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'Bitcoin Elite' to Gather on Secret Island for Bilderberg-Style Retreat

(@pete_rizzo_) | Published on February 2, 2015 at 19:00 BST
News

UPDATE (4th February 2:30 GMT): Event organizers now indicate that the event will be filmed by Bitcoin Magazine.


Satoshi RoundtableAn unnamed Caribbean island is set to serve as the venue for a secretive, closed-door gathering of elite bitcoin CEOs and luminaries this weekend.

Satoshi Roundtable, to be held from 6th to 8th February, is suggestive of the famed Bilderberg conference, the annual meeting at which more than 100 finance experts gather in relative secret to the delight of global conspiracy theorists.

Organized by Bruce Fenton of the Bitcoin Association and Atlantic Financial, participants in the first annual Satoshi Roundtable include top executives from companies such as Blockchain, BitGo, BitPesa, Chain, ChangeTip, Coinapult and MegaBigPower, as well as noted VCs in the space such as Erik Voorhees and Roger Ver.

The event is openly exclusive, and as such, its official website cautions that only 50 members of the ecosystem will attend.

The website reads:

“Even if you are a great person with many accomplishments in bitcoin and lots of passion we just won’t likely be able to invite you.”

Speaking to CoinDesk, Fenton discussed the big-picture goals of the event, indicating that he strives to strike "the right balance of transparency and privacy" by being open about it to the press, even if details about what transpires there may be scarce.

"Attendees will have the option to have comments from speeches or interaction be publicly available. I personally plan to release everything I say and anyone else can do the same, I'll also work to protect the privacy of those who want it," he stated.

Event structure

Fenton elaborated on the nature of the event as well, talking generally about structure and noting that it intends to be a "gathering of equals" with only some set speakers.

"The event is designed to foster relationships, interaction, tech development, deal making and provide a fun and relaxed but intensive environment to dive deeply into the technology and issues surrounding it," Fenton said.

Organizers indicated that Satoshi Roundtable has registration costs, but that they expect to only make a small profit from the event.

"The primary goal is to support a successful event, not profit from it. [...] The funds are used to cover logistics, every attendee has all meals, drinks, snacks and entertainment included as well as other activities and some event costs as well as the logistics work my team does to make the event work," Fenton added.

Content unknown

While open about the event conceptually, Fenton revealed more information online, taking to Bitcoin Talk to advertise the event and the availability of a waiting list for interested attendees should any current participants cancel.

In a post, Fenton described the event as a “private dinner”, one in which participants will be able to “speak more freely” about the pressing issues facing the bitcoin space.

Fenton went on to talk about the challenges faced by those in the bitcoin ecosystem in this regard with more concrete examples.

“Many CEOs will not criticise regulators in a public event because they fear reprisals from the regulators. Another example is that some CEOs fear to attack known scams in public because they don't want attacks from scammers or to be associated with them (even as a critic) in the newspaper,” he wrote.

Fenton cited the need for open and honest dialogue on such subjects as one of the reasons it is closed to the public and the press.

Dominican Republic likely venue

satoshi-location

Though the event website lists the event as taking place on a “Caribbean island”, its official GitHub page is more specific about the location, naming Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, as the formal site of the gathering.

A reverse image search of a photo listed on the official event site has revealed a potential location of the meeting, identifying the hotel in the photograph as the Club Med Punta Cana. The photo is also saved on the site as "satoshi-location".

Fenton did not confirm or deny this was the venue, stating only that his organization is "not publicly releasing the location" as it is not open to the press or public.

Hotel representatives were unable to confirm the event, stating only that the hotel is currently booked several months in advance.

CoinDesk will continue to monitor this developing story.

Correction: A previous version of this article indicated Pantera's Steve Waterhouse would be attending. CoinDesk has since learned he will not be present at the event.

Tanaya Macheel contributed reporting.

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