The results of the bitcoin conference “Baltic Honeybadger 2019”
About the conference
From September 14 to September 15, the largest European Bitcoin conference “Baltic Honeybadger 2019” was held in Riga. This year, more than 600 Bitcoin enthusiasts from around the world attended the conference organized by the Hodl Hodl cryptocurrency exchange.
Baltic Honeybadger is one of the top global events in the bitcoin industry, with the cypherpunks movement at the core of it.
This conference does not discuss altcoins, ICOs or corporate blockchain solutions; instead, visitors are waiting for discussions about the further development of the first cryptocurrency and technologies like Lightning Network, blockchain security, investment, trading and industry regulation.
During the two years of the conference’s existence, the most famous and sincerely devoted Bitcoin enthusiasts from all over the world performed on stage: Andreas Antonopoulos, Elizabeth Stark, Adam Back, Peter Todd, Tour Demeester, Jamison Lopp, Ton Weiss, Giacomo Zucco, Eric Lombroso and others.
This year, speakers discussed the most important topics of the bitcoin industry: trust, scalability, security, the current state of the market, as well as institutional investments.
An impressive lineup of Baltic Honeybadger participants this year, among whom:
- Dr Saifedean Ammous, author of The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking (A Brief History of Money, or Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin);
- Adam Back, CEO of Blockstream;
- Jeremy Welch, CEO of Casa;
- Jimmy Song, creator of the educational program Programming Blockchain, Bitcoin developer, educator;
- Sergey Kotliar, CEO of Bitrefill;
- Rodolfo Novak, OpenDime;
- Pavol Rusnak, CTO SatoshiLabs;
- Max Kaiser, Keiser Report host on RT, co-founder of Heisenberg Capital;
- Murad Makhmudov, analyst, partner of the Adaptive Capital cryptocurrency hedge fund;
- Adam Fichor, chief developer of Wasabi Wallet;
- Nicholas Dorier, BTCPay Server
- Alex Bosworth, chief infrastructure developer at Lightning Labs, CEO of Yalls.org.
- Whalepanda, trader
- Anambroid, trader
Bitcoin Industry development
This year, Bitcoin turned 10 years old. The cryptocurrency industry is developing rapidly and in addition to speculative tools, many fundamental tools for creating infrastructure appeared. Below we will look at the hottest topics discussed today.
Despite the high speed and low cost of transactions compared to bank transfers, the Bitcoin network is still slow and expensive when making transfers of small amounts, and the advantages of using it do not look so significant. To solve the problem with microtransactions, the Lightning network was invented, which allows microtransactions for a fraction of a euro cent. For example, the payment of an article in an online magazine, which can cost 10 cents Euro, can be paid through the lightning network with a commission of 0.001 cents Euro. Other examples may include: paying for coffee, internet at the airport, etc. Time of transaction - instantly; cost - almost free. Moreover, this technology makes the deal profitable for both sides sellers and buyers.
The technology is located above the main level of the Bitcoin network (second layer) and is designed in such a way that each transaction is not directly recorded on the blockchain, but instead, all small transactions are grouped and sent to the block in bulk. This allows you to split the cost of the commission, and time Confirmations are instantaneous with Lightning Network technology.
Similar to the Lightning Network, the Liquid Network is also located above the main level of Bitcoin (second layer). Liquid Network is a blockchain for exchanges, brokers and market makers, which allows fast private bitcoin transactions with other network participants. Thanks to the technology, participants can use tokens, securities and even other cryptocurrencies. An analogy in the banking world is the interbank market, which is a global network used by financial institutions to exchange currencies among themselves.
Bakkt is a Bitcoin futures and digital asset exchange founded by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Several large organizations, including the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Microsoft, and Starbucks, are working to create this exchange. The importance of the new platform for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general, are to attract institutional investments, mass adoption, entering Bitcoin into the asset basket.
