Cryptolina Gets Mugged by Airbitz

As I stepped off the plane in Charlotte, North Carolina for Cryptolina I wasn’t sure what to expect but was filled with anticipation. Conferences are an excellent way to educate people about the potential of Bitcoin and this one had a higher amount of newbies than many other conferences I’ve attended. Airbitz ambassador Gabe Higgins assisted me as we spoke with a variety of people who ranged from experienced bitcoiners to those who had only ever heard the word “bitcoin” mentioned alongside the Bernie Madoff of the space, MtGox’s Mark Karpeles. We were stoked to set the record straight and bring some skeptics on board.

Those familiar with the Airbitz app raved about its ease of use and directory feature. We even got to hang with Rassah of Mycelium who tweeted out this great pic below. He agreed that we’re all in this together and gave an excellent detailed presentation on wallet types.

Gabe, Tone, Rassah, and I strategizing to set you free.

Most refreshing was seeing locals attending the conference eager to learn more about this new technology. One gentleman who worked in finance grokked the disruptive potential of Bitcoin within ten minutes — the fastest I’ve ever seen someone who’s not into tech understand the concept after only just hearing the term. There were some folks sharing space in the theater that were not attendees of the conference and one man owned a Latin dance company. He and his daughters hung out at the booth learning about Bitcoin and getting familiar with the app. Rarely do I get to discuss my two favorite things at once: dancing and bitcoin! He even offered to become a merchant in our directory so stay tuned for the addition of a very cool dance company called The Carolinas Latin Dance Company to the directory.

One of the first people to stop by our booth was a man named Tony who had downloaded the app but not yet learned to use it. I walked him through the features and by the end he had transferred all his bitcoin from his Coinbase app to Airbitz — he was excited to learn that he now actually owned his bitcoin since our app gives you complete control over your private keys. This was all in the first few minutes of him attending the conference and he had this to say,

“Just learning how to use the Airbitz wallet within the first five minutes of being here made this conference worth attending.” — Tony Holden

John now holds and owns his bitcoin thanks to our app.

Inspired by CEO Paul Puey’s love of hiking, our carabiner mugs were a big hit. We joked that we were #nicemuggin people left and right. We’ll be doing some fun, interactive games for those interested in getting these cool mugs shipped to them but if you see us at a conference you can tweet, write a review, or download our app to receive one. We’re always looking for feedback and ways to improve, so don’t be shy about telling us what you want to see.

Another highlight was a spirited discussion on security and the ongoing block size debate. It seems the mysterious Satoshi anticipated many of the arguments on both sides prompting us to speculate that she/he/they must be from the future and traveled back in time to save us from the current entrenched legacy system. But could Satoshi even be human? Gabe joked that perhaps, “Satoshi is an A.I. from the future!” Whoever they are, Bitcoin’s architect continues to awe and inspire veterans and newcomers to the space alike.

Gabe and I agree jazz hands go great with carabiner mugs.

Cryptolina also had many excellent presentations. Rassah of Mycelium spoke in detail on the variety of wallets available, Dawn Newton of Netki shared what we have learned from Bitcoin 1.0 and how it can be applied to emerging Bitcoin 2.0 projects, and Tone Vays of Brave New Coin gave his analysis of future price trends in a detailed yet humorous talk. I gave a talk on increasing empathy worldwide through decentralization in both communications and financial platforms which will be available soon. I also emphasized the ease of use associated with Airbitz in the talk and referred to Ernie Hancock’s use of the phrase “the just button” to demonstrate this quality.

Design by Davi Barker

All in all, Cryptolina was a success for Airbitz and even more so for those who are new to Bitcoin. Big thanks to the organizers Dan Spuller, Rich Spuller, and Faruk Okcetin for organizing an event that brought in new faces and a great variety of speakers. See you at the next conference!

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