Prague is brewing.
This is an opinion editorial written by Joakim Book, a research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research and contributor to HumanProgress.org and the Mises Institute.
Upon entering BTC Prague’s inaugural conference, attendees were met with a strong scent reminiscent of new rubber. The venue was dark with massive screens and neon lights, creating a spooky and somewhat nauseating feel. The main stage had a large BTC logo and bobbing lamps hanging above it, making it feel like the stage was slowly twirling. For the first few sessions, the main hall was empty and eerie.
Most of the attendees seemed to be hanging out in the expo hall, which was filled with hundreds of Bitcoin companies and thousands of participants. The centerpiece booth was occupied by SatoshiLabs and reached out into the four corners of the space. The expo hall also featured miners, hardware wallet makers, and book publishers. There were so many booths that after several walkthroughs, attendees were still discovering new companies and products. The official language of the conference was broken English with a vaguely European tone, which was a nice change from the typical Americanesque language used at Bitcoin conferences.
The audience at the conference were mostly young, fit men, though some brought their families. The conference had a family-friendly vibe, and it was clear that self-responsibility in money translated into self-responsibility in other domains. The transition from the fiat world to the Bitcoin world was clear, with attendees wearing colorful wristbands and Bitcoin-themed clothing. Most vendors accepted Lightning, and the exchange of monetary energy felt simple and easy.
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The conference also featured great food and places to socialize and soak in the Prague summer heat. Among the many meetings and reunions, attendees had the opportunity to take selfies with their idols, thank podcasters or authors for their work, and connect with personas they had previously only known through words, voices, or profile pictures.
The author recounts an encounter with a former classmate at a Bitcoin conference in Prague. They hadn’t kept in touch since studying economics together at university, but had both found their way to Bitcoin. The conference was highlighted by a keynote speech from Michael Saylor, who spoke about the collapse of the US dollar and the importance of Bitcoin. The author reflects on the energy in the room and the realization that government policy is more important than hard work. They suggest that Bitcoin offers a way to exit the crumbling monetary system and that Prague is emerging as a hub for Bitcoin innovation. The post concludes with a disclaimer that the opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of the publication.