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surfin’ bitcoin conference, casino barrière biarritz, france.

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josselin cooper

josselin tonnellier organized the first surfin’ bitcoin conference to educate people about bitcoin and his french startup stackinsat, through which europeans can accumulate bitcoin through dollar cost averaging.

“Bitcoin is quite special in France. we have a lot of blockchain and shitcoining,” commented tonnellier.

there are not many companies that only use bitcoins in france. It is remarkable that a team of about five people was able to coordinate and finance a conference the size of bitcoin, with only ten sponsors, including bpifrance, an investment bank for entrepreneurs.

according to tonnellier, more than half of this year’s conference attendees were professional bitcoiners. almost 25% were bitcoin and ogs enthusiasts, and about 25% of them were general crypto enthusiasts.

tonnellier originally brought surfin’ bitcoin to the south of france to decentralize the event outside of paris. In recent years, Surfin’ Bitcoin has grown from a few hundred attendees to around 2,000.

There were just over a hundred speakers at the conference. about 35% of them came from abroad, mostly European countries. for the first time the event included content in English, with around 45 English speakers scheduled and around 50 speaking French.

The first day of the conference was free and attracted early conference attendees and tourists from the beach, some of whom experienced their first contact with bitcoin, watching remi forte’s French documentary le mystère satoshi together.

the conference hosted various discussions, for example, Austrian vs. Keynesian economics and crypto venture capitalists vs. bitcoin venture capitalists, in an attempt to stir up controversy, but also to win over cryptocurrency-curious attendees with the maximalist point of view of bitcoin.

The French main stage presentations were packed throughout the conference, and what many of the English panels and workshops lacked in attendance, they made up for in interactivity between the audience and the speakers.

One Norwegian speaker even opted to join the audience for an impromptu small group discussion on how best to defend bitcoin mining from the often bogus environmental, social and governance (ESG) arguments against it.

the strength of bitcoiners is that they are motivated whatever the situation, and that’s a strength altcoiners don’t have, tonnellier said.

“if the price goes up, I’m glad. if the price is going down, i am happy because i accumulate more bitcoins at low price. my clients understand that at stackingsat,” she said.

tonnellier mentioned the recent failures of luna and celsius, commenting that “we are very sad for all the people who were destroyed by that, but it is a way to clean the ecosystem of the actors that are not doing business properly” . path.”

he continued, “all the lending and defi stuff is pretty dangerous and can go bust very easily.”

Meanwhile, bitcoin is thriving. “Bitcoin has faced a lot of adversity throughout its life, and it comes out stronger every time,” he said.

The media in France has not been very positive about bitcoin, with Tonnellier pointing to the regulatory hurdles to launching both stackingsat and the conference. he hoped the conference itself would provide a positive bitcoin touchpoint for the local Basque community.

the main disadvantage of the surfin’ bitcoin conference was also its greatest virtue, the location.

the casino is beautiful. Light streams in from two-story windows that look out onto a wide, sunny promenade, La Grande Plage. the busy beach is protected by cliffs, swarms of sunbathers in the rippling atlantic, and groups of surfers in the morning and late afternoon.

The appeal of the Basque country is so strong that many foreign attendees commented on how difficult it was to sit through full days of bitcoin programming.

towards the southwest, attendees could see the mountains and the lights of spain. to the northeast, the lighthouse on the cliffs and the luxurious hôtel du palais, a former imperial vacation villa built for napoleon iii.

Up and down the coast as far as the eye can see, an eclectic mix of architecture meanders through the 12th-century whaling port, with its endless rough villas, the gray stone of bidache, the red stone of rhune, bordering the alleys of biarritz, bridges and stairs that climb the hills.

Walking between stages, through the exhibit hall or having lunch on the vast roof of the casino, dotted with French conference attendees smoking cigarettes and chatting, you could see hundreds of people lounging in the sun, far and wide. the shoreline, dozens wallowing in the waves.

tonnellier’s goal was to educate people about bitcoin in a relaxed beachside setting, rather than hosting a “bowtie conference in paris”.

in fact, on the rooftop of the barrière biarritz casino, a stone’s throw from the beach, more than 1,000 bitcoiners gathered at sunset, eating, drinking and casually networking.

some danced as the dj played on the closing night of the conference, most huddled in groups, chatting about bitcoin and legacy finance until 4:00am, when many returned to their beachside hotels, or then they split up to go clubbing together.

