agreeing to meet or chat off Tinder. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to screen for any red flags or personal dealbreakers. A phone or video call can be a useful screening tool before meeting.
  • Meet in Public and Stay in Public Meet for the first few times in a populated, public place — never at your home, your date’s home, or any other private location. If your date pressures you to go to a private location, end the date.
  • Tell Friends and Family About Your Plans Tell a friend or family member of your plans, including when and where you’re going. Have your cell phone charged and with you at all times.
  • Be in Control of Your Transportation We want you to be in control of how you get to and from your date so that you can leave whenever you want. If you’re driving yourself, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan such as a ride-share app or a friend to pick you up.
  • Know Your Limits Be aware of the effects of drugs or alcohol on you specifically — they can impair your judgment and your alertness. If your date tries to pressure you to use drugs or drink more than you’re comfortable with, hold your ground and end the date.
  • Don’t Leave Drinks or Personal Items Unattended Know where your drink comes from and know where it is at all times — only accept drinks poured or served directly from the bartender or server. Many substances that are slipped into drinks to facilitate sexual assault are odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Also, keep your phone, purse, wallet, and anything containing personal information on you at all times.
  • If You Feel Uncomfortable, Leave It’s okay to end the date early if you’re feeling uncomfortable. In fact, it’s encouraged. And if your instincts are telling you something is off or you feel unsafe, ask the bartender or server for help.

There are many more things to consider. It’s not paranoia if there are people actually out to get you. If you have any more tips to add, feel free to comment below.

George Saoulidis

George Saoulidis is your new favourite bitcoin writer. Find all his stuff at

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