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11

Previewing The LABitConf And Adopting Bitcoin Events In El Salvador

Organizers of two fantastic Bitcoin conferences coming to El Salvador this quarter described their upcoming events.

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As the Bitcoin ecosystem grows, Bitcoin conferences continue to be a great way for Bitcoiners to meet like-minded people, network with professionals in the industry, learn more about Bitcoin, and just celebrate the monetary revolution that is underway. And two conferences are coming up in El Salvador, LABitConf and Adopting Bitcoin, offering great opportunities to get involved in the Bitcoin community in the country and beyond.

Rodolfo Andragnes of LABitConf and Chris Hunter of Adopting Bitcoin recently joined Christian Keroles in a Twitter Spaces hosted by Bitcoin Magazine to discuss what each of their conferences has to offer.

LaBitConf is the longest-running Bitcoin conference in the world and has been helping educate Latin America on Bitcoin since 2013.

“We’ve been here helping Latin Americans to understand and to believe that this is something that can change their future,” said Andregnes, the president of ONG Bitcoin Argentina. “We’d be moving the conference always to the country that we thought was the best one each year. Not the most financially smarter place, but the one that we thought that could do best, just taking the BitConf there.”

Planned to be hosted in San Salvador from November 15 to November 20, LABitConf will have nearly an entire week of events and activities. The schedule includes two hackathon days, an industry-focused day and two live conference days.

“There will be, for example, a B2B speed-dating day, yes, during the same days of the hackathon,” said Andregnes. “In that case, the focus of people coming are local businesses and entrepreneurs willing to connect with different projects in the crypto space to see if they can apply to their platforms.”

Adopting Bitcoin will also be in San Salvador during the same week, with its two main conference days happening prior to LABitConf’s on November 16 and November 17. This summit will be more focused on the Lightning Network and all the great developments happening with Lightning in El Salvador.

It plans to offer two separate tracks during the conference so that people can hone in on either development or adoption.

“One development track, which will be very technically-focused,” said Hunter, the cofounder of Galoy. “Then the other is what we’re calling an economic track, which is more focused on real-world adoption, not just in El Salvador, but Latin America and beyond.”

Hunter further articulated how conferences like these are an integral part of Bitcoin adoption.

“We are definitely organizing Adopting Bitcoin for the early adopters who not only do it because we can, but we really do it because we believe it’s necessary for the people of El Salvador, the people of Latin America and the people of the world,” he said.

The full recording of this Spaces conversation includes many more details and discussion. To read the whole conversation, check out the unedited transcript below:

[00:00:06] CK: Highly recommend to check out these conferences and to check out the Bitcoin 2022 Conference, which is going to be in Miami next April 6th through the 9th. It is being put on by Bitcoin Magazine. Bitcoin 2021, which is one of the places that really kicked off this El Salvador journey with Bitcoin. Bitcoin 2022 is going to have amazing historical moments, as well as the entire Bitcoin community. It’s going to be the biggest Bitcoin crypto event ever. It is Bitcoin-only. Very excited for it, and very excited for these upcoming events in El Salvador. Again, if you are interested in Bitcoin 2022, b.tc/conference is the best place to get a ticket. Yeah, use promo code SATOSHI to save yourself 10% off.

All right, I’m going to shut up for a second here, while we get some folks up on stage. If you need to get on stage, if you are on the guest list, please request. Please request, so it’s easy for us to get you up on stage. What is up, Rodolfo? Welcome to the stage.

[00:01:16] RA: How are you doing? Thank you. Thank you for inviting me.

[00:01:19] CK: Yeah, absolutely. While we wait for Aaron, do you want to give people a quick history on the BitConf, and what you’ve been doing throughout the years with Bitcoin?

[00:01:30] RA: Yeah, sure. Well, LABITCONF started in 2013. I think, unless I can confirm the negative, that it’s been the longest-running Bitcoin conference in the world. It’s uninterrupted. It’s the only one that kept the Bitcoin word in it, since I started 13, going after the awful 2014 and 15, where Bitcoin was denial, and blockchain was the – well, the only thing that was accepted by most of the institutional sector.

We’ve been doing this in non-for-profit, since the first day to support Latin American growth. Yes, helping people from Latin America to believe that they could become leaders themselves. Yes. Today, some of the projects that started, or were related to LABITCONF in their initial days have become unicorns, yes, in the space, like bit, Mercado Bitcoin and others. Several of the projects of today are running in the Latin American space. Also, they their first steps, in some of LABITCONF, past LABITCONF. You have Strato, and others.

We’ve been here helping Latin Americans to understand and to believe that this is something that can change their future. Been doing in a different country every year, just not to – We are from Argentina. Once we did it in Argentina, we over sold all the tickets, and we decided that this should be done not just for us, but for any country that was willing to listen. We’d be moving the conference always to the country that we thought was the best one each year. Not the most financially smarter place, but the one that we thought that could do best, just taking the BitConf there.

It’s been always well spoken, because of the high quality of speakers being one of the first ones. Also, back then made that we had the key speakers of such a time from Andrea’s. I think, it was one of his first talks also given. We had Eric and Charlie Shrem, and at that time, Bitcoin Jesus, all the speakers in the first conferences. They kept coming, or we only had a high-quality speaker level.

Also, because in my case, I’m very, very into the cultural aspects, we are loved by speakers and attendees, because of our experience, the experience around them. Yes, we’ve done things like, horseback riding and zip lines and mountains and beaches. It has always been also a whole experience. We say, the LABITCONF is not just a cover. It’s a whole experience. I think, that what makes these key speakers to come back every time and this to having a community around that is the experience behind LABITCONF.

