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I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:11 am
by slush
Hi Bitcoiners!

it's time for some questions and answers again... You can ask me anything about Slush Pool or TREZOR hardware wallet but I will happy to talk to you about other topics. Don't be afraid to even ask anything silly, in worst case I will just tactfully ignore.

About me

After unsuccessful career of baby violinist around my 7 years, I became a computer geek and I spent the rest of my life in front of monitor. I worked for many online startups and also made valuable experience in banking industry as enterprise IT architect. In 2010, I discovered bitcoin as a technological curiosity. Gradually, I became obsessed and started discovering its economic and social implications. In 2011, I left my daily job and went Bitcoin full-time and it seems that there is no going back from the Rabbit hole.

As a active Bitcoin user from the beginning, I was always naturally focused on solving the practical side of the Bitcoin. My first addition to Bitcoin ecosystem came from the increasing difficulty of mining since 2010. Putting the mining power together with other users in a safe way seemed to be the right answer, but nobody seemed to be about to implemented so I picked the slack myself. Similar story can be told about the idea of hardware wallet which was around from 2011. Everybody including myself were struggling with keeping our bitcoins safe. Strangely, there were no usable alternative to paper wallet safety until 2014 when SatoshiLabs shipped TREZOR. By now, it is widely acknowledged that hardware wallets are essential to Bitcoin / cryptocurrency and industry is picking up. I am also very active in Paralelni Polis, the world-first bitcoin-only space where Bitcoin plays important role ideologically and technologically.

About Slush Pool
Slush Pool has been founded in December 2010 as world-first bitcoin mining pool introducing share-based pool concept. In 2012 Slush Pool introduces ASIC-ready Stratum mining protocol, which is currently being used by vast majority of network hashrate. Pool controls around 40 PHash/s, keeping pool in TOP10 and is kept up by a team of six highly skilled professionals. Since beginning, pool is open for all miners around the world, but recently it focuses on delivery services for high-profile miners including private pool servers and advanced miner monitoring.

About TREZOR
TREZOR is the #1 bitcoin hardware wallet, known as the safe for cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. Widely endorsed by security experts but also popular for being a very intuitive and easy to use tool for newcomers to Bitcoin or users with average computer skills. TREZOR is gradually expanding into a digital identity vault, we have introduced a password-less login to websites but it's potential is way more far reaching.

Links
Twitter
Slush Pool
TREZOR
SatoshiLabs
Paralelni Polis

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:47 am
by iFixBTCmemoryIssues
Hi Bitcoiners!

it's time for some questions and answers again... You can ask me anything about Slush Pool or TREZOR hardware wallet but I will happy to talk to you about other topics. .........

a very intuitive and easy to use tool for newcomers to Bitcoin or users with average computer skills. TREZOR is gradually expanding into a digital identity vault, we have introduced a password-less login to websites but it's potential is way more far reaching.

Links
Twitter <http://twitter.com/slushcz>
Slush Pool <https://mining.bitcoin.cz>
TREZOR <http://www.bitcointrezor.com>
SatoshiLabs <http://satoshilabs.com>
Paralelni Polis <http://www.paralelnipolis.cz/en/>
Congrats on TREZOR!

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:50 am
by Mysterious
Have you taken any steps to mitigate ddos attacks on your nodes if/when you reenable bip 101 mining?

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:53 am
by dill
Is U2F coming? Would it be the only U2F device where it can be pin protected, backed up, and re-programmed?

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:10 am
by ronnieb
@Marek, thanks for all your contributions to the community!!

Questions:

1) what would you do different in the Pool business knowing what you know now?

2) What were the biggest challenges in running a pool, starting a pool?

3) hind sight 20/20 of course, is there a better niche you could have spent your time? I guess this is simialr to question 1... but if you could do it over again would you still do pools and hardware wallets?

4) The opportunities in Bitcoin are enormous... but what do you think the top 3 are? Is it wallet software? POS deployment? What say you...

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:13 am
by OgNasty
When you started working on a mining pool for Bitcoin, did you have any idea what a large part of your life it would become? When did you realize that you might have stumbled onto something great?

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:15 am
by bitkilo
HI Marek,

Thank you for taking part in this AMA, I got a feeling that you will get a lot of questions from our members and here is mine.

A member recenly posted this: alternative-clients/two-disadvantages-o ... lit=trezor
The first question he has was quite easy to solve but the 2nd question not so easy.

