Yesterday, both Serge and myself attended the General Assembly of the Belgian Bitcoin Association. As both of us are new members,we are able to attend these kind of meetups. However, since neither of us have been a member for more than 6 months, we do not have any official voting rights. Let’s see how the year 2014 has been for the Belgian Bitcoin Association (BBA).
Belgian Bitcoin Association : 2014 Timeline
Formation of the BBA
Even though Belgium is a relatively quiet country when it comes to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, we do have an official Bitcoin Association which has been founded on February 13th of 2014. In fact, the BBA was founded by 10 members, most of which were present for the General Assembly. For those founders and members who could not attend the meeting, voting by proxy will occur through Jean Wallemacq.
The first few months have been quite hectic for the Belgian Bitcoin Association, as they got a lot of attention from Belgian mainstream media in regards to Bitcoin, why the association was formed, who was participating, et cetera. On top of that, several of the Belgian Bitcoin Association founders and members have been invited to give short talks or presentations, and even attend a variety of events.
The first major “operation” by the Belgian Bitcoin Association took place in April of 2014, during the Mt. Gox debacle. The BBA wanted to help out as many victims as possible, and started collecting details on who lost what amount. There were talks with an undisclosed company which was collecting this data as well in order to present it to the court.
However, that company only wanted details on people who lost 7 Bitcoin or more, and they charged 3 Bitcoin per person to recover the fees.Needless to say, a lot of people lost far less than 7 Bitcoin each (luckily), but they were kind of left in the cold by this company. As of today, no one has heard back from this company or how the proceedings went.
Presentations, Conferences and Meetups
A few months ago, the Belgian Bitcoin Association organized a National Bitcoin Meetup, which took place at the CoffeeLabs workspace in Antwerp. We were in attendance for this event as well, and met a lot of great like-minded people. During this meetup, several projects and ideas were being tossed around, including “Ghent Bitcoinstad”.
Similar to projects such as Amsterdam Bitcoincity and Arnhem Bitcoincity, the plan is to turn Ghent into the first Belgian city where Bitcoin becomes mainstream. So far, several merchants seem to be eager to join the initiative, but nothing has been made definitive just yet. We will be keeping an eye on further developments regarding this project.
Chris D’Costa, one of the Belgian Bitcoin Association Founders, gave a Bitcoin presentation to first, second and third year Economics students at a university in Limburg. This presentation went over quite well, which was followed by a short Q&A session, which yielded some very good back and forth banter about Bitcoin and the technology behind it.
Jérémie Dubois-Lacoste, one of the other BBA Founders, gave a talk on Bitcoin and digital currency to the European Banking Association. For those of you who don’t know the EBA, this “body” represents the 16 largest European banking institutions. Some of the covered topics include Bitcoin, altcoins and smart contracts.
Last but not least, Filip Roose gave a Bitcoin presentation at a local Rotary Club. Needless to say, most of their members are 50 years or older, of which only a handful actually use the internet. It wasn’t the easiest presentation, but Filip did manage to get some points across. Even though people don’t necessarily need to know about the technology of Bitcoin, you are still talking about money and finances.
Bitcoin Foundation & Number of BBA Members
As stated in one of our previous article, the Belgian Bitcoin Association has no plans to become a chapter of the Bitcoin Foundation any time soon. Other associations who become a Bitcoin Foundation chapter are completely enveloped by the Foundation, which kind of defeats the purpose. Furthermore, the Bitcoin Foundation requires chapters to fork over over half of their earnings, which is a business model the Belgian Bitcoin Association does not endorse.
Even though the BBA has only been existence for 11 months and a week, 40 people have signed up to their official mailing list. Of these 40 people, 21 are official individual members of the Belgian Bitcoin Association, and six of those 21 members are Directors of the BBA. There are also two start-up industry members, with a third member to be added soon.
Website : http://bitcoinassociation.be