This is an opinion article by Tone Vays, analyst and derivatives trader, founder of Unconfiscatable and The Financial Summit.
As the fifth annual BitBlockBoom came to a close, founder and organizer Gary Leland sat on stage reflecting on the challenging road taken over the past two years leading to a record crowd of over 600 Bitcoiners:
“During COVID-19 I personally wanted to go to Bitcoin events, but there were not many choices. I assumed there were others that also wanted to get out and have human interaction during COVID-19. That was my main influence to go full force with BitBlockBoom in 2020 and 2021. Turns out, I was correct and now in 2022 we more than doubled the attendees and vendors. My main goal has always been to host the kind of conference that I want to attend and it appears many people approve, so growth has been sweet."
The incredible presentations and panels by Jack Mallers, Jeff Booth, Jimmy Song, Senator Cynthia Lummis and others will certainly be timeless and relevant for years to come. The biggest takeaway, however, was how happy people were to meet their virtual friends in person. The popularity of Twitter Spaces over the last year has really changed the social media landscape, in large part thanks to Swan and Bitcoin Magazine’s initiatives bringing many new voices that may have otherwise remained anonymous and silent. This was the first event where these dedicated small groups of on-line voice only hosts got a chance to spend time together in person.
Surfer Jim (@surferjimw) put it best, when he said “I now have friends all over the world and events like this really allow me to meet my extended family.” Meeting other Twitter personalities like TC (@Meditation_Man) and Ant (@2140data) were a major highlight of his trip. The feeling was mutual when asking TC, who showed his face for the first time by attending this event. “Meeting Surfer Jim and watching him orange pill my mother-in-law was awesome,” TC said.
People around the world tend to underestimate the importance of personal privacy. No community, other than hackers, takes it more seriously than Bitcoiners. The mere fact that so many people were willing to show their faces and introduce themselves for the first time is a strong message to the world that we are ready to take on greater challenges and face scrutiny defending what we believe in.
While the conference itself was amazing, there were also many popular side events. This included a meetup at Unchained Capital’s Bitcoin Commons incubator, where NYDIG had a major announcement of their Lightning Accelerator called Wolf’s Clothing. Another side event that drew a huge crowd was a chess tournament organized by Mike Jarmuz of Bitcoin Blitz Chess Club. Sharing common ground with a group of like minded people is an incredible thing to witness as it leads to many steak dinners and poker games as Bitcoiners get together.
Conference attendees were also incredibly supportive of Hodlonaut and his ongoing legal battle that threatens to silence many voices in this space. There were several fundraisers and initiatives throughout the event highlighting the importance of this issue in the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Leland has announced that he is ready to take on a bigger challenge next year as the venue will likely double to host 1,500 people and is expected to be sold out once again.