There seemed to be little small talk among the enthusiastic bitcoiners in biarritz, many of whom have aligned hyperbitcoinized philosophies, principles, and lucid visions for the world’s financial future.

pierre rochard

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Pierre Rochard, Vice President of Research at Riot Blockchain, moved from France at a young age. he opted to speak in English at this year’s bitcoin surf conference.

pierre attended his first bitcoin conference in new york in 2013, where he met suhas daftuar. the connection then led to a bitcoin job at chaincode labs.

at the time, during the cypriot financial crisis of 2012-2013, pierre recalls that the sentiment among bitcoin users on reddit was that the bank run in cyprus would trigger the mass adoption of bitcoin.

The belief among bitcoiners has parallels to this day, where network adoption is often assumed to be inversely proportional to unethical behavior by central banks and global state theft through inflation and taxes.

“You can’t really force bitcoin on the general public and expect them to take an interest,” Pierre commented.

went on to explain that the general public considers bitcoin to be just a brand among cryptocurrency brands, in part due to misleading advertising from large cryptocurrency exchanges.

“bitcoin node software is strictly superior to dogecoin node software, for example, and the brand is far from that fact,” he added.

pierre recalls losing interest in bitcoin during the 2014-2015 bear market. “I certainly didn’t get angry or lose confidence in bitcoin. I started to focus on building my own quadcopter drone.”

In 2015, when the price of bitcoin hovered around $300, Pierre recalled a tongue-in-cheek conversation with Michael Goldstein. “We should keep the Nakamoto Institute website, even if bitcoin doesn’t become a thing, as a historical artifact.”

Today, Pierre’s wife, Morgen Rochard, runs a financial planning practice, where she has succeeded in helping 90% of her clients gain exposure to bitcoin. “Most of them also have their own private keys,” she said.

pierre sees the perfect audience for bitcoin conferences as curious to casual bitcoiners looking to further educate themselves.

in 2018, pierre attended consensus, where, at a satellite event hosted by the bloc, he was invited to speak on bitcoin maximalism. At that event he met the team at his current employer, Riot Blockchain.

pierre sees the challenge of the conferences as striking a content balance between pop culture bitcoin and open source bitcoin audiences.

An attractive balance was struck at biarritz, with entire stages dedicated to expert-level bitcoin content and technical workshops, and several controversial discussions between professional bitcoiners and altcoiners.

prince philip karageorgevitch of serbia

prince philip karageorgevitch first found bitcoin on the run to $100 in 2013. he first bought bitcoin in 2017 and held it through the bear market, buying regularly.

The prince began to learn more about bitcoin in response to world government overreach during the covid pandemic. “That’s when I realized something wasn’t right in this world.”

“I’m a maxi bitcoin,” he said. “Eventually I’ll probably be working on bitcoin.”

At the conference, Prince Philip gave a speech on why he is bullish on bitcoin and also moderated a panel on the future outlook for bitcoin and the crypto markets.

He believes the benefit of bitcoin conferences is that crypto-curious can educate themselves and become maximalists.

“Altcoiners also know that there is something wrong with the world, but they don’t know what it really is. they understand that money corrupts, but they don’t understand that their money is corrupt,” he said.

prince philip explained how bitcoin is the only ethical alternative to the fiat system, a maximalist position that many cryptocurrency enthusiasts disagree with.

“people are not taught what money really is. they don’t understand how wars in history are financed,” she said.

Indeed, many who neglect bitcoin as a form of self-sovereign savings have left the market, and it remains to be seen how far below $20,000 speculators, whales, and bitcoin newbies will send the price.

The common strategy among French conference attendees was simply to buy and hold bitcoins, although many also spoke of small allocations, speculative derivative games. despite the bear market, there is no shortage of bitcoin conferences in the coming months.

“This bear market is great because it distinguishes those who really care about bitcoin from those who are just here for fiat profits.”

Prince Philip commented that the cryptocurrency sponsorships and speaker slots that often accompany bitcoin conferences are a good opportunity to educate people about bitcoin maximalism.

“At the moment, nation states are considering bitcoin,” he argued. “They have to do it because it is a threat. if it is a threat, they should have insurance coverage against bitcoin. the only insurance coverage against bitcoin is to buy bitcoin.”

the imf and the world bank won’t admit it, but tourism increases in countries and cities that are bitcoin friendly. The biggest example of this is El Salvador, where tourism increased by 82.8% in the first half of 2022, in part due to the influx of thousands of visiting bitcoiners.

See also: Dallas Mavericks fans fume at Mark Cuban over Voyager crypto bankruptcy

This is also evident in Biarritz, where over the course of three days, thousands of bitcoiners descended on the sunny Basque city, filling its hotels, beaches, nightclubs, tapas bars and restaurants.

prince philip commented that in serbia, however, the population distrusts governments and is skeptical of external powers, considering that bitcoin is too good to be true. the country has been through multiple wars in the last 90 years, experiencing the third highest hyperinflation in the world during the 1990s.