He is inquiring about traveling across borders with a Trezor and how to explain the devise to airport customs/security.
Just wondering how you do or would explain this yourself and what rules apply that you know of?

I know each countrie would have different laws but is this something you have experienced?

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:37 am
by mlangley
In hindsight do you think pooled mining and/or the Stratum protocol has contributed at all to the centralization of mining? Do you see some centralization of mining infrastructure as an unavoidable necessity?

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:49 am
by nyeko_12
What are your opinions regarding the Blocksize-issue? are you for BIP100(increase of up to 17%)/BIP101(8 MB and up to GBs)/BIP103(2-4-8-32MB)?
Do you hold bitcoins yourself(in the trezor,web Wallet,mobile wallet or desktop wallet)?
What are you opinions regarding alt-coins such as litecoin?
What do you think about bitcoins future(block halvening,openbaazar etc)?
Are you open for a (sort of) plugin of trezor with Bitcoin Core wallet/Bitcoin XT?

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:41 pm
by risho
can or will trezor be able to be used in a similar way to the yubikey on top of the bitcoin functionality it already provides? ssh keys/2fa etc.

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:18 pm
by Aussiehash
Hi Slush,

Can you give a ballpark update on the number of Trezors sold to date ?

Can you elaborate at all on the shenanigans that people attempt to defraud mining pools, past and present ?

For example about 18 months ago BTCGuild, Eligius, Bitminter and others were hit with a winning share withholding attacks and DDOS attacks. Around this time PPS options were removed by most pools, attackers had their balances witheld and Giga' s pool closed down.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic ... msg7282674

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic ... msg6060325

Do such innovative attacks still occur ? Do you think these attacks on independent pools are a proxy attack on the decentralisation of independent miners' hashrate ?

What are your thoughts on Ghash's behaviour at that time - they dropped their fee from 2% to 0%, an employee was caught double spending, and I suspected them of selfish mining/block witholding with a high orphan rate (often chains of 2-3 consecutive orphaned blocks).

What are your thoughts on SPV mining - perhaps this is an ingenius solution to larger block propagation times between pools?

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:24 pm
by Alena
category silly:

Do you like giant red underpants? :)

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:01 pm
by blossbloss
slush,

I love the two Trezors I own, and really like that i can set them up to be identical, and use them interchangeably.

My question is when will you (or are you considering to) have the passphrase entry obfuscated like you do for PINs? I recognize that I might have to scroll through a few pages (with the two Trezor buttons) to see all the letter and symbol pairings. I also recognize that some people may not like it since their passphrases might use extended character sets. However, I would think that during the initial setup (or in advanced mode) the user could activate the passphrase obfuscation with the full knowledge that they are limited to a certain set of characters (upper, lower, numeric, limited symbols). This approach would give me massive peace-of-mind regarding keyloggers. Is this idea in the works?

Thanks!

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:06 pm
by Windowly
Hi Marek,

Thank you for coming here!

Around when do you think the next version of the Trezor will come out or is it still a while before there will be any hardware updates?

What are some of the most rewarding things about running a mining pool?

What are your thoughts about the balance of power in deciding the direction of bitcoin -- between the users, industry such as exchanges and merchants, miners and developers? How can the different segments of bitcoin society work together and not get stymied by negative actors?

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:11 pm
by chainquery
Hi Marek,

If you had full control of Bitcoin core what changes would you implement first?

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:48 pm
by LiteCoinGuy
Hi Marek,

welcome to bitcoin.com! :)

My question:

Are you planing to sell a cheaper Hardware Wallet in the future?

...and what is about the giant red underpants :D ? Tell us!


Thanks
LiteCoinGuy

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:08 pm
by slush
Hello everybody! I just sit in front of keyboard. Let's go to answers!
Congrats on TREZOR!
Thank you! Positive feedback is one of main motivation for our projects :-).

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:23 pm
by slush
Have you taken any steps to mitigate ddos attacks on your nodes if/when you reenable bip 101 mining?
During last years we've gained broad experience with DDoS mitigation and although there's no silver bullet for all kind of attacks, every incident help us a lot to to improving our infrastructure even more. For DDoS mitigation we use various strategies, one of them is mutual trust between us and our major miners, for which we run private servers on hidden locations (or even on their own infrastructure). Thanks to this, significant part of hashrate cannot be kept down by classic DDoS.

