Organised by Oleum Capitali and featuring such speakers as Saif, Novak, and Poutine, the “Bitcoin Rodeo” took place from July 9-10 just 300 km south of my hometown, so I went down to Calgary for the modest little shindig, if for no other reason than to see some friends and pick-up the hotly anticipated Italian-made furniture that I’d ordered way back in January (more on which soon). But back to the ROH-DAY-OH (YEEHAW!). What could a seasoned vetii like me expect at an obviously introductory event like this ? Sifting through the requisite Stampede haystack for the proverbial needle, could I actually learn something at this event (other than the fact the plastic surgeons in Cow-town are clearly doing a brisk trade) ?
Hosted at the Palace Theatre on Stephen Avenue,iii right in the thick of the annual Stampede-as-extended-halloween-drunkfest-cum-spitroast,iv this was to be only the third Bitcoin conpherence I’d attended after the Toronto Expo in 2014 and the OG Bitcoin 2013 Conference in San Jose.v Both of the earlier events were appreciably larger in scale, with 1000+ attendees and several breakout tracks running simultaneously. The Bitcoin Rodeo, by contrast, didn’t feature a single Gavin or Vitalik (not that I’m complaining) and only had about 350 registered attendees including sponsors and speakers, of which there were about two dozen each, leaving only about 250 “paid” registrants in a city of over 1 million people and in a province of over 3 million. Had the whole event been last fall, of course, the theatre would’ve been overflowing, with lines around the block to see what all the fuss was about. But as it was, there were maybe 50 actual butts in seats who weren’t sponsors or speakers.
But that wasn’t the point of the exercise! At least not for me. I wasn’t there to meet new people who’d just heard about “Blockchainz” in the Globe & Mail and now had new “ideas” for how to “improve” things. The point of the exercise was to gauge the mainstream conversation circa mid-2018, to determine what’s evolved and what hasn’t in the last four years. So after a very full dayvi of drinking, dining, and schmoozing, what did I take home from the affair ?
- Carnivory and “vegan triggering” have infiltrated the scene to an absolutely bizarre extent.vii
- Twitter is the essential platform for communication in the space with slack and telegram in distant seconds and thirds.viii
- Mining is professionalising and quickly integrating into the Canadian natural resource economy.ix
- Custodianship is an emerging business model that’s finding a serious foothold.x
- There’s still way too much talk of tax implications, federal regulation, and the availability of banking services given how little any of this matters to those of us who aren’t fiat-facing exchanges or brokers.
- Cryptocoin-only exchanges are growing in number because they’re simpler from a regulatory compliance perspective.
- Talking about the history of libertarian economic theory to an introductory audience is an utter waste of breath.xi
- Fully two years later and everyone in the Canadian Bitcoin twittersphere finally agrees that Anthony di Iorio is as scummy as they come.xii
The conversation outside of the conference was, as ever, far richer and more valuable than the one-way talks on-stage. We weren’t as cut-throat as we are with each other online, but you can’t be so serious all the time either!
See y’all at the Rodeo in 2022!
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- Some Oil & Gas “ICO” pumping machine. [↩]
- Not saying I’m an expert on all things Bitcoin – far from it – but I’ve certainly been around long enough to now detest the mere smell of the scammers who make up 94% of the space by mass. This is what the grey hairs are for, y’know ? Bullshit detection. [↩]
- Yes, dear readers, that kinda spitroast. [↩]
- I never did make it down for one of MP’s famous conferences, then he stopped having them a few years back. So wut do. [↩]
- The conpherence was technically two days in duration but the bigger name speakers were front-loaded and I had other business to attend to on the second day anyways, not the least of which involved the France-Belgium semi-final and a 10′ U-Haul truck. [↩]
- Some extremists like Saif claim to exclusively eat meat. Why ? “Because we’re mostly composed of red meat and so we should eat mostly red meat,” even though we feed plants water and sunlight, not other plants, and we have molars specifically for masticating vegetation, and we’re actually mostly bacterial cells (by a factor of 10:1 no less) but that doesn’t mean we should eat petri dishes full of shit now, does it ? But that aside, the correlation between the Bitcoin Twittersphere and paleo/carnivore diets is like 0.95 or something fucking nuts like that. How this happened since I left the space is beyond me but I’m hardly about to convert now no matter the mass-media pressure. I’m more of an eat-and-let-eat sort of chap. [↩]
- For the “popular” set of Bitcoiners (ie. those largely inoffensive enough to be quotable by lamestream media), of which I undoubtedly was at one point before withdrawing into the dark and hallowed recesses of IRC, I suppose that Twitter always was the primary platform for communication. Full-on blogs like Contravex have always been somewhat on the fringe for the simple fact that 1000-2000 well-thought-out words are simply too much work to read (much less write) to be mainstream, and Reddit is just painful for anyone who doesn’t live at home. [↩]
- Solar isn’t taking off (yet) but the use of sea-can-sized mobile mining operations that utilise the wasted energy (typically natural gas that is otherwise flared) at any of the thousands of oil derricks across the province are on the up-and-up. And it makes a huge amount of sense! Why not turn a loss into a profit, right ? [↩]
- Xapo, for all its anti-Bitcoin vices, still holds a staggering number of coins. Apparently Central and Southern American drug cartels simply can’t trust themselves and their henchmen to safely store private keys. Canadian competitors are similarly on the rise in an effort to offer the elder fiat investor a digestible solution. [↩]
- But that didn’t stop way too many of the speakers from digging way too far into Mies or Hans or whoever during their presentations. Seriously, those guys aren’t that important for understanding Bitcoin, or anything else for that matter. [↩]
- He’s not only a scammer but is now such a joke that he’s meme-worthy too.
Which is obviously a reference to this. [↩]