Day One of the Inside Bitcoins conference in Las Vegas has come and gone, with startups and regulation-related topics being the key highlights.
The conference began with a keynote from Jered Kenna, CEO of Tradehill and an early bitcoin investor. Kenna gave a background and brief history of bitcoin, since its inception in 2008.
He also talked about China’s influence on the growing virtual currency markets today. “China enters the market and just dominates,” he said.
The ‘New Ideas in Bitcoins’ panel brought together a number of leaders who promote bitcoin around the world. Pelle Braendgaard, the co-founder of Kipochi, claimed the so-called ‘unbanked’ population in Africa would be a major hotspot for virtual currencies going forward.
“It’s going to grow a lot in the next year”, he told the audience.
Jaron Lukasiewicz, CEO of trading platform Coinsetter, presented the idea that regular traders and investors want better access to bitcoin. “Investors are taking bitcoin a lot more seriously,” he said.
Again, Lukasiewicz referenced China’s impact as a major player in the bitcoin market. “China presents 70% of the trading market,” he said.
Yet, Lukasiewicz still believes that it will be the virtual currency companies based in the US that will ultimately succeed.
“Long term, US companies will win with US-focused regulation,” he added.
Future success stories
By far, the most popular session was the ‘Creating and Funding the Next 100 Great Bitcoin Companies’ panel.
It included; Rob Banagale, CEO and Co-Founder of Gliph; Steve Beauregard, CEO & Founder of GoCoin; Pamir Gelenbe, Venture Partner of Hummingbird Ventures; and Brock Pierce, Executive Chairman of Playzino.
Additionally, Michael Terpin, the CEO of SocialRadius was the panel moderator.
During the panel, all the room’s seats were filled. Many people were standing. It was Brock Pierce who offered the most exciting comments during the session, proclaiming: “I believe that in 2014 bitcoin will be the biggest sector for venture investing in the world. 2014 is the year of bitcoin.”
That statement garnered a round of applause from the room.
Another topic discussed by the panel was the removal of Gliph’s bitcoin transfer function from its application. A number of panelists were concerned about Apple’s new strategy regarding bitcoin apps on its platform.
Other popular sessions from day one included the regulation-themed ‘Emerging Issues in Regulatory Compliance and Law Enforcement Efforts’.
This session featured a panel of lawyers experienced in virtual currency compliance, moderated by Patrick Murck, General Counsel of the Bitcoin Foundation.
A security-themed talk towards the end of the day named ‘Best Practices for Using and Securing Bitcoins’ from Alan Reiner, CEO of the open-source wallet Armory was another popular choice.
A number of startups were exhibiting their businesses too: LeetCoin, a platform which offers gamers bitcoin incentives was one. Another was Kryptokit, a wallet and Google Chrome plugin that provides Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) messaging within the browser.
CoinMKT, a relatively new US exchange that offers traders access to seven different cryptocurrencies, was also presenting to conference attendees at their exhibit. And Butterfly labs, which has brought consumer bitcoin mining to the public, was showing off some new products to be released early next year.
Check back tomorrow for day two’s coverage of the Inside Bitcoins event.