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The Spirit of CoinFest

Op-ed - The Spirit of CoinFest

When I first started organizing CoinFest, I never imagined what it would become. It used to be just a simple gathering of less than 100 Bitcoiners at Vancouver’s famous Wave Coffee House, come together to celebrate the love of cryptocurrency. Not long after, the team behind CoinTrader brought the world’s first Bitcoin ATM to the scene, and CoinFest gradually expanded into a decentralized convention across multiple venues. Now it’s expanded around the world, spanning 7 cities and 5 languages so far, but as word of the movement spread, we were confronted with a lot of questions about how and why it works the way it does.

The confusion is understandable: CoinFest operates under a radical set of principles, truly unlike anything attempted by any other Bitcoin convention. Its management will eventually be converted to a decentralized autonomous organization, to which all domain names and other assets will be granted for decentralized, consensus-based control. Because CoinFest exists in the open domain, these aren’t exactly “rules”–they cannot be legally enforced, and we probably wouldn’t even try–but we believe the cryptocurrency community will cherish and respect the spirit of CoinFest, whatever that may become.

The first and most important tradition of CoinFest is that events can only be held at venues that support cryptocurrency. Since the first CoinFest in 2013, we have never been forced to use a venue that required us to directly handle fiat. CoinFest was intended foremost to incentivize and celebrate Bitcoin adoption, and to forget that would be to go against everything CoinFest stands for. We bring customers and reporters, both die-hard and mainstream, and the opportunity to capitalize that has already persuaded more than one business to accept Bitcoin. We’re not stopping, now.

The second tradition of CoinFest is that one cannot charge admission for CoinFest events. We maintain one of the highest percentages of new users at CoinFest, and provide hands-on education in order to grow the crypto community. These are all new customers without prior brand allegiances that sponsors have every reason to want to reach, and between sponsorships and donations, CoinFest has continued to survive without resorting to taxing our guests. If you want to maintain a more elite atmosphere, consider instituting a guest list, or hold one of your events at a very classy (expensive) venue as we plan to try in Vancouver. It should go without saying that CoinFest is non-profit, and all funds should be used to promote cryptocurrency. Complete financial transparency is expected.

The final tradition of CoinFest is to encourage friendly competition. I fully expect you to try to make your city’s CoinFest bigger and better than mine; this is a meritocracy, and the CoinFest Conference–which shall conclude each annual celebration–will come to your city if you appear poised to succeed. Cooperation is key, however, and together we will create a firestorm of decentralized activity so wide it becomes impossible to ignore. More than just a way to make money, we will prove that this is a social movement, connecting freedom advocates around the world without respect for borders or what they imply.

Using the emerging power of the Internet, we can do this instantaneously at the click of a button. CoinFest is a holiday celebrated worldwide, and no matter how far apart we are, our hearts are in the same place. If you cannot make the dates (the next annual CoinFest is slated for February 20-22, 2015), however, feel free to contact us and we’ll try to work out a solution–we’re always willing to increase the duration of the festivities. Everyone has a say in CoinFest, and if you have your own ideas for what would make it great, we welcome you to organize a CoinFest of your own.

For more information about CoinFest, and past and future events, go to Once the tradition of CoinFest has been established, I myself will step down, and finally rest once my role has been made obsolete by blockchain 2.0 technology. To do that, we need your help, however, so if you or anyone you know is willing to organize, volunteer, sponsor or donate, please reach out and let us know. The community will thank you.