In the block devoted to the economy of Bitcoin, much attention was paid to macroeconomic problems and the development of bitcoin as a currency for private use. Most economists emphasized that the biggest macroeconomic problem is the problem of modern monetary policy, particularly in such a tool as quantitative easing, which is used especially actively by central banks during the recession. From the point of view of bitcoin maximalists who spoke at the conference, throwing money into the country's economy, to stimulate consumer ability, does not solve the problem itself, but simply transfers it to later times. Over the past 15 years, the amount of fiat money in circulation has grown 10 times. And according to Matthew Mežinskis (the co-founder of audio podcast Crypto Voices), bitcoin solves this problem, as it has a limited supply. Only 21 million coins can be mined (created). This factor, combined with the decentralization of Bitcoin, prevents the possibility of any manipulation of artificially increasing the monetary base and, as a result, inflation.
For a consumer, a person who wants to spend bitcoin and use this asset as money, one of the most important questions is: Is bitcoin a good asset/way to preserve value? Jimmy Song, the author of “The little bitcoin book”, noted that in a modern system based on Keynesian economic theory this is not easy to achieve even with fiat currency * (*money not secured by gold and other precious metals, money whose nominal value is set and guaranteed by the state, regardless of the cost of the material used for their manufacture). Indeed, the constant movement of money, which is not supported by anything and is controlled only by the state system, creates only inflation and thereby depreciates the funds that are simply stored in the consumer’s wallet.
In addition to this, Murad Mahmudov, an Adaptive Capital hedge fund analyst, showed a slide that indicates the global capitalization of various monetary assets, companies or people, and the first place in this list is occupied by the monetary base in its various forms, thereby concluding that most people simply keep money in their fiat form, and in this process, they depreciate. In addition, the centralized storage system for fiat funds (for example, a bank) restricts freedom of movement, and there is also the possibility of an incomplete loss of funds (if the bank declares bankruptcy and the amount of consumer savings exceeds the insured amount). These two problems are especially acute in third world countries. The characteristics of bitcoin, which include decentralization and a shortage of mined coins, can solve both of these problems since limited supply removes inflation, and decentralization allows users to store and transfer funds themselves without third-party intervention.
Also, a presentation by Dr Saifedean Ammous, the author of The Bitcoin Standard, touched on the subject of how to “kill” Bitcoin. The discussion touched upon two main types of attack: technical attacks and political attacks. While the first is aimed at breaking the blockchain, the second attack is aimed at the consumer and is trying to discredit bitcoin as money, or even make its use illegal. In this presentation, the most interesting was the conclusion reached by Dr Saifedean, and this is the fact that all these attacks only make bitcoin stronger in the eyes of the consumer. His comparison with the gold standard, when money was tied to gold, emphasizes the importance of this economic model. Murad Mahmudov, an Adaptive Capital hedge fund analyst, compared the characteristics of bitcoin, gold and fiat money, and this comparison shows how much the fiat currency is inferior to bitcoin.
In the debate about bitcoin, you can often hear that bitcoin is not backed up by anything. This argument is especially often used in comparison with gold. But nobody ever compared how environmentally clean bitcoin is in comparison to gold. In his report, Hass McCook emphasizes that more than 50% of the gold mined is used for jewellery. In particular, he gives interesting statistics on how many resources are required to create one engagement ring.
The conference was attended by the authors of 4 books about Bitcoin:
- Saifedean Ammous, author of The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking (A Brief History of Money, or Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin);
- Jimmy Song, creator of the educational program Programming Blockchain, Bitcoin developer, educator and co-author of the book “the little bitcoin book”
- Kalle Rosenbaum “Grokking Bitcoin”
- Knut Svanholm “Bitcoin: Sovereignty through mathematics“
Despite their deep knowledge of Bitcoin, almost everyone speaks of the importance of education in the field and a high threshold of entry for understanding. It is not surprising, because understanding cryptocurrency requires knowledge of many disciplines, including economics, finance, IT and cryptography. The author of one of the new books, “The little bitcoin book” Jimmy Song, sees education as his main goal. The book was intentionally written on only 114 pages, and all proceeds will go to translate the publication into other languages so that the maximum number of people have knowledge of such a rapidly developing technology that gives freedom to financial actions for each user.