Live-Blogging the “Value of Bitcoin” Conference
Will try to keep up with what’s happening on stage at the “Value of Bitcoin” Conference in Munich on June 3rd. Lots of interesting speakers (including some sceptics) talking mostly about the value of Bitcoin and the potential implications for society.
— LIVE— (no automatic reloading)
09:36 We are at the BayernLB, the second largest federal state bank of Germany.
I have to say I am impressed that the BayernLB puts together such an event (and doesn’t call it a “Blockchain” Event 🙂 ) Unthinkable only 3 years ago.
As the saying goes:
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they are putting together an awesome Bitcoin Conference with kick ass speakers.”
9:57 We are slightly late already. Everyone still standing out side eating Brezels and talking
By the way if you find spelling or grammatical errors you can keep them. Never did a live blog before but I guess it’s about speed not winning the pullizer (spelling? :-)) prize.
9:50 – Welcome from your hosts
Jürgen Michels – Chief Economist at BayernLB
Daniel Wingen – Organizer of VoB Coneference
Now it starts. Small Talk. BayernLB talking about the descision to host such an event even if there is risk
10:00 – Everything they told you about Bitcoin is a lie
Giacomo Zucco – Director at BHB.Network
10:12 First Speaker is Giacuomo Zucco, probably one of the loudest (and most sarcastic) Bitcoin maximalists. “Everything they told you about Bitcoin is a lie”. This should be fun.
Looking at the suits to shirts ratio I would say about 60% of the attendees are bankers and the rest are Bitcoiners. Even Giacuomo is wearing a suit. Heresy!
Press is wrong in general. If you are an expert in anything use see it. Then you turn the page in the newspaper and there is a topic where you are not an expertGiacuomo Zucco
He is basically saying “Don’t trust, verify”
Now he lists “FPM” Frequentyl propagated myths”:
Lots of laughs as always. “I know that Bitcoin COULD fail, but I know that all others WILL fail”
10:20 – Security of Bitcoin private keys: from hardware to quantum attacks
Dr. Stepan Snigirev – Quantum Physicist and CTO of CryptoAdvance
10:30 Next up Dr. Stephan Snigirev who will talk about the security of Bitcoin private keys. Usually he does pretty technical presentations. Not sure how that fits in here unless it is to give a technical explantation for the bankers that storing Bitcoin is safe.
Dropped his Quantum physicists career for Bitcoin. Not many can say such a bad ass line
He will try to share his security paranoia with the audience. Private key storing is an opportunity for banks
Talking about Hardware attacks to extract private keys.
Banks are already storing Bitcoin Private Keys. In their vaults for customers
Now: Is Bitcoin doomed with Quantum Computers? Short answer: No. Long answer: Still no, because I can’t explain his Quantum algorithm reasons. But he sais we have plenty of time
10:40 – Challenges for institutions with storing digital assets
Bob McElrath – Blockchain Architect at Fidelity Investments
This talk is cancelled because Bob McElrath is sick
11:00 – Panel Discussion: Security and risk in Bitcoin from a technical perspective
Dan Held, Dr. Stepan Snigirev and Jörg Hermsdorf
moderated by Peter McCormack
No a panel discussion about the risks of Bitcoin
Peter asking different questions from the audience regarding different risks factors. Pretty basic.
“What would be an effective way to make Bitcoin go away?” Dan Held says: If you split the community
Stephan asks back: “How would you make the Internet go away”
11:45 – Good Money, bad money – and how Bitcoin fits in
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Polleit – Chief Economist at Degussa
11:40 And we are back: Now with Thorsten Polleit, who is also also president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute (austrian economics). One of the few gold bugs who is also on the brink of becoming a Bitcoiner. At least he supports free market money.
He starts by listing the worst currencies in the world: USD, EURO, YEN, CHF, you get the point. FIAT Money
Now he lists all the attributes of good money. Bitcoin checks almost all of these. “Bitcoin is a good money candidate”
The question is if Bitcoin will outcompete gold based currencies or FIAT currencies.
Talks about the network congestion and high transaction fees. He did his homework on Bitcoin. States that another problem might be finality, because transactions in PoW are probabalistic.
Questions if the world even wants every transaction to be without middleman.
If there were no state we would have a free market of Money. But in that case he is not so sure that Bitcoin would outcompete Gold backed money.
Very good talk!
12:05 – Bitcoin as the working free market alternative to national central banks
Prof. Dr. Saifedean Ammous – author of “The Bitcoin Standard”
Now Dr. Saifdean Ammous (best buddies like us call him “Saif”) making the case for Bitcoin as a free market alternative to national banks. If the Bitcoin Whitepaper where Moses 10 commandements, his Book “The Bitcoin Standard” comes closest to being “The Bible” for Bitcoiners
If you haven’t, check out his discussion with gold Bug and Bitcoin Hater Peter Schiff. It’s hilarious. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kui7MPYq0A8 Skip the parts where Tone Vays desparately wants to play with the big boys (Also hilarious).
