Bitcoin Summer Recap : Day 4— Building Bitcoin Businesses
A whole day dedicated to jobs and businesses in Bitcoin is what we had in store at the Bitcoin Summer event for Thursday. On the menu; an introduction by Veriphi’s own Maciej Cepnik, with presentations from Ledn’s Mario Gibney, Knox’s CEO Alex Daskalov, and Adam Ortolf from Upstream Data.
As we were getting closer to the end of Bitcoin Summer and further from its beginning, we got to the day themed “Building Bitcoin Businesses”, which was undoubtedly a hot topic amongst the crowd, myself included.
Bitcoin has been around for a little over a decade now, and its incessant growth & adoption rate has cemented its position globally as a technology that’s here to stay. I would add that viewing Bitcoin solely as a technology is perhaps narrow-minded. It is much more than a technology, in fact the underlying tech, namely cryptography and blockchain, are actually fairly old.
For me and for many bitcoiners, Bitcoin is a way of life and thus, I find it quite logical that a lot of people would be seeking careers in its ecosystem. I have personally quit my job several months ago and began my pursuit of a full-time Bitcoin career, an uncharacteristic endeavor which has taken me off of my comfort zone but that ultimately might bear the fruits.
With that in mind, I was looking forward to hearing from experienced individuals from various fields discuss the subject of the day. Maciej Cepnik, Marketing and Sales Director at Veriphi, kicked things off with an introduction on the different jobs prospect in Bitcoin.
He also pointed out a few resources for the audience to refer to, namely bitcoinerjobs.co and Jameson Lopp’s careers page. Maciej made sure to specify that there is a wide variety of roles that need to be filled in Bitcoin, not just technical ones like developers and programmers, but one thing is for sure; you need to put yourself out there because no one will do it for you.
Surfing the Bitcoin Ecosystem — Mario Gibney
“From Enthusiast to Builder” was Mario’s subtitle to his presentation, I thought it was a good catchy phrase, on point! Mario’s been around for a while; he previously worked over three years for Blockstream, one of the most established companies in Bitcoin, and currently works at Ledn, a Bitcoin financial services company, where he occupies the role of Director of Community. (He also does freelance shampoo modeling as a side-hustle)
Mario echoed Maciej’s earlier statement regarding Bitcoin’s need for various types of roles and not only technical ones, which is often a deterrent or a barrier for newcomers wanting to get involved within or around the ecosystem.
Working for a Bitcoin company is not the only way. Doing freelance work is common and can lead to prosperous outcomes. One can freelance as a software developer, a translator, a writer, a media content creator, etc. With that being said, one should not overlook the value in effectively building initial contacts or references, as it can have a positive impact down the road, both short and long term, in one’s career.
There is a lot of competition on the Bitcoin media production side. However, there are today many tools that will help anyone to get started and build an audience on their own. Whereas, on the developer side, one will likely have to spend lots of time doing free work in order to build a reputation. Nonetheless, the demand is there and the work eventually directly benefits the Bitcoin community.
Whatever your skillsets or interests are, be it UX, business, education, communications, etc., the idea is to find what you like and start producing content and building a “Proof-of-Work” of your own.
If you’re interested in pursuing a Bitcoin career, I recommend watching Mario’s whole presentation here.
Tradeoffs in the Custody Risk Spectrum — Alex Daskalov
As we resumed the presentations after having lunch, we were joined by Alex Daskalov, CEO of Montreal-based company Knox Custody, to talk to us about the risks and tradeoffs of the custody spectrum in Bitcoin. Custody is definitely standing on counter-intuitive grounds for bitcoiners at first glance so I was curious to hear Alex’s professional stance on the subject.
I was not disappointed. I will even say that it was one of my favorite presentations of the week. It was captivating to hear Alex’s point of view and I was intrigued since he finds himself in quite the unusual position in terms of what and whom I’m used to dealing with when it comes to bitcoiners or investors in general.
