Satoshi Roundtable took place over three days on a beautiful island resort in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic. Restricted to 50 attendees, some of Bitcoin’s most influential and impressive people took part in the conference, sharing ideas and nurturing Bitcoin technology in its many facets. This small get together sent ripples through the community, with news headlines alluding to a growing controlling class, with some articles comparing the event to meetings held by the ominous Bildeberg Group.
“What amused me is it gave rise to all these rumours. So suddenly you had these heaving nervous nellies out there, perhaps with good reason, assuming that we were all gathering in this secretive location to plot the regulation of Bitcoin,”
– Jeffrey Tucker CLO of Liberty.me
The private crypto retreat was organised by Bruce Fenton, of the Bitcoin Association and Atlantic Financial. Attendees were required to register their interest, before being considered for one of the few invites. “So we know the location, the attendees and the fact they can speak publicly if they wish, all of which probably makes it not as secretive as crypto conspiracists would like it to be.” states the Satoshi Roundtable website.
The fear, uncertainty and doubt that arose amused Tucker immensely, “Bruce Fenton did a really good job in putting it together. He had a whispering campaign saying that ‘this was the new Bohemian Grove,’ or ‘the Bildebergers of Bitcoin,’ he was kind of jumping on this stuff, which was all tongue and cheek,” Tucker said.
“If there is one thing you know about Bitcoin is that it is probably the first technology in human history that’s organised around this sector of industrial innovation that’s not run by a ruling class, and cannot be run by a ruling class,”
Punta Cana plays host to many tourists and offers a variety of activities. While the sightseers kite surfed, learned to Samba or sat by the pool with cocktails, Tucker found himself in an air-conditioned room watching presentations on hashing rate and CPU power. “You think to yourself, ‘what am I doing? Why am I in here and not out there?’ But then you realise why you are in here, it is because you care so intensely about this topic, because it is fascinating and you want to be a part of the future” said Tucker.
According to Tucker, the topics discussed were as wide and varied as the industry at large, “Surprisingly there was not much talk of Bitcoin as a currency at all. Most of the talks concerned blockchain technology and its potential for remittances, documentation, building up alternative legal structures, reducing the costs of financial transactions, securities, wills, deeds and titles and making them transparent on a global basis. Blockchain layers and sidechains are the main technologies people are talking about,”
As well as the disruptive force of Blockchain technology, the not so secretive Roundtable discussed genuine concerns, such as governmental intervention, “Regrettably regulations are coming, we have to deal with it and we have to work around it. We have to comply rather than die,” explains Tucker.
“It’s tragic, but if we are going to build viable industries we have to face this terrible reality. I don’t think there was a single person there who welcomed regulation in any sense. The Winklevoss twins were not there for sure,”
In Tucker’s view, discussing Bitcoin and the underlying technology is ideally suited to such a retreat, “you go to regular people and mention something about Bitcoin or blockchains and most people don’t have a clue what you are talking about. We are so far from mainstream adoption at this point. We are nowhere near ready for that kind of public attention.”
“It is true that almost every day some mainstream venue has an article on Bitcoin but it’s a little perfunctory as we are still treated as a little eccentric and experimental, a little outrageous and a little bit out there, we’re nowhere near the mainstream yet,”
Tucker has travelled the world attending Bitcoin conferences and will continue to do so, “the people who are now involved are really there for the technologies and longer term investments rather than just trying to make a quick buck out of the new and fashionable thing,” said Tucker. “The survivors are there because of their brains and their ideas are good. I think that’s really made a big difference for us.”