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This is an opinion editorial by Brandon Green, the chief of staff for BTC Inc and an organizer of the Bitcoin 2023 conference. Bitcoin 2023 and Bitcoin Magazine are both operated by BTC Inc.

If you’re reading this, congratulations, you’ve now experienced a true bitcoin bear market. Yes, the winter is cold, and no it may not warm up for a little while, but it is in these moments, when the freezing air fills your lungs and the ringing in your ears from the noise of the past two years starts to fade, that the entire mission comes back into focus and the signal starts to shine a path in front of you again.

It is a winter wonderland indeed. And while, somehow, it continues to surprise everyone that winter follows summer, let us not forget that spring is sure to come, too, and it’s best to start preparing for it properly.

We’ve experienced quite a few of these seasons at Bitcoin Magazine, and it seems like after each cycle, we get a little closer to figuring out how hyperbitcoinization will truly progress, and what we need to do as a community and industry in order to help get us there. Unfortunately, the mechanism by which we figure this out tends to be via pain and harsh lessons.

In 2013 to 2014, we learned “not your keys, not your coins” as the largest exchange in all of Bitcoin (by far) collapsed. In 2017 to 2018, we learned how governance should work in a system without defined governance via bitter fork wars. Now, in 2021 to 2023, we’re learning how the introduction of credit and debt cycles affect and distort markets, as well as the various attack vectors introduced by paper bitcoin and IOUs, especially in a system with near-instant settlement.

Indeed, Bitcoin is taking us through a speedy crash course on the past 2,000-plus years of financial innovation. Anyone following Bitcoin’s trajectory closely can rightly consider him or herself an expert in monetary theory, among other things.

However, it is not enough to merely learn these lessons.

In the cold of winter, we do not hibernate; we build. It’s time to take these lessons from the past decade and apply them to the future of the global financial system. Many of the companies and projects helping us do that are already here, fine tuning their offerings and building a robust infrastructure for us to utilize. Many more have not even been imagined yet.

Bitcoin 2019 was founded four years ago, in the heart of the 2018 bear market on the heels of the bitter civil war. The goal was to “Make Bitcoin Fun Again”, heal wounds and help craft a path forward for this industry.

The industry surrounding Bitcoin grew tremendously over the proceeding four years, and our conference was designed to be an enabling force in that growth. Many of today’s Bitcoin-focused companies were founded at our events. Startups were pitched and funded. Companies met with and hired key employees. Business partnerships were forged in our meeting rooms. Products and services (and more!) were announced on our stages. You’d be hard pressed to find a company in our space that didn’t change the trajectory of their business by attending or sponsoring our conference.

In 2019, the community was divided and Bitcoin hadn’t properly been prioritized in the broader discourse. In 2023, the community is stronger than ever, but the industry surrounding Bitcoin has gotten absolutely rekt. The graveyard of companies that became overextended, overleveraged or outright fraudulent is huge. There are massive gaps in the products and services those companies created, and massive opportunities to build new products and services with the core tenets of Bitcoin as the focus. We have a unique opportunity to reimagine what a financial system with Bitcoin at its center looks like, and the Bitcoin 2023 conference will be our first chance to come together as a community and do just that.

Bitcoin 2023 is coming on May 18, 2023. The companies and builders who attend have a chance to be the leaders who shape the future of our industry for years to come. The ideas generated among attendees and speakers can be the underpinnings of the next growth phase of the industry. We will build back with Bitcoin at the core of every product and service on the market. And we will prove to the world that an idea whose time has come cannot be stopped.

This next epoch will perhaps be the most pivotal to Bitcoin’s success. Bitcoin’s “prove it” moment is upon us, and the whole world is watching. The future of Bitcoin awaits.

Don’t sit on the sidelines. Enter into the arena.