The Daily Moon

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Connect the World | AZ Hodl

Life of a Bitcoin Farmer

This week, in Episode 25, we talk to Peter from AZHODL, a husband and wife team from Arizona who strive together to live up to the Bitcoin Standard! And he says that time with our loved ones is the most valuable!

Peter runs an amazing mining project with a Bitmain S19j powered by Solar Panels! He believes that if we embrace that our future needs more energy, we will find the best sources for it. Everything needs the right incentives!

 

He shares his take on the energy transition towards renewables and about the importance of liquidity and how the community comes to the aid with excess inbound. Severin Bühler from LnRouter.app taught him the tricks he needed to make his Lightning Node even more future proof!

Do you also want to know why Peter thinks every Bitcoiner should mine?

Watch or listen to the full interview or start reading below! Enjoy!

 

Arizona HODL

You call yourself AZ or AriZonan Hodl, is the Hodl thing also your main strategy if it comes to accumulate bitcoin? Or are you spending your sats as well?

  • I go by Peter. This handle was not intentionally pseudonymous but more to link myself to my node in chat groups. There is a Twitter personality who goes by AriZonan Hodl which recently caused some confusion in Miami. I’m not interested in being an influencer. Instead I’m trying to build a better future for my kids. I accumulated in 2020 and work on non KYC coin now. I spend bitcoin & try to build circular economies.

Your AZHODL node has 158 channels. What do you use for managing your node? And do you use some sort of automation?

  • I ran it manually for a very long time till Charge-LND then most recently LNDg

[LINKS]
https://github.com/accumulator/charge-lnd
https://github.com/cryptosharks131/lndg

On your website you say your node has a constant uptime… how can you guarantee that? Do you run a backup system to avoid power outages, weak internet connection or other issues? UPS, ISP

  • Great point. No guarantee, just backups in place. I do have 12kWh of backup energy and cellular service for the node and running a Bitcoin satellite as a peer.

If you think about when you started building your first node. What would you have done differently today?

  • I see this as an opportunity for a pleb to build a successful node in the network. I think in a few years when commercial entities come in that will be much harder. The only thing I would do different is to deploy the automations sooner. I was hesitant until I understood what was happening more. I made important mistakes and had some very powerful successes early on.

We talked with Severin Bühler of LnRouter.app and also with Carsten Otto last week about the importance of speed, the response time (latency) of a Lightning Node. On LnRouter.app your node shows a HTLC response time of 0.2s. What did you do to make your node much faster?

  • I contracted with Sevi early on when I thought it would be best to build a node on custom hardware for the future. He taught me a lot and helped me set things up correctly.

 

[LINKS]
https://lnrouter.app
https://youtu.be/zPUTisJJGxo
https://youtu.be/SSLPXQrznVI

The pursuit of self-sovereignty seems to be very important to you. Do you think Bitcoiners in western countries often want to be self-sovereign in as many areas as possible, for example, permaculture, self-sufficient in energy and then Bitcoin as the next logical step?

  • I worry this self-sovereignty is no longer an identity in much of the western world. Most of my daily in person interactions have no interest in it. It’s only my online friends from all over the world that are working towards this ideal.

Senator Wendy Rogers has introduced a bill proposing to make bitcoin a legal tender in the U.S. state of Arizona beginning 2022. Arizona could become the first U.S. state to recognize bitcoin as legal tender if the bill moves forward and gets approved. Do you have an update on this ? What do you think, is it possible?

  • No update, but it has prompted me to create a resource page for policy makers and candidates. I think the more candidates that understand Bitcoin and its benefits the better the future will be. While I am no constitutional lawyer, I don’t think her bill will pass.

I saw your tweet about your experiment with a solar & peak utility to contribute 130Th/s to the network. It was also a shoutout to Chaincode Labs that non-programmers/developers can contribute to the network. Did you attend a seminar with them?

  • Sure did! I learned a lot but also realized I have a lot to learn. Made me figure out ways I can build now using the skills I currently have along with the skills I am continuing to build.
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Green Renewable Energy

You are running a project where you test the viability and benefit of using an off grid solar array to offset your utility costs of powering bitcoin miners at home. How did you come up with this idea and how does it work?

This is probably one of our primary questions. I live in Arizona, lots of sun and solar. No incentive to sell it back to the grid. No incentive if the utility has an outage. In my opinion every Bitcoiner should mine using off grid solar powering home miners.

How do you monitor the energy consumption of the miners in comparison with the generated energy consumption of the solar panels?

