by Robert Pando
I am not usually at awe or impressed by many things these days, having been lucky to travel and see many wonderful things in my life and I am usually hesitant to get excited or star-struck by just the mere appearance of something that might be worthwhile. In this case, things were different. Regardless of the years I have spent in the blockchain space researching, mining, developing and exploring I had yet to actually be physically surrounded by some of its pioneers and influential members.
One can easily forget the importance of the true nature of what blockchain and cryptocurrencies in general aim to propose in the world. We become engulfed in “when moon” and “lambo” visions and overlook what got us into this industry in the first place.
As I stepped into the doors at the North American Bitcoin Conference with a clear goal to connect with as many in the industry for the benefit of Luxcore; I introduced myself to many people in a plethora of projects and businesses. Clear and precise thoughts to avoid the speakers since the real juice worth the squeeze was in the connections and relationships one would gain outside the speaker’s room, or so I thought.
Make no doubts about it, I met many wonderful and incredible individuals that are working hard to make this industry incredible today. I would like to give a special shout-out to the Bitcoinist.com booth with CEO Norbert Radoki for the great conversation. The Atlanta Bitcoin Embassy and Nick Turner as well as Justin Cole and Marlon E. Yarde of the Barbados Stock Exchange. I would also like to say thank you to Remy Aquino of CryptoCurrencyWire for a wonderful discussion on a wide array of blockchain topics and to all the others I met that I can’t mention since there are too many.
On the first day, especially early on and for most of the conference I focused on making meaningful connections and seeing the booths of all the sponsors and crypto businesses showcasing their products. I kept hearing from attendees around me about how the conference was only a quarter the size of the previous year which eclipsed 5000 attendees. The subtle jokes about the bear market were everywhere. After a fruitful and long morning, I decided to break for lunch and go to the speaker’s room after to see if there was anything to retain. This was truly the gem of the conference for me.
You lose sight sometimes of what this revolution truly is about. A breath of fresh air from some of the most influential minds in crypto today, not trying to pitch you an ICO, not asking for money, not boasting new tech or some new “bitcoin.” The simple message of the people’s money versus the system.
The two presentations that stood out to me the most, filled with passion and knowledge came from Jeffrey A. Tucker and Nick Spanos. Mr. Tucker told the story of Executive Order 6102, which for the most part has been ignored for decades because it truly is a dark blotch in United States government history. It is an executive order signed on April 5, 1933, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt “forbidding the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion and gold certificates within the continental United States.” Although this seems impossible to pass, it was made by enforcement under the authority of the Trading with the Enemy Act, 1917. The violation against this for an individual would be punishment by fine up to $10,000 (which would be close to $200,000 in 2019 dollars) or up to ten years in prison, possibly both. Government failure and corruption stretched far and wide leading up to this and I highly suggest everyone to read up on this widely forgotten piece of history.
The simple yet amazing message on this carousel history ride was that cryptocurrencies for the first time offer permission-less, borderless, immutable, censorship-resistant autonomy of the individual over their money. Passion-filled Nick Spanos gave probably the most pure and raw presentation that captivated everyone with multiple rounds of applause throughout his presentation. To summarize it, Spanos talked thoroughly about coming from the humble beginnings of a poverty-stricken youth to rising as one of crypto’s superstar pioneers and taking on Wall Street with his vision of the Bitcoin Center New York. He gave a grim warning to everyone before he left the stage. Do not let the corrupt banks and governments take control of what is our freedom through crypto; will you stand by quietly on the sidelines or will you take charge and help the space come out on top? It’s for you to decide.
The conference definitely brought me back to my roots as to why this is so important and why we must all continue to fight for this cause.