Though the price of Bitcoin is shaky, and the mood of Bitcoiners is somber, Jason King is throwing quite a party down in Orlando, Florida. Coins in the Kingdom has come to an end after a packed weekend of speakers whose topics spanned the gamut of introductory programming and usage of Storj (Shawn Wilkinson) to the pragmatic applications of smart contracts by a seasoned attorney (Pamela Morgan). The atmosphere of the event was unique in the world of conferences in that: it is located in the heart of American consumerism, it embraces the simplicity of the world as espoused by Disney, and spent most of the weekend showcasing speakers who decry the absurdity of this surrounding circus.
Lower bitcoin prices means less conference attendees, but with the smaller crowd comes an intimate setting. While questions abounded as to whether the benefits of “The Mouse” were a positive or negative contribution to the greater good, all in attendance were in agreement over the benefits of a smaller conference. There is a significantly greater charm in playing poker with your favorite Bitcoin celebrity with YT Cracker rapping at the end of the hall, then there is in being a sardine in the proverbial can amongst a thousand newbies at the back of a giant conferencing warehouse. “Wishes upon a star” as promised, were being delivered.
This year has been a wild ride for bitcoiners (like there’s any year that isn’t). But for the tight-knit group of bitcoiners at the Coins in the Kingdom conference, the recent bubble was a comforting return to the wilder frontier of days gone by. Though the drop from $1100 to $250 was a wall of sadness to the speculators looking to cash out on a get rich quick program, for the veterans, the price drop was merely a chance to catch their breath from the insanity that characterized the last nine months.
Highlights for Saturday included an excellent keynote by Antonopoulos and Tucker, which featured two monologues and a Q&A session with the audience. Antonopoulos’ keynote discussed the ‘whitewashing of history’ that is practiced by historians, and highlighted the tendency of history books to gloss over the bumpy ride to success that characterizes most of society’s technological disruption. Tucker’s monologue was a similarly riveting speech exploring uses of the Blockchain outside of its uses for payment, chief amongst them, the impending Blockchain wedding.
The second day of the conference brought additional talks, a keynote by Bruce Fenton, and the world’s very first Bitcoin wedding. The highlight of the second day’s session was the announcement by Jason King of a mobile app, in development, that would would bring to the homeless a little bit of what Uber brought to the car-less. King’s app, named “Outpost Everywhere”, empowers the charitable to find homeless members of their community, and bring them the blankets, food, and help that they require. The app features an SMS gateway that enables the homeless to declare their location, and what they need. While many in the media choose to deride Bitcoiners for their anarchic Silk-road-esque applications, missing in this coverage is the compassionate disruption of bitcoiners with applications such as Jason’s.
While Paul Krugman gloats over the impending doom of Bitcoin, and the naysayers start their next round of pronouncements that “Bitcoin is dead,” the mood here in Coins in the Kingdom couldn’t be brighter. Counterparty’s XCP is appreciating rapidly, merchandise is selling, and the crowd is amused to see a reluctant Antonopoulos spending fiat at a nearby Mickey Mouse cafe. (Certainly, some small rock in hell has frozen over.)
While the wildest ride here at the Magic Kingdom turned out to be Bitcoin itself, Coins In the Kingdom brought to its attendees a welcoming and educated crowd, an encompassing roster of speakers, and a very smug mouse. Whether Bitcoin or Disney was the star of the amusement park this weekend was unclear, but what was clear was the wonder and magic that was Coins in the Kingdom.