Following the success of the first Bitcoin conference in 2011 in Prague, another conference organized by the Bitcoin Consultancy has just finished in London. This conference was much larger than the previous, with hundreds of attendees present, and individuals prominent in a wide variety of fields shows up to speak. A wide range of topics was discussed, ranging from Bitcoin itself to open source projects like mesh networking and 3D printing and even underlying social and political themes.
Particularly unprecedented was the level of interest coming in from outside the Bitcoin community itself. Although the last conference in Prague did bring in Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge, Russia Today journalist Max Keiser and electronic payments expert David Birch, the amount of interest coming from outside this year was much greater. Almost as many speakers at the conference came from the Linux community as from Bitcoin, and there were many speakers who were heavily involved in both. Other open source projects were also represented, and the conference even featured the founding father of the free software movement itself, Richard Stallman. This level of outside involvement, combined with the highly interactive nature of the conference, created an opportunity for the world of Bitcoin to integrate into the larger free software, cryptography and free culture community as a whole, and paves the way for greater cooperation between all of the various movements that are seeking to use technology to empower the individual in the digital age.
Among the speakers were:
- Richard Stallman – creator of the GNU project, a key precursor to modern GNU Linux operating systems, and world-renowned free software advocate
- Dennis Roio (Jaromil) – long-time activist within the free software movement, and significant contributor to the development of multimedia applications for the Linux platform
- Amir Taaki – the main organizer of the conference
- Birgitta Jonsdottir – a member of the Icelandic parliament largely responsible for bringing the country to the top of the Press Freedom Index in the world.
- Tony Gallippi – CEO of BitPay, the Bitcoin merchant platform which handles payment processing for over 1000 Bitcoin-accepting merchants
- Mike Hearn – the primary developer of BitcoinJ, a Java implementation of Bitcoin, who is also involved in researching the idea of cryptographic contracts
- Caleb James Delisle – developer of the cjdns mesh networking system
- Cody Wilson – founder of Defense Distributed, a group that is attempting to design functional 3D printable firearms for self-defense
- Mihai Alisie – editor-in-chief of Bitcoin Magazine itself
The Bitcoin Magazine team has taken a large number of pictures and exclusive interviews, and some of these will become available in an upcoming issue of the magazine.