A sublime sunset reached the Casino de Biarritz on August 27, ending the largest Bitcoin (BTC) conference in France. Located in the southwest of France and organized by the French bitcoin exchange Stackin Sat, Surfin Bitcoin has brought together many big names in bitcoin, newcomers and “coinless”, those who have not yet bought or earned cryptocurrency , in a setting that would rival any Hollywood film set.
Bitcoiners hope to learn more about the Lightning Network, find a job at one of the many French Bitcoin companies there – from Galoy Money to Discover Bitcoin – or just rub shoulders with other bitcoin enthusiasts. Touching on the irony of the bear market, with BTC very low at the moment, the event was held at Casino de Biarritz illustritz.
From the developers of the Bitcoin network to European royalty, and of course the CEOs of the largest cryptocurrency companies in France, the vibe was the French decision, although bubbly international influence.
Bitcoin maximization was in the spotlight. Panelists and moderators were given carte blanche to go after ‘shitcoiners’, as much-anticipated debates compared crypto venture capitalists to gamers and raised the merits and limitations of the Lightning Layer 2 network. Bitcoin. Representatives from Aave and various Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) expressed their respect for bitcoin, but remained committed to their vision of a multi-currency future.
Although some official commercial announcements were made during the event, the speakers made some spontaneous revelations. During a panel on mining, Riot Mining’s Pierre Rochard announced his intention to rename mining “timestamp” to avoid confusion with the act of retrieving scarce resources in physical space. He explained that it would make education easier and it was also how Satoshi Nakamoto explained mining in the white paper.
Similarly, on the Lightning Network panel, Blockstream’s Christian Decker, also known as Dr. Bitcoin, described the Lightning Network as “an ant network.” Basically, he explained, the LN behaves like an ant colony. Like a group of ants, the LN seeks out areas of productive activity and concentrates in spaces where efficient channels or channel hops can be linked together.
This was the first time for me, a #Little Person gallery article at @SurfinBitcoin I also had the opportunity to create a drawing for the conference which was auctioned for charity. Thank you for everything @Jhersco @Joss_do_it_BTC and staff pic.twitter.com/pNgBhaXbpW
— Lina Seiche (@LinaSeiche) August 29, 2022
This was a first for me, part of the #LittleHODLer gallery at @SurfinBitcoin I also had the opportunity to create a drawing for the conference which was auctioned off for charity. Thank you for everything @Jhersco @Joss_do_it_BTC and his team pic.twitter.com/pNgBhaXbpW — Lina Seiche (@LinaSeiche) August 29, 2022
Among the workshops and question and answer sessions, European bitcoin artists, such as Lina Seiche, the creator of the Little Hodler, showed their works. Konsensus, a Bitcoin book publisher, was selling French translations of famous bitcoin books for a few Satoshis – the smallest denomination of Bitcoin – in the main lobby. The usual Bitcoin t-shirts and merchandise could also be bought for a few satoshis. But, much to the chagrin of many Bitcoiners, coffees, beers, and refreshments were paid in fiat currency.
⚡️ Spending Sat at @SurfinBitcoin
How to buy a bitcoin book in bitcoin?
With Lightning of course! ⚡️
—Joe Hall (@JoeNakamoto) August 27, 2022
⚡️ Throw seats at @SurfinBitcoin How to buy a bitcoin book in bitcoin?
With Lightning of course! ⚡️@OmniFinn @KonsensusN @edouard_knw #surfinbitcoin22 https://t.co/uKVX1YRwrf pic.twitter.com/OK9Gla46yR
— Joe Hall (@JoeNakamoto) August 27, 2022
Daniel Prince, co-host of the UK’s second largest bitcoin podcast, Once Bitten, told Cointelegraph that bitcoin adoption in and around the conference was low:
“Guys don’t have the orange collar, they only accept cash or card as payment. Even if, I only come to offer them ‘I want to pay you in bitcoin’, but no, they are not equipped”.
However, while the waves were crashing around the Bitcoin bubble on the Grande Plage in Biarritz, the waves of bitcoin adoption were thin in comparison. Through interviews with street vendors, shopkeepers, curro sellers and even surfers, Cointelegraph reporters learned that the area was not a “coin-free” territory. No one in the area had ever transacted with bitcoin; no one could accurately describe cryptocurrency or even identify the “B” for bitcoin on a t-shirt or conference logo.
There was one exception. The 19-year-old driver of the Biarritz tourist train, Le Petit Train, had a cryptocurrency story to share. The train driver allegedly bought bitcoins when he was 14 – when the price was around $500 – but unfortunately lost access to his seed phrase for the 2.36 BTC. He joked that was why he worked as a train conductor during the summer.
The Stackin Sats team hit a deadlock for bitcoin payments when the mayor of the Biarritz area banned bars in the conference room from accepting bitcoins. So Bitcoiners had to deposit their BTC and spend their euros instead. This hasn’t stopped many Bitcoiners – including Prince – from slicing oranges from local traders such as taxi drivers and surf instructors. After all, bitcoin is a grassroots, community-driven movement.
Conference co-founder Josselin Tonnellier told Cointelegraph that blockchain companies dominate the French crypto scene, not bitcoin advocates. In an exclusive interview, he lamented that the French fail to recognize bitcoin and blockchain. There’s a lot more education to be done, he said, because “pro-blockchain narratives” are hindering adoption in his home country.
Also read: Bitcoin is for those who need it, others need time to learn: Bitcoin Surfin Panel
To encourage “no coins”, admission was free on the first day of the conference. The open house, dubbed “Surfin Day,” encouraged locals to dip their toes in the sweet waters of bitcoin. There was a Satoshi-inspired treasure hunt, a surfing competition to win Satos, and a screening of the French bitcoin documentary, Le Mystère de Satoshi. The day encouraged exchanges and discussions “among participants of the growing Bitcoin community”.
It seems it worked. At a surf shop up the street from the conference, neighborhood resident Cécile told Cointelegraph on August 28 that she not only attended Surfin Day, but was inspired to learn more about bitcoin. “Bitcoin is not as difficult as it first appears,” she explained. Maybe it will accept bitcoins in time for next year’s edition of Surfin Bitcoin.
However, with clear reminders that bitcoin uses more energy than “insert small and medium-sized country here” and that “unhosted wallets” should be banned and face stringent customer notification laws, it’s no wonder that Bitcoin adoption in France is slow. The European Union’s position regarding bitcoin is clear: regulation is imminent and bitcoin will be lumped together with all other crypto projects.
Bitcoin adoption in France is likely to remain a mere ripple as the price continues to decline. To make waves, bitcoin would need positive public sentiment or a pro-bitcoin boost from Macron – France’s anti-crypto leader – or the European Union, which is not showing.
See you next year!!! pic.twitter.com/f8f2gRudfl
— Surfin’Bitcoin (@SurfinBitcoin) August 28, 2022
@satoboat project leaving Biarritz… nice applause for #SurfinBitcoin22 See you next year! !! pic.twitter.com/f8f2gRudfl
— Surfin’Bitcoin (@SurfinBitcoin) August 28, 2022
The Bitcoin boat, called Sato Boat, set sail on the last day of the conference. Given the calm seas and long bear market, the bitcoin adage, “Stay humble, stack the sacks,” comes to mind. Overall, Surfin Bitcoin is “ze place to be” for French bitcoin enthusiasts, but there is a lot of work and hell to go to the French bitcoin scene to reach higher levels of adoption.
Have a nice trip.