Some python scripts running on a Raspberry zero tied into my inverter & battery.
Solutions like heating greenhouses with bitcoin miners or making it possible to produce green electricity in remote places by using miners is great and really promising for the future. What is the role of the Lightning network in this movement or how can Lightning help those promising solutions to develop faster.

  • I am not sure I see a direct correlation between green energy and Lightning. I think Lightning adoption will increase Bitcoin adoption which will increase mining and unique ideas within mining.

Will bitcoin play a role in accelerating the energy transition (towards renewable energy) of the world thanks to smart solutions such as Vulcano mining, hydropower, etc. and new inventions emerging from it?

  • YES! I think the benefits mining will provide to utilities and energy producers is only now being recognized with much more to come.

Will the government from Arizona run nodes and miners in an ecologic way in the near future?

 

  • This is my primary mission right now. My solar project was to prove it’s possibly viable, now I’m attempting a commercial pilot with excess energy in Arizona. I want to bring mining to this state like we see it elsewhere, using our resources. We do have nuclear power here so we could mine on anything.

Is a fully zero emission bitcoin and Lightning network possible? How fast can we realize that?

 

  • Zero emission as in carbon? Personally I am Pro Energy. I think if we embrace that our future needs more energy we will find the best sources for it. Fossil fuels are critical right now but they are finite in supply.

Your goal was to make the investment of 0.56 BTC back, within 36 months. Are you succeeding with that?

 

  • That calculation failed to consider the next halving… IDIOT! I’m approaching two months now with what looks like 3.3m sats earned. I am still down tuning my miners to try and get 8 hours off grid. I’m considering liquid cooling or moving the S9’s off the solar circuit to run full time.

The Lightning Network

What was your first experience with the Lightning network and do you still know what you did/saw at that moment?

  • In early 2020 I was attempting to utilize bitcoin at my business and built a node for Bitcoin & Lightning payments. I found it very challenging to understand. 1 year later after i sold the business and dedicated the time, I started my first routing node.

What is the role of the Lightning Network in your opinion in the adoption of Bitcoin?

  • Lightning makes this technology and ethos actionable for the everyday person.

Can you give us some insights about the use of the Lightning network in Arizona? For example, can you do your weekly/monthly groceries by paying with sats? (Are there a lot of local merchants accepting Lightning nearby?)

  • Negative but hopefully this strike rollout will help. Also, I’m working on ways to onboard small local businesses to accept Lightning payments.

The lack of good financial services, high transaction costs and corrupt governments is accelerating the global adoption of Lightning, but what is driving its adoption in first world countries? (countries without corrupt government, high costs)

  • My perspective is such countries do not exist. There is corruption and financial repression everywhere. I think the countries you imply will adopt Bitcoin as a savings technology for the people or a superior payment rail for the merchant.

It seems that there is an increasing concentration of Lightning nodes in certain places in the world… Do you think this will be a problem in the future or is it just the organic way of growing we see?

  • Potentially, but I have not looked into this much. There are some latency concerns with round the world trips but I think our bigger concern would be ISP consolidations. I’m considering Star Link as an alternative for this reason.

Running your own node requires some technical knowledge and you need financial capabilities to buy and maintain one, how can this be accessible to people in developing countries?

  • Today education is only a time constraint, not financial. Everything I have learned has been from free or nearly free online sources besides one python course from community college. The hardware costs of bitcoin has been purposefully kept as low as possible. Only liquidity is the obstacle I see and often the community comes to the aid with excess inbound.

Do you believe Bitcoin + the Lightning network is the solution for a lot of the major problems in the world?

  • I believe it is a solution or part of the solution. We need to separate money from the state. Personal responsibility is also part of the solution and a strong ethos in bitcoin.

Do you think it’s unavoidable that there will be a lot of custodial services around Lightning to really get it out there to the masses?

  • I do. Even for me trying to onboard small businesses, it’s inconvenient to build them a node and would prefer a way to link multiple wallets to a single node. I don’t think this is 100% bad. Most of us start with some form of custody and then learn the benefits of self-custody.

What tools or services do you use for managing your Lightning Node?

  • For the past year I was entirely manual with just Thunderhub. About 5 months ago I finally deployed Charge-LND and just one month ago I began using LNDg.

What kind of services do you use to stack sats ? (lolly, games,…)

  • Routing and home mining.

I saw you are running a Lightning node with LND? Have you tried other distributions?

  • I have not, but I’m tempted to play with C-Lightning. Unfortunately my learning curve is so steep right now I think it’s best to commit for now?

What has the most influence on your 90th routing score on LnRouter.app?

  • I don’t know but would guess response time + liquidity + building the right routes. 

     

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