We're also reworking Stratum mining protocol with DDoS mitigation in mind. Stratum v2 will implement quite unique solutions, making DDoS attacks nearly impossible. It sounds silly that we can fight attacks on application protocol level, but... stay tuned ;-).

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:28 pm
by slush
Is U2F coming? Would it be the only U2F device where it can be pin protected, backed up, and re-programmed?
Yes, U2F support is already in progress (https://github.com/trezor/trezor-mcu/tree/u2f). The biggest challenge now is to implement PIN protection into U2F stack, but we're on track of working solution. We definitely see TREZOR as a personal security device, so native support for such protocols and use cases have a high priority in our team.

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:49 pm
by greenabacus
Marek, 2 q's:

1. What are your thoughts on proof of work vs. proof of stake? Do you think Ethereum could develop a viable alternative to proof of work?

2. As someone in the industry, what are your primary news sources for Bitcoin/crypto, and why?

Appreciate your thoughts.

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:55 pm
by slush
@Marek, thanks for all your contributions to the community!!

Questions:

1) what would you do different in the Pool business knowing what you know now?
Definitely building bigger team since beginning. Being alone on everything for more than two years since 2010 was mind blowing experience. I had to be online 24/7/365 which almost ruined my personal life. That was because I did not recognized for long time how big this is going to be. Now the pool is developed and maintained by team of six professionals (and good friends of me!), which kicked the quality of service to another level.
2) What were the biggest challenges in running a pool, starting a pool?
Never ending DDoS incidents. Especially on the beginning that was pretty common and I sometimes did not sleep for many days, fighting attacks and moving pool around the world to different datacenters (because after attacks some datacenters refused to host the project).

Also physical security was an issue. Pool lost some bitcoins during datacenter hacks, like "Linode hack", where also Bitcoinica lost 40k+ BTC: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/th ... 1330805009. Then we've found a way how to protect our servers in much better way. We run servers in five datacenters around the world and we did not have any security issue since then.

Shortly said, the biggest challenge is to run 24/7 online service with above-bank-grade security with minimal budget. I worked in banking industry before my engagement into bitcoin so I can compare. As far as I can say, our current security model is much higher than any setup banks consider "secure".
3) hind sight 20/20 of course, is there a better niche you could have spent your time? I guess this is simialr to question 1... but if you could do it over again would you still do pools and hardware wallets?
Although I never wanted to go into hardware business, it learn me A LOT and I'm thankful for that experience! Both pool business and TREZOR wallet were pretty stressful projects (each in different way). However I regret it only few times :-).
4) The opportunities in Bitcoin are enormous... but what do you think the top 3 are? Is it wallet software? POS deployment? What say you...
We have third major project in pipeline which (I believe) will have significant impact on Bitcoin. But I prefer to not disclose any details yet!

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:02 pm
by slush
When you started working on a mining pool for Bitcoin, did you have any idea what a large part of your life it would become? When did you realize that you might have stumbled onto something great?
Definitely not! It was a nice hobby project. Those days, Bitcoin was unrecognized by anybody except few geeks on bitcointalk forum. There was a good chance it will die suddenly because of some stupid mistake or overlooked detail in whole concept. Even when I quit my daily job in summer 2011 I was like "ok, let's try this, I can go back to job anytime". However, at that time, Bitcoin took my whole life. I literally quit my 40 hours/week job to work 80+ hours/job as a pool operator.

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:12 pm
by slush
HI Marek,

Thank you for taking part in this AMA, I got a feeling that you will get a lot of questions from our members and here is mine.

A member recenly posted this: alternative-clients/two-disadvantages-o ... lit=trezor
The first question he has was quite easy to solve but the 2nd question not so easy.

He is inquiring about traveling across borders with a Trezor and how to explain the devise to airport customs/security.
Just wondering how you do or would explain this yourself and what rules apply that you know of?

I know each countrie would have different laws but is this something you have experienced?
I travel often with TREZOR in my pocket and I've never had any question regards it. TREZOR is too small and even metallic version is not detected by scanners. If somebody would ask me, I would probably say it's a flash memory. If somebody insist to explain more, I would say it's as a flash storage of private keys for my digital life.

However I must say that airport security is just a theatre. Many times I took some prohibited gadget on board, like knife, pepper spray or kubotan by accident. Maybe I simply do not look suspicious at first sight :-).

