Proof of Keys

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Proof of Keys is an annual celebration falling on January 3 that is intended to encourage bitcoin hodlers to test their trust in "people, exchanges, corporations and other services." Hodlers - people who intend to hold onto their bitcoin for an indefinitely long time - are urged to test that the bitcoins they believe are actually being held by third parties by seeking to withdraw them from the cryptocurrency trading platforms, custodians and other institutions which are supposed to be holding them.[1] January 3rd is the anniversary of the genesis block.

The first Proof of Keys day, held on the 10th anniversary of the bitcoin genesis block, January 3, 2019, was announced by the well-known bitcoin investor and proponent, Trace Mayer, in a December 9, 2018, webcast on YouTube. In the webcast, Mayer said, “Anyone who doesn’t want you to hold your own private keys — they’re your monetary enemy. They don’t want you to be free and independent with your money.”[2] In the webcast, Mayer said, “Anyone who doesn’t want you to hold your own private keys — they’re your monetary enemy. They don’t want you to be free and independent with your money.”

Mayer's webcast echoed widely expressed concerns about bitcoin customers ceding control of their bitcoin to third parties. In 2016, the well known bitcoin developer and security expert Andreas Antonopoulos coined the widely used slogan: "Your keys, your bitcoin. Not your keys, not your bitcoin."[3] Withdrawing their bitcoin from platforms and custodians would test that the bitcoin existed and would further cause bitcoin owners to demonstrate to themselves how to control their holdings by forcing them to set up and use their own bitcoin wallets.[4]

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