08:55 It’s getting close to 9:00 AM, which means it’s about time to officially kick off Bitcoin 2014. Starting the day, we will be in attendance for the Keynote with Patrick Byrne. I’m very excited to be here, so let’s get to it! #BITCOIN2014
If you have no idea who Patrick Byrne is, he’s the CEO of Overstock.com, a big US retailer that recently started accepting Bitcoin as a payment method, and saw a very nice revenue stream on top of their other orders since doing so.
Today’s topic will be “500 Years of Liberalism from Holland to cryptocurrency“
09:10 Running a bit late at the moment it seems, but that’s okay, it’s not like we are in a hurry anyway. We are here all day enjoy every single second of this event so what’s 10 more minutes really? Gives me a chance to clean out some spam emails in my Gmail.
09:15 Looks like we are still missing someone very important, Mr. Byrne himself. I can see people on the phone and gesticulating wildly in what I can only describe as a mix of frustration and impatience to get things started. I’m still having a blast though! The room is getting pretty full at this point as well, nearly all seats have been taken so far. Quite a lot of English speaking people around me, even though I’m right next to a French speaking colleague. International indeed! And they are putting some pretty decent music through the speakers as we wait, so no complaints from me at all.
One small downer : the Wifi network here doesn’t seem to work for everyone for some reason. It works fine on my phone, but my Chromebook is not getting any connection. And from what I can gather, the ladies behind me are having the same issues. Long live converting your roaming network into a wifi hotspot through your phone. Epic stuff really.
Funnily enough it literally started working 20 seconds after I wrote this down. Karma? I have no idea, but it’s all part of a wonderful experience so far.
09:30 Still no sign of our Keynote speaker at this point. THis room is getting packed and people keep pouring in on the escalator. Absolutely amazing stuff. DId I mention the weather outside is really nice too? And this music is getting better by the minute. Who would’ve thought? I’m currently enjoying a free beverage sponsored by EgoPay. Thank you Egopay!
09:32 We are live! How about a little known fact on the Bitcoin blockchain for starters? In the code, Satoshi Nakamoto embedded a headline of one of the UK newspapers. “UK chancellor on the brink of 3rd bank bailout”. Never knew that to be honest.
But there is more. What would be an appropriate headline right now? THanks to The Telegraph, we got this one : “David Cameron says taxes will rise unless officials are given broader power to raid people’s bank accounts.” This was a headline five days ago. Think about that for a second.
This is the first international Bitcoin event, with over 1100 registered attendees, 120 speakers in 4 presentation slots, 40 plus exhibitors and over 50 countries are represented.
A thank goes out to the local producer and Apple Events for making all of this possible. The sponsors have been extremely generous as well.
If you are why they picked Amsterdam, let me explain. Amsterdam and The Netherlands are known for being experimental. Bitcoin is more than USA and the EU would be an excellent first choice.
Did you know The Netherlands is #6 in the world ranking of active Bitcoin nodes to broadcast the blockchain? JUst goes to show you how much activity there is going on over here. Bitcoin 2015 will take place in Asia, but no official location was announced.
Offices for BitLocal are now opened in The Netherlands and Germany.
There will be a special treat apparently! ooh! A film about Argentina and the monetary episode is the base for this video we will be watching right now. A special video to kick off Bitcoin 2014 in Amsterdam. Presented by BicoinFilm.org!
Uganda is the place where Bitcoin is emerging to take over Western Union as lead payment processor. Bitcoin can actually fund people’s education. Powerful message to say the least.
It still takes 2 days and 10% in fees to use Western Union or Moneygram from the US to Africa. THrough Facebook, instructions were exchanged to get Bitcoin working on both ends. It’s a legit way to get money via internet, anywhere in the world
After receiving the Bitcoins, Ronald went out on the streets to sell the Bitcoins he had received in exchange for cash. A real person-to=person exchange. The way money should transfer hands if you ask me.
Cell phones are big in Uganda, and with a Bitcoin mobile wallet, you can take your money anywhere. No hassle and total financial freedom. Hearing about this is one thing, but actually seeing it in action is… well…. stunning and humbling to be honest.
09:47 Patrick Byrne takes the stage! He is honored to speak to us? We are honored to witness this event to be honest! Starting off with a small joke got the crowd going, not like that was needed, because everyone is already very excited.
In the recent Wired Article, they called Patrick Byrne “The Bitcoin Messiah”, even though he views himself in a different spotlight. “The Scourge of Wall St”is another one of his nicknames. Apparently, he was also quite hated . the most hated man on Wall St in 2007 to be more precise.
He isn’t going for the technical talk either, but more of a historic approach. I like this man already!
Civilization as Operating System is the first topic he’ll be discussing. Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash is an invaluable book in this regard. Operating systems don’t kill each other, because there are other virtues than truth. The same can be said for religion.
A second referenced book is Francis Fukuyama’s Trust. You can view different cultures as operating systems to solve one central problem.. Low trust societies vs High trust societies. Family businesses vs mega corporations. Definitely planning to read both of these books, and maybe you should too!
Liberalism : Consent of the Governed
Tolerance, Pluralism, constitutional federation, peace
Bourgeoisie and merchants
Lockean Social Contract
University of Salamanca (Scholastics)
subjective theory of value
impossibility of Socialist Calculation
Quantity theory of money
Equivalence CD & DD
Property and contract
peace and anti-imperialism
Austrian School of Economics
Authoritarianism : Submission
Rousseau’s Social Contract book is referenced.
Nietzsche (Only an Englishman cares about happiness)
Lenin (the vanguard of the masses)
Deep Capture (DeepCature.com) Investigative Journalism, fraud, corruption of centralized institutions
The bezzle : amount that has been embezzled from society without us knowing it.
Two centralised institutions undermined by Crypto :
Central Banking : elites owning the banks over leverage themselves, and they need a bailout. Once established, they can start to guide and tinker with the economics. Soviet Russia had prices set for everything in society years ago, in order to run their country.
Currently, we are all obsess by interest rates, being set by central banks. We are doing exactly the same as Soviet Russia, except with the most important financial part we have.
Central Counterparty Clearing (CCC) : DTCC
Trading in stock market, there is plumbing that makes everything work. Network of hedge funds were the center of stock manipulation, including trading. 80ish people have been sent to jail when this was exposed by Patrick Byrne.
Clearing is settlement. The systems have too much slop below the surface when it comes to property and title rights. The systems lose track of who owns what. 18 to 30% of mortgages didn’t exist. A Staggering number to say the least.
Crypto is the answer, what is the question?
Have a thought about that.