Live Blog: Consensus 2016 Conference, Day 2

7:40AM

I’m here bright and early after a long day at the conference, and night at the CoinCenter Gala. I actually had a pretty great time, and I’m a little hoarse from talking and a bit of hollaring during the proceedings. I drank too much, but luckily not really hung over.

My mission was mainly to introduce myself to people that might be relevant to Bitcoin Core’s new efforts to mobilize a communications team. Everyone I spoke with felt Core does desperately need to improve their overall approachability and efforts in communicating what they do, how they do it, and why, in layman’s terms.

It was great to meet and chat with everyone from the Coin Center team. They seem to be very well-equipped to fight for favorable Bitcoin policy.

I had a chat with Bruce Fenton, of the Bitcoin Foundation, where I thanked him for representing Bitcoin well in his television interviews, as the media swarmed around the Craig Wright announcements yesterday. While we have many things to criticize the Foundation for, and Bruce himself in some regards, I was tipsy enough to realize that we can’t just keep writing off their efforts, and that it would be much better to find ways to get better communicate with the Foundation so we can stay on the same page. It’s not going to be easy for the Foundation to repair its image with the Bitcoin community, but they seem intent on trying.

I sat at the OB1 (OpenBazaar) table (assigned seating), but I didn’t really talk to them much. I didn’t even introduce myself to Brian Hoffman, he was too busy sweeping ‘The Blockies” awards anyway! I personally have no particular bias for or against their product, it seems like something that would have been created by someone eventually and time will tell whether the world needs it.

The awards presentation was great, Meltem Demirors hosted and did a great job keeping the energy up. I was a bit disappointed in some of the finalists, and OB1 really was the best choice for every award category they were in.

Fred Wilson gave a great speech that generally was about rallying Bitcoin/Blockchain supporters and assuring everyone that we’ve really got something here. It should be noted that I’m generally not a fan of Fred’s perspectives on Bitcoin issues in his blog, but I did appreciate all he had to say last night.

8:22AM

The festivities have begun, starting with ‘special guest’ rep from Deloitte. She’s explaining how they had a Women in Blockchain luncheon yesterday, and commenting on improving quantity of women in Blockchain. She mentions that unlike older industries, we have an opportunity to embed women more fairly, and that, in regards to the Blockchain industry, “The door is wide open, if there’s a door at all.” Well, I’d ask, if the door is wide open, what’s the problem exactly? Personally, I find stuff like this insulting to women, I’ll leave it at that.

8:31AM How Tech Companies Are Embracing Blockchain panel

Austin Hill talking about how Blockstream “released” sidechains, and explains a bit of what Blockstream does. Don’t get too excited, the words he provided did nothing to help me understand Blockstream or what they actually do any better. He did mention some sort of tool to help the kids spin up blockchains.

This is sandwiched by Microsoft, IBM, and Cognizant explaining their Blockchainyness.

Reminder: You can read a more thorough transcript of these panels by visiting Bryan Bishop’s site here: http://diyhpl.us/wiki/transcripts/coindesk-consensus-2016/

Jerru Cuomo, of IBM, admits they have had people tack on “blockchain” to projects simply because it was easier to get funding that way…

9:03AM

I’m a bit distracted from the current panel while trying to read up a little on Craig Wright’s next magic trick. I guess he’s gonna move some old coins live on BBC or something? I wonder what the market will think if he moves a LOT of coins, heh.

Also distracted with planning a meeting of the Bitcoin Core folks here to prepare for today’s Bitcoin Core Fireside Chat. For anyone interested, Meltem prepared a splash page here: https://bitcoincorefireside.splashthat.com/

12:44PM

I spent the last few hours hanging out with Eric Lombrozo and Bryan Bishop, mostly preparing for the Fireside Chat at 1:30PM, doing our best to appreciate who makes up this audience, and how we can best make best use of this opportunity to communicate with them. Joseph Poon, representing the Lighning Network project, will most likely be joining them on the panel, in addition to David Vorick, of Nebulous Labs, who will represent an outsider perspective on Bitcoin Core.

