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Conferences and meetups are the beating heart of the bitcoin social calendar. They range rom small, intimate affairs to large multi-day festivals that bring people from all over the world together in one hub.
Of course, not every bitcoin lover attends these events and some might not even see the value in them. But the truth is that going to a meetup can be valuable for anyone interested in bitcoin or even other cryptocurrencies. They’re the ideal place to find community, collaboration, and insights into the inner workings of the industry.
Keep reading and we’ll take you through just what to expect at your first real-world bitcoin event.
Be part of the biggest bitcoin conference in Europe this summer, get 15% off tickets to BTC Prague with voucher code SATOSHILABS15. Pay in bitcoin for an extra 5% discount.
Before we go into what you’ll get out of attending a conferences, it is worth understanding the different types of events. Not all conferences are created equal, but each has something unique to offer.
Here are the different types of Bitcoin conferences:
If you take a look at platforms like Eventbrite and Meetup, you’ll likely see posts about Bitcoin meetups in your area. Usually, these meetups have a few dozen Bitcoin enthusiasts in an area meet up periodically. Bitcoin companies and non-profits also tend to host regular meetups, so be sure to follow local bitcoin businesses.
Meetups are a great place to share ideas, hear from local experts, discuss industry news, take part in projects, or just build a community of bitcoiners. Most meetups are free and open to everyone unless stated, so don’t be afraid to sign up!
On a larger scale than local meetups, regional Bitcoin conferences usually focus on a handful of or states, a specific region, or involve a number of smaller clubs. While not as frequent as local meetups, they allow many different bitcoin enthusiast factions to meet and share ideas .
Oftentimes, keynote speakers and personalities within the industry are booked to speak and crypto companies might even provide sponsorship. Larger regional conferences also have expo areas with booths selling bitcoin products and merchandise, and are the perfect place to find contacts to grow local bitcoin initiatives.
These types of conferences are held exclusively online and are often the brainchild of a single company, association, and so on. Usually, they are open to the general public and because they are virtual, these webinar formats allow for easier participation for people all over the world.
Online conferences became more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic and have continued to grow ever since. For keeping up on trends and products, online conferences can be great, but if you’re looking to connect with people you will be disappointed.
These are the biggest and most influential bitcoin conferences you can attend. They bring together hundreds, sometimes thousands, of bitcoin enthusiasts from all over the world and are usually supported by major companies.
Take BTC Prague, which is bringing together the Bitcoin community from all over Europe and beyond. It is being supported by industry heavyweights like us at SatoshiLabs and other major bitcoin companies like Braiins, Blockstream, and Wasabi Wallet. At conferences of this scale, you will find hundreds of booths covering every aspect of bitcoin, from mining to wallets to trading.
Conferences like BTC Prague in Europe and Bitcoin 2023 in the USA are as big as bitcoin conferences get, with peak numbers of up to 15,000 people. You will generally find every bitcoin business represented, but the scale of international conferences mean you will also miss out on a lot. For networking and workshops, regional conferences can be more productive.
The first and most obvious benefit you can get from attending a bitcoin conference is that you get to meet other bitcoin enthusiasts, from people who have built global businesses to people who sold all their furniture just to stack more sats. Let’s face it, bitcoin and ‘crypto’ in general is still niche and finding people who share your passion, especially offline, isn’t easy.
Attending conferences and meetups, you will meet people who are guaranteed to share your interest in bitcoin and enjoy a sense of community that knows no borders! Want to talk shop about the latest market trends? Want to swap self-custody tips? Want to crack some bitcoin-specific jokes no one else gets? You can do all that and more, and you’ll always have someone to listen.
For those breaking into the bitcoin industry, you have a world of business opportunities at your hands. Among the attendees at these events are not only crypto lovers but entrepreneurs, funds, and investors as well. A five minute meet and greet with the right person could spell the next phase of your career or the seed funding for your next project. If you’re looking for bitcoin businesses to approach, you’ll find them at a bitcoin conference.
Attending a meetup will open your eyes to the sheer scale of bitcoin as a global movement, and helps you keep on top of the latest technology that’s about to hit the market soon. Whether you’re looking for opportunities or just want more bitcoin hobbies, a conference is a great way to get involved in one of these projects or start your own. Many great business partners and teams first meet at conferences and attending one could lead you to your next big career or business move.
Bitcoin meetups are the best way to educate yourself more about bitcoin, custody and finance in general. Even if you’re on the fence about buying bitcoin, most meetups cater specifically to beginners and will give you the hands-on human support that we all need when we’re starting out.
Several meetups are specifically aimed at spreading adoption, Anita Posch set up Bitcoin for Fairness, a non-profit group that aims to empower local bitcoiners through kickstarting meetups and working directly with communities to benefit from bitcoin in their daily lives.
