With over 2000 participants, the Inside Bitcoins New York City consisted of a refreshing mix of enthusiasts, curious business owners, venture capitalists, and regulators. The conference worked as a platform for diverse ideas. I found myself rooting for nearly all of them. Here are a few couple pictures and videos I encountered. This is by no means an exhaustive list. I'm sure other attendees had very different experiences.
Bitcoin Balloons: These Inside Bitcoins balloons quickly became my go-to spot. A couple stands from the balloons the Bitcoin for beginners station always crowded with curious spectators. Sponsor exhibits of all sorts spanned the hall: mining equipment, compliance consulting, secure-minded wallets, charitable Bitcoin organizations, and Bitcoin publications.
It was also a great spot to eavesdrop. Overheard pulling out my phone near the Bitcoin balloons, “Who wouldn't make love to Satoshi Nakamoto?”
MaidSafe: Dave Irving and Nick Lambert spoke on MaidSafe's long-standing plans to decentralize the Internet, much like Bitcoin will decentralize trade. The video is a good go-to for anyone interested in the idea. At Inside Bitcoins, they announced the crowd-sale of MaidSafeCoins slated for April 22nd. MaidSafeCoins will be sold on a first come first serve basis. MaidSafe was one of the many Bitcoin 2.0 projects discussed at Inside Bitcoins.
Permacredits: Some cryptocurrency aficionados are passionate about the environment. According to the website, "Permacredits are the first true asset-backed cryptocurrency on the market. They are powered by the surplus profit-sharing of Eco Developments, Permaculture institutions, and members in our network. When you buy Permacredits you are buying a membership in a global network of Eco resorts, Sustainable living spaces, Permaculture farms, Retreat centers, Eco Developments, Permaculture Design Schools, Apps, and more." I have to say, as interesting as the other projects were, tying permaculture to crypto was one of the strangest projects. Interestingly, it sounds like the projects' organizers have a very strong foothold.
Cambodian Pepper: I met one of the founders of the first 3D printing company in Cambodia. I told him about a Sudanese boy I once read about. His arm was blown off in a civil war. A charitable man was able to print an arm for him for around $100. He nodded his head. “Yup, we've done that."
He handed me a couple bags of pepper. His friend's Cambodian business is Bitcoin-friendly--as you can see.
Dogecoin: This isn't exactly a novelty among cryptocoin enthusiasts, but it was for me. When I went to the altcoin breakout session, the speaker asked, “Who owns Dogecoin?” More than half the people in the room rose their hands. I was a little confused. The meme-inspired altcoin has a very goofy reputation, but it is clearly gaining traction. As of a couple days ago, eGifter accepts Dogecoin, in addition to Bitcoin and Litecoin. The speaker, Ben Doernberg of the Dogecoin Foundation, attributed this to Dogecoin's superior branding and community-based emphasis.
While I'm still skeptical, Doernberg posed a number of important questions. How could altcoins improve on Bitcoin? What Bitcoin branding would appeal to more people? It can't hurt to be fun, right?
I exited the session with an open mind. I'm convinced Dogecoin is a symbol of the ease with which people will view cryptocurrencies in the future.
Over the summer Inside Bitcoins will hit up Hong Kong, Melbourne, and Tel Aviv. Come with questions. Leave with other questions.