[00:04:26] CK: Awesome. Thank you for that, Rodolfo. We now have pretty much everyone on stage. I think, the only person who’s not on stage is Fulmo. Please, request to join and we can let you up on stage. Want to turn it over to Aaron. Welcome back to your long-running El Salvador Spaces series.

[00:04:44] AVW: Yeah. Thanks, CK. CK, can you make me, or can someone make me a co-host?

[00:04:49] CK: Yup. Eli, is working on that.

[00:04:52] AVW: Yeah. It sounds like we already started, so I suggest we just keep going. Rodolfo, first of all, are there any speakers confirmed yet?

[00:04:59] RA: Yes. Though, we are running on this call, because we have very few time to patch up this, but Case, or Stark, Lop. This is our own site. We’re only focusing on those who are coming to the conference. Then, we will have also live speakers that – I mean, stream speakers, but we’re focusing on the live speakers right now. We have Don Henrica, the one from DLC. We have Jack Como, well, Stacy, Stephanie Veda, and some others coming in the very near future. This is just some of the first ones on my top of mind.

[00:05:36] AVW: Is it going to be Bitcoin-only, or are you also inviting other crypto currency people?

[00:05:43] RA: LABITCONF has always been a Bitcoin maximalist, but we are open to, let’s say, to other implementations, yes, of mostly when we give a talk about blockchain use cases. Yes, we allow some other blockchain application, but we’re mostly Bitcoin, like 70%, 80% Bitcoin, strongly-focused. When we talk about the future and what’s coming, we’re always talk about the Bitcoin future and not others. I will say, it’s mainly Bitcoin-focused.

The only stays where the others might have an additional space for talking is in blockchain application for use cases in governments, or in other applications where yet, Bitcoin is not ready.

[00:06:32] AVW: Right. Okay, so let’s hear – We also have people from Adopting Bitcoin on stage. Who wants to take the word there? Hunter and Nicolas? Jeff?

[00:06:41] CH: I’ll jump in. This is Hunter, co-founder of Galoy. For those not familiar with Galoy, we aspire to be the number one Bitcoin banking as a service solution to make it easy for companies and communities in the future to bank on this new Internet, native open source money. You will probably be well familiar with the Bitcoin Beach wallet, which is our initial proof of concept for the largest community on Bitcoin bank in the world to our knowledge.

Important context there. Nicolas, and I went down to El Salvador about a year ago now in order to create the Bitcoin Beach wallet. Through the work there, and then some of the engagement we’ve seen, it became clear that there was a need for another global Lightning conference. There hasn’t been one for more than two years, since the last event that Jeff and Fulmo organized in Berlin in summer of 2019.

That’s really the context for the genesis of Adopting Bitcoin, where we felt it was really a need to bring together not just the Bitcoin community, but more acutely, the Lightning community. Adopting Bitcoin is very much a Bitcoin conference, exclusively with an acute focus on Lightning, 600 people in El Salvador, November 16th, 17th, and 18th. The first two days, that Tuesday, Wednesday will be at the Sheraton Conference Center, which is the best hotel conference center in the capital, where we will have two simultaneous tracks.

One development track, which will be very technically-focused. Then the other is what we’re calling an economic track, which is more focused on real-world adoption, not just in El Salvador, but Latin America and beyond. We’re super excited about the speaker lineup that we have there. We have Alex Gladstein from Human Rights Foundation, Alex the CEO of River, Ray, the CEO of Paxful. We’ve got Stefan Lovera is one of our main MCs. Rene Pickhardt, and just goes on and on with people have been very active building on Lightning will be speaking there.

Then, day three will be at the beach in El Zonte, where Bitcoin Beach began; much more informal day with the Bitcoin Bazaar and open our food stalls and places for people to meet in town. Also, then the ability to experience where this whole movement began, by interacting with the merchants across town.

The last thing I’ll say is in addition to be being Bitcoin and Lightning focus, we’re looking to donate a 100% of the profits on the event to either local Salvadorians, or to Lightning Network developers, so we’re really excited about that as well.

[00:09:04] NB: Maybe, just to give a bit more context about why – at this house of conference has been initiated, we decided to do it two months ago, or a month ago. It’s basically, after the Bitcoin law was announced, but before it was effective, we had meeting with some financial institutions ago. [Inaudible 00:09:25] was there. It’s basically, more its aspect, as we initiate a lot of the question with [inaudible 00:09:31] here. Meeting with them, we start to understand that a lot of the financial institutions here have no idea what was coming with the Bitcoin law.

Some of them when, we talk with them, it was like, okay, yes, we are thinking about Bitcoin, but we are listening with weeper, and some other stay down with their cryptocurrency that also, something we are – I mean, typical we are talking to. This was a startup for – I mean, now it’s a Bitcoin law, we should be Bitcoin only. We should just help educate this financial institution about Bitcoin, but more precisely, Lightning, because ultimately, this law is about payments. Therefore, Lightning is doing what makes sense. This is what triggers the idea of making these conference a couple of months ago.

[00:10:18] AVW: Yeah. I think, one of the things, we did Spaces on that as well, of course. It was the very first of these that I did. I think, one of the conclusions that we walked away with was, essentially, this country is desperate for a Lightning conference. Is it going to be geared towards locals, or international developers, or what’s the main audience then in your mind?

[00:10:43] CH: Yeah. I would just say that the audience is both. I mean, we’re certainly very sensitive to engaging the local community. We’re going to have our own hackathon, and we’re reaching out to the university community and giving away a large number of scholarship tickets to young people who are interested in El Salvador and building on Lightning. At the same time, this is a global Lightning summit. In addition to that, we’re definitely looking to attract all the best and brightest minds and speakers and developers in the Lightning community from around the world.

