With The North American Bitcoin Conference (TNABC) kicking off tomorrow, some last-minute news is coming in. It includes major changes that may affect the experiences of conference attendees.
Josh Garza, the embattled CEO of GAW miners, has canceled his speech and Q&A session without giving a concrete reason to the organizers of TNABC. Concerns over crowd reaction have been cited as the most likely reason for his cancellation, as many in the community are accusing Garza of misleading investors with his altcoin, Paycoin.
Garza is still scheduled to take part in the mining panel, but he will not be giving his stand-alone speech or the Q&A session. The Q&A session was originally proposed as a way to ease the concerns of some in the community that letting Garza speak would be tantamount to endorsing his practices. His cancellation is not likely to ease those concerns, but this is the situation in which the conference finds itself. Just hours ago, Garza stated on Twitter that his speech was going forward, it is unclear at this moment what changed.
Ironically, cancelling Garza’s ability to speak at the event was exactly what “the outraged” wanted. It is unclear how they will react to the news that he still plans to attend and participate in a panel, but without giving his own speech or the Q&A session. Will they see the cancellation as a victory, that the community outrage “forced” Garza to cancel his speech, or will they see it as Garza finding a way to avoid heat from the community?
The news isn't all bad, however. As we previously reported, Roger Ver was denied entry into the United States, effectively banning him from attending the conference. That isn't going to stop “Bitcoin Jesus,” however. Ver, who is one of the most well-known Bitcoin personalities, will be speaking via robot. Speakers denied access to events by the authorities have used similar tactics in the past. Whistleblower Edward Snowden spoke at the South by Southwest conference via robot, and Charlie Shrem did the same at BTC Chicago while under house arrest.
Ver is scheduled to make his appearance via robot on Sunday during the Venture Capitalist panel.
A few more notes ahead of the show: An Australian senator will be in attendance and he has already provided quotes that should be encouraging for both American and Australian Bitcoin users.
“There are number of US congressmen and senators that I have been in touch with the last couple of weeks who are interested in better engagement with the bitcoin community. [. . .] This Conference is an important step in building a collaborative approach between Government and industry.”
There was a planned debate between Blockstream's Adam Back and Bitcoin Core Developer Peter Todd, but Back reportedly canceled just before this article went to press. It is unclear why, and we are attempting to reach out to him for comment.
Peter Todd is still scheduled to speak on “Bitcoin 1.5” The term Bitcoin 1.5 is used to describe next-generation blockchain technologies, while avoiding the heady, and some would say, unrealistic expectations that come with the term “Bitcoin 2.0”. As Todd explains:
“Bitcoin 1.5 is about actual applications that will meet peoples' needs in the next 1-2 years; not sci-fi dreams whose practicality is unknown.”
Conferences can be hectic. While there is only a single speaking track, between the cancellations of Garza and now Back, there will likely be more shuffling of the schedule before and during the conference. To help ease the problems schedule changes may cause, the organizers have released an app available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. In addition to providing you with the most up-to-date schedule possible, it also acts as a social media app, letting people share their thoughts and photos from the conference. The app already looks fairly active.
While Garza's and Back's cancellation will undoubtedly put a damper on things, the organizers are trucking on and looking forward to a successful conference. A kick-off party is scheduled for tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Clevelander. Registration begins tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. at The Fillmore in Miami Beach.
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