Although it represents a revolutionary step in individuals’ ability to gain financial freedom, Bitcoin in and of itself is not enough to achieve complete sovereignty from third parties or central governments. As many adopters of the technology know, Bitcoin is not private or anonymous.
For many, basic pseudonymity (as well as Bitcoin’s other advantages) is enough. But for some, Bitcoin is merely a tool in the privacy toolbox — something that helps achieve the freedom they seek as part of a larger suite of dissident solutions. The upcoming Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin conference is for those who are interested in a more robust exploration of the technology and tools that can protect freedom.
“The goal is to help people increase their financial and physical sovereignty and freedom,” Ragnar Lifthrasir, an event organizer, explained to Bitcoin Magazine. “To do that, you need more than just one technology, like bitcoin, or one self-defense tool, like firearms. You need a full stack that’s integrated.”
A Full-Stack Freedom Tech Conference
Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin, which is taking place in Austin on September 19 and 20, will explore topics including crypto e-commerce and legal strategies. But as the name implies, the primary focus will rest on Bitcoin — particularly anonymous and surveillance-resistant methods for using it — and firearms — particularly homemade guns and ammo.
Bitcoin-specific content will include presentations from Josh Humphrey, who has developed a privacy-focused framework for bitcoin e-commerce and open-source technology called “Mithril”; DiverterBTC, who will share a comprehensive and easily-understood guide to bitcoin mining and discuss coin mixing as two surveilance-resistant practices in Bitcoin; and Dr. Brian Gross, who will discuss the Blockstream satellite, which is an internet-provider-free way of confirming Bitcoin transactions and maintaining the blockchain.
The event will also feature discussions about DIY guns and ammo from leading designers who circumvent the traditional firearms retail industry by utilizing 3D printing, numeral control (CNC) of machining tools and electrochemical machining to craft their own. Attendees will visit a private gun range for target shooting on the second day of the event.
“Freedom tech is those tools that put control of one’s money, information, communication and meat space security under control of the individual, away from malevolent actors, be they public or private,” Lifthrasir said of the guiding content behind the event. “Freedom tech provides asymmetric defense against more powerful opponents. Guns and bitcoin are my favorite examples.”
Hosting An In-Person Privacy Event In 2020
Like any other in-person event organizer this year, Lifthrasir had to be nimble as he planned Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin. The event was originally scheduled to take place in Portland in June, but Oregon’s governor extended a state of emergency and the venue cancelled their contract.
The organizers decided to move to a state with more relaxed COVID-19 regulations, and while Lifthrasir emphasized that they are following all government health guidelines, cancelling the event outright is not an option.
“Everyone participating in the conference is allergic to government control, but we’re adapting,” he said. “Come hell or high water, Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin 2020 is happening.”
But in-person restrictions brought on by the spread of coronavirus are not the only unique organizational hurdles faced by Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin. For an event that emphasizes freedom, privacy, the absence of digitally-recorded personal data, etc., ticket registration and in-person attendance require some special considerations.
The event encourages attendees to purchase tickets using BTC, a pseudonym and an email address that’s not tied to any personal information. It is accepting payments through a self-hosted BTCPay Server and WordPress website, to prevent third parties from accessing attendee information. The organizers will not maintain a list of names or pseudonyms to confirm registrants at the door, but leverage the email list instead.
Photography and video at the event are prohibited, except for those who opt into photos. Face masks will be required at the event, and attendees are welcomed to supplement them with additional identity-obfuscating accessories.
Through these methods, Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin attendees will have the chance to celebrate Bitcoin, and their other favorite sovereignty solutions, at an event that’s been tailor made for them.
Peter Chawaga is a senior editor at Bitcoin Magazine. He HODLs BTC.