Elizabeth Lopatto’s account of the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami Beach is a rollicking and chilling account of a conference that is supposedly centered on the granddaddy of all cryptocurrencies, but is actually centered on the number one right-wing hobbyhorse: grievance.
I’m at Miami Beach, in weather so hot and humid it feels like being inside a mouth, to try to get a sense of the vibes. I’m uncomfortable because of the heat and also the flashes of antisemitism. Tucked in the back of the expo floor, a painting for sale shows Tintin in a brown shirt with a Bitcoin logo on his sleeve, making a Sieg Heil salute. Another booth sells a T-shirt depicting a group of men sitting at a table with a pile of money in the middle, which is held up by human bodies; behind them, the pyramid found on the back of the dollar bill, with its Eye of Providence, looms. No one appears concerned.
I found it interesting to learn that there are Bitcoin diehards out there—the Bitcoin maxis—who absolutely hate crypto, NFTs, and any other blockchain technologies that are not Bitcoin. Stoking their fire—propping up Bitcoin at the expense of other, competing blockchain-based assets—seems to have been the main point of the conference.
I must admit feeling more than a little schadenfreude when reading about how half-assed the conference was, and how off-message some of its high-profile speakers were. We should expect nothing more from a grifters’ convention.