I don’t have the exact count in front of me, but I think we probably have people from more than 30 different countries already committed to either speak, or attend. It’s very much a global event focused on El Salvador, if that makes sense.

[00:11:24] AVW: All right. I’m going to start letting some people on stage, if they have questions. Wendy, do you have a question? Oh, do we have Wendy on stage or not?

[00:11:31] CK: Looks like, she’s still joining. Twitter Spaces is being especially buggy right now. Also, I want to shout out to Rodolfo and Fulmo. I don’t know why you’re getting kicked out, but it might be helpful to quit the app completely, and then try to rejoin. Always request, and that makes it easier for us to let you on stage.

I have some questions. What’s the local attitude towards these events? I guess, either Rodolfo or Hunter can respond. I’m just curious. Do you feel like you need security? Or are people really excited? What’s the general overall vibe with the locals and on the streets in the areas that you’re organizing?

[00:12:11] RA: Hunter? You or me?

[00:12:13] CH: Sure, I’ll go first. I mean, we’ve certainly seen a lot of excitement. We’re about three weeks into selling tickets, again, I don’t know the exact count currently. We’ve sold well, more than a 100 tickets of the 600-person capacity at the Sheraton, will allow us in these pandemic times. We’re certainly sensitive to security on one hand. On the other hand, I think, El Salvador has a perception problem, where it’s actually much safer on the ground, both in San Salvador and outside of the Capitol than people realize.

Nicolas and I both spent extensive amount of time on the ground in El Salvador in recent months. None of us and anybody we interact with really feels that there was any issue there. The Sheraton is where President Obama and all presidents stay when they come there. It has its own proper security staff 24/7. We are exploring the possibility of whether we might need additional security, which our instinct is no, we don’t, but we’re certainly running that to ground. We’ll have that sorted out in the next week or two, well, in advance of the event.

[00:13:11] RA: Yeah. On our side, I would say that you have two different kinds of people in El Salvador. Yes, the ones who already had the chance to interact with Bitcoin [inaudible 00:13:21], and they are very excited about the concept, about having these events down there. Yes. Then, you have the people who’s new to Bitcoin. Yes. They might not yet understand why Bitcoin is such a good opportunity, beyond the fact of what Chivo brings, and what the remittances mean, stuff like that.

Our focus in our own, we have several kinds of activities. We have two days of hackathon. We have one day, we have our conference itself, like the regular conference with all the speakers, I said. We have a free open day, where we expect over the 3,000 people coming, just for the community to have a deeper understanding about why Bitcoin? Yes. And what’s the difference between Bitcoin and Chivo and the basics, we have basics on Bitcoin. This will get an active support from government, for promoting them, for bringing the people in.

I see from government a huge support, yes, to this, to occur. Yes. From the people, I think that there is a big amount of users now that are starting to think about if Bitcoin is also something that they should get a deeper understanding from. You speak with the people from El Zonte, yes, from Bitcoin Beach, they realize that beyond having a law that says you need to take Bitcoin, people need to understand this education about Bitcoin. Part of our project is also doing a big, open, free conference with all sorts of shows and stuff like that. But mainly, with two different kinds of content. One is structured content and the other is ask me anything.

We will have two hours of content, two hours of ask me anything, two hours of content, two hours of ask me anything with eight different focuses and topics on the content. All the Spanish, 100% Spanish, 100% for the people to ask whatever they want and give them the real basics of understanding why Bitcoin is disruptive for their future somehow. Then, we have obviously, beyond the hackathon and beyond this activity, we will have the regular conference, where we will focus on some institutional aspects of these, because we do expect people coming from other countries and governments coming from other country to get a deeper understanding of what’s happening in El Salvador.

Also, the technological aspect, the next steps in Bitcoin evolution, and privacy and security and all those aspects. We have different targets. Yes. The hackathons is for students. The open is for the regular, final user, and technological and the other conference is more for our Bitcoin community, and for businessmen trying to address a deeper understanding with a longer conference about where Bitcoin is going, and how can it be used and applied in other countries. Our main focus is trying to bring Bitcoin to other countries, Bitcoin law to other countries.

[00:16:23] AVW: On the topic of security, I can share my own perspective. My own perspective is that I’ve spent most of my time in either San Salvador, or one of the beach towns, so El Zonte and there are a few others. From my personal experience, I haven’t felt unsafe at all. I think, these areas are not really gang-invaded or anything. It feels secure. I personally don’t think it’s an issue. I mean, that’s just my personal experience.

We have some people on stage. Christian, what’s up? You have a question? Comment?

[00:16:58] C: Yeah. Just going to ask, or suggest if you guys are planning to have information there for people that are wondering how they might be able to move to El Salvador, or set up businesses there. Because even just here in Canada, I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about how to basically go to El Salvador, since this law kicked in.

[00:17:21] AVW: Rodolfo, you want to take this?

[00:17:22] RA: In our case, we will have one the [inaudible 00:17:25] legal clinic, yes, where entrepreneurs can ask local and international lawyers about their strategies and about their concerns on the legal aspects for free. Yes. This is also during the whole of the conference, the free day of the conference. Actually, to address the questions that you were just asking in case. We will have local lawyers –

[00:17:47] CK: Actually, the secondary question – Sorry. Yeah. Hey, Rodolfo, or Hunter, or Nur, anyone, feel free to jump in on this. Do you get the sense that for both conferences, that the majority of people who are coming are Bitcoin enthusiasts from El Salvador and abroad? Or do you get the sense that it’s a combination? What’s the breakdown of the people that are showing interest in buying tickets to the conferences?

