I’m finally home and rested from the long, exciting, invigorating, frenzied, fun weekend that was the Bitcoin 2013 conference. Since it wasn’t humanly possible to do everything and meet everyone, here’s a rundown of my personal experience during the event.
Arrived in San Jose with just enough time to check into the hotel and shower before Registration opened. After finally meeting up with eMansipater of Bitcoin Stack Exchange, we agreed that someone should really work out some standard protocol for arranging Meat Space meet-ups of virtual friends/acquaintances. Maybe we just haven’t had much opportunity to refine our approach, but looking for “a guy with a suitcase and a backpack” was a little awkward for me and I’m sure my self-description of “I’ll be wearing a blue shirt” was even less helpful.
In the main Exhibit Hall, the energy and excitement in the audience drew my attention more than Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss did. Once they opened with the ubiquitous Gandhi quote (you know the one), I lost interest. They didn’t do a bad job, per se, but hundreds of bitcoiners surrounded me and I’m sure I knew many of them from the forums though I might never recognize them face-to-face.
After having a few drinks, some appetizers and visiting the exhibit booths, I found a few more bitcointalk forum members: Rassah, Jon Holmquist (formerly of Coinabul, now with bitcoinstore, and the force behind the wildly successful Bitcoin Friday), DeaDTerra, Tuxavant (whom I had also met last year), and many others who prefer the subReddit or had only discovered Bitcoin very recently.
Most Surreal Moment of the Conference
Seeing the Winklevoss twins in person and thinking, “Meh” then watching Gavin walk by and almost blurting out “OMG! You’re Gavin Andresen! Can I have your autograph!”
Arrived at the Convention Center shortly after 9 AM. Since I was giving my own short presentation this morning, I spent most of my time going over my notes and convincing myself that there was no reason to be nervous (it’s been a while since I’ve done any public speaking). A brief overview of my and other Lightning Sessions can be found here. Afterward, I had a nice conversation with Bees Brothers. Well, the Bees Brothers’ father, actually, since the boys couldn’t make the conference.
Then, I rushed to listen to Adam B. Levine‘s talk: “Youtube is Broken, Rethinking Content Monetization with Bitcoin” I haven’t seen Let’s Talk Bitcoin! before, but the second half of his comments might have come straight from some of my own thoughts on the subject. Of course, I caught up with him and exchanged business cards.
I lost track of time then and only caught the tail end of the International Security Panel Session due to the sheer number of interesting individuals and conversations going on in the Exhibit Hall.
Finally, it was off to The Loft – Bar and Bistro for the afterparty thrown by the Bitcoin Fund. Once again, I met some characters: I briefly shook hands with Mike Caldwell of Casascius Coins, and chatted with Jay of Coinabul, and then with GoWest, The Bitcoin Trader. Also, thanks to Michael Grønager, I have now met 80% of all Danish Bitcoiners!
Running late again, so I missed most of Bitcoil‘s Meni Rosenfeld‘s talk on Mining Pool Reward Methods. Even though I don’t mine bitcoins, one of my biggest regrets was not taking advantage of eMansipater’s friendship to talk more to Meni Rosenfeld.
Most Fascinating Topic of the Conference
Eli Ben-Sasson – Universal and Affordable Computational Integrity
The work being done on Succinct Computational Integrity and Privacy (SCIP) is truly remarkable. Not only could this allow one to verify information and transactions without compromising privacy, it seems as if it may be put to use very soon. If you’re interested in Open Transactions, you should be interested in this.
More details on this eluded my google-fu but I did find another presentation on this by Eli Ben-Sasson from March of this year.
Eventually, I was able to tear myself away from a SCIP discussion and watched most of Pieter Wuille’s presentation on Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets.
Once again, I took the opportunity to learn more on a subject that I had previously neglected and sat through the Panel Discussion on Alt Chains. As Dennison Bertram (AKA crazy_rabbit) mentioned at the Bitcointalk forum, alt coins can have a role in discovering weaknesses in Bitcoin and its implementation before they become a serious issue.
Then it was a quick lunch where I took part in a conversation regarding the necessary evil of high energy consumption in mining. While everyone agreed it is currently the best way to verify and confirm transactions and uphold the network while maintaining its decentralization, I joked that Satoshi might have been more of a marketing genius employed by a global consortium of electricity suppliers than a cryptographic genius.
The Bitcoin Foundation Forum that took place during the extended lunch break was just about what one would expect from an informal gathering of this type: goals accomplished thus far and upcoming goals for the near future were briefly discussed. Peter Vessenes mentioned again that he would be stepping down as Executive Director but felt confident that we would be happy with the individual most likely to replace him.
Since I have exchanged correspondence with Dan Dascalescu regarding Blueseed and I would love to open a couple of BitBrew cafés on board, I attended his presentation. From what I’ve seen, it seems this might be the best coordinated and most likely to succeed approach of its type.
Up next was “The World’s First Cryptocurrency-based Political Zone” presented by Dr. Edan Yago. Much to my surprise, when Dr. Yago stepped up to the front of the room, I noticed he had been the person sitting next to me who introduced the topic of miners’ significant energy consumption at lunch! He is a charismatic speaker and it was an extremely interesting proposal.
Feeling over-saturated with information and ideas, I headed back to the hotel to unwind. Soon, however, I became restless. The sun was still shining and I was in a city full of bitcoiners; undoubtedly, something was going on somewhere nearby. I checked twitter and bitcointalk and, sure enough, soon discovered a poker game.
