The Sunny Southern State of Florida, especially the city of Miami, had started to get a lot of recent media attention. There was a trend of people and businesses moving there from once popular tech and financial hubs like California and New York. When Florida became one of the first states to fully open up after the Pandemic this trend turned into a mass exodus of people moving in favor of more prosperity, opportunity, lower taxes, and Bitcoin!
Everything hit a tipping point when a single tweet became an internet sensation. Mayor Suzrez, of Miami, wanted to turn his city into the new Silicon Valley. The Mayor said his twitter analytics showed over a million impressions in a very short period of time. Apparently, a lot of people were serious about taking him up on his offer. Mayor Suarez was willing to sit down and talk with many influencers, entrepreneurs, and CEOs about what he could do to convince them to make a permanent move to southern Florida. He even had an in-person meeting with Pompliano (a well known bitcoin influencer) who discussed what could be done to make Miami as crypto friendly as possible in order to attract businesses there.
How can I help? https://t.co/hIC1k8ka1i
— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) December 5, 2020
The Bitcoin 2021 Conference, an annual event hosted in Los Angeles, was quick to seize an amazing opportunity. The North American Bitcoin Conference (which was based in Miami for 3 years) announced that they would be hosting a digital event. Shortly after this news The Bitcoin Conference 2021 quickly announced their move to Miami and was welcomed with open arms.
The event was expected to see 13,000 attendees. It also had hundreds of VIPs called “whales” who were big names in the crypto space such as Vitalik and the Winklevoss Twins; as well as other notable names who were fairly new to the space such as the Mayor Suarez and Floyd Mayweather. This was the first large Bitcoin event, and one of the only large events at all, since the lockdowns. So, it was no surprise when the event was sold out weeks before the conference.
What better way to ramp up our mission to spread blockchain and Lisk education than by mingling with thousands of other blockchain professionals and entrepreneurs at the largest Bitcoin conference in the world since the lockdowns.
As longtime bitcoin enthusiasts we looked forward to this conference. It’s good to keep up with the latest developments; gaining information and inspiration from great speakers. Of course, one of the best parts is being able to spread the word of Lisk to other crypto advocates whenever we get the chance.
The convention utilized a large indoor space for the exhibitions, art exhibit, gaming arena, and the main stages. The conference spilled out into a large outdoor space that had several outdoor stages. There was a small skate park that Tony Hawk had commissioned as well as a basketball court with other outdoor games. The outside air was filled with delicious smells from an army of food trucks and mobile bars. Even though it was warm and sunny they had plenty of water, fans, and shade to keep everyone cool. People were friendly, excited, and many wanted to talk, and we were happy to listen and ask some questions of our own.
The recent large crash in crypto prices seemed to have brought humility to many. People were more conservative on their future predictions than expect and many could now see, with hindsight, the market euphoria we seemed to be coming down from. Of course, there were still some extreme personalities like Max Kieser who was literally throwing his chair around during a live interview yelling at everyone around to “all in on BTC or have fun staying poor” which was kind of entertaining.
Overall, people seemed positive and networking was going on everywhere. The conference was filled with notable faces and about every bitcoin based company you can think of. From pools and exchanges to brand new startups, so there was lots to see and much to do.
Ask us about Lisk
In traditional LiskUSA fashion, we believe in the value of gorilla marketing. Over the years we have crafted great techniques and methods to maximize engagement. By simply being around and being willing to talk to anyone who is interested you can get the attention of a lot of people. Especially when you add some incentives like sweet Lisk gear. We spoke with people about Lisk, including pitching Lisk to several companies that were looking for a new platforms to launch their NFT market places on.
A few developers did recognize us. One in particular approached us and told us that he “loved the Lisk code” they had recently released before he ran off to go see a panel on lightning network wallets.
Overall, we found that many people were unfamiliar with Lisk; although, we the more well informed and “seasoned” bitcoiners had at least heard about us. We asked people that spoke to us about Lisk, including some “whales”, what their sentiment of Lisk was. As expected, some of them were upfront about being slightly unsatisfied with Lisk not “going to the moon” this cycle. Although, they seemed to be patient enough wait for the new and exciting updates coming to Lisk very soon.
