October 05, 2022
Bitcoin 2022, a conference hosted in Miami Beach, has an outsized impact on the week. More than 25,000 people attended the three-day festival. The event is as true to Bitcoin’s implicit right-wing flavor as it is to its culture of price discourse – it featured keynotes with Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy, “self-help” psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson, and venture capitalist Peter Thiel.
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A healthy portion of the conference was spent reassuring attendees – which paid hefty amounts of money to attend – that they “were early” to a “financial revolution.” Whether that’s true is hard to discern. However, outside all of the pomp and circumstance (mind the pun), there were a number of keynotes and announcements which underlined healthy movement in the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Strike, a digital payments platform on Bitcoin’s Lightning Network announced it had integrated with digital store giant Shopify and point-of-sale leader NCR, to enable Bitcoin payments at some of the world’s largest vendors – including McDonald’s, among others.
Financial service companies – like the ones Bitcoin maxis would probably like to displace/destroy – also made a showing at the event: SoFi announced it was rolling out a feature to turn paychecks into crypto, Robinhood released its long-awaited crypto wallet and rolled Lightning network into its eligible means for sending and receiving crypto.
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And though there was plenty more at the conference, the real festivities and informalities took place outside of its walls – a music festival hosted on Saturday by the organizers of the event featured performances from Deadmau5, Logic, and K.Flay; scores of informal popups, meetups, and events hosted by crypto-facing companies such as Ledger and Messari gave crypto maxis a platform to meet and mingle.
The overwhelming – although anecdotal – consensus was that crypto is still in its early days. Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky, at a Celsius meetup in South Beach said that “Bitcoin is now 13 years old … but now has to grow up and become a man.” Whether or not “growing up and becoming a man” means eclipsing its 2021 highs, during which the price bested $65,000, or something else – well, that’s hard to tell.
Since Bitcoin 2021, the Bitcoin network has added support for stablecoins and smart contracts in a rare update, providing sufficient new excitement for investors. Between and Bitcoin 2023, it’s unlikely that the convention’s mainstays will change very much – but Bitcoin, which will by-then be stomping into its 14th year, absolutely might.