Palm Springs & Bitcoin

By Amanda Fabiano

Along with six other volunteers, I was lucky enough to co-organize and attend CryptoSprings, a two-day event in Palm Springs focusing on the economics, technology and future of cryptocurrencies.

So, two days in Palm Springs sounds really boring, right? Aside from the venue and sunshine, the content of the conference has invigorated me.

How did I get an opportunity to work on something so cool? Part of my focus is education, mainly through FCAT’s Bits & Blocks Club. The club hosts a Speaker Series, which allows me to meet some really cool people in the crypto world.

The intimate CryptoSprings gathering allowed for easy accessibility to the speakers, which is not something you typically get at large scale industry events.

There were so many incredible speakers covering a wide range of topics, but I did have a few favorite sessions. Matt Corello getting us up to speed on his betterhash project and decentralized mining was insightful. I really enjoyed Jill Carlson, Linda Xie, and Rick Dudley speaking to decentralized exchanges and their thoughts on stable coins.

Lastly, a session featuring Elena Giralt made me think hard on the six-hour trek back to Boston, I didn’t even realize I had in-flight entertainment until hour three. Elena has been researching Venezuela and the use of cryptocurrencies.

The promise of Bitcoin as a censorship-resistance medium of exchange has the potential to change people’s lives in locations where access to stable money is nonexistent. She explained the two sides of the coin in Venezuela—one side that represents crypto dystopia and the other representing an amazing use case for fighting for financial freedom. Venezuela’s Bitcoin use case is capturing the imagination of the crypto world. But as Elena puts it, “Venezuela does not exist to prove a crypto experiment; they are a humanitarian crisis on their own.” She discussed barriers to adoption as well as grass-root efforts help the humanitarian crisis.

The past year in crypto has been a rollercoaster and yet what I enjoyed about Elena’s talk was its ability to bring me back to the roots of the reasons why Bitcoin is very exciting.

Attending events like CryptoSprings and having exposure to an incredible lineup of speakers keeps us up to date on the latest happenings. Bridging the gap between the outside crypto world and FCAT is extremely useful in capturing outside-in thinking, which is a core FCAT value.