How to Onboard the Next Hundred Million Users Was At The Heart Of Bitcoin 2022
This is a guest article by Christian Lind, Decentralized Finance Advocate at Defieh.
The largest financial conference in the world just took place April 6-9, 2022 in beautiful Miami, Florida – Bitcoin 2022, the conference dedicated to Satoshi Nakamoto’s cryptocurrency has reached a new scale and in many ways, the event’s successes and flaws were not too dissimilar to what Bitcoin is experiencing on the global stage.
The conference agenda
Let’s start with the big themes of this year’s conference. The question every panel was focusing on answering was how can we onboard the next hundred million or the next billion users. The word heard in the convention center was education. There is a consensus that in order to take Bitcoin to the next level, educating people, institutional investors, and legislators is needed.
Second to teaching people outside the crypto community was finding a way to gain momentum at the institutional level by utilizing stablecoins as a necessary intermediary step between going from fiat to Bitcoin. Removing technological friction for new adopters that might not be tech-savvy or are worried about some of the complexities of wallet custody, was also in the minds of many panelists.
Lastly, one thing that was clear to everyone is that the immediate future of Bitcoin is with its layer 2 protocol, the Lightning Network.
It has to be mentioned that Cash App, owned by Jack Dorsey’s Block, formerly Square, was the biggest sponsor of the event and that it had a significant number of speakers on a variety of panels but every single member of their team was enthralling.
The event outline
Bitcoin 2022 kicked off with the unveiling of the Miami Bull statue, a crypto version of the bull of Wall Street. This first day was reserved for Industry and Whale pass holders and was centered on fostering adoption among institutional investors factoring their specific needs – how they need to adapt to a never-sleeping crypto market, how to onboard retail, etc.
The conversations were really about finding the common grounds that would further the adoption of the cryptocurrency and many speakers were promoting the use of stablecoins as the path of least resistance towards global adoption.
This wouldn’t be the only day stablecoins were mentioned in a meaningful way, on the last day, Senator Cynthia Lummis mentioned that the US Congress is currently exploring a future using a stablecoin as opposed to a CBDC. She also noted that Bitcoin should be regulated as a commodity whereas most cryptocurrencies using proof-of-stake should be viewed as securities.
The Infrastructure Bill Reckoning was one of the most fascinating panels of Industry day at Bitcoin 2022. Optimistic statements like Canada’s Mr Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary’s prediction about Bitcoin, blockchain, and crypto becoming the 12th sector of the S&P were balanced by Perianne Boring. The CEO of the Chamber of Digital Commerce reminding everyone about the still-existing need to debunk pervasive false narratives about bitcoin when talking with people outside the community.
The first day opened to general admissions was all over the map but at its core it was all about education and removing friction due to technology adoption. This is the day where a lot of the most noteworthy speakers were seen from the controversial PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel to outspoken billionaire, Ricardo Salinas, from infamous quarterback Aaron Rogers to legendary tennis player, Serena Williams.
This day at Bitcoin 2022 had a lot of really good panels and not just on the Nakamoto stage; if the high point was definitely Strike’s wunderkind, Jack Maller’s keynote, any person who hasn’t got the chance to watch some of the panels on the Genesis and Open Source stages should definitely take a look on the Bitcoin Magazine YouTube channel for some of these panels.
If the day ended up on a high note, it was punctuated by cautionary statements about perceived attacks on Bitcoin from questioning ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) to a rabbit hole where cryptocurrencies were hypothesized as being the attack on Bitcoin by Amber’s founder, Aleksandar Svetski or Peter Thiel claiming that the term pro-blockchain was an anti-bitcoin dog-whistle.
The last day of the conference opened with an enthralling panel about macroeconomics followed an unapologetic one about Bitcoin mining where the conversation went from demystifying misinformation about Bitcoin mining to an epiphany about the need of promoting all the benefits resulting from crypto miners setting installations from the economic benefits like job creation to improving the power grid resilience. Especially in a world where renewable energy production comes first.
The last few panels from Bitcoin 2022 were turned towards the future with questions raised from famed Canadian psychologist, Jordan Peterson, to Bitcoin critic, Eric Weinstein. One of the last few panels was featuring two teenage Bitcoin and Lightning coders and showed the brilliance and accessibility of the Bitcoin Community.
It was another packed day filled with great panels on the main stage, and even more absorbing ones on the other stages. If many panels during the conference portrayed lightning as the way for Bitcoin to reach enough velocity to be outstanding when it comes to transactions.
Twice on the last day, this side of Bitcoin was downplayed – Dr Jeff Ross from Vailshire Capital Management stated that Bitcoin is not for trading; its purpose is being a savings account and the President of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, Avik Roy said that for Satoshi’s cryptocurrency, being a medium of exchange doesn’t matter anymore because of technology; it’s all about its unmatched store of value benefit.
Lastly, let’s talk about the conference itself; talking to attendees who were there the previous years, many thought the organization of the event keeps improving but there are some growing pains for example with the multiplication of stages and panels, choices had to be made and often it was a choice between a very niche yet interesting topic and a panel featuring well-known speakers.
Meanwhile, Mike Novogratz the Founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital had a fireside chat and a keynote speech, the first on industry day, the second on the last day of the conference. While interesting, he repeated the same sentences almost word for word which felt redundant and a waste of an opportunity.
There was a feeling that despite the attendance doubling to 25K since the previous conference, that number seemed a bit of disappointment as on the first day which was reserved for industry pass holders and whales. The rumor was that between 40 and 50K attendees were expected to come for the main part of the conference.
Finally, the two hot fuss items that animated the discussion among attendees was the suspension of the YouTube channel from Bitcoin Magazine, the organizer of the conference, many speculated on the reason why but there wasn’t any official answer shared and Shachar Bialick, Curve’s CEO featuring in his presentation a quote from Satoshi Nakamoto that is a known April Fools’ joke.
This being said, Bitcoin 2022 was a huge success that should fill with hope for every member of the Bitcoin community and anyone interested in being part of it. The title of the fireside chat between Ark Investment’s Cathie Wood and Michael Saylor from MicroStrategy is the embodiment of what to expect for Bitcoin and the Bitcoin Conference: the future is bright.
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