Bitcoin 2021 Conference Highlights & Low Points
I just attended the world’s biggest gathering of Bitcoin investors, maximalists, enthusiasts, and evangelists in Miami. Why Miami? Miami's Mayor Francis Suarez has a goal to make Miami the crypto Silicon Valley of the world. I met fantastic like-minded individuals from all over the world who have a bigger goal than that of Mayor Suarez: To make Bitcoin the #1 global asset class. Far-fetched goal? Maybe, but Bitcoin will be around long after everyone reading this article has passed on.
The following is a recap of the highlights and low points from the Bitcoin 2021 Conference, through my eyes.
Table of Contents
Intro to Bitcoin
If you're new to Bitcoin, be sure to begin with my Bitcoin Starter and Onboarding Guide here. This will give you a basic overview and provide resources to further your education.
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Jack Mallers Kills It!
Jack Mallers is a 23 year-old phenom in the Bitcoin arena. He started coding at a young age and his family bought their first Bitcoin in 2013. He spent 3 months in El Salvador and connected with President Nayib Bukele. President Bukele quickly became convinced of Bitcoin's potential and worldly unification.
El Salvador Adopts Bitcoin as Official Legal Tender
Jack's time spent in El Salvador led to this big announcement at the end of Bitcoin 2021. As of today, June 9th 2021, the bill has been passed in congress by an overwhelming margin. Since this announcement, Panama, Paraguay, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina have hinted that they hope to join El Salvador in the adoption.
Blockchain.com announces their HQ move to Miami!
Also during the conference, Blockchain.com, a blockchain explorer which accounts for 28% of all transactions, announced they're moving their US Headquarters from New York to Miami. The company, based in Luxembourg, says they plan to create up to 300 jobs over the next 18 months.
Conference Low Points
Jack Dorsey gets Heckled and Booed!
Some may consider this a highlight.
Jack Dorsey is the founder and CEO of Twitter and Square. It didn't even occur to me that Twitter was still undergoing 1st amendment discussions over Trump's Twitter account. Dorsey's discussion was off to a great start, until Laura Loomer stood up in the front row and started heckling him. Peter McCormack had to hold her back! The discussion quickly switched to privacy-related topics which were followed with boos and then many cheers from the audience.
Pomp and Winklevoss Discussion Lacked Originality
Anthony Pompliano, Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss are very influential individuals in the Bitcoin space and have dedicated their lives to improvements and adoption. This is one that everyone was excited to watch. The only problem is that it was just like any other interview with Winklevoss. Pomp didn't challenge them, and we learned nothing. For a Bitcoin newbie, it was a valuable session. For anyone who knows about these people's backgrounds, it was a letdown.
Lots of NFT Discussion at a Bitcoin-only event?
Boxing champ Floyd Mayweather spoke mostly about NFTs, not Bitcoin, and wore an Ethereum t-shirt. I have to admit I also wore an Ethereum t-shirt on the last day. But Floyd caught some boos when he said that someday another crypto might be as big as Bitcoin. Wrong thing to say, for two reasons. First, it’s like dissing Rajnikanth at a Rajnikanth fan conference. Second, Bitcoin has unique qualities as the first of its kind. Other coins may get a lot of market cap and usage, but their growth only fuels Bitcoin’s growth. - Rahul Pagidipati, co-CEO ZebPay
I won't begin an NFT vs Bitcoin argument because you can't compare the two, but NFTs are Ethereum based. Why would they have NFT panel discussions and especially let Floyd Mayweather chime in on the topic at a Bitcoin conference? At Crypto 2021, it would have made sense. Not at Bitcoin 2021.
Arguments over the Toxic Bitcoin Maximalism
This is an aggressive topic. Toxic Bitcoin Maximalism means that if you're a Toxic Bitcoin Maximalist, you aggressively (with words, hopefully) shun and attack anyone who talks negatively about Bitcoin, or who tries to support another cryptocurrency. I personally don't stand by this idea, but it's very popular.
It has led to many people believing that Bitcoin is a cult, and that's not something you want to be associated with. It's one of the reasons why I've stopped listening to Bitcoin discussions on Clubhouse and it was the topic of a very ignorant panel discussion at the conference. One person pretty much said, "If you don't believe in Bitcoin, you don't believe in freedom". Sorry, no.
BTC 2021 was a ground-breaking event which will be remembered for years. With attendance rumored to be over 50,000 (it seemed more like 20,000 at its peak on Saturday), it helped Miami's Bitcoin roots to grow even deeper. Whether you support Bitcoin or not, you couldn't help but be impressed with the magnitude of the event if you walked by it in Wynwood (Miami's Trendy/Artsy Neighborhood).
What could be done differently?
Bring some panelists who don't support Bitcoin to give the audience some understanding of why Bitcoin is truly great. Sure, those people will be booed the entire time, but for educational purposes it's important to show some flaws in the system, not only the strong points. For the most part, the conference was just a bunch of people singing the praises of Bitcoin, rather than what's wrong with it and what can be done differently. As someone who is relatively well-versed on the topic, I didn't learn much aside from the fact that Tony Hawk can't skateboard anymore.
Maybe they form a Crypto 2022 Conference?