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:32 pm
by slush
In hindsight do you think pooled mining and/or the Stratum protocol has contributed at all to the centralization of mining? Do you see some centralization of mining infrastructure as an unavoidable necessity?
I've build the pool because I as a small miner wanted to stay in the game for longer. So I think the oposite is true! Without pools and optimized protocols, the barrier to enter mining industry would be much higher. Just see how many people mine on P2Pool - and it is just about setting up the bitcoin node! I believe without share-based pools the mining industry would be in hands of few long time ago.

The important note is that pool operator does not own the hashrate. It has been proven many times that hashrate is liquid and if the pool acts badly and lose its reputation, hashrate moves elsewhere.

Another story is centralization of hardware in large mining farms. I see this as a threat, but it was inevitable that people with better access to cheap hardware will use the opportunity. I believe this must be addressed somehow to keep Bitcoin independent and secure. However it is irrelevant to pooled mining concept, because if you own hall full of top ASIC miners, you're mining solo.

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:50 pm
by Skin_in_the_game
Hello Marek
I was re-reading Antifragile by iconoclast thinker Nassim Taleb recently. He writes
"Never ask anyone for their opinion [...] Just ask them what they have -or don't have- in their portfolio"
I have come to think it's a very relevant question and you can better weight people's opinions having an idea of how many Bitcoins they hold (or do not hold.) So Instead of asking their opinion on bitcoin, I'm now asking every participants the same question:

- Do you mind to tell us which percentage of your personal net worth and/or liquid assets you hold in Bitcoins ?

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:59 pm
by slush
What are your opinions regarding the Blocksize-issue? are you for BIP100(increase of up to 17%)/BIP101(8 MB and up to GBs)/BIP103(2-4-8-32MB)?
I'm mildly for BIP101 and I like the work which Gavin put into the project, but I think some other solutions will work, too. Although rising proposed in BIP101 may be a bit aggressive, it's just a limit - not the block size itself! Remember that Satoshi used the limit as a precaution of various DoS attacks to network for its first day of existence, talking about removing eventually. On the opposite, keeping the limit low in time of Bitcoin expansion limits the economy of blockchain and it may be dangerous for bitcoin adoption rate. I'm closely related in Paralelni Polis, the bitcoin-only space in Prague, and I see even today that small blocksize may affect real-world usage of Bitcoin.
Do you hold bitcoins yourself(in the trezor,web Wallet,mobile wallet or desktop wallet)?
I use TREZOR as my primary bitcoin storage, Mycelium wallet on my phone for change and NFC card for terminals in Paralelni Polis for the fastest way of paying for coffee. It's just "beep" - I even don't need to unlock my phone! :-).
What are you opinions regarding alt-coins such as litecoin?
I'm generally skeptical about "bitcoin with faster blocks" altcoins. In my opinion the social network of users is what counts. Litecoin and other copypasta-coins does not offer significant improvement over Bitcoin to attract enough users.
What do you think about bitcoins future(block halvening,openbaazar etc)?
Block halvening years ago shown that it's not an issue at all. It is just a demonstration how differently the economic works when all participants have full information. Such predictive and seamless changes would never happen in normal fiat economic with central bankers, which can change rules in any day without telling anybody in advance.

I believe decentralized applications like Openbazaar will take a traction, because by eliminating middlemen they can simplify and cheapen many things of daily life. I still see Bitcoin as the Internet in 1995. There were already all those protocols and technologies, yet we did not have all services we use everyday today.
Are you open for a (sort of) plugin of trezor with Bitcoin Core wallet/Bitcoin XT?
It is technically doable, but it's not in our pipeline for now. We do not see Core as a software ready for common users. Even Core developers said they may eventually remove Wallet from the code, because it it hard to maintain such monolithic code. I rarely agree with them; Core should be just an minimalistic implementation of node enforcing network rules and keeping blockchain running. They should leave other parts of infrastructure to people with better skills for UX.

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:10 pm
by slush
can or will trezor be able to be used in a similar way to the yubikey on top of the bitcoin functionality it already provides? ssh keys/2fa etc.
Definitely yes. SSH login is already working in linux (https://medium.com/@satoshilabs/trezor- ... a622d7e609) and it should be straightforward to add support into Putty for Windows (but I did not use Windows for years, so I cannot say 100%). U2F is already in progress (I linked github repository few posts before). We plan Yubikey emulation too, yet ETA is not set.