[00:18:14] CH: I think, it’s both of those buckets, and maybe a third or fourth. I mean, we certainly have Bitcoin enthusiasts from El Salvador who are already registered far in advance of the event. We have another bucket that I would characterize as professional businessmen, for businesses from El Salvador that are either in the process of developing their own Bitcoin-related products, or thinking about it in a very serious fashion.

The large contingent of them who’ve already purchased tickets, or agreed to sponsor adopting Bitcoin in the Lightning summit. Then, there’s just the broader international community, where it’s been – we’ve got researchers, like Rene Pickhardt. We’ve got a lot of the leading independent Lightning devs who are coming to speak. We’ve got a lot of the leading companies who are sponsoring an OKCoin, or others who [inaudible 00:19:00] investors and operating businesses in the space.

Even in these early days, a couple months in advance of the event, we have a pretty healthy mix of both locals who are interested, locals who are really building their own businesses around Bitcoin, international companies and international developers have many dozens in each category who have already signed up to join.

[00:19:21] AVW: We have ideas are – what’s your name? Ideas are like flames, did you have a question?

[00:19:27] CK: Hunter actually told me to bring Ideas on stage. Ideas, are you a –

[00:19:31] NB: He is a co-organizer of [inaudible 00:19:33] Bitcoin.

[00:19:35] I: Yeah. Hi, guys. Maybe just to add to Hunter’s insights, so we’re getting a lot of inbound requests from South American companies, banks, who are interested in attending the conference. As per the tickets, we are not really collecting a lot of information. Judging by the email addresses, there is many institutions from Latin America, from South America, from El Salvador itself, and the mix of yeah, many people from the Bitcoin and Lightning communities, developers.

[00:20:08] RA: On our side, I would say, that we have different focus for different activities. There will be, for example, a B2B speed-dating day, yes, during the same days of the hackathon. In that case, the focus of people coming are local business and entrepreneurs willing to connect with different projects in the crypto space to see if they can apply to their platforms.

Then during the conference, the free day, it’s for the community, for the final users. This is the main focus. The people at the streets that says stuff. For the conference day, we do see some dormant people coming. We do see businesses, yes. We need to get a deeper understanding of Bitcoin next steps. We do see a whole bunch of crypto enthusiasts from around the world that follow LABITCONF and that’s always interested in joining an event with the additional – I think that in this year in particular, we do expect to get more people willing to do business in El Salvador, than just coming to LABITCONF, because of LABITCONF. That will be the main, main focus of people we’re trying to attract; people thinking to do business in El Salvador, or in the region as one. This the main focus.

We are doing this together with four conferences. For me, this was a huge thing to achieve, yes, to work in just two-month, a full conference, together with four other conferences, yes, that we all decided to go not-for-profit. In our case, we always been, but Bitcoin Magazine is supporting, is our co-working with us in content. We have Tallinn land, which is a conference that it’s being hosted in from Mexico with over 2 million people watching their events every year. They are doing all the live streaming aspects. We have blockchain summit, that they are focused on hackathons, working on the hackathon aspects. I think, we are trying to put up a very strong, nice, with different targets, whole event in five days of activities.

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[EPISODE CONTINUED]

[00:24:09] AVW: Yeah. I’m not sure if this was really the point we’re addressing. There might be people here listening that want to go to both conferences, or that are thinking of going to one of them. To what extent can people expect to go to both? Have you guys figure it out? Because they’re going to be in the same week. Are they going to be compatible in that sense? Or, what’s going on with that?

[00:24:32] CH: Sure. We announced the Adopting Bitcoin Conference about four weeks ago now. Again, it’s Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday that week, November 16, 17, 18. The two main conference days are Tuesday and Wednesday, the 16th and 17th at the Sheraton in San Salvador. I think, Rodolfo as we were talking together, tried to be as thoughtful as possible in terms of accommodating, the very point, Aaron, that you just raised, to make it into a effectively, a Bitcoin week, if you will, and allow people to attend both events.

I believe, the main business days of LABITCONF, Rodolfo’s event will be done the Thursday and Friday, immediately following the Tuesday and Wednesday of our two main events. For the Thursday, for example, anybody attending Adopting Bitcoin, we would certainly love to have you in El Zonte, at Bitcoin Beach for the more informal day and get a sense of where it all began and meet Jorge and Chimbera and the whole team, who are the real leaders, who put everything in motion in 2019.

If you wanted to attend both Adopting Bitcoin and LABITCONF, you would have a decision to make on Thursday. Do you want to go to Bitcoin Beach, or are you going to go to day one of LABITCONF?

[00:25:41] RA: Yeah. Actually, those doing the Bitcoin Beach day, yes, eventually, they can join on Friday to our second day of event. Or, eventually go to Bitcoin Beach on Saturday, where we’re going also to the Bitcoin Beach, to Mizata and other – it’s three different spots in the beach, yes, taking that experience tickets. Or the days before. They do this a full week. They can go on Monday to have these visits to the beach, and then take Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday as different content.

I do expect to have different kinds of content for each activity. I do think it makes sense to try to attend both, yes. The days that we have activity overlap with the content of Adopting Bitcoin are activities that are more for the local people, and not for the international attendees. Yes, we did thought, even though Adopting Bitcoin announced this first, and we had some issues getting the dates. We did decide to do this a week for people just being able to attend as much as they want. Just not going twice or three times to us, and I don’t know.