Once Meltem showed up, she helped keep the meeting on focus and gathered notes, etc. It’s interesting to actually witness and participate in translating the technical topics and complex concepts related to Bitcoin and the Bitcoin Core cooperative into digestible sentences for an audience that will probably contain very few coders. The Core Devs are very intelligent, rational and candid people, and sometimes that can be intimidating to the unitiated.

The original plan of streaming the chat on YouTube has been changed to a Blab stream. Once I have the link I will tweet it and share from all channels I can. Please check it out!

Paul Sztorc, of Bloq, and the Hivemind project, stopped by to say hello to Eric and I at some point, which led to a great conversation about sidechains and digital identity. Paul’s the most pleasant man in Bitcoin, I’m pretty sure, but he also knows his shit. Blockstream, if you’re listening, I want a damn interview with someone about your Liquid sidechain. I WILL hunt you down eventually!

One of the scholarship winners (there was a contest of sorts with a prize of a free ticket to the conference) also approached us to ask questions about Bitcoin. She’s a lawyer based in Australia, but hailing from Bangladesh. She asked whether we knew anything about the Bitcoin scene in Bangladesh. While we had nothing to offer specifically, I did tell her about a conversation I had Andrew Lee, CEO of Purse.io, last night at the gala. I had asked him about whether Purse would eventually get heat for the money laundering potential within his service. He had an unexpected answer. Most of their users performing the role of securing and ordering the desired products are based in India, and many of them are coming from a side economy where they are paid in Amazon Gift Card credits, and thus use Purse as a way to convert that value into Bitcoin and then local fiat, etc. He noted that the total amount of unspent Amazon credit in the worlds exceeds something like $14 billion! You’ll have to do your own research to verify these numbers…

We’re going live! https://blab.im/meltem-demirors-bitcoin-core-fireside-chat-at-consensus-2016

4:26PM

I’m back in the main ballroom, Larry Summers is on stage waxing about Bitcoin and regulation, essentially pushing a narrative that all of the remotely controversial goals of Bitcoin will never fly. Meh, I kinda wish Silbert didn’t give this guy this sort of power… “I do not own any Bitcoin.” Well, then I don’t care what you say.

The Bitcoin Fireside chat went … okay. I say this only in the context of our goal of taking this opportunity to inform the blockchain world about  Bitcoin and Bitcoin Core. This was mainly a disappointment in that the audience was small and largely made up of Bitcoin Core & Classic reps and supporters. Beyond that, it was still a good presentation, and the debate that occurred was very entertaining and exciting.

In the room, we had most if not all of Blockstream, Roger Ver, Gavin Andresen, Rassah from Mycelium, Core Devs, etc. Ver and Gavin were there, of course, as antagonists, planting loaded questions and generally trying to incite sound bytes they could use against Core in all the blog posts they will right later.

Towards the end it was hard to keep order in the room, which eventually broke off into smaller groups, each having their own debate. Ver was called out for his recent ignorant tweet about block size having something to do with his inability to spend unconfirmed transactions. Gavin declined answering what his vision of successful Bitcoin looks like. I even chimed in at one point to stop the madness with my own perspective. Good. stuff.

4:52PM

VISA rep on stage, pumping VISA or something. Claiming they are open and collaborative now because they have an API and will also do business directly with Apple & Facebook instead banks alone. They are “looking toward the future” guys! They are working with Chain.com to identify real world applications for blockchain. Alrighty.

Now Chain is giving away a prize to a broadway show while he ‘makes the blockchain real’ for the audience.

5:00PM

I want to take a minute to share a random conspiracy theory I cooked up regarding Craig Wright. Now that he has announced that he plans to move some unknown amount of Bitcoins to prove himself as Satoshi, I wonder why he would do such a thing. We already know this doesn’t remove all doubt, right? Well, what if this is all an elaborate scheme to allow him to move a large amount of Bitcoin while controlling the story as to why. The real story might be that he hopes to move them to break them down into smaller lots and eventually start to sell them off? Consider that if anyone to move a huge lot of old coins without sharing a story, this would surely spook the market. Maybe this is a way for him to set those coins free?

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