Bitcoin 2014 // 15-17 May // Amsterdam Register

Blog

Kickstart Your Startup at the Bitcoin 2014 Startup Challenge

Jinyoung Lee Englund    Apr 24 2014

Whether you are an investor, budding Bitcoin business leader or Bitcoin enthusiast, come and join us at the Bitcoin 2014 Startup Challenge to watch eight Bitcoin entrepreneurs pitch their ideas in a rapid-fire ‘elevator pitch’ before an impressive panel of renowned venture capitalists, experienced investors and digital currency experts.

Better yet, if you’re a startup in need of some capital, apply to compete! Contestants have the opportunity to win monetary awards as well as  receive international exposure for their idea or product.

Ripple Labs is proud to sponsor and the Bitcoin Foundation is offering one of the category awards — US $10,000 to be paid in BTC*. Additional awards to be announced.

Key dates:

  • The application deadline is 6 May at 6PM GMT and you will be notified of your selection for the challenge final by 9 May.

  • The Bitcoin 2014 Startup Challenge will take place on 17 May from 3.00-5.00PM at Passenger Terminal Amsterdam. Finalists must be registered for the conference and participate in person to compete and receive the award.

*The award will be pegged to the CoinDesk BPI close price on 17 May, 2014. The foundation will remit BTC no later than 14 days from the date the winner sends the foundation the receiving address.

Award Categories & Criteria: 

  • Selected contestants will receive further details on the different award categories and judging criteria.

#KickstartUrStartup

Inflation: Do You Wave Your Hand or Your Fist?

Jim Harper, Global Policy Counsel    Apr 18 2014

Yesterday, I had occasion to visit the home of a 94-year-old Ukrainian immigrant to the United States in Clifton, New Jersey. She still lives in the same home where she raised her children, down the street from the first apartment she and her husband took when they came to the United States in the early 1950s.

She lives modestly, as she always has. The point, she says, is to be happy, not to live richly. But there are signs that decades of work in the local lace factory allowed her to accumulate a nest-egg that makes her secure in her dotage. She keeps her money at the same Ukranian credit union where she and her husband opened their first account sixty years ago. A few other Ukrainians still live on her working-class street, but they are old now, and the local Ukrainian deli recently closed.

What on earth does this snapshot of the American immigrant dream have to do with Bitcoin?

It exposes the despicable hand-waving of many commentators when they talk about inflation’s effects on real people’s lives.

“Nobody holds cash” is a typical retort to the claim that inflation is bad for ordinary people. The people who say such things carry and use cash themselves, and they have it in their bank accounts. What they mean is that there is little enough holding of cash to consider its effects on individuals’ wealth or savings. Everyone with significant assets puts their money into investments that avoid the gravitational pull of inflation. It’s an assumption that allows monetary policy analysts to treat inflation as a management question: ‘How should we tweak the inflation rate to meet current economic challenges?’

“Nobody holds cash” is a false claim in general, but I tend to doubt in particular that elderly immigrants are the sophisticated investors our inflation analysts claim everyone to be. Chances are good that this woman and people like her have saved cash almost exclusively throughout their lives. Maybe they kept their savings in interest-bearing accounts that resisted inflation’s effects. The increase in dollars they got was met with an increase in prices, though, so rather than enjoying the benefits of interest-bearing savings accounts and getting rich as they should, they arrived at something like the status quo.

That is not OK. They have been deprived of wealth they rightly deserve.

I don’t wave my hand at inflation. I wave my fist. There are millions around the United States and Europe, and billions around the world, who, for whatever reason, try to accumulate wealth by holding fiat currency. Unaware that most governments consistently debase their money, or unable to do anything about it, they lose wealth that is rightly theirs. That is wrong. That is unjust.

The effect of inflation on the poor, modest, and unsophisticated is just one of the reasons to work for the success of Bitcoin. As is well known, the amount of Bitcoin that will ever come into existence tops out at just under 21 million. That means that a thriving Bitcoin ecosystem will give people around the world a truly secure way to store wealth.

Fiat-currency-denominated savings do not hold value. Bitcoin will. That is monetary justice, and it will bring greater wealth and security to people who truly, truly deserve it.

Q1 Newsletter // Bitcoin Marches On

Jon Matonis, Executive Director    Apr 17 2014

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At just five years old, from lone hackers to entire governments, Bitcoin continues to turn heads around the world. From mainstream Overstock.com becoming the world’s largest online retailer to accept Bitcoin and surpass US$1,000,000 in sales within three months, the significant price volatility and to the release of Bitcoin Core 0.9.0 and 0.9.1, we are officially experiencing growing pains. 