In fact, one of the concerns that some “whales” mentioned was that there just wasn’t enough liquidity for them and requested we seek Market Makers to help them buy and sell large positions. I suppose there are worse problems then a lack of liquidity for whales who want to buy in with millions.
Big Names, Familiar Faces
Being at such a popular conference with many influential people and companies, we also try to make sure to make as many connections as possible. We don’t always get a chance to talk for long but we when we do, we like to try and ask them about Lisk. One such stop was Blockchain.com.
When we heard they were advertising their exchange we felt compelled to speak with someone about getting Lisk listed on their platform. Unfortunately, a lot of exchanges like to run a “pay-for-play” model when it comes to coin listings. Lisk has not and will not ever pay for a coin listing. So, we left them with some words of encouragement! One day, LSK trading volume would be too much for their exchange to ignore the sweet revenue that could be earned from listing LSK on their own and on that day he should contact LiskUSA to point them in the right direction.
We ran into Bobby Lee who is the founder of BTCC exchange and the brother of Charlie Lee, the maker of Litecoin. He was selling physical Bitcoin and Doge wallets and promoting his new book. We and a quick chat and he hooked us up with a free autographed book and a picture.
One of our most memorable moments was getting a minute, in-between TV interviews, to talk with the famous billionaire investor Tim Draper. He was flanked by local news media and cameras as he made his way into the art gallery. Attempting to become noticed over the reporters, we exclaimed that we liked his show “Meet the Drapers” which is a Shark Tank like series where he and his family have entrepreneurs compete for startup funding. Surprisingly, he immediately heard us and walked past the reporters and asked very sincerely “You really like the show?”
Draper has done great work in creating a positive perception of Bitcoin in the USA. He is also very coin agnostic, having been an investor in several top 100 blockchains. We were glad to be able to take a picture with someone was influential and genuine as Tim Draper and I’m sure we will see him again.
There was a great lineup of speakers ranging from fairly new faces who just joined us recently and many OG bitcoiners who have been in the game since the beginning.
The event started off with an inspirational talk by Ron Paul, doctor and former Senator known for his “audit the fed” movement. He continued his message of freedom and liberty for everyone. He spoke for us to take action to regain our freedoms from the ever encroaching governments and central banks. Dr. Paul spoke over his time by over 15 minutes and while they seemed hasty to move off other speakers later on, everyone was too captivated by his speech to have noticed.
They had several more politicians including Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming who spoke about passing positive crypto regulations. As well as the Mayor of Miami, and the other local Mayors of the surrounding counties in a round table. What started with only the Mayor of Miami being interested, now has all the local politicians and even state officials coming to voice their support for the innovation of bitcoin and blockchain technology.
There were also old school cypher punks like Nick Szabo and Matt Corallo who spoke about the bitcoin movement. There were also a few talks that shared the technical details behind the upcoming taproot upgrade for Bitcoin.
We were also able to listen to roundtables with celebrities like Mr. Money Man and his producer, as well as professional athletes like NFL player Sean Culkin of the Chiefs and Russle Okung of the Panthers. They were explaining their journey that got them into bitcoin and how they got their bosses to meet their demands to be paid their salaries in bitcoin. They shared these experiences and the steps others can take to follow them.
There was also the Legendary Tony Hawk, who has been an advocate of Bitcoin for years now. He converted part of the conference space into a skate park and was there to announce the launch of a new Non-profit called the Skate Park Project, with the goal of raising 1 million dollars in Bitcoin to get started.
With a mainstage and several auxiliary stages, it was impossible to listen in on all the great speakers. If you want to hear more for yourself, go to the Bitcoin Conference 2021 youtube channel and they will be posting videos of many of the speakers.
MTGox Arena, Stacking Sats, and the Lightning Network
The Arena was a large but cozy space filled with numerous laptops, AR platforms, arcade machines, and couches. There was a main stage where people were speaking of utilizing bitcoin and the lightning network to make payments over games. This was all going on while there was a full fledged CSGO tournament being played with the grand finales being held at the end of conference for a prize pool of 1 BTC. This was definitely exciting and entertaining to watch, and the fact that the prize pool was BTC made it even better.
