If you’re a Bitcoin maxi, all roads lead to Miami — home to BTC-boosting mayor Francis Suarez, the most yacht parties this side of Cannes, and the world’s biggest annual BTC convention. With roughly 30,000 in attendance (double last year’s event!) Bitcoin 2022 had it all: an interactive screen that gave attendees laser eyes as they walked by, Suarez unveiling a 3,000-pound bull statue, and EDM-powered after-hours parties galore. Of course, there were also plenty of panel discussions and keynote speeches from industry leaders about the future of Bitcoin. Let’s take a closer look at the highlights.
- The weekend’s headliners ranged from Peter Thiel to Serena Williams. Thiel delivered a provocative speech calling Warren Buffett a “sociopathic grandpa” for not believing in the future of Bitcoin, while Williams (joined by NFL stars Aaron Rodgers and Odell Beckham Jr.) hosted a more measured panel. The tennis icon praised BTC for its scarcity, Beckham Jr. added that crypto is a popular topic in NFL locker rooms, and Rodgers opined that the original crypto “is the best defense against inflation.”
- Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary gave a speech encouraging U.S. lawmakers to pass sensible crypto regulations, a move he said would send “spigots of capital” into the crypto industry and pave the way for crypto to become the 12th sector of the S&P 500 index. Also in attendance: Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis, who described herforthcoming bill (co-sponsored by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand), as “a legislative framework that we hope will provide the sandbox for innovation to occur, but also put some regulatory parameters so you all know the rules of the road.”
- Officials from Honduras, Portugal, and Mexico appeared, though none matched El Salvador’s Bitcoin 2021 news, when President Nayib Bukele used the event to announce his country would be the first to make BTC legal tender. Honduras announced a “special economic zone” called Próspera, where BTC will be accepted as legal tender without capital gains taxes; the president of Madeira, an autonomous group of Portuguese islands, also said that BTC would be adopted as legal tender there; and a Mexican senator announced that she’d be proposing a law that would legalize BTC.
- Are Bitcoin maximalists finally opening up to DeFi? Bitcoin’s most hardcore supporters usually recoil at any mention of crypto beyond BTC as decentralized money. But there are signs that view might be shifting — a few presentations at Bitcoin 2022 focused on bringing DeFi, NFTs, and stablecoins to the Bitcoin network. One product, called ALEX, allows BTC holders to pool liquidity, similar to ETH-based apps like Uniswap. Another, called Sovryn, uses Bitcoin-based smart contracts and allows bitcoiners to lend, borrow, and trade on margin with their BTC.
Why it matters… Prices may have slumped in recent weeks, but among Bitcoin 2022 attendees, BTC fever was very much on the rise. Among the weekend’s main takeaways? A broad alignment on the need for clear, fair regulation and a sense that the biggest cryptocurrency by market cap has evolved from a niche asset into a mainstream preoccupation. MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor illustrated the shift in an anecdote. Two years ago, Saylor approached a Merrill Lynch broker about aquiring some BTC with MicroStrategy funds: “They laughed at me and said, not only will I not sell it to you, we’re not allowed to talk about it or we get fired. Now my inbox has Bitcoin research from Merrill Lynch, sent to me by the same broker.”
– Story provided by Coinbase