After organizing a successful conference in March in San Francisco, CoinSummit put on another exclusive, high profile Bitcoin event this Thursday and Friday. The event was created by Venture Capitalist Pamir Gelenbe and the focus was on enabling connections between entrepreneurs and investors.
As reported by CoinTelegraph back in May, the location - the East Wintergarden in the heart of Canary Wharf, London’s financial district – was aptly chosen to reflect this financial focus and provide a beautiful, air-filled space. Overlooking the event, the headquarters of the Citibank, HSBC and others were looking down on us.
Even though the bankers themselves were mostly absent, the push towards integration with the financial system was evident. On the first day, five of seven panels were directly finance related covering areas such as investing in Bitcoin companies, Bitcoin derivatives and the question of whether Wall Street would get involved in Bitcoin anytime soon.
Opening and State of Bitcoin Report
After opening remarks by Pamir Gelenbe, Roger ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ Ver took the stage and shared his impressions of the changing Bitcoin landscape during the – in Bitcoin-terms – long time since he first got involved.
Afteward, Garrick Hilleman presentated the latest edition of CoinDesk’s State of Bitcoin report, which covered Q2. The report confirmed the prevailing impression in the Bitcoin space – things are developing well and a lot of activity is going on in the startup space, but we are seeing relatively slow growth when it comes to consumer adoption.
For the first time, CoinDesk also included some predictions: By the end of the year, they are expecting 100,000 merchants to accept Bitcoin and passing the threshold of 8m Bitcoin wallets created.
One project that was present throughout the event was Swarm. Apart from a presentation of founder Joel Dietz during the startup showcase, the company also sponsored a booth and the cocktail party on Thursday evening. With their crowdfunding efforts lasting until July 20, the company obviously wanted the publicity to make a last push to reach their crowdfunding target.
The cocktail party in the evening was at the nearby Battery Club, overlooking the Thames. Many made their way over there to continue drinking. They also announced some of the first project that will be using the Swarm platform including a program to send a satellite to space and a natural chips company in California.
The second day started with a panel addressing one of the most discussed issue of the last few months: The centralization of mining power. With Peter Todd, core developer Jeff Garzik and Cornell professor Emin Gun Sirer, the participants were deeply versed in the issue and the panel was one of the most insightful.
Of course, the panel was not without irony as GHash.io was the main sponsor of the conference. While all agreed that a more decentralized distribution of mining centralization was universally acknowledged to be a big issue, the panelists seemed reasonably optimistic that some solution would be found. But Emin Gun Sirer had a great perspective on the issue: Even if there is dominant miners don’t abuse their power, the concentration of mining power completely invalidates Bitcoin’s claim to be decentralized and trustless. A big issue, indeed.
One of the highlights, was the Startup Showcase, which was distributed over both days featured around 20 companies. I was very impressed with the overall quality of the companies and their huge diversity. They included startups such as SMS wallet 37Coins, gift card provider Bit4coin, blockchain API provider Chain.com, analytics company Coinometrics and gold-bitcoin exchange Bullion Bitcoin.
At the end of the event, Pamir Gelenbe sent off the 250 attendees with a call to ‘change the world’. I left the event with the impression that the Bitcoin ecosystem and infrastructure is being developed at a rapid rate, even though the mass mainstream adoption is still some ways off. But if things keep going like this, once it happens, at least we’ll be ready.
Brian Fabian Crain is the co-founder and co-host of the Epicenter Bitcoin Podcast (epicenterbitcoin.com). He covered the event with Sebastien Couture and episodes with conference interviews will be available on the Epicenter Bitcoin Feed (soundcloud.com/epicenterbitcoin) during the weeks.
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