[00:26:48] AVW: Yes. As I understand this, both conferences still have their main days and then some extra days. Sorry. Yeah. Both conferences have their main days, and then some extra days. The main days do not overlap. Then on the extra days, people might have to choose between activities of one or the other. Or, maybe one over the extra activities over another, or something like that, right?

[00:27:13] CK: I guess, first of all, if you have questions for these folks, if you’re getting to be in El Salvador for these conferences, request to come up. We’d love to facilitate those questions. I want to zoom out a little bit and just want to talk about the impact that El Salvador is having and curious what your teams are seeing. I know, we have [inaudible 00:27:32] from OpenNode on stage. He’s been a part of the rollout of Lightning over there.

Just from a bigger picture, let’s just talk about Bitcoin in El Salvador, the impact that it’s making, and what perspective you’re seeing from building a conference. I guess, let’s go with Hunter first.

[00:27:51] CH: Sure. Well, I mean, I think it goes without saying, for everybody who’s listening here, it’s unprecedented what’s happened with the Bitcoin wallet in El Salvador. That’s not to be understated, number one. Number two, the rollout starting from September 7th, with Chivo has been a little bit bumpy, but that’s certainly to be expected. Quite honestly, it’s probably been a little bit smoother than I would have anticipated, given the very aggressive 90-day timeline that President Bukele had put forward to make everything go live in early September.

We’ve got a couple of conference sponsors for Adopting Bitcoin, I think, on the line here in terms of folks from OpenNode, as well as from IBEX, who have been right in the eye of the storm, so to speak, in terms of using their solution to support a large number of merchants actually accepting Bitcoin in countries, so we can talk about that and maybe turn over the mic to them.

The other bit is this has generated just a tremendous positive amount of interest from people around the world. Nicolas, who obviously runs Galoy with myself, we’ve received just almost unlimited inbound interest from people around the world, entrepreneurs, right next door in Guatemala and Honduras, entrepreneurs across Africa, who are in various stages of development saying, “Look, I want to stand up a Bitcoin payment solution in my country, or I want to stand up a full-fledged Bitcoin bank. Can you come help us?” This will obviously be a story that plays out not just in the months ahead, but the years ahead.

Whether or not Bitcoin is legal in certain countries or not, there’s plenty of people who inspired by what they’ve been seeing through our work and others who work in El Salvador who are definitely looking to pick up the mantle. I’ll just leave it at that in terms of high-level comments. I think, into the details, both maybe pulling up the IBEX or OpenNode folks to talk about their experience in El Salvador, as well, as I’m happy to further expand about some of the international interest we’re seeing, if folks want to talk about that as well.

[00:29:48] AVW: Sure. Well, let’s see if you have you have question. Who’s on stage? Jao?

[00:29:52] J: I actually have a question.

[00:29:53] CK: Jao, what’s up?

[00:29:54] J: Hey, what’s up? I actually have a question that got in the middle, you guys were talking regarding the main days and if the conferences overlap. I’m actually going, so I’m actually curious to know, so what are the main days for each conference, so I can plan to attend those?

[00:30:09] CH: Yeah. It’s pretty simple. For Adopting Bitcoin, the Lightning Summit, it’s Tuesday, Wednesday in San Salvador, the Capitol at the Sheraton Hotel Conference Center. For LABITCONF, the main business conference days are Thursday, Friday, immediately thereafter. Then as Rodolfo highlighted, he’s got some events, the hackathon early in the week, as well as a beach day over the weekend for adopting Bitcoin, in addition to our two main days on Tuesday, Wednesday. We just have the third day at Bitcoin Beach with the entire original team, and some very nice structured events in El Zonte.

[00:30:41] J: Okay. Thank you.

[00:30:43] RA: Yeah. Actually, on our case, as I say, the main day might be Thursday and Friday. Saturday is the nicest day also in the same place of going to the beach and having – it’s more like a full day beyond sunset, being at El Zonte, at Mizata and at El Tunco, yes, three different places to get a deeper understanding of what the country is. Yes.

Around there, we will have some activities, some surfing activities, fishing activities, well, the different things that are related to what LABITCONF experience means. That’s on Saturday. Main days for me is difficult, because our main day is, for example, the day, the Wednesday day, but it’s for the local people. in the sense of what the conference it pretends to be, yes, I think that our main day is on Wednesday, but it’s not a main day for the international attendees. It’s a main day of the objectives of the conference to be achieved, which is addressing the local people.

[00:31:42] AVW: Does that answer question, Jao?

[00:31:44] J: Yes, it does. Thanks.

[00:31:46] CK: Rodolfo, can you just remind us a little bit more about what the programming is going to be like around that Wednesday, where you’re going to be working with locals?

[00:31:54] RA: Yeah. Actually, it varies. We will have two different kinds of content. We have eight different topics, 30-minute talks about eight different aspects. I don’t remember them right now. Eight different aspects of why Bitcoin is relevant, why Bitcoin, it’s an approach for meets forward and future-looking, and understanding beyond the benefits of the short-term. It allows people to do their own questions from whatever and ask me anything from why my granny is not being able to do such a thing, or why if I’m a businessman, I should do such other, stuff like that.

We will have a team of people willing to answer to all of these kinds of questions openly, and some content, as I said, some driven content, just to let the people get a deeper understanding on things that they should be considering. Then the same day, we will have some artists doing some stuff on – well, I don’t want to say everything, but some stuff on international artists doing stuff on some surfboards, yes, like artist [inaudible 00:33:00]. We will have a final party. For example, for those who are coming to the hackathon, also, we will have on Tuesday a pool party. On Wednesday, we will have one of these party for the global community, which is open and free. Anyone can come. They don’t need to pay just to come to the Wednesday. I don’t want this to be competing with who is Adopting Bitcoin. It’s mostly 100% Spanish. Then on Thursday and Friday, we have also some activities for the VIPs, plus the fact of having the conference with these main topics, with these other more [inaudible 00:33:34].

