The bitcoin community is about to get a lot more connected – Bitcoin Conference 2013 is 2 days away.
The global and decentralized nature of bitcoin inherently makes meeting in person less necessary than most business ventures. This conference will be a great way to reconnect face-to-face and see what the rest of the community is doing. Bitcoin 2013 is organized by The Bitcoin Foundation, and will be taking place May 17-19 in San Jose, California. Although there is a $300 entrance fee to attend in person, all of the presentations will be recorded and broadcast after the conference is completed.
The two days of presentations and panels is packed with over 60 speakers ranging from Venture Capitalists to technology and regulatory experts. There are 4 tracks divided into different rooms, as well as a two-day hackathon.
Each track is focused on a specific field: Tech, Business, Legal, or the Lightning Room (a rapid-fire mix of all topics). The two days are comprised of 18 time slots and contain a varied mix of feature presentations and panel discussions. Below are some of the highlights for each track, as well as biography excerpts of the presenters from the conference website
Technology and Mining
Presentation: State of the Union (Saturday 10:15)
Presentation: Off-chain Transactions (Saturday 2:45)
Panel Discussion: Alt-Chains (Sunday 11:00)
This is a panel discussion consisting of the founders and lead developers for four of the most popular alternative digital currencies
- Chris Larsen – CEO and Co-founder of OpenCoin, the organization that first built the Ripple protocol.
- Mark Friedenbach – the engineering lead of the Freicoin currency project, and has previously worked at NASA-Ames Research Center and Lockheed Martin Corporation.
- Charles Lee – the creator and lead developer for Litecoin, the most popular alternative currency to Bitcoin.
- Dennison Bertram – active in the alternative cryptocurrency community and was instrumental in building the user base of the new alt-coin: Terracoin.
Presentation: Driving Business Adoption of Bitcoin (Saturday 2:45)
Presentation: Cash Deposits, Challenges, and Ideas (Saturday 3:15)
Panel: Funded Entrepreneurs (Sunday 11:00)
This panel will feature some of the most high profile entrepreneurs in the bitcoin community. They will discuss how they received funding, and what opportunities are available for aspiring companies.
- Fred Ehrsam – co-founder of Coinbase. Fred previously traded foreign exchange at Goldman Sachs and worked at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager.
- Peter Vessenes – the CEO and founder of Coinlab.com, and Chairman of the Board for the Bitcoin Foundation.
- Charlie Shrem – currently serving as CEO and co-founder of BitInstant
- Anthony Gallippi – co-founder and CEO of BitPay, founded in 2011
Regulatory and Economic Issues
Presentation: Legal Classification of Bitcoins (Sunday 9:30)
Presentation: Online Gambling: Bits and Chips (Sunday 11:00)
Panel: Issues of Regulatory Compliance (Saturday 11:00)
Regulatory concerns have been at the forefront of bitcoin news over the last few weeks. This panel discussion will address the issues that many bitcoin businesses will face complying with varied regulatory requirements.
- Claire Sammon Roberts – joined the ZipZap senior management team in 2011. She is responsible for managing operations, customer care, risk management and administrative functions.
- Ryan Straus – an attorney with a background in both technology and financial services, Ryan assists clients with payment matters, including electronic payments, mobile payments, prepaid cards, alternative currencies, and federal/state licensing.
- Ryan Singer – Tradehill’s President and Chief Operating Officer.
- Brian Klein – partner at the boutique litigation firm Baker Marquart LLP. He represents individuals and corporate clients in criminal, regulatory and intellectual property matters. He also teaches federal criminal law at USC’s law school and has written about the regulation of virtual currencies. As an Assistant United States Attorney in the Major Frauds Section of the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles for 5 years, Brian handled significant white-collar criminal cases, including cases involving money laundering, corporate fraud and tax violations.
- J. Dax Hansen – a Partner in the Seattle office of Perkins Coie LLP and Chair of the firm’s Electronic Financial Services Industry Group. Mr. Hansen advises payment service providers, retailers, wireless carriers, interactive entertainment companies and other clients on matters related to payments, technology, and international business.
The hackathon is a two day competition to develop the best bitcoin-related product. It is kicked off at 9am on Saturday with a 1 hour presentation by Jeff Garzik and Mike Hearn. This is followed at 10am with a 45 minute panel discussion by 5 VC discussing what markets and technologies most interest them. The list includes:
- Alex Ferrera – Bessemer Venture Partners
- Gus Fuldner – Benchmark Capital
- Jeremy Liew – Lightspeed Venture Partners
- Tihan Seale – Entrepreneurial Investor
- Joel Yarmon – Draper Associates
Next in the hackathon is a 1 hour time slot where projects have 60 seconds to pitch an idea and recruit team members. Teams then have until Sunday to work alongside mentors and other teams to develop their project. At 3pm on Sunday teams will have a combined 2 hours to present their projects to the board of VCs. The best projects will be voted on, and prizes (TBD) will be awarded to the top teams.
The keynote speakers on Saturday evening will be the Winklevoss Twins, most famous for their windfall in the Facebook lawsuit. They have invested their fortune in Winklevoss Capital, and have actively invested in technology startups. The recently made headlines when they announced having over 1% of the bitcoins in circulation.
Lastly, there will be 32 bitcoin-related companies exhibiting their products. Almost all of the large processing companies will be there including BitInstant, BitPay, and CoinLab – notably missing is Mt. Gox. Lamassu will be there displaying the first fully functional bitcoin ATM as well.