The first major Bitcoin conference, Bitcoin 2013, was held in San Jose, California. Organized by the Bitcoin Foundation, it was centered on Bitcoin specifically and the more pragmatic issues that Bitcoin was trying to solve, particularly in the areas of Bitcoin technology, Bitcoin mining, Bitcoin business and regulatory issues.
Writing for Bitcoin Magazine at the time, Vitalik Buterin commented, “For long-time Bitcoin users, events like this are particularly emotional; here, for the first time, we are able to see fellow Bitcoin users, whom we have loved, worked with and had heated arguments with over forums or Skype/IRC chat for many months or years as something more than just a username. Entire companies, existing only ‘on the cloud’ before this day, are finally reunited.”
This summer, billed as “A Peer-to-Peer Conference,” Bitcoin 2019 will be held at SVN West in San Francisco, California, hosted by BTC Inc, from June 25–26, 2019. In a blog post announcing the event, BTC Inc CEO David Bailey noted that Bitcoin 2019 was so named to harken back to that earlier conference “when the Bitcoin community was unified and nerds filled the hotel lobby until the early morning while dreaming of what Bitcoin could become.”
The Bitcoin community has grown considerably since 2013, and it has experienced its share of growing pains along the way. People who are passionate about the technology have had differing viewpoints about its direction. As a result, even as Bitcoin has matured and the blockchain ecosystem has evolved, the community itself has become somewhat fractured.
Bailey sees Bitcoin 2019 as an opportunity to help rekindle the “sense of shared wonder and spontaneous commitment to realizing Bitcoin’s potential,” as it was back in 2013.
“We want to be able to provide a platform that brings together leaders in the Bitcoin community, along with creators, developers, newbies and enthusiasts, in order to allow for new ideas to freely flow among the people who care most about building the Bitcoin of the future,” Bailey told Bitcoin Magazine.
“We want to help drive the conversation beyond simply scaling Bitcoin. We want to showcase what’s possible to build with Bitcoin, without breaking BTC’s consensus rules, which are rigid.”
Attracting and Supporting New Growth in Bitcoin
Bailey’s hope is that this event will bring together people from across Bitcoin’s ideological and political spectrum. He is quick to point out that this is not a “Bitcoin Maximalist” or an “anti-any-other-crypto-or-fork” event; however, it is unmistakably a Bitcoin/BTC conference.
“We’re working hard to help curate the content of the conference so that people who aim to be unifying with fresh ideas and cool projects built on Bitcoin are able to have their voices heard,” he says. “We’re not here to argue how big a block needs to be or what Satoshi’s original vision was — that debate has already happened. BTC is BTC. Everything else is not BTC, and this is an event for BTC.”
He added, “We are coming at this from the perspective that this is a Bitcoin BTC event, but it’s not ‘anti-other-crypto.’ Regardless of what other projects people have worked on or supported, we want people to not feel excluded from Bitcoin. Just check everything else at the door and come build Bitcoin with us … at least for a couple of days at the conference.”
To that end, Bitcoin 2019 has reached out to a wide array of industry leaders and developers to participate in the event. Among the preliminary list of speakers are Bill Barhydt, Matt Corallo, Diego Gutierrez, Dan Held, Jimmy Song, Erik Voorhees, Jihan Wu and Bitcoin Magazine’s own Aaron van Wirdum. More speakers will be announced in the near future.
“This is not a pay-to-play event,” Bailey emphasizes. “The easy part is finding the showcase-worthy projects. We actively seek out and learn about the cool things that are going on. We talk to people all over the world constantly about their new projects they’re working on. The hard part will be deciding which ones we will be able to carve out time for at the conference.”
Anyone interested in participating in Bitcoin 2019 as a speaker, panelist or presenter is encouraged to contact the organizers.
In order to make the conference accessible to the greatest number of people possible, tickets will initially be priced at $100. There is also a virtual hackathon “for ideas built atop and around Bitcoin and the Lightning Network” associated with the event in the works.
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