Bitcoin, Crypto, & Blockchain deserve better than the Bitcoin Conference

If what we saw come out of the Bitcoin Conference in Miami the past few days is the best that supposed leaders and top advocates for Bitcoin can do, we need to talk about whether it’s time other crypto and blockchain leadership step to the forefront.

That said, make no mistake – this isn’t a Bitcoin, itself, problem. It’s the people parading around wearing it.

  • 80% male
  • 80% North American
  • 65% aged 21-34
  • 35% Bitcoin “enthusiasts” (the largest segment compared to 25% C-Suite/Upper Management; 10% each for Developers, Venture Capitalists, and Entrepreneurs; and 5% each for Media and Institutional investors)

Those were the conference’s expected audience demographics, and they paint a fine picture of what I suppose I should have expected from the Conference. When I consider this – that the Bitcoin Conference‘s attendee majority profile was a North American male kid who happens to own or like Bitcoin – perhaps it wasn’t fair to expect anything less than a glorified, rich-kid frat party, which is pretty much the vibe and tone that Twitter reflected the past couple of days and even leading up to it.

Now, look, I understand there are different expectations for conference settings. Attendees show up for all sorts of personal and professional reasons, and hardly ever is real business or a serious meeting ever held in plain sight on the exhibition show floor for competitive and other reasons. But, that shouldn’t affect the conference’s content, which also usually helps set the tone.

In that light, instead of finding legitimate conversations and news, I found myself digging through a Twitter sea of macho “who has a bigger bitcoin?” posts, dinner photos, OG bro-sef name-dropping and tagging, and a continued airing of grievances toward Elon Musk.

That’s in addition to the incredibly … wimpy? shallow? misguided? tone-deaf? I’m struggling to find the right descriptor … sub-par slate of on-stage actors who turned out to be some of the worst keynotes and panelists in the history of professional conferences (not overstating here) as they delivered distasteful moments like this:

Classy, Max.

So … yeah. Even past that buffoonery, I hoped to read about real, expansive education that dove deep into how Bitcoin had been and could continue to be a real catalyst for blockchain and crypto growth. Perhaps there was some of that, but if it gets buried by the musings of Floyd Mayweather (who may have made a good point, by the way…), the raving lunacy of Max Keiser, and planted Doge dolts crashing a session on-stage, then none of the important stuff matters anymore, which is truly unfortunate.

At the 50,000-ft. view from my perch in Kansas City, this all felt like it really, really missed the mark — and did so at a time when the financial, technological, and legislative players all, finally, have stuck their heads under the hood to figure out how to make the whole crypto-in-mainstream machine work.

And I’m left with … I mean … damn it. Do the people who champion Bitcoin on their podcasts and Twitter feeds want to be serious players or not? Or, more damning in the long-term, were some of podcasts with their buddies all some of these “leaders” were capable of in the first place?

It’s time to answer that question truthfully and then let the adults in the room act accordingly going forward. In other words, stop putting kids, who happened to make the right choice of a lifetime in grabbing bitcoin a decade ago, on industry-high pedestals. Not because they don’t want to see Bitcoin, crypto, and blockchain take off; but because they don’t know how to make that happen.

So, now, with that sensational doomsday-ism hanging out there, a bit of reality:

Crypto, Blockchain, and Bitcoin aren’t going anywhere but forward. A silly conference built for ego-measuring isn’t going to derail a global financial awakening and quell the momentum built from the past decade. Hell, a whole hell of a lot of people in the world who will come to know crypto soon didn’t know the conference even took place. And, if nothing else, take solace in the coolest news to come out of the Bitcoin Conference: El Salvador is on track to be the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.

And, beyond that, it was nice to see some important people walk away impressed with and grateful for the Blockchain Association’s own party. It’s guaranteed some business cards and good feelings were traded – which will lead to continued great advocacy work from the Association and its members. That’s very important in the short- and long-term.

Knowing those kinds of interactions took place around the Bitcoin Conference is both a reassuring and exciting thought that real business took place in the background – even if the event itself badly fumbled its public appearance.

Onward we go.

Got a crypto tip or insight on blockchain and crypto industry news? Just want to shoot the breeze on it or talk marketing stuff? Always feel free to slide into my Twitter DM’s @curtiskitchen!

Curtis entered the crypto space as a blockchain and crypto enthusiast in 2017. In addition to those things, he currently serves on the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) AI Ethics Task Force – a group dedicated to guiding associations on ethical standards and practices for implementing AI. He holds KLV in his portfolio and while he loves discussing “what’s out there”, he does not provide financial nor investment advice.