This month, the world’s largest Bitcoin convention was held in Miami Beach, attracting 12,000 attendees for two days. Attendees paid $999 in traditional US currency to take part in a variety of Bitcoin-related activities like attending panels, viewing a Bitcoin art gallery, and trying out the latest Bitcoin mining rigs. However, the attendance was less than half of the previous year, which can be attributed to Bitcoin’s value dropping 60% from its all-time high in 2021.
The Bitcoin 2023 convention had the usual business aspect of companies in a giant expo hall. However, there were some eccentricities, such as Bitcoin-themed bathroom products. Peter Baraniecki, who was manning a table at the Bitcoin Bazaar, revealed that only a few of the twenty sales he had made that day were in Bitcoin – the rest were either cash or credit.
Tali Lindberg, a stay-at-home mom from Kentucky, used to be a “precoiner” – someone who had heard of Bitcoin but did not understand or trust it. She and her Bitcoin-loving husband developed a board game called HODL Up to help her understand it. The game, which was sold at the Bitcoin Bazaar for $84, is based on the Bitcoiner credo of “HODL” – Hold On For Dear Life.
Many Bitcoin maximalists, or Bitcoin Maxis, believe that Bitcoin is the only digital currency that can replace money. People at the convention expressed their skepticism of traditional financial systems and cheered the downfall of the centralized exchange FTX and its boss, Sam Bankman Fried.
As a way of demonstrating their confidence in Bitcoin, Ben Bryla participated in the mechanical bull-riding competition. His two-minute ride tied his time from last year and he was almost rewarded with a whale pass for next year’s event.
The Bitcoin 2023 convention was also filled with entertainment, like a reverse Plinko-style game and a karaoke chorus singing Neil Diamond. Some locals were not pleased with the tens of thousands of Bitcoiners invading the city, describing them as “on a Carnival Cruise line”.
Iliana Cordero, a chef and Miami local, owns some Bitcoin but never takes payment in it. She said, “It just kind of sits there and it’ll do what it does. I don’t need that money. So it’s there to grow or to dissipate. We’ll find out.”