1st class citizens run their own Bitcoin Full Node, Part 5.
A review of the user experience around ordering, buying, setting up, running and servicing 3 different standalone devices with Bitcoin Full Node implementations and more.
In the previous installments, I covered the 4 first sections of my customer journey breakdown, so in this piece, we will continue the review and dive deeper into the GUI of each of the 3, starting with the Casa in this piece and then 2 individual pieces for myNode and the Red Beast.
The GUI and ease of use/interaction with the device
Customer service during the full journey
Section 5 - The GUI and ease of use/interaction with the device.
The Casas GUI looks smooth and consists of 4 simple main menu elements, that are located in the top left corner when logged in. In the top right corner, you can toggle whether you want to see your balance in BTC or in SATS.
The 4 main menu elements are:
In the “Home” menu, you have the complete overview of your Bitcoin on-chain balance, your lightning balance, your current Bitcoin peers, your lightning channels as well as info on your current lightning capacity outbound and inbound. (“max send” + “max receive”).
You are also prompted to download the Sats App which is a Bitcoin & Lightning light wallet (non-custodial), and by running a “daily heartbeat” 5 times pr. week, you can earn 10K sats weekly for doing so, since it helps “keeping your node online”.
The “Bitcoin” menu point is where you control the on-chain part of your balance, you can send/receive and you can see the block height as well as the number of connected peers.
If you press the “Manage Bitcoin Node”, you get the additional option to “Sync from scratch” -the pre-sync that the node comes with, requires you to trust that Casa is not a bad actor and involves risk deriving from the need to trust a 3rd party naturally.
If you want to remove that risk you can wipe the entire pre-sync and start from scratch.
The “Lightning” menu is where you control your Lightning balance, you can send/receive, manage lightning channels and open new channels from the GUI.
If you want to open a channel, you simply press open channel and get to here:
Pressing the Manage channels gets you here:
The “System” menu gives you access to Tor connections, Lightning Node IP address, and other personal secret stuff that I am not gonna share here.
“System” also contains some nice extras where my personal favorites is the “satsextension” that gives you a browser extension connected to your node, for easy payment when visiting merchants.
The GUI of the casa is very nice and very simple to navigate, for anyone regardless of their previous experiences. It simply acts mostly like a normal website, and there are no delays, even when connecting over the Tor browser instead of on your local network.
There are a couple of things that annoy me a bit, one is the fact that Casa has decided to use the wording “Get Paid” and “Pay Someone” instead of "send” and “receive” as most wallets would normally do. I know its a small thing, but it annoys me.
Funnily enough, it’s not coherent with the Sats App, where Casa, in fact, decided to use the more normie wording “send” & “receive”
Another more important thing that annoys me is the fact that I cant set or manage the fee schedule for the Lightning channels that I want to open, and that’s a bigger problem because that will cripple my ability to be competitive on fees, and that will impair my opportunity to route payments and earn on those routing fees.
So that alone is enough to take Casa from a 5 to a 4 instead.
Casa: 4 points
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