A rollercoaster ride of experiences at the Bitcoin Conference in Miami, where a little corner of Bedford offered hope
Attending the recent Bitcoin Conference 2023 in Miami was an eye-opening experience. It was a week filled with unforgettable moments, from mingling with industry leaders to observing the stark contrast between the privileged and the forgotten.
The Mining Stage & Lounge was a hub of activity and inspiration. It proved to be the best place to hang out during the conference. The mining village showcased the passion and innovation driving Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin Mining Museum, with its diverse collection of mining machines, showcased the global reach and impact of Bitcoin. It beautifully showed a timeline of ingenuity. The Coin Dad’s collection ranged from the first miners used by Vitalik to the present day. Lance gave me a full tour, and this will remain the crown jewel of the conference.
It was a week full of meeting Bitcoin royalty and uncomfortable realisations. While interactions were exciting, I became uncomfortable with the stark division between the haves and the have-nots. Miami’s contrasting scenes of opulence and the despair on the streets were a jarring reminder of the societal inequalities that exist. Witnessing such disparities at a conference aimed at revolutionising the financial system was ironic and pertinent.
The main critique was the presence of exclusive whale areas and hero worship stood out. These aspects seemed contrary to the inclusive nature of Bitcoin. Breaking down hierarchical barriers and recognising the contributions of all individuals is vital for the growth and success of the Bitcoin community.
There were many moments of hope and inspiration. Peter McCormack from What Bitcoin Did proudly represented his hometown of Bedford. For me this symbolised the power of Bitcoin to uplift even the most overlooked communities. Being born in Bedford and spending 30 years visiting grandparents who lived there, I know the area well. Seeing a new lease of life being breathed into this town and it being represented on the Nakamoto Stage felt powerful.
While driving education and adoption in the Bitcoin community is important, it’s essential to acknowledge that Stacy Herbert’s claim about the most brilliant minds in Bitcoin moving exclusively to El Salvador was inaccurate, overlooking the global contributions of talented individuals in advancing and developing the Bitcoin ecosystem. That said, she is right, if Bitcoin-related entities are targeted by the US, EU/UK media, it could lead to a brain drain, with talented individuals seeking opportunities in countries like El Salvador.
As I immersed myself in the conference, one realisation became clear: Bitcoin is inevitable. My resolve grew stronger as I learned and engaged with the community. It was evident that Bitcoin had the potential to reshape our financial landscape and empower individuals worldwide.
The buzz was palpable; from sharing nachos with Merissa Coello at Vespene Energy and wings with Troy Cross. Listening to my favourite speakers such as Margot Paez and witnessing an epic debate between Lyn Alden and Jeff Synder, and hanging out with Daniel Prince. Watching Saylor backstage along with The Crypto Couple, Rizzo and Scaramucci. Finally met Nathan Day of BTC Maps in person. Put the world to rights with Ben from BTC Sessions. Partying with the Bitcoin Policy UK team and spent hours talking tirelessly about Bitcoin with the most amazing people.
Looking forward to future conferences, it is crucial to foster an environment of equality and unity. We must avoid hierarchical structures and idolisation and instead focus on collaboration and education. We can collectively work towards a prosperous future by bridging gaps and creating a more inclusive Bitcoin community.
Attending the conference in Miami was a whirlwind of experiences and emotions. It was a transformative week, from exciting encounters with industry leaders to sobering realisations about societal divisions.
As we move forward, let’s strive for equality, inclusivity, and unity in the Bitcoin community. With Nashville hosting the next conference, I hope to see an event that celebrates the collective efforts and global impact of one of the most revolutionary technologies in human history. Together, we can pave the way for a more equitable and prosperous future powered by Bitcoin.