Austin, Texas is weird and at the Texas Bitcoin Conference, Bitcoin got a little weird. People from all over the world converged in Austin this past week to join in on the latest in the cryptosphere. The Conference was held at Circuit of the Americas, a race track appropriate for the Bitcoin world’s fast-paced nature. Mike Snow, the event organizer, made sure the conference was big just like Texas and he did a job well done. Speakers included Ravi Iyengar, Jeffrey Tucker, Andreas Antonopoulos, Anthony Gallippi, Dan Larimer and so many more too awesome to name.
The Conference was set with many firsts, the first bitcoin concert (bitcoincert), the first Lamborghini bought with bitcoins was at the conference and I took sight of the first bitcoin ATM in the United States located at HandleBar.
The Conference was divided into different subjects with general discussions, a track focused on women and the three main tracks: the merchant track, technical track and meta track.
Topics in the general segment included everything from an Introduction to Bitcoin to Ethereum. This was great because there were a lot of new faces at the event, some of which were new to Bitcoin.
One of my favorite presentations was done by James D’Angelo who compared the roller coaster of bitcoins’ volatility to his adventures in Africa; it was one of the more unique presentations. James has been all over the world working in different wildlife parks, but as he explained, what was different about Africa is that all the animals can kill you. James suggested that in the future we will look back to today as the fun times because bitcoin will be about as boring as a fiat currency.
The Texas Bitcoin Conference set itself apart from the others by offering a focus on women in the field. Technology and finance are notoriously male dominated fields so when CryptoWomen took the stage they identified the need for women in Bitcoin. Since only 6 of the Bitcoin community is represented by women this track was much needed. Esther Tung led the panel with Catheryne Nicholson, Stephanie Murphy, Tatiana Moroz and Marni Melrose who each had unique viewpoints. I would like to see the women in Bitcoin topic at more events.
Of course Charlie Lee and Anthony Gallippi were there representing the payment processing side of things, but there were others talking about the benefits of accepting bitcoin. Remittance payments played a part in the Latin America panel and others and how it would affect businesses like Western Union. The fact that people can send money instantaneously and then go to a Bitcoin ATM and convert that into cash is also going to be game changing since there are little to no fees.
On the technical side of the event, some minds were blown. Maidsafe.net set a goal of changing the world through a decentralized internet platform that would eliminate data centers and servers. “Maidsafe is doing for data what bitcoin is doing for trade,” as Nick Lambert said. Maidsafe will make data more secure by sending only pieces of information to the network where only you have access.
Other technical topics included the future of mining panel, Stephen Sprague’s talk on trusted computing and Kristov Atlas’s interesting discussion on how to have financial privacy with bitcoin.
Andreas Antonopoulos talked about currencies as a “cultural artifact” and why there will be millions of AltCoins. A currency’s value is not created at issuance anymore but by people giving it value and value can be given to anything as Andreas explained just as children in primary school give value in trading marbles or rubber bands. Andreas is not only incredibly knowledgeable about Bitcoin, he is also funny; I don’t want to steal his jokes so go watch his presentation and the others.
Access to the presentations from the conference can be purchased for $50 at the following link: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/texasbitcoinconference