Prince Philip concluded that with education, Serbs will understand how adopting bitcoin allows them to take control of their own money.

charles guillemet

charles guillemet, cto on the ledger of the french cryptocurrency hardware wallet company, has a background in cryptography and security. he joined the firm in 2017.

according to guillemet, ledger currently has over 800 employees and is the largest crypto hardware wallet provider on the planet.

When I asked guillemet if he was a bitcoiner, he hesitated. “I definitely think bitcoin is king. he has a unique value proposition in the ecosystem.”

guillemet believes that ethereum also has a unique value proposition, “which can also be respected”.

“with ethereum there are a lot of technical challenges, and maybe a more efficient blockchain could take its place,” he admitted.

We agree that guillemet is a bitcoiner, but not a bitcoin maximalist.

I asked guillemet if he preferred the bitcoin or crypto conferences. he replied, “in the ledger we don’t have a religion. we are providing security tools for users to onboard. we have different tendencies”.

“what is important for us is the seriousness of the project”, guillemet said. I asked him how he rated that. “It’s hard. Does the project stand the test of time? Fraudulent projects don’t stand the test of time often. An ecosystem of developers is a good sign.”

minutes later, guillemet said that ledger is looking to further platform its product so that “every chain can be implemented within the device.”

In terms of bitcoin ledger developments, guillemet said they will soon release the ability to run their own full node. ledger is also working to integrate tor to protect user privacy and launch a bitcoin credit card, to which users will be able to send bitcoin as collateral for fiat credit.

guillemet commented that conferences are good for exchanging ideas. “Bitcoin is a crossroads for technology, economics, and geopolitics. if you don’t understand that, you don’t understand bitcoin.

“It’s a paradigm shift. it is not easy to understand bitcoin when you come from the fiat monetary system,” she added.

in the event of a hardware wallet regulatory crackdown known as kyc (know your customer) in europe, guillemet commented that ledger would have no choice but to comply. however, he wants to ensure that current ledger users are self-sufficient.

concluded: “for me, what is evident in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is that if you don’t self-custody, it doesn’t make sense.”

juan carvalho

john carvalho is the founder and CEO of synonym, which develops an ecosystem of applications and protocols for a future hyperbitcoinized world.

Carvalho is a self-proclaimed toxic bitcoin maximalist, meaning he does not believe that blockchains outside of bitcoin are necessary or ethical forms of money. he, too, is skeptical of attempts to expand the lightning network idea outside of any use case without payment.

When I asked Carvalho how his business represented a multi-chain future, his answer was “ignoring it”.

“The only people who care about a multi-chain world are the people trying to sell their chain to you,” he said.

Carvalho first bought bitcoin in 2012 and attended his first conference in early 2013. “I was basically a full-time bitcoiner two months after I got something.” in the coming months he plans to attend four bitcoin conferences.

Without a doubt, Carvalho is a stubborn but rational bitcoiner. Referring to the bitcoin conference invitation for him to debate eric wall in amsterdam, he commented: “bitcoin debates should seek truth, not drama.”

“you can’t refute the fud [fear, uncertainty and doubt]. you can try to rationalize it, but they will keep changing the angle.”

Imagining his debate with Wall, Carvalho said, “You can’t innovate bitcoin in a way that compromises censorship resistance. Every shitcoin does that.”

“if the prerequisite for me to take you seriously is that I have to accept a objectionable blockchain, then the discussion is over for me,” he added.

carvalho opined that wall, who is not a bitcoin maximalist, is coming to bitcoin amsterdam to sow seeds of dissent. “I wish bitcoin magazine didn’t focus on clicks and drama like any other media outlet.”

Carvalho’s view, shared by many maximalists, is that if a company or individual offers their own product on a non-bitcoin blockchain, they shouldn’t be allowed to sponsor or take the stage at a bitcoin conference. “These are business decisions, not bitcoin decisions.”

The role of bitcoin conferences, he said, is education and news.

In terms of the near-future outlook for bitcoin, Carvalho would like to “see something that causes bitcoin to de-correlate with the US.” stock market “.”it’s really frustrating for me,” he said. “a lot of bitcoin ownership is still speculators and traders.”

carvalho concluded, “as a community and as a movement, we must promote the idea of ​​using bitcoin for long-term savings, while spending and accepting bitcoin as a payment method.”

See also: Bitcoin Price History: Price of Bitcoin 2009 – 2022 | SoFi

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