Bitcoin 2014 Con in Amsterdam: first-day report

A vibrant firstofficial day at Bitcoin 2014 is nearing its end. Over 1000 people have comefrom all over the world to Amsterdam for the second conference organized by theBitcoin foundation.

Patrick Byrne, CEOof Overstock, opened this morning with a keynote in which he traced many of theroots of liberalism to the Netherlands and painted Bitcoin as a continuation ofthis tradition. His talk also epitomized a shift that has occurred over thelast year as more and more entrepreneurs and business people have entered thespace and as the technologists have moved increasingly to the background.

Even though asimilar number of people attended the first conference by the Bitcoinfoundation last year in San Jose, the most striking sign of Bitcoin's growthhas been to wander through the booths were all the startups and companies aredisplaying their products. Many of them didn't exist a year ago or have growntremendously in maturity and size.

In four differenttracks which covered technology, economy, regulation and businesses, many ofthe most respected thought leaders in Bitcoin gave talks. Indeed from BrianArmstrong to Gavin Andresen to Jon Matonis - to name just a few – a hugepercentage of Bitcoin’s most prominent leaders is present.

After lunch, theother talk on the main stage was Gavin Andresen's “State of Bitcoin”, in whichhe discussed where we are in the development stage. He pointed to the manysmall and incremental improvements that need to be made for Bitcoin to scaleand remain secure.

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

Later, theBlockchain Awards honored many people and organizations that have doneimportant work to bring Bitcoin forward during the past twelve months.Epicenter Bitcoin, our podcast, was nominated as well, although Let's TalkBitcoin ended up a well-deserved winner.

It was a fantastic and vibrant first day at this gathering of anascent industry. The enthusiasm and belief that we’re on the cusp of somethingbig was as tangible as ever, but this time underscored by the incredibleprogress of Bitcoin startups.