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Upcoming ‘Bitcoin Awakens Festival’ Seeks to Educate New Users and Help the Underbanked

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:52 PM
Lester Coleman
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:52 PM

A group called Cyberfunks Alliance plans to hold a Bitcoin Awakens festival on November 6 to bridge the gap between bitcoin and the underbanked.

Bitcoin Awakens will be held at the organization’s headquarters, Urban Co-Lab in Austin, Texas. The event is designed to help new users get oriented to acquiring and using bitcoin through a fun and interactive game.

Cost to participate is $99 benefiting the Central Food Bank of Texas.

Teams of three will solve up to 15 challenges throughout the city of Austin to reveal the coordinates of a secret location for a victory party in honor of the mysterious creator of the bitcoin protocol.

The teams will scour sectors of Austin in the Texas quadrant. Teams will use bitcoin, camaraderie and wit to find clues needed to bypass the “Bankchain Cartel” and reopen supply lines for the food bank.

Focus on bitcoin literacy

The event will address aspects of bitcoin literacy: the value of digits, monetary theory, distributed networks, open source software and cryptography.

Most bitcoin conferences spend more time giving presentations and targeting those already in the bitcoin and blockchain ecosystem, the organizers noted.

Ticket prices include food and refreshments, giveaways, and admittance to the Bitcoin Awakens victory party. Ten percent of the proceeds will benefit the food bank, the first food bank to accept bitcoin.

To make donations transparent, Cyberfunks uses the food bank’s bitcoin address found on centraltexasfoodbank.org/bitcoin.

Cyberfunks is also introducing a new way for the community to support the food bank by donating bitcoin through its OpenBazaar store, which reaches people worldwide.

A new type of bitcoin event

Fred Constantinesco and Reynaldo Poullard started the Cyberfunks Alliance, a non-profit run by volunteers, to create a broadly-based, widely-accessible, deeply-entrenched network of urban, tech-savvy bitcoin enthusiasts in Austin.

According to its website, Cyberfunks believes the established banking system maintains a monopoly over global commerce. The cartel accomplishes this through surveillance, regulations and the deployment of blockchain technology in a “walled garden of centralized, permissioned ledgers.”

Cyberfunks wants bitcoin to remain decentralized and have all participants share in risk and failure of a free market economy. It considers itself part of a broader group known as Peaceful of Earth Against Restrictions of Liberty (PEARL).

Enemy: the Bankchain cartel

The established banking system, which Cyberfunks refers to as the “Bankchain cartel,” fears a loss of power from the bitcoin block halving, and has accused PEARL sending subversive communications through an unauthorized channel as a pretext to suspend PEARL from permissioned ledgers.

“In May 2016, I saw that Fred ran a Bitcoin Meetup in Dallas and I contacted him to see if we could work together,” Poullard told CCN.com. “It turns out he was the perfect complement to my skillset and the missing link to take this vision to the next level.”

The plan is to grow the Bitcoin Awaken event slowly, keeping events capped at around 50 three-person teams. “Events will eventually take place frequently,” Poullard said.

“We’re implementing a mix of traditional marketing (social media, press releases, interviews, articles, etc.) plus ‘boots on the ground’ outreach to the local Austin community, within Austin’s bitcoin/startup/tech scene, as well as hosting our own meetup group,” he said.

“We’re also using non-traditional marketing tactics like targeting participants of the sharing economy (patrons looking to utilize digital currency payments and entrepreneurs in search of new revenue streams),” he said.

Supportive organizations include a geolocation startup called what3words, a P2P home-sharing startup called Innclusive, and a “conscious capitalist tech space called Urban Co-Lab.

Also read: Peace & stability through the blockchain: global political awakening & peace through trade

Bitcoin Industry Reacts

The bitcoin industry has reacted with both curiosity and enthusiasm, Poullard said. “We’re here to let them know that there’s plenty of synergy for engagement. However, we focus on bitcoin literacy and ways to showcase this technology to benefit 40 million unbanked Americans; our primary target demographic.”

The Bankchain is modeled after blockchain firms that are pursuing “private, permissioned ledgers” as opposed to the open-source protocol of the bitcoin network, he said. The Bankchain is best represented by R3CEV and the Blockchain Alliance. “Every good story needs a villain at its center,” he said.

Cyberfunks does not seek to change the way bitcoins are created through mining. “ Our focus is on bitcoin literacy and one thing we know for certain right now is that bitcoin works. We love the proof-of-work and the immutability underscoring its proposition as a global value transfer mechanism.”

Image from Shutterstock.