“Nothing is true, everything is permitted” – this is the Friedrich Nietzsche quote which lured me into attending a memorable Bitcoin conference. Taking place in the sunny Mediterranean island of Mallorca, the “Blockchain Days” event has subverted every expectation associated with the so-called “blockchain industry”: the largest majority of talks were Bitcoin-centric and, unlike more popular conferences of the year, a large majority of the speakers were OGs.
To me, it was impossible not to feel like an imposter in a panel with Amir Taaki (early Bitcoin developer who created Libbitcoin and standardized the BIP procedures), Joshua Scigala (creator of gold and bitcoin exchange Vaultoro, who was promoting BTC in YouTube videos back in 2011), and Richard Werner (YES, the man who coined the term “quantitative easing” and first proposed it back in 1994).
Likewise, sitting at the dinner table next to Peter Todd, Christian Rootzoll (RaspiBlitz creator and maintainer), Thomas Voegtlin (creator of Electrum wallet), and Ben Arc (FOSS & DIY hardware enthusiast best known for LNBits and Bowser wallet) felt surreal. To me, it was an incredible learning experience and a great way to understand what developers are up to and how they come up with ideas for Bitcoin projects.
I’ve previously mentioned in a tweet that USA and Europe have a very different way of approaching Bitcoin conferences: the former tends to capitalize on BTC-only purity (but ends up disappointing in some shape of form due to a clash between the attendees’ criteria for purity and the money-making interests of the organizers), while the latter is more open to “blockchain” and “crypto” projects (but ends up having a speaker line-up which consists of an overwhelming majority of Bitcoin maximalists).
But without this more relaxed approach to non-Bitcoin experimentation, I wouldn’t have discovered Harry Halpin’s Nym project (an attempt to create a more private and decentralized version of Tor with mixnets) and Amir Taaki’s fascination with pruning zero-knowledge proofs which enable surprising scalability. It’s unlikely that Christoph Heuermann’s presentation about avoiding taxation across multiple jurisdictions or Pavol Luptak’s advocacy for sovereignty would have been accepted at a Bitcoin-only conference. And had it not been a “Blockchain Days” event, we wouldn’t have had an ICO pitch to take us through a 2017 time portal and remind us of simpler and more idealistic times.
Overall, I think that it’s a shame that some Bitcoin puritans disregarded this event due to its name and possibly due to the participation of a few shitcoiners. And I’m also disappointed that a conference whose headliner is a fiat billionaire CEO has been more successful than one which puts together Peter Todd, Thomas Voegtlin, Amir Taaki, and other OGs.
We shouldn’t allow purity tests to keep us from listening to the voices of those who have been in Bitcoin for longer than 10 years and wrote code that we still use in our daily lives. But then again, bull markets tend to be exuberant, irrational, and driven by the morality of “number go up”. So maybe that whenever the price action becomes less interesting, we will remember to learn from the ones who really understand how any of this works.
As for my presentation, it was essentially a geopolitical analysis on the situation in El Salvador and the extent to which countries around the world are ready to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. While I wait for the high-quality video recording to get published, I recommend you to read this article to better understand the issue that I introduced and explained to the audience.
My personal highlight was the opportunity to launch the BTCTKVR magazine at Mallorca Blockchain Days. And for this achievement, I would like to thank Joshua Scigala from Vaultoro for unconditionally believing in my work and Chris from the organizing team for facilitating the distribution of the 50 printed copies that I brought. The magazine was well-received, I was happy to get some feedback and recommendations from Bitcoin OGs, and to this day I feel grateful for this opportunity. If you haven’t received a copy, you can find the contents in the free digital version.
Also, special thanks to Nindy for inviting me to be a speaker at the event. I feel honored that he liked my performance at TC Conf in October 2019 and wanted me to be part of the line-up for this one.
By the end of Mallorca Blockchain Days, I’ve finally figured out the meaning of “nothing is true, everything is permitted”. However, I won’t explain it to you. Instead, I’ll invite you to join the event next year and find out for yourself how this Nietzsche quote is relevant to an organized gathering of developers, advocates, and enthusiasts whose cumulated experience in Bitcoin exceeds a century: Peter Todd, Thomas Voegtlin, and Amir Taaki alone have about 35 years.
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The Bitcoin Takeover project is sponsored by Vaultoro, the exchange which only allows you to trade with hard money. This is not financial advice, but on Vaultoro you can use bitcoin to hedge against inflation and switch to gold to avoid volatility. The trades are seamless and you can always switch to another asset to maximize the value of your investment.
Furthermore, Vaultoro also publishes monthly glass books to prove that it holds 100% of the user’s assets and doesn’t engage in fractional reserve banking. CEO Joshua Scigala is also a very committed and principled bitcoiner who supports the Lightning network and really wants to see it blossom (which is why he also sponsors the giveaway from the BTCTKVR Radio broadcasts).
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