A vibrant first
official day at ₿itcoin 2014 is nearing its end. Over 1000 people have come
from all over the world to Amsterdam for the second conference organized by the
₿itcoin foundation.

Patrick Byrne, CEO
of Overstock, opened this morning with a keynote in which he traced many of the
roots of liberalism to the Netherlands and painted ₿itcoin as a continuation of
this tradition. His talk also epitomized a shift that has occurred over the
last year as more and more entrepreneurs and business people have entered the
space and as the technologists have moved increasingly to the background.

Even though a
similar number of people attended the first conference by the ₿itcoin
foundation last year in San Jose, the most striking sign of ₿itcoin’s growth
has been to wander through the booths were all the startups and companies are
displaying their products. Many of them didn’t exist a year ago or have grown
tremendously in maturity and size.

In four different
tracks which covered technology, economy, regulation and businesses, many of
the most respected thought leaders in ₿itcoin gave talks. Indeed from Brian
Armstrong to Gavin Andresen to Jon Matonis – to name just a few – a huge
percentage of ₿itcoin’s most prominent leaders is present.

After lunch, the
other talk on the main stage was Gavin Andresen’s “State of ₿itcoin”, in which
he discussed where we are in the development stage. He pointed to the many
small and incremental improvements that need to be made for ₿itcoin to scale
and remain secure.

He questioned the
security of ₿itcoin 2.0 protocols, emphasized the importance of the development
of multi-signature wallets and stressed how crucial it will be to increase the
block size to keep ₿itcoin cheap and inclusive. The talk ended with a cautious,
but optimistic outlook for 2015.

Later, the
Blockchain Awards honored many people and organizations that have done
important work to bring ₿itcoin forward during the past twelve months.
Epicenter ₿itcoin, our podcast, was nominated as well, although Let’s Talk
₿itcoin ended up a well-deserved winner.

It was a fantastic and vibrant first day at this gathering of a
nascent industry. The enthusiasm and belief that we’re on the cusp of something
big was as tangible as ever, but this time underscored by the incredible
progress of ₿itcoin startups.