The Breaking Bitcoin conference, first organized last summer in Paris, is returning for its second edition under the name “Building on Bitcoin,” this time in Lisbon, July 3–4, 2018. While the event in the French capital was centered around security, the one in the Portuguese capital will focus on second-layer technologies and other creative uses of the Bitcoin protocol.
“The Bitcoin blockchain is pretty limited in terms of features and flexibility; many newcomers think you can’t build anything with it,” Chainsmiths managing director and conference co-organizer Kevin Loaec told Bitcoin Magazine. “Yet, smart people find ways to build complex solutions on top of it. It’s interesting to share that knowledge.”
After the sold-out first edition in Paris last year, which was loosely inspired by the successful Scaling Bitcoin conference format introduced in 2015, it seemed natural that Breaking Bitcoin, too, would turn into an annual event. The French organizers — besides Loaec, French Bitcoin community member Pierre Lorcery is putting the event together — decided to slightly change the name and format for this follow-up, however.
“We got good feedback [on] Breaking Bitcoin,” Loaec explained. “People were asking us when the next event would be. But we felt that organizing a conference focused around security each year may be a bit much; we don’t want to become repetitive. The plan is now to alternate: one year of Breaking Bitcoin, one year of Building on Bitcoin.”
Building on Bitcoin will focus on second-layer technologies in a broad sense. The best known and most popular of these is probably the Lightning Network, of which the first implementations entered their beta stage over the past couple of months. But other areas of research and development include different types of sidechains like Liquid, RSK or drivechains; privacy technologies like TumbleBit; smart contract solutions like MAST; and more.
Like Breaking Bitcoin, Building on Bitcoin will be a technical conference with relatively little room for commercial interests. “And I think we are a little bit more community oriented, focusing on people and projects, and a little less academic than something like Scaling Bitcoin,” Loaec said.
Confirmed speakers so far include Bloq and drivechain developer Paul Sztorc, TumbleBit and BTCPay developer Nicolas Dorier, ZeroLink developer Ádám Ficsór, LedgerX developer and Bitcoin veteran Bryan Bishop and more. The speakers list is expected to grow over the coming weeks and months; anyone who’d like to give a talk can still submit a proposal through building-on-bitcoin.com.
Like Breaking Bitcoin, Building on Bitcoin is a bit of a product of the French-speaking developer community. While Loaec and Lorcery are taking on most of the concrete organizational responsibilities, much is discussed and initiated through the CryptoFR Slack.
However, this time the event is organized in Portugal, where Loaec has been living for the past year.
“There’s not a big crypto-community in Lisbon yet, but I think there should be,” said Loaec. “It’s a good place for crypto people. We opened a blockchain-focused coworking space in the city center with a few people in the local community, The Block, that also hosts many events. Besides that, the quality of life is amazing, there’s quick access to the beach, the Portuguese weather is nice … and the fiscal climate is pretty good, too: no capital gains tax on crypto. Building on Bitcoin could be a good opportunity for Bitcoin and crypto-enthusiasts to come and take a look.”
The event venue for Building on Bitcoin will be bigger than last year’s, Loaec further added, with the expected number of participants growing from 300 to 500, and it is 15 minutes from the Lisbon airport. Regular tickets start at €200 (~$240), though students can get in for less. The event will also be streamed and recorded for those who can’t make it.
In addition, Loaec is organizing a three-day-long blockchain hackathon, Chainhack, in the week ahead of the conference, and The Block will also host some talks and meetups around the time of the conference.
The author of this article will host a panel on privacy technology at Building on Bitcoin, and is part of the Programme Committee for the conference.
Aaron van Wirdum is interested in technology and how it affects social and political structures. He has been covering Bitcoin since 2013, focusing on privacy, scalability and more. Hodls BTC.