Vlad says that he's a political science graduate with a fascination for Bitcoin and free markets. His profs say he's a crazy anarchist who probably doesn't deserve his degrees. His parents say he's wasting his potential on a pipe dream.
Transylvania Crypto Conference 2019: The Transition to Bitcoin-Only
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There are several reasons why the Transylvania Crypto Conference (abbreviated as TCConf) was special. First of all, it was a premier for Romania, a country that has never really held events that focus on Bitcoin, despite giving the space some prominent and eccentric figures, such as Mircea Popescu and Bitcoin Magazine co-founder Mihai Alisie.
Second, its transition from a “crypto” conference in previous years to a Bitcoin-only event was rapid, smooth and largely evident. For instance, Tom Trevethan’s presentation, titled “In Defense of Blockchains,” turned out to be an advocation for Bitcoin sidechains, while Felix Crișan (CEO of payments processor Netopia) cited Giacomo Zucco as the inspiration behind a last-minute title change, as his “Driving Crypto Adoption” presentation became “Driving Bitcoin Adoption.”
(TCConf was also the first time I presented in front of a truly knowledgeable Bitcoin audience, and the presence of heavyweights such as Blockstream CEO Adam Back and former Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd, among many others, made the situation a lot more challenging.)
Altcoin Exuberance at a Bare Minimum
Throughout the three days of presentations and panel debates, altcoin-related discussions at the conference were kept to a bare minimum. For instance, trader, advocate and content creator Tone Vays chose to focus on a thorough analysis of Bitcoin’s unique qualities and then proceeded to conduct a comparative analysis with other altcoins — only to demonstrate why Satoshi’s cryptocurrency is still king.
Researcher and academic Wassim Alsindi also emphasized the “sui generis” qualities of Bitcoin, as every other coin fell into the “snowflake” or “shitcoin” category.
The only moment when a strong anti-Bitcoin rhetoric came across happened during John McAfee’s livestreamed presentation. The antivirus-software pioneer has taken advantage of many occasions to promote altcoins (some of which strangely happened to go up in price shortly after his speech at TCConf came to an end).
At a time when CoinJoins and single-use addresses are becoming increasingly popular among Bitcoin users, McAfee’s criticisms seemed obsolete, somewhat laughable and possibly induced by self-interest. McAfee forgot to mention technologies such as the Lightning Network, the Liquid sidechain and Taproot — which effectively provide extra layers of confidentiality.
Why Romania’s First Big Bitcoin Conference Had It All
TCConf had its fair share of cypherpunkness, ranging from Todd’s presentation on dishonest developers, to BTC Socialist’s exposition of DIY Bitcoin ATMs and other hardware equipment, to Back’s detailed explanations on Bitcoin programming via Simplicity.
RGB contributor and Storm lead developer Maxim Orlovsky explained how tokenization will happen on top of Bitcoin’s Layer 2, and Wasabi Wallet lead developer nopara73 (a.k.a. Adam Ficsor) offered details on the future of CoinJoins, while HodlHodl CEO Max Keidun gave insights into the power of multisigs.
On the trading and business side, “Bitcoin: The Future of Money?” author Dominic Frisby offered a crash course in observing market dynamics, investor Max Hillebrand expressed his appreciation for all of the “privacy weapons” available in Bitcoin, and Vays presented convincing metrics that point to the inevitable death of “shitcoins.”
The main discussion and clear highlight of the event took place at the end of the second day, when Back, Vays, Zucco, Todd, Federico Tenga, Frisby, Alsindi, Renegade Investor and Nick Gregory debated their visions for the next 10 years of Bitcoin. Hosted by Mike Patel, this panel exceeded the time limit but never ceased to retain interest, with insightful pearls of wisdom and visionary opinions that sounded idealistic yet feasible. Watch the entire discussion here.
BTC Socialist’s Lightning-themed panel with Ketominer, Nopara73, Hillebrand and Bitrefill COO John Carvalho was a close second, as it put emphasis on great Lightning Network use cases such as RGB, Storm, watchtowers and some potential integrations with Wasabi Wallet.
Furthermore, there were some humorous moments, such as Ketominer’s “How I Almost Made an ICO” presentation, Theo Goodman’s presentation on memes and the impromptu game show “Toxic, Shitcoins or Dystopia.”
From panels denouncing the limited understanding of regulators during the regulation panel, all the way to Rigel Walshe explaining the basics of physical security in Bitcoin, TCConf had it all. The event turned out to be surprisingly well-balanced and satisfyingly Bitcoin-centric. It reflected a greater tendency of convergence toward the best form of money, which, thanks to its extra layers, is getting its fair share of bells and whistles that were formerly exclusive to altcoins.
In December 2018, Bitcoin Magazine announced its own exclusive focus on Satoshi’s cryptocurrency and held its Bitcoin 2019 conference in June 2019 — just as BTC dominance skyrocketed during a short-lived bull market that took the king closer to the moon. It is only a matter of time until even more conferences catch up with the trend, and TCConf has now served as a fine example of the merits of replacing “Crypto” with “Bitcoin.”