Our plan is to turn TREZOR into minimalistic personal security device with private keys derived from the seed. Anyway the usage of seed for various use cases like authentication is a nice example how technologies behind bitcoin influences other technologies, too.

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:36 pm
by slush
Hi Slush,

Can you give a ballpark update on the number of Trezors sold to date ?

Can you elaborate at all on the shenanigans that people attempt to defraud mining pools, past and present ?
That would be a long list of scam attempts :-). Some of them were successful, at least for some time. For example we have a case where somebody in ISP company was hijacking Stratum connections of customers and pointed it into another pool. But generally this does not happen often, the most common are attempts to impersonate to pool users and get an access to pool accounts. For that reason we encourage people to send bitcoins away from the service as soon as they trigger anti-spam threshold. In the end there's not much to steal from the Pool...
For example about 18 months ago BTCGuild, Eligius, Bitminter and others were hit with a winning share withholding attacks and DDOS attacks. Around this time PPS options were removed by most pools, attackers had their balances witheld and Giga' s pool closed down.
THAT was the reason why we were refusing to add PPS for years, although many users left the pool and joined some fancy PPS service. However PPS is like playing a russian roulette; statistically you never have enough bitcoins to survive long enough period of bad luck. Not talking to technical issues alone (like BtcGuild paid out to users 1000+ BTC by mistake during migration to bitcoind 0.8) and scam attempts like block withholding. As far as I can say, we never experienced such attempts, because on score-based pool it does not have much sense.
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic ... msg7282674

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic ... msg6060325

Do such innovative attacks still occur ? Do you think these attacks on independent pools are a proxy attack on the decentralisation of independent miners' hashrate ?
There may be various motivations behind such attacks. Profit, damaging competitors, destabilisation of bitcoin network, fear, ... I honestly don't think too much about "why", it's not important at all :-).
What are your thoughts on Ghash's behaviour at that time - they dropped their fee from 2% to 0%, an employee was caught double spending, and I suspected them of selfish mining/block witholding with a high orphan rate (often chains of 2-3 consecutive orphaned blocks).
I don't have any information regards this cause.
What are your thoughts on SPV mining - perhaps this is an ingenius solution to larger block propagation times between pools?
SPV mining (mining based on blocks without full verification) is going against the purpose of mining itself - validating transactions and keeping blockchain healthy.

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:46 pm
by slush
category silly:

Do you like giant red underpants? :)
Haha :lol:

To others - Alena is talking about recent event on Prague castle: Czech art activists scale Prague Castle walls to replace the President's flag with a huge pair of pants

I like this kind of peaceful political activism. Our politicians behave like they don't see there're people upset by them. Anyway, Ztohoven (group behind "pants replacement") are my friends and people behind Paralelni Polis, which are in love with Bitcoin!

Re: I'm Marek Palatinus (slush), creator of the first mining pool and creator of TREZOR. AMA - 3rd Dec!

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:54 pm
by slush
slush,
I love the two Trezors I own, and really like that i can set them up to be identical, and use them interchangeably.

My question is when will you (or are you considering to) have the passphrase entry obfuscated like you do for PINs? I recognize that I might have to scroll through a few pages (with the two Trezor buttons) to see all the letter and symbol pairings. I also recognize that some people may not like it since their passphrases might use extended character sets. However, I would think that during the initial setup (or in advanced mode) the user could activate the passphrase obfuscation with the full knowledge that they are limited to a certain set of characters (upper, lower, numeric, limited symbols). This approach would give me massive peace-of-mind regarding keyloggers. Is this idea in the works?
We've tried hard to introduce safe passphrase entry on TREZOR, but nothing was really usable. Even PIN entry is a bit geeky and it is sometimes hard to explain for average joe (although most people like it once they understand the concept :-) ).

However I don't see entering passphrase over the keyboard as a security risk. You still cannot control TREZOR without PIN. Passphrase acts more like physical attack security protection (=somebody find your recovery seed, somebody disassemble your TREZOR and read the chip content, ...), not as a software protection; that's why PIN is in the place.

Generally the problem of comfortable handling of passphrase is unsolvable without keypad directly on TREZOR, which goes against TREZOR minimalistic philosophy. However, we don't rest on laurels and we have something in pipeline which will address secure entering of text into TREZOR, although it will require minor changes in TREZOR hardware...