Here are some quick notes and impressions from Bitcoin Wednesday on 7 October, 2015.
- The Marine Terrein is a beautiful location set aside by the city as a center for innovation and sustainability. While the facilities are still in the early phases of development, it’s brimming with possibilities, and also fitting that Bitcoin Wednesday’s digital currency pioneers met here.
- Evan Duffield‘s announcement of the “Evolution” release of Dashpay lived up to the high expectations.
The Dash technology already contains an impressive amount of innovation compared to many of the other alternative digital currencies, but “Evolution” looks like an eye opener:
- It was also impressive that Dash team members, Daniel Diaz, Balázs Király and Robert Wiecko also flew in (from Panama, Hungary and Switzerland, respectively) to give talks about their work on the cryptocurrency — in total five from the Dash team from five different countries. Evan has assembled an ambitious group with a lot of interesting ideas.
- Based only on the reaction from the audience more Dash-related presentations would be welcome at future editions of Bitcoin Wednesday.
- During the Q&A after his talk, Evan fielded criticism about early distribution of Dash tokens, bringing attention to some of the special risks and controversies in launching a decentralized cryptocurrency.
- I was told that the same individual who brought the criticism is an active promoter of the Monero community. The photo of him passing out Monero flyers was recently posted to Dashpay’s forum. In my opinion, that’s no knock on him. Respectful and honest critique from the competition should be a part of a open and free society, and I’m hopeful that it’s a good sign that the sector is starting to mature. Full disclosure: Long before Dash’s appearance here, Monero’s development team received (and accepted) an invitation to present during Bitcoin Wednesday. Bitcoin Wednesday holds a highly neutral and unbiased approach to digital currency that welcomes diversity of opinion and tolerates all sides of the ongoing debates.
- It does seem to me like the digital currency sector is plagued by charges of fraud and unfair distribution, but in no way is it worse than the traditional financial sector. Think of it this way: Any small market can suffer from manipulation. As the traders will tell you, “There isn’t any market that cannot be manipulated as long as you are big enough.” Bitcoin, with the largest market cap in the sector hovering below $4 billion, is tiny in comparison with many of the world’s traditional markets. Relatively small transactions can have substantial impact on the Bitcoin price, and the problem is substantially worse for the alt-coins.
- The idea that an early group of insiders unfairly profit and extract value at the expense of the rest of the world is nothing new. It’s business as usual on Wall Street and Silicon Valley, and many would argue that it’s inherent to capitalism: Tech startups are very high-risk enterprises that should arguably deliver high rewards to the earliest investors. Yet despite this danger, the digital currency sector is potentially far more democratic in the sense that it’s now possible — for better or worse — for very small “investors” to take an early position.
- Of course that doesn’t justify anything. I believe that sooner or later, if the sector is going to realize its full potential, we’re going to have to hold ourselves to much higher standards than the traditional financial system.
- Innovation on the more activist, social and sustainable side of the spectrum is being done by Daniel Hassan. During his talk he gave an example of the types of progressive and more community-based financial instruments based on Blockchain technology that his team at Robin Hood is developing.
- Daniel is also working with Jaromil, who gave an equally good talk during Bitcoin Wednesday in June 2015.
- Oscar Kneppers, CEO of Rockstart, expressed interest in expanding his company’s activity in the sector, even while referring to it as an interesting niche.
- Wassili Zafiris lead a lively, interactive discussion on how outsider’s might view the sector, sometimes as a cult, other times as a culture.
- Warie’s Thai catered a delicious candlelit benefit dinner before the conference. Warie’s on the Rozengracht is the first restaurant in Amsterdam to accept Bitcoin.
- There was so much talking and drinking during and after the conference that the bar actually ran out of beer at the end of the evening.
- Great thanks to everyone involved, including the audience, but especially the great speakers, Evan Duffield and his team, Oscar Kneppers, Wassili Zafiris and Daniel Hassan, Warie’s for their delicious Thai catering and Krijn and Saida for their wonderful support behind the scenes. See you next time.
- This is Bitcoin Wednesday’s Dash address for donations: XidBmfm94dGxGoTEm1G8BUZfqW2KXdsT9P
– Decentralized API
– 35 TB Blockchain storage capacity
– Zero-fee, anonymous transactions
– Supports up to 1500 transactions per second
– Decentralized trustless oracles
– Merchant gateway support
Evan estimated that it will take another 12 to 18 months before “Evolution” has been fully implemented
More photos and video soon to come.