Baltic Honeybadger 2022 conference in Riga was packed with high-quality presentations and major announcements, as well as notable speakers.
This opinion editorial is by Josef Tetek (the Trezor brand ambassador at SatoshiLabs).
After a three year hiatus, Bitcoiners reunited at the renowned Baltic Honeybadger event in Riga, Latvian capital.
The conference attracted only 800 people. In comparison, the Bitcoin 2022 conference hosted over 20,000 attendees in Miami. Honeybadger's conference was smaller than the Miami conference. Visitors didn't have to deal with endless lines and crowds. It was a well-known conference and was entirely held in English. This allowed for easy access to hard-hitting talks, as well as chatting with many other Bitcoiners such as Adam Back, Jimmy Song and Peter Todd. Over the course of the two-day conference, more than a dozen speakers presented their talks in two lecture rooms: one for Bitcoin Stage and another for Sats Stage.
The conference was recorded and will be available on YouTube by Hodl Hodl. At the time of writing, the Bitcoin Stage talks were not published.
Free speech and free money
After Max Keidun, Hodl Hodl's opening speech (the conference organizer), Giacomo Zucco took the floor. The title of Zucco's talk was not revealed beforehand so that the audience didn't know what to expect. The long-time Bitcoiner with his trademark humor and accented Italian accent revealed the title of his speech.
Zucco was open to the fact that such a title could offend some people, so he made it more pleasant:
Zucco stated that freedom of speech is an essential human right and that we cannot make exceptions when speech becomes directly aggressive, such as in the case where it is ordered to murder or commit fraud. Zucco warned about the growing censorship from both corporations and governments. The only way to defend yourself is to create and use agorist tools like the Tor browser.
Zucco made a transition to money. Money falls under freedom-of-speech protection, especially in an age when money is increasingly digital. People have the fundamental right of choosing their monetary instrument and to use it as they please. Freedom of money, like freedom of speech is not guaranteed. Again, agorist tools such as bitcoin and its ecosystem must be created. This is a quote that's worth noting:
You don't need to know your customer laws if you don't understand the economics. You don't need to know your customer to make money.
Bitcoin And Islamic Finance
Another talk worth paying attention to is "Bitcoin and Islamic Finance" by Allen Farrington. Farrington is also the co-author "Bitcoin Is Venice", which I believe is one of my favorite books on bitcoin and economics.
We made friends along the way and that is what yields. Source.
Farrington says that Islamic finance is a sort of Bitcoin meme. We often refer to it without fully understanding its principles. We should still make an effort to understand Islamic finance. Its principles are almost antithesis of modern fiat currency and would be consistent with the way the world would operate under a bitcoin standard.
These are the three core principles of Islamic finance:
- The risk is shared by trading partners and not transferred
- Collateral is not financially financed, but it is transferred between the parties.
- It is the spirit of the law that matters, not its letter.
These principles have one consequence: it is impossible to accept a loan secured by certain collateral while still having the same collateral available for the borrower (as with mortgages).
We can see the downsides of mortgages using Islamic finance principles. They rely on uncertain future income streams and transfer all risks to borrowers. They also monetize housing making it unaccessible without incurring lifelong debt. Source.
If you find the mortgage-free world to be a wild idea, then it's worth reminding that the over-financialization of real estate caused both the Great Financial Crisis of 2007 to 2008, and also made a lifetime debt slave out of virtually everyone who wants to own their own homes:
The islamic finance community is averse to financialization. This is because they believe that there should be a one-to-1 relationship between financial instruments and underlying real-economy assets. This ratio will diverge more and more real finance will be lost. We end up creating a house of cards that will eventually collapse.
Because bitcoin is used to secure transactions or collateral, it must be used in the actual transaction and sent to the counterparty's email address (the classic , not your keys, but your coins ). This compatibility of bitcoin and Islamic finance (i.e. in the principle "commodity currency") is not accidental. These principles evolved over hundreds and years under the gold standard, a system that relied heavily upon merchant reputation.
These principles, however, have not been embraced by the West as part of Islamic finance. Farrington said that the principles can be used outside of religious contexts. They are just sound financial principles.
Hardware and security wallets
Secure bitcoin self custody was another important theme at the conference, which is intrinsically linked to the industry of physical backups and hardware wallets. The founders of Trezor and BitBox, Cryptosteel, Tinyseed, and Cryptosteel represented these industries, all of whom were present in Riga.
Security panel. From the left: Douglas Bakkum, Peter Todd (BitBox), Rigel Walshe(Swan Bitcoin), Pavol “Stick” Rusnak (“Trezor”) and Daniel Prince ("Once Bitten Podcast”). Jan Pecinovsky.
In two instances, the concept of Air Gapping was raised: in the panel discussion on security and in Douglas Bakkum’s lecture. Bakkum described air gapping as data transfer between hardware wallets, computers/phones using SD cards or QR codes (i.e. not via USB cables). Peter Todd addressed the issue of SD cards. He noted that these devices have more complex microprocessors than USB cables and are therefore more vulnerable to attack. Stick stated that QR codes can be used to air gapp these devices, and that USB cables are less risky than SD cards.
"We need to think about security threat modeling. The security threat model for regular people is different than Edward Snowden's. We are trying to address the problems of 99 percent of people. However, if three-letter agencies are coming after you, then I believe you should use something different from the standard off-the-shelf solutions.
