London Blockchain Conference wall

London Blockchain Conference 2024: What did you think of it?

The London Blockchain Conference 2024 is all wrapped up! Those of us who attended are now either taking a rest, recovering from colds and jetlag, or back at work. It all happened so fast that memories are still a blur, but here are a few of the things that stood out for me.

Near the end of the three-day conference, they threw CoinGeek’s presenters in front of a camera, one by one, and asked us to talk about our personal highlights. My answer was something like, “that we’re all still here.” This prompted a few ‘awws’ from those watching, but it’s true. With all 2024’s focus on side-dramas, court cases and geopolitical rumblings (some of which concern BSV and some don’t), it was good to see the London conference bulldozing all that aside and making a smoother path towards our real destination.

Lilly Douse on stage

What’s the real destination? It’s a digital future we can actually trust. No matter what else people like to chatter about, we still need our “universal ledger of truth” with a built-in payments layer if we don’t want that future to become a dystopia. Blockchain, specifically the BSV blockchain running on the original Bitcoin protocol, is still the best (and only working) solution to this trust problem, even if the wider world still needs convincing that: (a) the problem is real; and (b) we already have the answer.

The London Blockchain Conference 2024 was in many ways similar to the LDNBlockchain23… and yet completely different. The two events happened in different Londons. For starters, 2023 was in the middle of Westminster, surrounded by extremely British institutions that scream solidity and tradition, like Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, and Westminster Abbey. The LDNBlockchain24 went east to the more modern Docklands precinct and London ExCel, one of the largest buildings I’ve ever been in and full of bright lights, LED screens, and businesspeople talking about optimizing their workouts. You can’t see Big Ben (yes, I know that’s the name of the bell inside) or the Tower Bridge from there, but you get clear views of the glassy Canary Wharf skyline and the ambitious (for its time) Millennium Dome.

There’s probably a metaphor in all that. Blockchain, like London, encapsulates solidity/tradition and glitzy futurism in equal amounts. You may prefer one or the other, but you must acknowledge both. You’ll also need to understand which aspects of these worlds work and should be retained as foundations, be open-minded about new ideas, and identify what is gimmicky and disposable.

The actual content

I spent the majority of my London Blockchain Conference time at the CoinGeek video set. This set has gotten progressively fancier over the years, going from non-existent to a desk to a couple of lounge chairs to 2024’s room-sized and brightly colored stage that attracted visitors wanting their photo taken. As someone who does most of his video work in the spare room wearing tracksuit pants, it looked a bit intimidating at first, but after a few hours, it felt like home.

This year’s addition of a “Spotlight Stage” right in the middle of the showroom floor was a banger. Though small, it attracted most of the attention, thanks to its ability to attract passing traffic and the tiered-access conference passes that excluded many from the main stages. Although the London Blockchain Conference itself was lively and often crowded, this stage gave it a constant energy boost.

Andrew Bellingham on stage

Attending a conference for work means you miss most of the on-stage content (unless you’re part of it or doing research) since you spend most of your time strolling around the floor and chasing down potential interviewees for the show. That said, I did catch a few that stood out. I especially enjoyed Professor Scott Galloway and Somi Arian, as much for their presenting style as their actual presentations. Their talks were both firmly future-oriented with some out-of-the-box predictions, and that’s something I always enjoy because, frankly, both the present and current-trend projections in Western society suck.

Scott Galloway on stage

Does anyone really go to conferences like these for the show content? It’s a factor, I guess. But for most people, the content is an excuse to gather, interact, discuss and network, and not always on topics directly related to the event.

Likewise, a conference’s side events can be more productive than the main show. On that note, I’d like to nominate BSV DevCon as my favorite part of the London Blockchain Conference 2024. Even though it wasn’t part of the #LDNBlockchain24, it involved many of the same people and happened in the same building.

BSV DevCon attendees

As the name suggests, BSV DevCon was still all about BSV. It wasn’t glitzy. It was a bunch of people who loved to roll up their sleeves and get down in the machinery of blockchain to make it do things no one else has thought of yet and then listen to other like-minded minds share their stories.

At DevCon, we heard Ty Everett talk about using the Bitcoin network as a CPU for general computation, David Case and Luke Rohenaz present the latest on 1Sat Ordinals and tokens, and Mihael Sinkec on how sCrypt is helping new developers into the BSV world. There were presentations from WhatsOnChain, GorillaPool, TAAL, and Gate2Chain on how a world of data can be usable in meatspace. Holding it all together was the all-paisley Colorado cowboy Brett Banfe, who should be press-ganged into permanently hosting the event.

BSV DevCon event

Yes, yes, but what about…

Oh, and PS on the main conference: what about the elephant in the room? Or rather, the elephant who wasn’t in the room? Yes, it was a favorite topic among long-time attendees at the London Blockchain Conference, Global Blockchain Conference, CoinGeek Conference, and Satoshi’s Vision events from years past. I also met plenty of people who’d never heard of BSV before and knew nothing of Satoshi besides the name.

I won’t say whether that’s a good or bad thing because it’s neither—like the contrast between Westminster London and Docklands London, it just is. You can choose to beat your head against walls arguing over your personal preferences, or you can just accept that reality isn’t always as straightforward or smooth as you wish it to be. Blockchain’s main job, after all, is to take what appears chaotic and ineffable (Big Data) and turn it into a future that isn’t.

Watch: Day One Summary at the London Blockchain Conference 2024

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Day Two Highlights at the London Blockchain Conference 2024

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Day Three Highlights at the London Blockchain Conference 2024

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