December 27, 2018 / by

Thoughts from the Latin American Bitcoin Conference

I wanted to offer some thoughts and perspectives on the fourth annual Latin American Bitcoin Conference (LAbitconf) now that travel has cooled down coming out of the holidays.

The opening keynote by the unofficial, unconventional Bitcoin spokesman Andreas Antonopoulos. Andreas’ speeches, while optimistic, are not so subtle in reminding the Bitcoin faithful exactly why they got into this business in the first place.

Andreas’ opening remarks reflected the same story we’ve been used to hearing, namely, that regulated markets are “bad” and unregulated ones are “good.” and the other talking points and soundbites repeated by every “expert” for years. Most nodded in polite agreement.

However, Andreas pulled the rug out from under his audience—forcefully—pointing out that the initial intentions behind regulation are typically good, but too often favor some businesses over others, and can even be rigged against newcomers into industries. “Fair” competition cannot thrive in such environments. In stark contrast, as Andreas noted, with Bitcoin you no longer need to ask permission to have the same power and capabilities that banks and financial institutions have uniquely enjoyed for decades.

I wanted to capture Andreas’ keynote in some detail because it set the tone for the rest of the conference. Of the main themes, here are my top takeaways from LABitconf:

  • Last year focused on the price of crypto and validation of the blockchain thesis. This year was a return to rolling up sleeves and getting to work on building things—from #HODL to #BUIDL.
  • LABitconf represented, to me, evidence of a flight-to-quality in terms of its program. The more trend-chasing conference organizers have lately had to scramble to get sponsors, sometimes a couple of weeks ahead of events. Leading-indicator conferences have managed to maintain high-quality, impactful programs.
  • As a stark reminder that we are in a bear market, widespread news hit that some blockchain companies were reducing staff. Undeterred, many saw this current bear market as an opportunity to acquire new talent and take on high-quality projects.

Steve Beauregard is chief revenue officer for Bloq.

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