Sun, surf and Bitcoin – a report from one of Europe’s largest Bitcoin conferences

Biarritz was the Bitcoin epicenter of Europe last week. Pre-coiners, (de)finance fanatics, technophiles and Bitcoin maximalists flocked to the idyllic French coastal town for the third edition of Surfin’ Bitcoin. After being limited for two years by the corona pandemic, one of Europe’s largest Bitcoin conferences turned out big this time.

Surfin’ Bitcoin 2022

The town on the Bay of Biscay is known for its luxurious hotels, golden beaches and surfing culture. Biarritz’s streets and boulevards are thronged in summer with bronzed holidaymakers and athletic surfers.

Part of the Surfin’Bitcoin audience mixed well with this and mainly took advantage of the surfing aspect during the three-day conference. Another part clearly had to get used to the sun-drenched days that characterized this edition; pale skins quickly turned red on the introduction day and so the waves of Bitcoin adoption were mainly surfed.

Luckily for this group, there was plenty to do in the cool of the Barri??re Casino, the iconic Art Deco building that has housed the conference since its first edition in 2020. Spread over three days, 40 hours of lectures and just as many hours of workshops, four main themes were discussed: regulation, economics, energy and technology.

While many general lectures and discussions were held for the French-speaking public in the large hall, the subject matter was discussed in greater depth in the smaller hall. Prominent Bitcoiners such as Alexandre Stachtchenko, Pierre Rochard, Claire Balva, Thaddeus Dryja and Pascal Gauthier spoke about the most recent developments within their disciplines.

Conference days

On the first day, Royal Bitcoiner Prince Philippe of Serbia opened the conference, after which several French bankers discussed the integration of Bitcoin into the current financial system.

The second part of the conference focused on Bitcoin’s geopolitical opportunities. Bitcoin Beach initiators and locals underlined how Bitcoin has completely changed the lives of the people of El Zonte, El Salvador. Furthermore, a panel consisting of British, Canadian, Salvadoran and Brazilian Bitcoin enthusiasts discussed the wins and opportunities in their respective countries.

On Saturday morning, several misconceptions regarding Bitcoin’s impact on the environment were dispelled. Bitcoin miners around the world are capitalizing on renewable energy innovation to make the mining process fully circular, for example by capturing methane gases from existing industries and converting it into energy. The miners present even saw Bitcoin as the solution for a circular energy market, instead of an obstacle.

In addition to the more than 80 hours of lectures and workshops, Surfin’Bitcoin 2022 also wanted to focus on the novice, said Josselin Tonnelier, co-founder of the conference: “The first day is free and open to everyone. Newcomers can learn the basics of Bitcoin. learning through introductory lectures, while more experienced Bitcoiners can network with each other???? .

To entice local residents, the conference organized a scavenger hunt through Biarritz and a surfing competition with satoshis to be won.

?ǣWe want to focus even more on local integration of Bitcoin in the coming years?ǥ Josselin Tonnelier, co-founder of Surfin’Bitcoin

Adoption and maxis

Yet Bitcoin is still of little significance in Biarritz itself. The number of locals on Thursday remained limited. After a survey of several entrepreneurs in the area, it turned out that no one accepts Bitcoin in the store and the perception of the new money was mainly skeptical.

Even the bar in Casino Barri??re only accepted euros (to the chagrin of several Bitcoin maxis). More can be done about this, Tonnelier agrees: ??????We have limited organizational capacity. But we want to focus even more on local integration in the coming years.????

The maxis mentioned were a cultural phenomenon in themselves. These fanatics, mostly men between the ages of 30 and 50, represented a small but clearly present group on Surfin’Bitcoin. With a great abhorrence towards fiat money and the current financial system, Bitcoin is seen by some maxis as the monetary messiah on simply every level. There is no lack of optimism in this group, although the question is whether this is due to their forward-looking vision or because they are all-in.

The fact that the Bitcoin price briefly dipped below $20k on Friday was not noticed by maxis or other visitors. Almost everyone on Surfin’Bitcoin believes in Bitcoin’s long-term opportunities and HODLs quietly in this bear market.

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