There were several games that could be played with a chance of earning some sats via the lightning network. There was also an “Easter egg hunt” for cards that had QR codes that could be scanned to earn 1,000 sats. Overall we made a few thousand sats which was a fun and interesting feature of the conference.
Literal dumpsters filled with “dirty” fiat from countries that underwent hyper inflation. The money being worthless, especially compared to the value of BTC, found itself in a large artistic mural to warn those who walk the path of fiat instead of embracing Bitcoin.
If there was ever a last bastion of bitcoin maximalists it was surely here. Although, it is easy to see why they are a dying breed. The event organizers mentioned a “Ban” on non-bitcoin based discussion. Ironically, there was some NFT art, which were not running on bitcoin, being sold at the event. Maybe this art was not sanctioned, but it is an example of how easy it was to find conversations about other platforms. Especially when these platforms, like Open Sea, had a visible presence at the event.
Bitcoin maximalism was so encouraged by some that there was an actual mainstage event that spoke about the benefits of Bitcoin Maximalism and how “Maxis” needed to actually rally harder against the scam coins like Ethereum.
A commonly heard mantra was “Bitcoin good, altcoins bad”! Only bitcoin was decentralized and all other coins were “obviously centralized scams”. Of course, when the conversation got deeper, most people making that claim usually admitted that they don’t even run their own full node and kept their coins on Coinbase. Many of the Bitcoiners who were actually willing to talk seemed like very nice and pretty reasonable people and very open to the idea of other blockchains like Ethereum or even Lisk.
In one particular conversation, someone was offered a rather generous payment in the form of ETH. In response the merchant exclaimed, very loudly, that they would not accept any “shitcoin” and the Lightning Network was the only acceptable means of exchange there. Everyone within earshot suddenly stopped and looked with confusion and laughter. Someone from the crowed even responded “are you serious?!” Sadly, the best option for lightning network they had to offer were noncustodial solutions that would make the process of getting ETH to BTC to LN just too much too do to stand around and wait to see how it would turn out.
Overall, it was very interesting to see how far the Lightning Network had come. There were a few interesting projects and some speakers spoke of developments that were coming in just 18 months! The LN seemed slow for onboarding new users and the most frequent solutions were custodial wallets which were needed to guarantee the payments would work. If anything, this displayed that there was still a lot of work to do in the blockchain space for mass adoption to occur. However, for other projects like Lisk, it shows great opportunity to gain ground and market share.
Art, Auctions, Boards, and Bitcoin
There were numerous works of art and custom skate board decks on display at the conference. Some of them were to be given away as prizes for the MtGox Arena participant. While the majority of them were being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Participant’s could use a lightning network wallet to scan QR codes next to the art work of board and then compete by placing bids. Whoever made the largest bid by the end of the conference would be awarded with the work of art.
Tony Hawk unveiled a new plan by his non-profit to raise $1 million dollars in Bitcoin. The Skatepark Projects has a stated goal of helping underserved communities by creating safe and inclusive public skateparks for youth. To start off the fund raiser, Tony Hawk auctioned off a limited edition skate board deck which perfectly expressed the style and themes that much of the artwork shared at the conference.
The conference was filled with people from all over the world. As such the sentiment at the conference was incredibly diverse. There were plenty of friendly arguments that could be heard about if we were heading into a bear market or going for new all time highs. However, the one thing that most had in common was a sense of hope and excitement for what the future would hold.
We were inspired by speakers like Ron Paul who has been advocating for personal freedom for almost a century. We learned from OG cypher punks like Nick Szazbo, and we mingled with crypto celebrities like Bobby Lee and Tim Draper. People were friendly and glad to talk about everything related to bitcoin and crypto currencies. We were even approached by people who recognized us to compliment the project in it’s great work on the code base and the SDK.
This was the perfect warmup event for LiskUSA to restart our mission of providing Lisk education and awareness for the entire USA and beyond. As Lisk continues to grow so will our efforts, so this is just the beginning!
We would like to leave our readers with a small sample of the many fantastic works of art, skate board decks, and a few other photos from the conference.
LiskUSA Signing Out!