Bakkum's talk explains that air gapping allows for easy integration with third party apps. It also makes it possible to bypass iPhone restrictions. (Note: due to manufacturer restrictions, it is impossible to connect a Trezor to an iPhone. You also feel more secure when air gapping is used. However, there are disadvantages such as poor user experience and greater firmware complexity. Source: author.
Bitcoin Counterculture and Its Psychopathic Defenders
Rigel Walshe (of Swan Bitcoin), dedicated his talk to Bitcoin culture. Walshe stated that not everyone believes Bitcoin is a culture. However, he said, "When you put two people together, you get culture."
Bitcoin culture can best be described as a counterculture. It is a subculture that opposes certain elements of mainstream culture. Successful countercultures are often mainstreamed sooner or later. Walshe gave examples of how punk, hip hop, marijuana, and LGBT subcultures have emerged. The transition from counterculture into mainstream culture is accompanied with phenomena that can be explained through three sociological theories.
- Mimetic Theory Many people follow the example of their role models and imitate them. Many people who are late to the subculture can't explain why they believe the way they do. They repeat what others say and then turn up the volume. There are two types of purity tests: tribalism and purity testing.
- Sociopaths, Geeks and Mops Theory: describes how cool new ideas can be. Cool things begin with creators (Satoshi Nagamoto), who are supported by fanatics (Laszlo Hansyecz, Andreas Antonopoulos), who spread the word about the idea and create the infrastructure. The mops are those who take in the good stuff and do little to contribute (many Twitter influencers are examples of this). These are the sociopaths, who often exploit subcultures for their own ends (Richard Heart and Do Kwon).
- The Eternal September Theory In the early 1990s, Usenet (or the internet) was primarily accessed via universities. Every September, there were a lot of college students who didn't know how to use it and had to be taught the veterans from years past. In the middle of the 1990s, regular homes began to use the internet and the "eternal September" occurred. Noobs began arriving in large numbers every day. This stage is currently being experienced by Bitcoin, as waves upon waves of new users are unable to grasp the concepts of private keys or other previously unknown elements.
Walshe concluded that nuance and numbers are in conflict. The only way to fix this is to identify the core ideas of Bitcoin culture we want to pass on to new users and then turn them into memes, sound bites, and easily digestible information.
"So it's up to us to distill these thoughts, and to disseminate them to the newcomers and to the sociopaths who would use bitcoin to their own nefarious ends. It like a psychopath.
These talks are only a small portion of the conference's extensive program that included over 40 lectures and discussion panels. I am sure that I will find more treasures in the recordings over the next weeks. As in previous years the speakers had a lot of information and I think we'll be revisiting some talks in years to come. My favorite talk from this year's edition is "Social Implications of Gold and Bitcoin".
There were several notable announcements made during the Honeybadger event:
Trozor CoinJoin: Trzor and Wasabi Wallet have joined forces to bring the CoinJoin anonymization technology for hardware wallets in the early part of next year. Trezor owners can now mix their coins with the WabiSabi protocol, without having to leave the safe environment of their hardware wallet. This is the first of its kind, and it will revolutionize Bitcoin anonymity.
BTCPay BitcoinJoin Implementation: A merchant or fundraiser organizer can hide the transaction history of any bitcoin received. This is a very welcome use case and a great example of it, as demonstrated by recent protests by Canadian truckers.
Trezor suite, Hodl Hodl trading offers: It has been possible to purchase and sell bitcoins directly in Trezor suite, the native interface for the Trezor hard drive wallet. However, these offers have required KYC identification. The conference also announced a partnership with Hodl Hodl, which will allow users to purchase bitcoin directly from sellers without the need for identification.
Bach Nguyen, Invity's integrator of trading partners, announces the Hodl Hodl partnership. Jan Pecinovsky.
Prince Philip of Serbia Joins Jan3 as CSO:Samson Mow’s Jan3 is an Bitcoin company that aims to accelerate hyperbitcoinization. Prince Philip of Serbia joined the ranks of Jan3 as its chief strategy officer.
Fun Off Stage
Much of the conference's fun took place away from the stage, as is often the case with many others. Honeybadger, despite being a small conference, attracted many well-known Bitcoiners. The speakers did not have a private VIP area (aside from a small refreshment area), so they moved around the room and had fruitful conversations.
Personally, I found the conversation with Farrington the most fascinating. We had a lot of fun discussing the writing process of "Bitcoin is Venice", and "A Tale of Two Talebs". I hope that Farrington will publish the latter in book format. ).
It was nice to see Adam Back, one of the founders of bitcoin, in a BTCPay Server Hoodie.
The exhibition area was where attendees could meet with representatives from Braiins and Mempool.Space. I also got some cool swag from Softsimon! Cryptosteel and Tinyseed were also present.
What's next for Bitcoin in Europe?
Baltic Honeybadger used to be the largest European bitcoin-only conference. Bitcoin Amsterdam will likely trump this title in October. This one will be likely to be overtaken by Bitcoin Amsterdam.
Josef Tetek contributed this guest post. These opinions are not necessarily those of BTC Inc.
By: Josef Tětek
Title: Baltic Honeybadger 2022: For Bitcoiners, The Yield Is The Friends We Make Along The Way
Sourced From: bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/recap-baltic-honeybadger-2022
Published Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2022 17:05:17 GMT
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