Most Entertaining Event In San Jose
I will forever be grateful to joesmoe2012 for hosting the informal Bitcoin poker game in his hotel room. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a dozen drunk bitcoiners trying to count their chips after determining that 3 BTC should equal 2050 chips, “to make it easier.” The Bitcoin Trader, easily one of the most likable people of the weekend, helped keep everything copacetic, even though he left early. Disappointingly, Stephen Gornick was apparently unable to make it; I had been looking forward to meeting him in person.
All in all, this conference was worth ten times the price of admission and I’ll be signing up for the 2014 event as soon as it’s announced. Thanks to Lindsay, Gavin, and everyone else responsible for coordinating this incredible experience.
See you next year!
May 16Going to San Jose!
I’ll be attending the 2013 Bitcoin Conference in San Jose this weekend, so any orders placed between May 16 and May 20 should expect a few more days than usual for the product to arrive. I’ve been fortunate enough to be allowed to give a short presentation during the Saturday Lightning Sessions, entitled “Bitcoin Benefits for Merchants.”
See you at the conference!
March 20How high will it go?
November 8Bitcoin Friday
In case you haven’t heard, several bitcoin merchants have decided to participate in their own version of “Black Friday,” which is the day after Thanksgiving when most American retailers run specials and promotions to liquidate their inventory since by that time the balance in their yearly ledgers has finally gone from red to black and every penny that comes in should go straight to the bottom line.
Bitcoin Friday is happening a little earlier, however. This November 9th (just a few short hours from the time of this post), shoppers with bitcoins in their wallets will be privy to a slew of deals from dozens of sites. BitBrew is happy to take part and offer 15% off of all orders from now until November 10th.
August 26Contest: Race for the Private Key
Game Pieces will be included with every order placed with SearchingForSatoshi.com and BitBrew.net but purchasing from either site will not be required to obtain any piece of the private key.
For more information (and Game Pieces), visit the following page: http://searchingforsatoshi.com/contest-race-for-the-private-key/
August 9Xenland’s Bitcoin Podcast
Xenland of CheaperInBitcoins has been kind enough to allow BitBrew to host downloads of his Bitcoin News Podcasts. Each episode will be posted here with brief descriptions as soon as possible and listeners are welcome to discuss them in the comments.
Here are the first three podcasts Xenland has released and brief summaries of the topics contained:
Xenland’s Bitcoin Podcast – August 5th, 6th, and 9th, 2012 -
- Roger Ver of MemoryDealers announces upcoming launch of his bitcoin only newegg.com competitior
- Open-Transactions at github.com
- Gavin Andresen’s Bitcoin Testing Project
- the 2012 London Bitcoin Conference
- Australian arrest related to importing drugs via Silk Road
- Bitcoin vending machine art project
- New Zealand customs officer linked to Silk Road
- Bitcoin Vending Machine Art Project
- Silk Road’s sister site, The Armory
- Bitcoins, porn, and poker
- How Kim Dotcom might benefit from Bitcoin
- PayPal’s new TOS for file sharing sites
August 9What’s New At BitBrew
BitBrew has added a few new, minor features for your convenience.
- A simple QR Code Generator for your BTC address activity.
- Teas are now available by the ounce.
- Obtaining a unique BTC address for your order has finally been automated!
Perhaps the best development of all, however, is one I can’t take any credit for – thanks to the recent dramatic increase in value of BTC versus conventional currencies, you can now get much more coffee for your bitcoins than just a few short weeks ago.
January 9New! BISTRO Electric Coffee Grinders
Now you can grind your BitBrew beans with a top-of-the-line BISTRO Electric Burr Grinder, available in five different colors. The grind can be adjusted to your preferred level of fineness and, best of all, the receptacle for the finished product is a glass container instead of plastic, eliminating much of the troublesome static electricity that is the bane of home grinders.
(Additional glass container with silicone sleeve available for 2 BTC.)
Only 15 BTC and, as with all BitBrew products, shipping within the contiguous United States is included.
Please allow 3 to 5 weeks for delivery.
January 8Monthly Deals
BitBrew is now implementing a “Coffee of the Month” recurring special.
Each month, I’ll choose a coffee and offer it at a discounted rate. January’s choice is Edd’s Ethiopian Harrar. If you’ve been wondering why this is one of our most popular beans, now’s the perfect time to give it a try! Until the end of the month, it’s only 2.49 BTC for 12 ounces, whole bean.
FYI, February’s special will be our Fair Trade and Organic Peruvian Pick Me Up.
December 28Year End Special!
One of my philosophies has always been, “It’s better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.” With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that I overstocked some coffee in anticipation of higher than average sales and an increased workload for my roaster during this holiday season.
What this means for you, dear consumer, is that you may take advantage of my optimism and purchase some of our most popular beans at a greatly reduced price while they are still fresh. For only 4 BTC, you can purchase two 12 ounce packages of BitBrew whole bean coffee (or two 12 ounce packages of Medium Grind for only 4.05 BTC).
But here’s the catch: This is a Grab Bag offer, meaning the coffee will be chosen at random from the stock I have on hand. As I mentioned above, however, these are our most popular coffees and, unless there is a particular bean you really would rather not receive, you’ll still be getting a premium coffee at a greatly reduced price.
Grab Bag Year End Special – Two (2) 12 oz packages (Whole Bean)
Grab Bag Year End Special – Two (2) 12 oz packages (Ground Medium)