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The first step in solving the virtual mattress problem is to buy bitcoin. In fact, you could simply buy bitcoin and solve the virtual mattress problem without doing anything else.
Every once in a while, you might come across a news item about an eccentric individual who accumulated a substantial quantity of money and stashed it all away under a mattress. You’d probably shake your head and wonder why someone would do such a thing. Doesn’t he understand the risks involved? It could get destroyed in a house fire, or a thief could steal the entire stash! He could lose his entire life savings in a single tragic event.
Not only that, think of the missed opportunity to invest the money and build wealth. The money could have been earning interest in a bank or been invested in a mutual fund.
Stashed under a mattress, money loses its value over time as inflation erodes away the purchasing power.
Why would anyone store money under a mattress? Rational people don’t do that. Or do they?
There are two good reasons for keeping money under a mattress:
Your money is readily available under your mattress, anytime you need it.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news, these reasons are rapidly becoming more and more compelling. If your government doesn’t like the recipients of your charitable giving or disagrees with your tweet criticizing a government policy or action, they can compel your bank or broker to freeze your account or to seize your funds.
If you live in a nominally democratic country, this may have seemed like a far-fetched scenario even a year ago. But we now know that this is a very real threat to people who value their freedom. In some cases, funds were seized—the custodian failed to maintain custody. In other cases, funds were frozen—immediate access was denied.
As crazy as it sounds, money under a mattress is starting to sound more and more appealing to rational people. But the risks and lost opportunities of mattress custody persist. What if there was an alternative—a way to self-custody but with reduced risk and increased opportunity to gain? This is where crypto assets and technology shine. Crypto assets allow you to store value, accessed digitally, and with self-custody, but with relatively low risk of fire, of theft, or other tragic loss. Not only that, you don’t have to give up the opportunity to invest your funds.
Bitcoin is the original crypto asset—the most proven, most secure, and most widely valued. Storing value in bitcoin allows you to self-custody by storing a small amount of information—called a key—that allows you (and only you) to transact with your bitcoin. Bitcoin is becoming an important investment asset.
The first step in solving the virtual mattress problem is to buy bitcoin. In fact, you could simply buy bitcoin and solve the virtual mattress problem without doing anything else. Details about how to buy bitcoin are given at the end of the article.
The value of bitcoin as an investment has a track record of phenomenal long-term gains. Unfortunately, the market value of bitcoin is extremely volatile. You may need your money or be unable to ride out the bitcoin value roller coaster. Or, you may simply not have the stomach for financial roller coasters.
This is where an interesting alternative comes into play. The crypto world has developed a class of coins called stablecoins. Stablecoins are designed to track the value of a standard currency very closely but can be moved around in the crypto space. The most common stablecoins track the dollar. Tether, USDC, and DAI are among the most widely used dollar stablecoins. Holding these coins is similar to holding dollars. Once you have bitcoin, it is straightforward to swap your bitcoin and receive the same value in dollar-backed stablecoins. So the next step is to buy stablecoins with your bitcoin.
Buying stablecoins with your bitcoin requires some effort. The payoff, remember, is your money under a much safer virtual mattress, where you can actually earn a nice return. So stay with me—the effort is worth it! The Bitcoin network itself only supports bitcoin. To swap bitcoin for stablecoins, you need to transfer your assets to a different network or blockchain. The Rootstock (RSK) chain is a great choice because it is built as a layer on top of the Bitcoin network and allows you to pay transaction fees directly in bitcoin rather than requiring you to purchase a different asset just for fees. And, because it is built on the Bitcoin network, RSK has many of the same attractive properties that initially drew us to buy bitcoin.
To use RSK, you need an interface—a platform for making actual transactions, a platform such as Sovryn. Sovryn is a protocol that runs on RSK. This platform is essentially a full-stack financial operating system that enables you to make financial transactions with bitcoin.
Sovryn is a decentralized finance platform. It is a collection of financial computer programs called smart contracts that allow for permissionless and trust-minimized use of funds that you own, control, and self-custody. You don’t need to identify yourself or ask permission. The code simply runs and allows you to do what you want with your assets.
To get bitcoin onto the Sovryn platform, you need to configure a web3 wallet to connect to the Sovryn dapp (web interface). This wallet will keep track of your assets and transactions on RSK.
Once you have your wallet configured, you can easily deposit RBTC right from your Sovryn portfolio using FastBTC. FastBTC converts bitcoin (BTC) into RBTC (RSK BTC), which is the equivalent asset but is usable on the RSK network.
Once you have RBTC on Sovryn, you can then convert it to XUSD. XUSD is a dollar-pegged stablecoin on Sovryn that can be transferred 1:1 to Tether, USDC, or DAI and can be used to buy back RBTC or buy other assets on Sovryn. Holding XUSD, like other dollar-pegged stablecoins, is essentially the same as holding dollars. To obtain XUSD, simply swap RBTC for XUSD.
With XUSD, you now have the equivalent of dollars hidden under a virtual mattress. The private key to your wallet is the only way to get access to the XUSD that you own. No one else can spend it, take it, or freeze it. These benefits alone are a compelling enough reason to use a virtual mattress. But this virtual mattress is superior to the ordinary variety in another important way—you can actually invest your stablecoin stash while it is under the mattress!
To invest your XUSD, you can lend your XUSD. Go to the lend page and deposit XUSD. At the time of writing, XUSD deposits are paying 5.8% APY. The APY varies over time depending on the supply of XUSD deposits and the demand to borrow XUSD. This rate of return far exceeds anything you can get from your mattress, but it also far exceeds what you can get from your bank!
But that’s not all! Currently, Sovryn is paying XUSD lenders a reward for providing funds to borrow. The rewards are paid in SOV, the governance token of the Sovryn ecosystem. Rewards are locked in a vesting contract over a 10-month period, and then 10% is unlocked monthly. At the current price of SOV, this reward equates to roughly 20% APY on top of the regular return! Now that is a lucrative mattress!
What if you need some of your virtual mattress money? Simply reverse the process. Withdraw your XUSD from lending and buy RBTC. Convert your RBTC back to BTC. Then, sell your BTC and transfer the funds to your bank account. If returning funds to your bank is not an option for you, other alternatives are available. You can buy debit cards or gift cards online using your BTC or sell your BTC to someone for cash in person.
OK, sure, this process is obviously not as easy as stuffing bills under your mattress. But it is far safer and more rewarding, and it is worth the effort. Links are provided throughout this article to assist you with each step. If you are not familiar with crypto or have never dealt with crypto wallets and transactions, you might have a local crypto friend who can walk you through the process. As always with any investment, do your own research. Holding and transacting crypto assets has its own set of risks that you should research and understand before investing.
If you have friends who are not familiar with the crypto space but may be considering the mattress option (or need to), please share this article and offer to walk them through the process.
There are many ways to buy bitcoin. They vary in terms of convenience, cost, volume limits, security, and availability by jurisdiction. Let’s look at several options.
Nothing on this page should be taken as investment advice. Inclusion of a third-party app or service does not constitute an endorsement of the app or service by Sovryn developers or anyone else in the Sovryn community, and is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any problems with the listed third-party apps or services, please contact the maintainer of that app or service for help. Sovryn does not have any control of your funds in any supported Web3 wallet - you are responsible for your own wallet security. Please do your own research and ensure you understand and accept the risks before trading or using any apps or services to store your funds.