[00:33:35] CH: I’m thoroughly impressed with Rodolfo’s ambition and scale and scope of all these programming, especially given the short timeline here. He truly has triggered a thought. Ours is a little more scaled back. Again, with just the two main days, Tuesday, Wednesday. Then, a month ago when we announced this, we were thinking that taproot activation would actually be targeted for Thursday, the 18th of November. It looks like it might be slightly sooner than that.

Nonetheless, on that Thursday at the beach, which is our third day, we are having a taproot activation party as the sunsets on the beach in El Zonte as well. Something just to look forward to for those who will join for that portion. Then, our conference will mostly be presented in English, but for all panels that are presented in English, we will have simultaneous Spanish translation.

[00:34:20] AVW: Yeah. Hunter or Nicolas, or whoever wants to answer, I understand that there’s also some tie in between Adopting Bitcoin and the Lightning conference that was in Berlin before. What’s the connection there, if any?

[00:34:33] CH: Yeah. If Jeff is on the line from Fulmo, he can take it. Otherwise, Nicolas, maybe you want to jump in?

[00:34:38] AVW: Yeah. I think, Jeff has some issues, some connection, connectivity issues. Nicolas?

[00:34:44] NB: Yeah. Jeff is organizer of Lightning Conference in Berlin two years ago and is a co-organizer of the Bitcoin, Lightning Summit. Yes, is helping to bring back most of the speakers that was presented this time, and generally, very helpful to just organize this conference, because it was for me, Chris, this is our first time we have been at a conference. Yeah. Pretty much welcome all the inputs from Jeff for sure.

[00:35:14] AVW: Right. We also expect a similar style of conference. The Lightning Conference was a very hands on type of conference with a lot of hackerspace types of areas and these kinds of things?

[00:35:26] NB: Yeah. There will be beer that you can pay with SATs. We will have our hacker space Internet with two conference. It would be very similar vein.

[00:35:38] CH: Just to [inaudible 00:35:38], saying that we’ve got our two simultaneous tracks, the economic track and the development track. We will have a third space, massive amount of space at the Sheraton for the simultaneous hacker event. That’s what Nicolas was articulating there.

[00:35:53] CK: I actually had a question, just to keep it going. I’m curious, how is making Bitcoin something that’s Bitcoin Lightning something that you can use to buy things at all the conferences a big focus? I know at Bitcoin 2022, we’re working very hard to make sure everything is Lightning-enabled and Bitcoin-enabled, so that way you can use fiat, you can use whatever, but you can use Bitcoin everywhere, too. Is that something that is a focus at both of these events?

[00:36:21] NB: Yeah. Actually, you can only pay the ticket with Lightning. I mean, I think we have enabled fallback in Bitcoin day one, so now you can pay, because some people have difficulty paying with Lightning. You cannot come to the conference with your fiat currently. You pretty much have your Lightning.

[00:36:41] RA: I think, it’s actually the same.

[00:36:42] NB: Sheraton is one of the great hotel in in San Salvador. They don’t take Lightning, so we’re working hard to make them accept Lightning, but it’s taking time. Hopefully, we’ll get there.

[00:36:56] RA: Yeah. In our case, tickets needs to be paid in Bitcoins and sponsorship is only being paid in Bitcoin, just now. Actually, the prices are placed in Bitcoin. There is the main sponsor, it’s 1 BTC, and then you have the Bitcoin sponsor, which is 0.5. It’s not related to the price of Bitcoin, but to the Bitcoin itself. Then tickets are paid in Lightning, or in Bitcoin. Yes, the hotel venue is one of the main issues usually. We are yet getting which hotel – we are not doing this on a venue. This is not in a hotel venue. This is outside the hotel.

We are trying to negotiate which hotel allows Bitcoin payments to promote them as one. We also have a support from Avianca, which is an airline that they take Bitcoin as payments in since 2017, I think, but only Light. Not online. Only in person. Avianca is one of the sponsors of the airline. We have straight flights from US, straight flights from Canada, from I don’t know from Canada, but from Central America and Latin America. They have a discount on the tickets.

[00:38:01] NB: I have a question, actually. Could you tell where the event will be? I’d have to get more idea, but to picture myself, how will [inaudible 00:38:08], because I’m not sure.

[00:38:10] RA: Actually, the different activities in different places. Yes. One of our main concerns was to have some open spaces. Yes. We plan not to do things in a hotel, because of health issues. Yes. It depends on the size of the event you’re doing now eventually. As we do expect to have a very open day with big support from government, inviting people to come and stuff like that, we need to do this on a sheltered, but open space. We are doing this in Salamanca, which is 25 minutes from San Salvador.

Then, we have the hackathon, which has a closed venue and an open venue. You might be programming at the side of the pool, for example, yes, in this place, which is called Circulo Militar, which is a old military club there. The one of the things with El Salvador is, if you are not considering a hotel a venue, then you are very limited to the options, yes, but we are concerned about all the security and the health measures.

I mean, they are less relevant than the days and activities, because eventually, you will anyway need to move to one place, from one place to another, depending on the day. Not on the same day. For example, there need to be speed-dating, and the hackathon will be in one place, Monday and Tuesday. The other activities will be one place Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. They are not in a specific hotel.

[00:39:36] NB: All that makes sense.

[00:39:37] CK: Where do we want to take this? Is there anything that we’ve missed, or that the different organizers want to tell the audience? I’m not sure if Q&A is necessarily the most effective, but curious.