Knox is a custodial company that insures and manages keys for their customers, who are usually considerably wealthy. The team had to break through significant ground with insurance companies to educate them about Bitcoin so that they would be willing to literally create new insurance products or coverage for them. An amazing achievement in itself, especially on a regulatory perspective against that kind of financial establishment.
However, Alex clearly specified multiple times that self-sovereignty is one of Bitcoin’s most important properties and one should always prioritize self-custody before contemplating custodial solutions such as Knox. He even made the point against the services his company offers which I thought was professional and illustrates the objectiveness which qualifies Knox.
Nevertheless, the bottom line is that there is a non-zero possibility that events such as loss or theft of private keys may occur and one should have the option to get insurance for that. I strongly suggest everyone interested in hearing what it’s like to be in Alex’s shoes to watch his presentation, which I thought was fascinating.
Adam O — Upstream Data & Bitcoin Mining
The following presentation came in the form of an unscheduled appearance, but certainly a most pleasant one. Adam Ortolf from prominent Alberta-based mining company Upstream Data joined us to talk about the mining industry in Bitcoin.
If you don’t know Adam, you should. Simply put, he’s a straight up passionate bitcoiner and loves to discuss all things Bitcoin-related, but he’s especially proficient in energy and mining. Also, as you can tell in the image below, his room’s decor is loaded with freedom artifacts :
There was no official presentation from Adam since it was a bit of a last minute call but he started off by describing Upstream Data’s background and its mission of leveraging stranded energy to mine Bitcoin, mostly done from the Oil & Gas industry at the moment.
Upstream Data delivers portable Bitcoin mining data centers from various sizes to adapt on the field and use gas flares energy, which would normally be wasted, to mine Bitcoin. This practice has enjoyed a tremendous uptick this year, especially with the mass exodus of mining equipment from China, and Adam was particularly thrilled on the potential of the energy sector and mining.
There are several other forms of energy that miners can exploit, including ethanol, biogas, solar and geothermal and as Bitcoin continues to grow, so should the profitability of the mining industry.
Go watch the video recording to get your dose of energy from Adam as well as some interesting insights from a hands-on perspective.
Bitcoin Scarcity by Francis Pouliot
The organizers kept delivering with surprise content as Bull Bitcoin’s CEO Francis Pouliot unexpectedly connected with us from the jungle once again, this time to elaborate on Bitcoin’s scarcity and it being the fundamental value proposition of Bitcoin.
To truly understand Bitcoin, one first should understand the principles of economics and how they apply here. Francis is well-informed and educated in that area, to say the least, and has been around long enough to know the intricacies of economics theory and how Bitcoin is a natural fit in that department.
Quoted from Francis’ presentation : “Bitcoin’s scarcity is emergent. It can’t be engineered or reproduced.” Why is scarcity so important? Not many things on Earth are truly scarce. Your time, for example, is a limited resource and should be valued highly, whereas many goods are seemingly unquantifiable, therefore not so scarce.
As for Bitcoin, Francis lists the four layers of Bitcoin’s emergent scarcity as follows :
- Invention of decentralized digital scarcity
- Scarcity of emergent properties
- Immutability of fixed-supply monetary policy
- Immaculate serendipity
Watch Francis Pouliot’s thoughtful presentation to learn more about economics and how they relate to the value of Bitcoin.
Four down, one to go! Thursday (Day 4) was amazing at Bitcoin Summer and once more we were blessed with another quality lineup of speakers. Truth be told, the theme of the day was more-or-less observed in the afternoon, but regardless I feel that Mario Gibney’s presentation covered it very well.
The Bull Bitcoin team had organized a Bitcoin Indian Feast for dinner at Indian restaurant Gandhi located in the Old Montreal. The food was delicious and we had a good time amongst bitcoiners, celebrating the Bitcoin Summer event.
Stay tuned for the final recap of Bitcoin Summer!