Playing the Bitcoin Long Game

First published: 01/11/2021
| Last updated: 01/17/2023
| -- min read

At Unchained Capital, we are building a platform for individuals and businesses storing long-term wealth in bitcoin that demand private key ownership. To us, private key ownership is not an ideology; it is a security principle. The legacy monetary and financial system is built on a centralized and permissioned set of security principles. That system is built on trust, and counterparty risk has become a systemic consequence. In contrast, bitcoin is built on a decentralized and permissionless set of security principles. The bitcoin mantra is “don’t trust, verify”. Private keys control access to the bitcoin network, and in order to transfer any bitcoin, valid cryptographic signatures must be created with a bitcoin private key, which the rest of the network then verifies. By holding private keys, counterparty risk is eliminated and permissionless access to the network is preserved. Each represents an important security column for long-term bitcoin holders. In short, there are many important aspects to bitcoin but none more important than private keys, which is why our custody platform is built on the foundation of our clients holding their own private keys.

As the world converges on bitcoin as a monetary standard, the most critical and foundational aspect of the value chain is custody, and bitcoin custody is built on private keys. Whether relying on a custodial or non-custodial arrangement, no individual or business would reasonably store a material amount of wealth in bitcoin if that person or entity were not first confident that their assets would be secure. Clients come to Unchained Capital because they demand private key ownership, and they need a more secure, fault tolerant way to custody their own bitcoin without counterparty risk. As a management team, we’re all users of the platform and as bitcoiners, we understand that, to most long-term holders, nothing can replace the security of bitcoin private keys and counterparty risk is an unacceptable trade-off. For that reason, collaborative custody at Unchained Capital is built on a permissionless set of security principles, which align with (and are core to) the bitcoin protocol itself. We help our clients achieve a level of security that they could not otherwise achieve on their own and then offer value-added financial services through an integrated offering.

For bitcoin holders that demand private key ownership and value our approach to custody, we are working to solve all their personal and business needs. Our platform makes it easy for bitcoin holders to manage assets across various different accounts and personal contexts. For example, a client might hold bitcoin through a personal account, a self-directed IRA and an operating business. Our application allows clients to easily switch between accounts and contexts, with flexibility to use a combination of keys across accounts and to grant access to different individuals or team members depending on the nature of the account. Accounts are fully-segregated, always controlled by client private keys but individuals are able to access multiple accounts from a single log-in to help better manage their bitcoin finances and security.

We’re building our platform with the expectation that we’ll be serving our clients for decades, if not generations. Custody will always be the foundation, but we also want to be there as a partner for everything our clients need in the world of bitcoin, one platform to make their life easy. As we expand, we continue to improve the functionality of our core custody offering and then integrate incremental value-added financial services on top of that secure foundation. Today, we offer a concierge onboarding service, bitcoin-backed lending and the ability to purchase bitcoin through our OTC trading desk in addition to custody solutions. Our products are structured and priced with the expectation that all of our clients will each have personal, retirement and business accounts with Unchained Capital and that we will deliver value to clients through multiple financial services in each context.

Through concierge onboarding, we walk clients through private key setup step-by-step and then help them create a multisignature collaborative custody vault, all on a video conference call. Our team empowers clients with the tools they need to manage private keys and ensures that our clients are comfortable with the new responsibilities, teaching clients about all the critical aspects of bitcoin multisig. Our concierge onboarding for individuals has been so successful that we recently launched concierge onboarding for businesses, tailored to the size and nature of the organization, whether a family office, an investment fund or an operating business. 

Concierge onboarding helps us develop personal relationships with our clients, and it creates a clear path for individuals and businesses to efficiently go from not having any bitcoin controlled by private keys to a secure multisignature set up. There are technical aspects to private key management and multisignature, specifically, that any individual or business needs to understand before taking on the responsibility. Our team helps clients understand every technical aspect they need to know in order to best secure their bitcoin. Having a personal relationship with a member of our concierge team also ensures that there is a direct line of contact in the future if any technical questions arise or if a client needs additional services. Further, businesses and individuals face different challenges when thinking about security and custody, and it is important that we have a concierge service to help clients in both contexts.

Our concierge service is just the beginning of the journey. For clients that need tax-efficient access to liquidity, we offer dollar denominated loans, and we secure bitcoin as collateral through our custody platform while a loan is outstanding. While only available in a limited number of states, we also help long-term holders purchase bitcoin, which is direct-deposited to a cold-stored multisignature vault with keys they control. Clients can execute high dollar-value transactions and receive physical delivery without having to access keys or manage bitcoin addresses. Expanding this service is a core focus for us over the next twelve months, as is a bitcoin lending pilot that we’re in the process of launching. We want to help as many clients buy bitcoin direct to multisig cold-storage as possible and we also plan to deliver the most secure bitcoin lending product in the market. Helping clients with all their bitcoin-related needs today means custody, trade execution and lending. In the future, we’ll continue to integrate additional services as bitcoin matures as a day-to-day transactional currency, from applications to support bitcoin payments to managing merchant services in bitcoin. 

When we set out to solve all of our clients bitcoin-related needs, we mean everything. Our custody platform is designed to be where those that store long-term wealth in bitcoin end their journey. We’re not an on-ramp and off-ramp. Collaborative custody will evolve and adapt as we incorporate additional hardware key devices and as we evaluate a broader range of multisig quorums, but there will not be a more secure way to store bitcoin for those that demand private key ownership. We expect our clients to be clients for life and that means evolving as bitcoin evolves. By being singularly focused on bitcoin and building on a foundation of clients holding private keys, we will always be in the best position to serve our clients, now and into the future. 

Our vision as a company is bitcoin ubiquity and I personally believe bitcoin will be the predominant currency used to facilitate an overwhelming majority of direct commerce within the next ten years. Our vision informs how we build the platform, including what services we prioritize today and how we plan our roadmap. That vision is also what allows us to keep focused and not waver as the tides of bitcoin price discovery go out and come back in. We believe in the adage of playing long-term games with long-term people. Bitcoin is a long game. It is the longest of games and that mindset will always guide the ship at Unchained Capital.

If you are interested in our services at Unchained Capital or have any questions for me as a client or prospective client, please feel free to reach out (

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