BTC Prague, which took place for the first time this year, has already become one of my favourite Bitcoin conferences.
From June 8 to 10, Prague was the undisputed centre of the Bitcoin universe. More than 10,000 people gathered in this beautiful city in the heart of Europe, which proudly claims to be the “Bitcoin capital of the world”. There is indeed some evidence for this ambitious title. Prague hosted the first international Bitcoin conference in November 2011 (which I unfortunately missed, as I was in India), it is the home of the first mining pool, the first hardware wallet, the 12 word seed phrase and many other achievements that make Bitcoin work better.
BTC Prague took place in a huge expo centre in the outskirts of the city, which is well connected by Prague’s metro. There was one big hall for the main lectures, another one for numerous boothes of Bitcoin companies and projects, as well as several areas for eating, drinking and socialising. Despite its size, the atmosphere was always nice and relaxed, as everything was organised smoothly.
I especially liked the fact that it was affordable to enter the expo area. For only 9 Euros you could see all boothes as well as the talks and panels on the expo stage. Unlike other big conferences, BTC Prague was open to everyone interested in Bitcoin.
To see the rockstars of Bitcoin, like Microstrategy’s CEO Michael Saylor, or Saifedean Ammous, author of the “Bitcoin Standard”, one needed access to the main conference area. Michael Saylor was first interviewed about his views on Bitcoin by Eric Weiss, founder of Blockchain Investment Group. Eric was the one who “orange-pilled” him – one of these funny insider expressions, meaning to convince someone of Bitcoin. Michael also gave a brillant keynote speech in which he put Bitcoin into perspective with other assets such as gold, equity or real estate. His conclusion: Bitcoin is the best investment to protect yourself against inflation. The crowd gave him standing ovations.
Saifedean Ammous, one of the smartest economists supporting Bitcoin, shared his insights on a panel on the main stage. He also signed his books and answered questions. His Q&A session in the VIP area was scheduled for 30 minutes, but lasted 1 1/2 hours instead, as it was so interesting. Saifedean is very optimistic about Bitcoin in the long run, and he has convincing economic arguments for this. We even discussed my project of a Bitcoin backed stablecoin.
One of my favourite speakers at Bitcoin conferences is Giacomo Zucco. He is always controversial and funny. This time he dissed ordinals, which have been bloating the Bitcoin blockchain for a while, as “retarded” and obsolete. I couldn’t agree more!
A very impressive presentation gave twelve year old Samantha de Waal, the daughter of Bitcoin developer Ben de Waal, who later talked about hardware wallets. Samantha was born after Bitcoin’s invention and is totally passionate about it. She recommended several children’s books about Bitcoin and promoted “Bitcoin Kid Month” which will happen in July. It’s amazing to see this new generation of Bitcoiners – they are the future!
Bitcoin’s notorious mascot, the honey badger, jumped around the conference and made everyone take selfies with him. Here you see him with Mir from Italy, who is a Bitcoin blogger and podcaster, and also a very good singer. We spontaneously performed some of my Bitcoin songs together at the “Satoshi Rockamoto” party, where everyone was invited to play and jam. Our band was formed the same night and never rehearsed, but we had a lot of fun anyway. Thank you, Mir, Toby and Eric, you rock!
On Friday night, a giant Bitcoin logo was projected on the headquarters of the Czech Central Bank. The purpose was to send a clear political message to the authorities: Bitcoin is here to stay. Bitcoin cannot be banned and will sooner or later replace the centralised monetary system – so better prepare and study it!
I had a great time in Prague! I saw many old friends again and made some new ones. I also learned some new things. One project I will be looking into more intensely is Nostr, the decentralised social media platform that integrates Lightning payments. BTC Prague impressed me with its high quality and friendly atmosphere, something I have only experienced at Labitconf in Latin America so far.
I will definitely participate in BTC Prague 2024, which will take place June 13 to 15, and I hope to see you there, too!
By Aaron Koenig