[00:39:48] AVW: Yeah. No, as far as I’m concerned, if people have questions they can request. Other than that, I think we’ve covered a lot, but definitely open to suggestions from any of the speakers. One basic question I have is, what does it cost to go to the conference?

[00:40:03] CH: Sure. For Adopting Bitcoin, we’ve tried to keep it pretty modest. The early innovator ticket, which I think, Kamal, correct me, if I’m wrong, we still have live for one more day, is a 150 US dollar equivalent. Again, we accept Lightning payments for the Adopting Bitcoin Summit. That increases in the next couple of days to be $200. Then, even if you buy a last-minute ticket, the maximum price to attend our three-day event will be the 300 US dollar equivalent. Again, we’re not looking to profit on this event at all. 100% of the profit above our cost to stage the event will be donated to the Lightning community, or to the Salvadoran community.

[00:40:41] RA: Yes. In our cases, we have different kinds of tickets, different kinds of tires, different kinds of everything. Today, the regular ticket is 350, which is access to the obviously, the free day, so you need to pay for that, and to the other two days of conference, plus to some of the activities are being costed in this time. Then, you have the business ticket which has additional benefits, you just need to check on the website, but it gives you access to the Bit area and stuff like that, plus the chance of participating in the B2B roundtables and speed-dating and other things.

Then you have the experience ticket, which is beyond. It’s complimentary. The experience ticket is what I always recommend everyone to take, not because of the price. We, as I said, since 2013, we’ve been doing this 100% not-for-profit. We don’t earn for doing the conference. Any results help to keep promoting. We have a Latin American approach, yes, to keep promoting the Latin American ecosystem and granting and stuff like that.

Plus, in these specific cases, we’re doing these ways with Bitcoin Magazine, with Talin Land, with Blockchain Summit and with LABITCONF. We decided that if any, yes, expenses for to this conference, as big as I’m saying, are very high, yes. If any, the results, the profits will go to also, to specifically to El Salvador, to support actually, entrepreneurs, local entrepreneurs working on Bitcoin solutions.

These are the prices, but the prices might be getting higher. Related to the amount of people coming, booking, not to a timing. Because this has to do with not wanting to have an overbent, over-exposed community coming. We do expect people to come to be willing to do business and not only to spend the time around.

I mean, we’re doing this effort to help El Salvador to grow and to help El Salvador to become a beacon of light for the other countries in the region. We don’t care much about how many people are attending or not, though we do expect around 1,000 and in the free day, more than 1,000.

[SPONSOR MESSAGE]

[00:42:56] CK: Bitcoiners, I am so excited to tell you about the Bitcoin 2022 Conference. You guys, Bitcoin 2021 was absolutely a smash hit success. It was over 13,000 Bitcoiners coming together, breaking the barriers on who can come together and celebrate freedom, celebrate Bitcoin. The energy was absolutely electric.

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It is going to be a celebration of Bitcoin, the Bitcoiners and this amazing movement that is going to make the world a better place. Go to b.tc/conference, learn more about the Bitcoin Conference, learn more about all the amazing things that are happening in Miami around the Bitcoin Conference and buy your tickets. Guess what? If you buy your tickets with Bitcoin, you save a $100 on all the tickets and a $1,000 on the whale pass. If you want the VIP pass, the Big Kahuna, you buy with Bitcoin, you save a $1,000. That’s a lot of SATS. Go and do it right now today. Don’t wait. Prices are only going up. This is going to be a can’t miss event.

[00:45:24] CK: Bitcoiners, I want to tell you about The Deep Dive. The Deep Dive is Bitcoin Magazine’s premium market intelligence newsletter. This is a no fluff, hard-hitting, incredible newsletter going deep into the market, helping you understand what’s happening with derivatives, what’s happening on-chain, what’s happening in macro, what’s happening with the narrative and what’s happening with the tech.

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[EPISODE CONTINUED]

[00:46:55] CK: Awesome. I mean, that’s a lot of people. I love the local educational component all in Spanish at LABITCONF. I think that’s awesome. I love that Adopting Bitcoin and getting Lightning a bigger part of this from a more enterprise perspective is also happening. I feel like, both are very good representations of the Bitcoin community and effort in El Salvador. It’s really exciting just to see like, okay, maybe the government in El Salvador totally failed at educating people. The Bitcoin community is taking that opportunity to step up and teach them the right things like, get on to these non-custodial wallets and do these things in Bitcoin will serve you. Yeah, Rodolfo.

[00:47:37] RA: In that case, I don’t think that they failed to do this. There are no good or bad decisions. They’re just consequences, the decisions that you decide to take. Yes. I think that they know that for getting a deep understanding in Bitcoin, it’s a longer road. Just getting the people, their Bitcoin wallets in their hands. I think, that they just – I’ve been watching how they’ve done other things, yes, how they address security, how they address COVID and other stuff. I think it’s just a strategy. It’s not a failure and unpaid.

We can or we cannot agree with the way things are being done. It’s a strategy and each of us decided strategy that we want to follow when we are the ones who decide. I think, that what’s happening now is something that could be expected to happen also, yes, having them with the community open to support and to help. This is happening. If we are doing it, and it’s because of the spoil strategy, or not of the other one, I don’t know. I can’t say. It’s happening, and it’s how it happens.