At one of their most recent meetups in Ghana, Posch explained the importance of self-custody to attendees and even showed them how to set up their own wallets. All over the world there are similar initiatives to onboard new bitcoiners in a safe and fun environment, so if you’re looking to increase your confidence in bitcoin, a meetup might be for you.
Once you’re more comfortable with the basics, you might want to think about paying for a conference ticket to learn more about the specifics of what’s happening across the global industry. Conferences can have a huge spread of keynote speakers and panels branching into anything you could be interested in, from cutting-edge technology to social issues affecting the community.
While meetups are focused on beginners and community education, conferences tend to have something for everyone. For bitcoin enthusiasts who want to dive into a specific topic, get the latest industry and product news, and hear from leading figures in the industry, a conference is the place to be.
Hackathons and side events
Bitcoin events offer more than just panels and keynotes where you listen to people speak. Most of them infuse a bit of fun through all sorts of side activities.
For example, many conferences host hackathons where attendees divide themselves into various teams to complete tasks, often with a prize attached. These tasks could be to build a new project or improving an existing one, bringing together people from all disciplines: developers, project managers, designers and even marketers. By attending and taking part, you get to improve your current skills and enhance your conference experience while meeting new teammates.
Other side events you can find at bitcoin meetups include team-building exercises and games, socratic seminars, screenings of bitcoin documentaries and films, pub quizzes and other standard social activities. Attending a meetup when visiting a new area or city is a popular way for bitcoiners to make their holiday more significant and is a great way to meet with locals for tips and chat.
No bitcoin meetup or conference is complete without breaking off in groups to explore a city’s nightlife, grab bingdinner or drinks with your new connections, or experiencing all sorts of wild side-events not found on the official programme. All in all, bitcoin events are a chance to exchange ideas, have some fun, and discover new people and places — rarely are they the stuffy, formal events you might envision.
There is probably no better way to expose yourself to new and exciting ideas in the bitcoin space than by signing up for conferences. Entrepreneurs and founders on discussion panels and upcoming projects tend to begin their advertising efforts in these sorts of face-to-face forums, where the media is always in attendance.
That means you get to hear of the latest developments in the space as soon as they are announced, get a sneak-peak at what they’ll look like, and possibly get inspiration for a product of your own. If you already have a bitcoin project or idea in mind, this can also be an opportunity to share it with a wider audience.
BTC Prague, for example, will hold a startup pitch contest where creative entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas to the community during the conference. Those with the most votes during qualification will be presented before a panel with the opportunity to gain funding and raise awareness.
For innovative bitcoin projects, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is getting the money they need to move forward. But by attending these conferences and meetups, you get to participate at any level that suits you: to develop an idea, to find inspiration, or to get involved in a project. One thing that is certain is that you will not be short of inspiration.
One relatively small but fun perk of bitcoin events is all the amazing merchandise you can get your hands on for free, just for attending. The organizations that participate come up with all sorts of merch from the mundane to the unique: clothing, mugs, smartcards, stationery, and much more.
Not everything you’ll find is free, of course. Bitcoin businesses such as mining companies, 3D printers and hardware wallet creators tend to bring a wide rage of products to sell with conference discounts, so if you’re looking to grab for a bargain make sure you check out who’s exhibiting at the next conference.
As the bitcoin space continues to grow, organizers are getting even more creative with the types of merchandise they offer. Best of all, it’s all bitcoin-specific. It isn’t the run-of-the-mill swag that you can find in any other type of conference, all of it is tailored to be a bitcoin lover’s and you’re sure to find the perfect memorabilia for to remember the experience.
There are so many reasons you should go to at least one bitcoin conference or meetup. Tap into the community and meet new people, explore a new city, and let yourself be immersed in a world of new ideas.
If you’re looking to get inspired, learn more about bitcoin, or get a better idea of what projects are coming on the scene, a bitcoin meetup is exactly the place to be. Even if you don’t make a new contact, you get to leave with some awesome merchandise, which is always a win.
Inspired to try your first conference? Get your ticket to BTC Prague, which takes place in Prague, Czech Republic from June 8–12, 2023. With 100 speakers and thousands of attendees from all over the world, you’ll get both the community and education you’re looking for.
Use voucher code SATOSHILABS15 for 15% off your ticket, and another 5% discount if you pay in bitcoin!
Among some of the speakers are Adam Back, CEO of Blockstream, and our very own Marek Palatinus, co-founder of SatoshiLabs. Besides the keynotes and panels, there will also be the startup pitch contest, a hackathon, and other great activities. You can even just visit the expo area for only 9 euros, and meet all the bitcoin businesses on a budget.
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