In the midst of all the excitement and noise, experienced, reliable investors and entrepreneurs are busy building the infrastructure for the long-term sustainability of this digital ecosystem. This last quarter alone, Circle received an additional $17 million in funding, Coinplug released their first bitcoin mobile apps in Korea, and popular digital wallets Coinbase and Blockchain surpassed 1 million and 1.5 million consumer wallets respectively.

At the other end of the spectrum, foundation board members and staff were present at over forty conferences worldwide in industries ranging from investorstechnologistslawmakers and regulators, to financial technology professionals throughout the U.S. and in countries such as ItalySingapore, and Spain, educating and promoting Bitcoin adoption to an audience of over 100,000 strong.

It’s well known that one out of ten traditional businesses fail — in this nascent and highly skilled and regulated economy, we can expect the same. However, one thing is certain — Bitcoin is maturing. And come what may, Bitcoin marches on.

How do you not miss the boat? Join us in Amsterdam 15-17 May for #Bitcoin2014. Not just because the leading minds in Bitcoin will be there, but because this is where synergy happens and ideas take flight. We’ve but scratched the tip of the iceberg on Bitcoin’s true social and economic potential — for global financial inclusion, improved financial privacy, enhanced personal liberty and dignity, and a stable money supply for people in countries where monetary instability may threaten prosperity and even peace.

If you’re a member, you won’t want to miss our annual meeting, taking place Sat, 17 May at #Bitcoin2014. We originally said 4pm, but it is now taking place at 5:30pm, after the closing session. Foundation Chairman Peter Vessenes will be leading an open dialogue on our vision, mission and values, as outlined in his annual letter. As mentioned in his letter, our efforts for improved transparency have included making forums read-only for non-members and the posting of Board meeting minutes within 60 days. For those interested, our nonprofit financial filings are also publicly available on an annual basis and due each May 15th (IRS Form 990).

New to conference this year is our International Affiliate Summit, a gathering for those that have already expressed interested in leading local foundation chapters, taking place 15 May starting at 9am and concluding at 1pm. We’re excited to have Canada and Australia on board and looking forward to making a few more announcements in the coming weeks!

Lastly, we’ve published the conference schedule and are co-hosts with Blockchain.info for the first annual Blockchain Awards, recognizing exceptional talent and achievement in the Bitcoin community. Don’t forget to nominate your top picks for our ten categories of achievement. The winner of each category will be announced at the awards ceremony on Fri, 16 May and receive 1 BTC from Blockchain.info.

Thank you for your continued support and see you in Amsterdam for #Bitcoin2014!

Jon Matonis
Executive Director

Full newsletter available here. Click on ‘translate’ to view in another language.

First Annual Blockchain Awards at #Bitcoin2014

Andrea Nolen, Public Affairs Fellow    Apr 16 2014

The Bitcoin Foundation and Blockchain.info are thrilled to co-host the first annual Blockchain Awards at Bitcoin 2014 in Amsterdam! The Blockchain Awards celebrate innovation and excellence in the Bitcoin community. The award ceremony will take place at the Main Deck of the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam on Fri, May 16.

“The foundation works hard to recognize and advocate for innovation and ingenuity across the Bitcoin community,” said Jon Matonis, Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation. “These awards are a unique opportunity to showcase these accomplishments and celebrate an extraordinary year for Bitcoin.”

“With these awards we hope to take a moment and reflect on the amazing contributions from the bitcoin community. We want to honor the exceptional quality, leadership, and technical innovation we see every day,” said Nicolas Cary, CEO of Blockchain.info.

All are welcome to nominate people or organizations for the ten categories of achievement:

Most Impactful Charity                Most Creative Video                 Most Informative Podcast

Most Influential Investor             Best ATM Design                       Most Insightful Journalist

Best Mobile App                           Bitcoin Legal Expert                  Academic Paper

Bitcoin Champion

Nominations are accepted as of today through 6 May via our nomination form. On 7 May, the Bitcoin Foundation and Blockchain.info will announce the top three finalists in each category as well as further instructions for voting the category winner.

Blockchain.info (@Blockchain) will donate 1 BTC to each category winner, and the award will be permanently and historically written into the Block Chain as proof of ownership. The award recipient must be present to receive the award.

#WeAreSatoshi #BlockchainAwards #Bitcoin2014

 

New Gold Member: UpDown

Emily Ku, Press Assistant    Apr 16 2014

The Bitcoin Foundation welcomes the binary options trading platform, UpDown as our newest Gold Member. UpDown is a platform where through the implementation of binary options, investors are given the option of expanding their use of currency. To start and with more on the way, investors can pick between nine assets, including gold, silver and oil to see whether or not its price will change by selecting the “up” or “down” option within the specified time frame.

UpDown utilizes binary options, something quite different than an average company that involves bitcoin. Stepping into a new territory at a nascent stage gives investors more opportunities and sources to assess their investments and soon understand the positive prospects of this digital technology.

