From June 3 to 6, the Bitcoin 2021 conference was held in Miami. Last year, the event had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. And now, it seems, the participants made up for lost time: the number of guests exceeded 12,000.
Among the speakers were many celebrities, including Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and the undefeated Floyd Mayweather. In addition, numerous after-parties and networking events were held to add significance to the event and provide a great opportunity for one-on-one networking. The conference clearly showed how much the crypto-sphere has changed, as well as the attitude towards it in society.
Such different enthusiasts
The decision to hold the conference in Miami is a landmark one: the local government is actively promoting cryptocurrencies. Mayor Francis Suarez even allowed residents to pay their taxes and salaries in digital money, planning to turn the city into a Mecca of the cryptosphere and attract numerous blockchain companies there.
Among the guests at the conference were celebrities Paris Hilton, Floyd Mayweather, Jack Dorsey and the Winklevoss brothers. They took part in various workshops and discussions, including those about non-interchangeable tokens (NFT). Mayweather, the legendary boxer and entrepreneur who had already launched his own collection of NFTs and sold them at a profit, presented his expertise on the subject. He told the conference attendees that in the future “one of the cryptocurrencies may rise to the pedestal along with bitcoin”. Mr. Money took the stage wearing a T-shirt with the logo of Etherium, thus demonstrating what kind of coin he was referring to.
And speech of first crypto-billionaire and founder of Gemini exchange Cameron Winklevoss was remembered by phrase: “If you have one bitcoin now, you will become a millionaire in future. Congratulations.”
Winklevoss had the name of the punk band Rage Against the Machine on his T-shirt: the band preaches the idea of freedom from capitalism and money. It’s noteworthy that the Federal Reserve building became the background for the famous slogan on the Gemini owner’s clothing. Does not the billionaire predict the replacement of the financial giant with another mechanism – more modern, digital and with the prefix “crypto”? By the way, Winklevoss expressed the opinion that bitcoin may one day be used even on Mars.
In addition to athletes and showbiz representatives, politicians, including senators from the Wyoming Republican Party, also attended the conference. Clearly, the crypto-industry is coming out of the underground and becoming mainstream.
All the more so because the Wall Street fraternity also made a big splash at the event. The fellows had a carefully chosen business casual look- polo shirts, neatly styled hair, and loose-fitting pants. They tried hard not to stand out from the crypto-anarchists in shorts and flip-flops, but not very well. Nevertheless, according to John Wu, president of Ava Labs, the conference showed how much the role of traditional financiers at the event has changed. Two years ago they seemed like tourists, who came to “just to watch,” but now they have become direct participants in the action.
Sam Bankman-Fried, head of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, confirms the seriousness of the general mood towards digital currencies. According to him, the paradigm shift is already evident: if previously digital currencies had to seek recognition from other asset classes, now representatives of traditional finance are demonstrating initiative in mastering cryptocurrencies.
Brock Pierce, chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, a well-known figure in these circles, was also an expression of the general positive mood of the participants. He stated categorically: the crypto-future “will come one way or another – with or without you.
El Salvador – the first swallow
With a long and standing ovation (and standing, of course), the participants of the conference in Miami were met by the video message of El Salvador’s President Nayib Buquele, in which he proposed to make bitcoin a legal means of payment in the country. A few days after the speech of the head of the Latin American state, it became known that the parliament of El Salvador approved the presidential bill. It will enter into force on September 7. And on June 25, the head of state presented the new digital wallet and promised each citizen $30 in BTC for downloading this useful application. On the same day, the media reported that the crypto machine operator, Athena Bitcoin, was preparing to install 1,500 of its devices in El Salvador.
Buquelet said it would provide the mining companies with all the conditions for operations, including cheap electricity from renewable energy plants. The country has many dormant volcanoes that heat up groundwater and provide the opportunity to generate electricity with geysers.
Following this, investor Anthony Pomliano was quick to assure the audience that El Salvador would definitely not be the last country “to venture into such a bold act.”
Not just bitcoin…
Despite the name of the conference, the first cryptocurrency was not the #1 topic at the conference. Numerous venues were dedicated to other blockchains, projects, and tokens. A lot was said about etherium, DeFi and NFT. By the way, a separate seminar was devoted to the latter. Thus, there is an obvious widening of institutional investors’ horizons with regard to cryptocurrencies and the market has gone beyond the boundaries it was assigned yesterday.
…and not just Elon Musk.
An iconic feature of the event was the clear trend of the cryptosphere changing its status from a hype phenomenon to a mature industry that deserves the closest attention. Digital assets are not just Elon Musk with his tweets and promises to launch Dogecoin to the moon, but also, for example, Jack Dorsey.
The head of popular platforms went beyond the statement that “if it weren’t for Twitter and Square, he’d be working on bitcoin.”
He openly admitted to being a fan of BTC: “If the bitcoin community needed more time and effort, I would definitely leave my companies and work on cryptocurrency, because it changes everything. Bitcoin is the main thing I have to work on in my life right now.”
The participants of the event also touched on the problem of the recent collapse of BTC. One of the guests of the conference was Rahul Pajidipati, the head of India’s ZebPay payment system. According to him, everyone he talked to was clearly expecting the bitcoin price to rise – even despite the current drawdown. According to those present, there is no bearish sentiment in the market at all. And this point of view is shared by both avid crypto-enthusiasts and people from Wall Street.
Undoubtedly, the Miami conference can be called a big step in the recognition of cryptocurrencies by the general public. Today, they are promoted not only by business people, but also by politicians, in particular some U.S. senators and the president of El Salvador. For company, they lack only Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.
Even judging by the number of attendees (12,000 people) and the nearly one-kilometer line at the entrance to the main pavilion, we see a growing interest in cryptocurrencies. The digital money industry is no longer just a trend, but also a confident trend.
In the conference report, Rahul Pajidipati noted that bitcoin is a movement that can end inequality and give new opportunities to those who are still without access to finance.
Participants stated that Bitcoin 2021 was not only a celebration and an interesting hangout, but was generously filled with the spirit of capitalism and money. Organizers set up bitcoin ATMs along the perimeter of the pavilions and sold bags and T-shirts with the logos of the event. Numerous coffee shops couldn’t keep up with serving drinks to those in attendance, and Mayweather’s eyes seemed to flicker with an etherium logo.
No doubt digital money will change the world, and in 10 years it won’t be what it is now. But most of all, it will change the lives of people who recognize the potential of cryptocurrencies in time.