The Greek Bitcoin community gathered in Athens for a  conference to discuss new opportunities that the virtual currency opens up, including helping deal with capital controls in the country.  

The aim of the conference to present the advantages and challenges of bitcoin and the blockchain technologies. The gathering took place in INNOVATHENS which is known as the Technopolis City of Athens. The services have been provided by the National Documentation Centre, with the aim of internationalization of business and its better access to finance and innovation management.

The event was organized by WWTP / OSS for Open Source and the Greek community of Bitcoin, in cooperation with the National Documentation Centre, the Greek node of the Enterprise Europe Network, and the Hub of Innovation and Entrepreneurship of Technopolis City of Athens – INNOVATHENS .

George Papageorgiou has introduced Bitcoin and Blockchain to those who knew very little about it. He also went on telling the audience about how to accept bitcoins in business.

There was a presentation of the  Enterprise Europe Network, by Georgia Tzenos, National Documentation Centre Coordinator Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas and Constantine Karasavvas how also been one of the speakers.

The meetup brought together 61 people from various places.

Mr. George Papageorgiou was linked through Skype with Mr. Tim Frost. They explained and presented the e-card of E-Coin in detail to the audience, as it can help the merchants through capital controls.

George Papagergiou and Kostas Karasavas

- George Papagergiou and Kostas Karasavas

Tim Frost, e-coin

- Tim Frost, e-coin

Antonis Tsakoumis, the owner of was also present alongisde Mr. Lee Gibson Grant, a producer at Athena TV Reality Show.

Antonis Tsakoumis, asked the question of how his site came into being, answered: 

“When I first "met" Bitcoin back in 2012 it was love at first sight. After spending more than a month trying to figure out every aspect of it, I decided that this is something really important for humanity and I should take active part in informing other people about Bitcoin, in our language, Greek. This is how was created.

Together with other passionate people we started posting detailed articles in Greek covering the inner workings of Bitcoin, its pros and cons and most importantly explaining why it is something important, why and how people should use it. Our legal representative has taken special care to address legal challenges that Bitcoin faces in our country and of course provide guidance and suggestions.

Our work goes beyond the website itself, since we've talked about Bitcoin in major national newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, TEDx events and documentaries. But what we're really proud of is the organization of the first ever events in Greece, one in Athens [2013] and one in Patras [2014], where we had the chance to meet people and have thorough discussions. Details about our actions can be found on our website.”

Mr. Lee Gibson Grant is the owner of and is also interested in the Blockchain’s innovation. He has also demonstrated in real life how Bitcoin technology can have a positive impact in the hospitality industry, having launched a project on the Greek island of Agistri in July 2015. He is now preparing another project that would promote Greek islands as tourist destinations.

Mr. George Kimionis and Mr. Toni X. Smit, the creators of the blockgem platform, presented their project that enables any Bitcoin user to purchase any diamond using Bitcoin, without any third parties.

Mr. Toni X. Smit, the creators of the blockgem platform

- Toni X. Smit, Blockgem platform

Mr. Spiros Spiratos of Athera GI, a new innovative startup that hopes to determine optimal business locations based on both quantitative (e.g. customers locations) and qualitative (e.g. location attractiveness) criteria, also spoke to Cointelegraph. In response to the question of how he intends to explain the social media aspect of this project to potential customers, he said, “I will give an example. Many people, including myself, we visit specific bars and restaurants, just because we used to go there. When we discover that in a nearby area there are exceptional bars and restaurant we usually wonder: “Why have I never been there before?” The same applies to investors, who might falsely locate their business due to their bias in favor of the locations that they already know. In Athera by analyzing the customer activities using data from social media applications, we identify dynamic areas, in which an entrepreneur worth to locate his/her investment. To come back to your question, I would like to say that social media applications is a very efficient way for understanding what is going in a city, where and when. My profession is to give answers to the location problems of my clients by filtering and analyzing such data.”

Cointelegraph also reached out to Mr. Hugh Halford-Thompson, an organizer from Coinscrum, the London community, in order to have another point of view.

He was asked whether he thought these meetups helped to promote awareness of Bitcoin among a mainstream audience, whether he also made Bitcoin presentations in person, and how enterprises and merchants can become involved. He responded by saying, “We made them weekly so they were easy to find. They do raise awareness and they did raise awareness of Bitcoin but the interest now is generally around other uses of Blockchains - ethereum, smart contracts, POS chains, private chains... We have clients in many sectors and do presentations at events both public and private. See Blockchain Tech Ltd - we were at the BC Tech summit demoing our money transfer platform - several events at credit unions, large consultancies and banks...”

Lastly, Cointelegraph spoke to another Bitcoin community from Amsterdam, Bitcoin Wednesday Amsterdam. Mr. Richard Kohl, one of the organizers of the Amsterdam Bitcoin community said, “Yes, Bitcoin Wednesday brings people together around the theme of digital currency and its growing role in society, and not just locally.  We draw visitors and speakers from around the world. On the first Wednesday of every month -- that's now 32 consecutive monthly events, we're in our 3rd year.  During Bitcoin Wednesday the Dutch Bitcoin Foundation conducts its regular poll on what the public thinks and expects, so we aim to provide a visible monthly public platform for all sides of the ongoing debate.”

In conclusion, whenever there is a meetup, a lot of interested and interesting people take part. It is these people who could be the guides and informers for a mainstream audience, to allow them to explore the world of cryptocurrencies and the Blockchain. Cointelegraph and Bitcoin communities everywhere look forward to their next Bitcoin meetup.