“UpDown’s platform is one of the many entrepreneurial examples of Bitcoin’s potential and how investors are becoming more attracted to Bitcoin and its evolving future,” said Jon Matonis, Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation.

Being involved in different markets and creating new platforms such as UpDown not only creates a stronger Bitcoin network overall, it lays a gateway where companies and industries can have greater opportunities to reach out and expand the Bitcoin community.

Welcome, UpDown!

#Bitcoin2014 Schedule is Up!

Andrea Nolen, Public Affairs Fellow    Apr 15 2014

The #Bitcoin2014 conference schedule is now available online! View the schedule on our conference website.

We are excited to present the premiere Bitcoin networking event of the year with the sharpest minds in Bitcoin. Join preeminent industry leaders, up and coming businesses and Bitcoin enthusiasts in Amsterdam, the digital finance hub of Europe. Europe is on the cutting edge of digital currency adoption. Favorable regulatory treatment in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, as well as interest from the European Commission and Ecofin Council show that European citizens understand ‘private currency’ and are key drivers in Bitcoin’s development and adoption. The Hague, the regulatory heart of Europe, has even designated its own ‘Bitcoin Boulevard‘!

REGISTRATION

We are near capacity for #Bitcoin2014. Register now at bitcoin2014.com and use promo code BITCOIN2014 for a 10% discount.

*NEW* We’re excited to offer our Members a special rate for Bitcoin 2014. If you are a member and have not received your eventbrite and bitpay links and passcodes for registration, please contact our conference management team, Nicole, Helen, Damien & Alban of Apple Fundraising Consultants, at [email protected].

ACCOMMODATIONS/TRAVEL

Amsterdam is superbly popular this time of year and hotel rooms go quickly. Our room block at the refreshingly modern Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre is almost sold out!

Piet Heinkade 11, 1019 BR // Amsterdam, Netherlands // +31 20 519 1200

We strongly encourage you to make your bookings as early as possible. Local Producer, our local production team in Amsterdam, provides additional hotel and discounted airfare info here.

Passenger Terminal Amsterdam is about 25km from Schiphol Airport (AMS).

Follow @BTCFoundation or go to Bitcoin2014.com for updates!

SPONSORS & EXHIBITORS

We are four weeks out and are 90% sold out on exhibit booths. To reserve your exhibit or to sponsor, please email our conference team at [email protected].

See you in Amsterdam, Europe’s most forward-thinking city, 15-17 May!

Tell Your Mother About Bitcoin

Jim Harper, Global Policy Counsel    Apr 11 2014

Want to help promote and protect Bitcoin? Tell your mother about it.

That’s the upshot of survey results released earlier this week. The Reason-Rupe poll shared data about a recent (U.S. national) survey that included questions about Bitcoin. Their findings comport with what you might expect: There’s a nice, neat correlation between awareness of Bitcoin and appreciation of Bitcoin. Most people don’t know about Bitcoin, though, and people who don’t know about Bitcoin are the most inclined to “ban” it.

Bitcoin can’t be banned, of course. It’s an open-source communications protocol that people the world over are going to be fairly insistent on using. But take the impulse to “ban” as a willingness to see Bitcoin hemmed in various ways. It’s a willingness politicians and regulators will indulge if they see advantage in doing so.

Politician and regulator perception of public opinion is a key input into their behavior. Professional politicians and lifelong regulators are skilled surfers of public opinion. Their initiatives and priorities are guided by what they see in the water ahead of them. (Yes, they want to do the right thing, but public approval is their key to power, so they’ll prioritize attention and acclaim over right answers.) If they see rocks of disapproval under the surface in one direction, they will lean away and head for the glassy waters of public acclaim in the other.

That is why the thinking of ordinary people is key to Bitcoin’s protection in the public policy area. We need more people to know about Bitcoin and thus to approve of Bitcoin. The Reason-Rupe poll shows that the deficit in awareness and approval is among older people and, to a lesser degree, among women. The sooner older women know and like Bitcoin, the sooner Bitcoin will be safe from badly thought-out government policies. Getting people to know about Bitcoin will also help with adoption, of course.

So here are some things we need you to do: First, share this blog post with friends and colleagues in the Bitcoin community. Second, tell your mother about Bitcoin. It doesn’t have to literally be your mother, of course, but any older woman you know. If you can’t find one of those, tell an older man. Help them get set up with a Bitcoin wallet. Give them a little starter Bitcoin to carry around and have fun with. Get them set up on an exchange or other service where they can acquire more Bitcoin of their own.

Bitcoin is a lot of things. Among them, it’s a meme. And memes pass from person to person. So pass along the Bitcoin meme today. The place to start is by telling your mother.

Let’s Get Alakanani to Amsterdam for #Bitcoin2014!