He argues Bitcoin is the only alternative right now to central banks.
Basically he is repeating the statements in his book for the bankers (and also teasing his new book).
The way to undermine Bitcoin is to go back to the gold standard.
He says he would probably not be interested in Bitcoin if there was a gold backed currency. Now a discussion.
By the way: The conference is 99-percent-attacked by men. We need a better speaker pool distribution!
12:30 – A free market for private money – central banks under pressure?
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Polleit, Dr. Saifdean Ammous, Dr. Christopher Waller and Jochen Metzger
moderated by Valentin Schmid
Now Polleit and Saif are joined by Dr. Waller and Jochen Metzger. Both are Federal Reserve Bankers. Now we get to hear “the other side”!
“Dr. Waller What are you thinking about all of this or are you just laughing in your Ivory Tower”
I already compete against 150 currencies. I don’t care about Bitcoin. Bring it on!Dr. Waller
Saif says: “But you can’t shoot at Bitcoin.” Laughter. Shots fired!
Metzger says: “We do not see Bitcoin as a challenge” (So it seems like the Bundesbank is still at the “First they ignore you” stage)
Waller says: “What is the damage in Central banking?” Saif shoots out 10 reasons. Polleit says: “Having 2% inflation is not a justification for central banking.”
Metzger actually argues that central banks saved people from the financial crisis in 2008
The federal reserve bankers do not have anything against a free market money
Saif says Federal Bankers are not bad. But the central planning of interest rates is the bad thing. Central Bank market intervention.
Dr. Waller look slightly annoyed. Wont answer the question if infaltion is stealing money from people. Metzger says there is no criminal intent behind that. OK.
That was an exceptional discussion and probably the higlight of this conference. Wait for the video which will be available sometime
14:00 – Bitcoin as catalyst for Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC)
Dr. Cyrus de la Rubia – Chief Economist at Hamburg Commercial Bank AG
14:15 and we’re back: Now Dr. Cyrus de la Rubia apparently will make the case for Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) . So…the Euro??? Or will they launch the Euro -wait for it- but on the Blockchain? We will find out soon.
Puts up slide with countries who are exploring digital currencies.
And the “money flower”:
Why do governments think about Digital Cash alternatives? Because the writing is on the wall that paper wallet will go away and paper money is the only way to hold on to physical Fiat.
He makes the point that we need a token based digital currency but issued by central banks. Especially for smaller countries with vulnerable payment systems
14:20 – Digital Cash as potential opt-out from substantial negative interest rates
Prof. Dr. Gerald Mann – Professor of Economics at FOM Munich
Next up is Dr. Mann an economics professor out of Munich.
In recent years we have seen a war on cash. One reason is that you can’t have negative interest rates. We are at 0% interest but we can’t go any lower because people will just withdraw their money from the banks. So the monetary policy options available are limited.
IMF in a paper concludes that Cryptocurrencies are possible but unlikely. Mann says it depends how far below 0% interest rate we go.
Can you escape from negative interest rates with Bitcoin? Yes (but he expects counteractions of governments)
The price of Bitcoin will increase in the case of negative interest rates in the fiat system
14:40 – CBDC and Digital Cash – opportunity or risk for central banks?
Dr. Cyrus de la Rubia, Prof. Dr. Gerald Mann, Prof. Dr. Aleksander Berentsen, Dr. Christopher Waller and Jochen Metzger
moderated by Jürgen Seitz
The central Bankers are back! In a panel discussion! A new face: Dr. Aleksander Berentson also an economics professor will join the discusion if digital cash or CBDCs are an opportunity or a risk for central banks.
There are so many Dr. and Professors of economics here, that the price for this conference should go down because there is too much supply
Dr. Waller doesn’t see the fascination with a gold backed currency. Metzger doesn’t see the need for CBDCs
Dr. Berentsen says it doesn’t make sense to issue a CDBC “on the Blockchain”. If they issue a CDBC they should do it on an account basis.
It is an illusion that Bitcoin will take over. But it is also an illusion that it will be going away.Dr. Berentsen
Question: “What would be require for the Central Bank to consider hodl 1% of reserves in Bitcoin?” Waller: “Why?” Metzger: “Why hold such an illiquid asset?”
Dr. Mann: A digital bank run doesn’t show people standing in queues in the street. That why Central Banks should love CDBCs.