Now, you have 2.5 million people, which do have a Bitcoin wallet, but they don’t do that, because of the Bitcoin. They do that because of the Chivo. That’s the short-term understanding of the utility of Bitcoin for remittances. I don’t agree that they failed in. I think, it’s just a matter of how they’re deciding to do this application, this implementation of the technology. I think that having 2.5 million people having a wallet on their hands, and doing all the communication related to Bitcoin more than to Chivo, because it’s very – if you see the Twitter accounts and stuff like that, they really talk about Bitcoin as a key aspect of the Chivo wallet. I think, this is highly valuable. Yes. I’m fairly happy about what and how things are being done there.

[00:49:29] CK: Interesting. I mean, I do think that it’s a great opportunity for the Bitcoin community to educate. In general, very happy that Bitcoin is in El Salvador, too. I definitely agree with you, Rodolfo. Aaron, do you want to wrap this one up? Do we want to do final words, or how do you want to close this out?

[00:49:47] AVW: Yeah, that sounds good to me. Let’s do that. I have a hard stop at 12, anyways, local time. Let’s get a final word from one representative, I guess, for both conferences. What do you want the listeners to know, and then we’ll call it a day.

[00:50:02] CK: Yeah. Tell people where they can get tickets and all that information about how they can learn more as well. Let’s go to Hunter and then close it out with Rodolfo.

[00:50:10] RA: Sure thing. Well, I suspect most people on the line know who Michael Saylor is, who’s been very vocal in terms of pronouncing of the beauty and greatness of Bitcoin over the last year. He had a recent podcast with Robert Breedlove, where he says, “The early adopter does it, because you can.” The late adopters do it because they need to. We are definitely organizing adopting Bitcoin, a Lightning Summit in El Salvador, for the early adopters who not only do it because we can, but we really do it, because we believe it’s necessary for the people of El Salvador, the people of Latin America and the people of the world.

We encourage anybody and everybody to come join us. We tried to keep our number modestly priced, yet super well-organized to encourage maximum participation. You can learn more about the conference at adoptingbitcoin.org, or at our Twitter handle @adoptingbtc. Or, just reach out to myself, or Nicolas, or Jeff from Fulmo, or any of my other fellow co-organizers. Happy to answer any questions that you have. We look forward to seeing you in El Salvador in November 16th, 17th, and 18th.

[00:51:17] CK: Awesome. Rodolfo, why don’t you close this out?

[00:51:19] RA: Actually, supporting coming to ours, coming to the one of Adopting Bitcoin, I don’t care. Yes. Just come down to El Salvador, meet the local people think about starting from here, other projects, yes. In my case, specifically, come down to Latin America, and enjoy our spirit. I think that there’s much to be done yet. I hope and I believe that Latin America might become one of the main adopters and promoters.

My English is not the best one, obviously, but one of the best places to start the revolution from. I invite everyone to come down. It’s a good opportunity to – Also, it’s a nice experience to go to different places and being able to talk with anyone about Bitcoin, even if they did adopted, or they did not. Yes, you can go to any businessman, yes to any retail, to anywhere and talk to them about Bitcoin, and asking them if they are taking Bitcoin. And it’s not what’s Bitcoin about? They all know. The awareness in El Salvador, it’s 100%. You can feel yourself, like an explainer, you can be yourself whatever you want. Just come down to El Salvador and enjoy what’s happening down in El Salvador, the salon and have your own thoughts about if this is good or not, it’s naive, it’s authoritarian or not, it’s security, but just don’t stop doing things because of pre-judgment. Don’t stop doing things –

[00:52:46] CK: Uh-oh. Looks like Rodolfo got kicked out. I don’t know how that happened. I agree. Go to El Salvador. I know, a lot of Bitcoiners have already done the pilgrimage. I think, both of these events coming up in November are a great opportunity to do so as well, especially as things start to get colder up north, could be a nice change of pace going over to the beach.

Yeah. I think this is a good place to close this one out. I want to encourage everyone to check out both of these conferences, go check out Bitcoin 2022 in Miami. That is going to be next year, April 6th through 9th. That’s going to be absolutely huge, the biggest Bitcoin event in history. I think, in between these opportunities, it is amazing to see Bitcoin meetups and Bitcoin conferences back in action. Bitcoiners are on the front lines of freedom. We are not scared and it is incredible.

I think that the Bitcoin community is beautiful, and I’m so bullish for El Salvador and Bitcoin over there. Rodolfo, you just got back. I was about to wrap this one up, but I do want to give you a chance to close out your final thought there.

[00:53:57] RA: Oh, but of my thought was already – What I meant is just come down to El Salvador. Believe in nothing. Just come down to El Salvador to us, or to Adopting Bitcoin, or to both, yes, but be part of what’s happening here. Don’t allow your prejudgments, or concerns to avoid being part of what’s going on and taking the chance of talking with anyone on the streets about Bitcoin and their awareness being 100%, and being able to talk and to discuss with anyone in El Salvador about Bitcoin.

Yes, it’s a great experience. I guess, Aaron has been doing so, also. I think, it’s one of the nicest thing of coming to El Salvador, being able to talk with anyone about Bitcoin and being Bitcoin a topic.

[00:54:37] CK: Yes, absolutely. That’s going to be the case around the world soon. El Salvador is definitely the frontlines of that. Well, thank you so much, Rodolfo. Thank you so much, Hunter. Thank you so much everyone else who joined from the conference and who asked a question, who listened along. I hope that everyone that can does make it over to El Salvador for history of Bitcoin rolling out as legal tender, and as a serious, legitimate currency in the first country in the world, which is El Salvador, translated to The Savior in English. I think, the Bitcoin story just continues to get more and more epic.

With that, I think it’s a good time to close it out. Aaron has a hard stop and we’ve been here for a couple hours now. With that, cheers and peace.

[00:55:23] AVW: Thanks, CK.

[END]

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