Elizabeth T. Ploshay, Board Director    Apr 09 2014

Peter and I were so thrilled to learn that Alakanani (Alah) Itireleng, the Bitcoin Missionary from Botswana, accepted our invitation to share her story at #Bitcoin2014 taking place 15-17 May in Amsterdam. However, she needs our help!

For those of you that may not have heard of her, here’s a great clip on her and her work in Botswana. I was first introduced to Alah and her story back in January and was utterly amazed and encouraged by the work she is doing to promote Bitcoin adoption and economic freedom throughout Botswana.

Alah has single handedly organized several meet-ups in Botswana and is looking to work with businesses in Botswana to start accepting Bitcoin. Additionally, she has been a tireless evangelist on educating people in her community on the merits of Bitcoin. As a game changer in the Bitcoin community, we ask for your help in providing the opportunity for her to travel to Bitcoin 2014. Global financial inclusion is one of the most beneficial social and economic outcomes of Bitcoin’s worldwide adoption. Her presence and participation at #Bitcoin2014 will empower her to keep growing the Bitcoin ecosystem in Africa.

Will you help us get Alah to #Bitcoin2014 and connected to our community?

Please feel free to donate as led. We will need to raise approx. US$4,000 (in BTC) by April 16th to be able to cover her airfare, visa fee, hotel, and meals.

Donations can be made to:

18XkPm3cm1mjbb19NEdvLZq7XyPQJcLUZG

Thank you to Roger Ver for setting up and volunteering to monitor this wallet!

Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam!

Sincerely,

Elizabeth T. Ploshay, Peter Vesseness and Roger Ver

Disclaimer: The content of this blog post is the thoughts, beliefs, and opinions of its author(s), and does not reflect the official thoughts, beliefs, or opinions of The Bitcoin Foundation, Inc. Responsibility for all thoughts, beliefs, and opinions of this blog post, and any action resulting from this blog post, rests solely on the author(s) and not The Bitcoin Foundation, Inc.

Texas Publishes Cogent, Thoughtful Guidance on Digital Currency

Marco Santori, Chairman, Regulatory Affairs Committee    Apr 08 2014

On April 3, 2014, the Texas Department of Banking (DOB) published guidance on digital currencies and money transmitters under Texas law.  The DOB should be applauded for its cogent, thoughtful analysis.  This analysis is the result of extensive grass-roots work with the Bitcoin Foundation’s Regulatory Affairs Committee and the Bitcoin community in general, and is an excellent example of what happens when a state regulatory body takes the time to truly understand the industry it is regulating.  In sum, the guidance stated that in Texas:

  • Direct purchasers and sellers of digital currency are not regulated as money transmitters.
  • Transmission of digital currency from one place or person to another is not regulated as money transmission.

However,

  • Bitcoin vending machines are regulated if they transmit dollars to an exchange in real-time. Machines that sell pre-purchased digital currency held in a hot wallet are not regulated.
  • Online exchanges that hold government currency to enable their customers to exchange it for digital currency at a later date are money transmitters.

Bitcoin users should be heartened to hear that state regulatory bodies are working closely with the Bitcoin Foundation and the Bitcoin community to adopt sensible guidelines for its businesses.

The full guidance is available here.

Bitcoin Core Maintainer: Wladimir van der Laan

Gavin Andresen    Apr 07 2014

A few years ago I created a Google Scholar alert for “bitcoin.” And I was happy if I got one alert per month.

Today, I find it harder and harder to keep up with all of the great Computer Science or Economics papers related to bitcoin and other crypto-currencies; in just the last week Mr. Google told me about 30 new papers I might be interested in reading.

Over the last 18 months I’ve filled two roles: “lead developer” for Bitcoin Core (the reference implementation), and “Chief Scientist” for the Foundation. Thanks to the support of all of the members of the Foundation, I’m pleased to be able to focus more on protocol-level, cross-implementation issues and less on issues specific to the Bitcoin Core software.

Wladimir van der Laan has been paid to work on Bitcoin Core full-time for several months now– again, thanks to all of you Foundation members for stepping up and helping to fund core development– and has been doing a fantastic job. He has agreed to take over for me as the “Bitcoin Core Maintainer.”

Wladimir first got involved with the Bitcoin project by re-implementing, and vastly improving, the Bitcoin Core user interface. He lives and works in the Netherlands, and I’m looking forward to meeting him in person for the very first time at Bitcoin2014 in Amsterdam.

To be clear: I’m not going to disappear; I’ll still be writing and reviewing code and offering my opinions on technical matters and project priorities. I enjoy coding, and I think I’ll be most effective as Chief Scientist if I don’t lose touch with engineering reality and make the mistake of building huge, beautiful, theoretical castles that exist only as whitepapers.

I’ll just spend a little less time writing Bitcoin Core release announcements, and a little more time catching up on the latest bitcoin-wizards thinking on how best to implement transaction history pruning.

 

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