15:20 – All (Crypto) Roads Lead to Bitcoin
Michel Rauchs – Research Lead, CCAF Cambridge
Finally a Bitcoiner again 🙂 Michel Rauchs now on stage
Target audience for this talk seems to be bankers. Basic intro to Bitcoin and why it is the best
Bitcoin is inefficient by design
15:40 – Bitcoin – Beyond money as we know it today
Jörg Hermsdorf – Blockchain architect
Hermsdorf makes the comparison with the invention of electrcity where people were also very sceptical.
He promises that almost anyone will use Bitcoin in 5-10 years even if they don’t own the token. I’m sceptical…
Shills the Lightning Network. “Streaming Money”
16:00 – Bitcoin from a financial market and investment perspective
Dr. Alexis Eisenhofer, Hans-Jörg Naumer, Max Keidun and Giacomo Zucco
moderated by Mai Santamaria
We have another panel discussion. From an investors point of view. Giacuomo is back along with some investment experts with thousands of years of experience. Giacuomo feels left behind, adds “But I had a bank account once”
Naumer says Bitcoin is a bubble. In fact it is by far the largest bubble in comparision with other bubbles. He even doesn’t acknowledge it is an asset class.
Dr. Eisenhofer sees the deflationary aspect of Bitcoin as a problem.
For Max Keidun, Bitcoin is a complete new asset class
Giacuomo: “Bitcoin is not a bubble. It is a collection of bubbles. And Bitcoin is fueled by the government bubbles.”
OK, Eisenhofer is a “Blockchain not Bitcoin” guy. Audience laughs.
Discussion is heating up. Saifedean is longer sitting on his seat and takes part in the discussion. Saifedean asks what would it take for Eisenhofer to revise his opinion that Bitcoin is a bubble. He says: “It needs to be legal tender.” OK
Alt least Naumer is consistent. Because he thinks the same about Gold. He only believes in assets with intrisinic value.
Someone in audience mentions the forbidden words: “Smart Contracts”, “Dapps” and even… “Ripple”
Uh oh, if Giacuomo gets any more sarcastic, the bankers will leave early to print more money out of spite.
16:55 – The (un)sustainability of Bitcoin
Alex de Vries – Founder of Digiconomist.net
It looks like this talk is cancelled. No this talk got moved to after Dan’s Talk.
As long as most of the mining taks places in China it is a problem. One Bitcoin transaction translates to 370KG of CO2. That is the equivalent of 900.000 cars (per ? didn’t get that). You can’t put lip stick on that fact
Green energy is not always green. China builts coal powerplant as a backup for renewable plants.
Electronic waste is also a problem (Mining rigs).
We will never have green Bitcoin. No wayAlex de Vries
So what about Lightning?
17:15 – Bitcoin mining uses energy, and that is ok
Dan Held – Founding partner and director of business development at Interchange
17:18 we are back after the break: Dan will tell us why Bitcoin using energy is a good thing
Bitcoin doesn’t care where the energy comes from. Energy Arbitrage is a thing. Bitcoin is not the first make use of this. Island for example melts Aluminum with their cheap energy.
Cites the study that 78% of energy comes from renewables.
US Christmas lights use more energy than entire countries. Claiming one usage is more wasteful than others is completly subjective
Brings up lots of “efficient” energy usages. Aircraft Carriers, stock market, bankers sitting in meetings 🙂
17:35 – Panel Discussion:Is Bitcoin an environmental disaster?
Alex de Vries, Bob McElrath and Michel Rauchs
moderated by Peter McCormack
Now panel discussion about Bitcoins Energy consumption. Alex is actually quite positive towards Bitcoin. In his mind it is just not worth the energy effort. Bitcoin uses double the amount of energy as gold mining according to Alex de Vries.
Michel Rauchs can’t answer if the enery consumption is worth it because you can’t measure the utility that people get out of.
17:55 – Experiential Report: paying employees in Bitcoin
Holger Wolff – Managing Director at MaibornWolff
The last talk is from Holger Wolf whose company MaibornWolff is also an sponsor of this event.
He says: Paying your employees doesn’t make sense right now, because those few that are interested (despite the volatility) are already Bitcoiner
Then there are the regulatory, tax problems
They have a self service portal where employees can set up the percentage of their salary they want in Bitcoin. They didn’t use it yet because of the Crypto winter and the lack of interest…
18:10 – Fireside Chat: Outlook: Global adoption and regulation
Mai Santamaria and Shunichi Kimuro
Final Session for today. Fireside Chart. But no fire and no chairs.
Japan Bitcoin Market is very mature. Even from a policy/regulatory standpoint.
They are talking mostly about regulations. Since I am already 9 hours into this Live blog please forgive me that I am not going to cover that.
OK that’s a wrap. Thank you all for reading. It was an awesome conference make sure to watch the video coverage once it’s out. Pretty sure I missed lots of good parts.And make sure to follow me on Twitter @rohmeo_de