Bitcoin finds Miami a bit of all right
Written by Nina Lincoff on January 8, 2014
What’s value of one US dollar? Depends on the exchange. Today in virtual currency bitcoin, $1 USD is roughly equivalent to .001 bitcoin. Or, one bitcoin is worth one Grover Cleveland ($1,000).
While it certainly doesn’t shimmer like gold, Bitcoin has made the case that it’s a currency to be taken seriously, and Jan. 25 and 26 likeminded individuals and businesses can take part in the North American Bitcoin conference, held for the first time at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Bitcoin, the popular peer-to-peer electronic cash, allows payments to be made without going through any form of financial institution or recognized national currency. Early this week, Bitcoin made headlines when the gaming company Zygna announced that it would test the online currency as payment on some of its platforms, driving its value up to around $1,000.
As for why the North American Bitcoin conference is being held in Miami-Dade, the answer is unsurprising come January.
“It’s warm and people want to travel there,” said Moe Levin, project director at Bitcoin Miami. Additionally, Miami is an urban hub to many capitals across the Americas, he said.
Between 500 and 750 domestic and international attendees are expected at the conference, with blocks of rooms already booked at the Clevelander Hotel, which will accept bitcoins as payment. For Jan. 24 and 25, the hotel is already at 95% and 90% occupancy, respectively.
“The conferences we’ve had in the past have had everybody from entrepreneurs to big businesses like Mastercard to basement dwelling enthusiasts,” Mr. Levin said. “The great thing is, it’s a great unifier. It’s used by everybody.”
The hope with these international conferences is to further spread the word of the virtual currency and create a real-life networking event for future Bitcoin partnerships.
“2013 was a great year in getting people to know bitcoin and the ins and out. The next step is merchant acceptance and future uses” Mr. Levin said.
The person-to-person interactions that conferences create are invaluable to the currency. The information that is transferred between individuals in real life, whether it’s in one of the official talks or an after-house bar session is incomparable to chats online.
“You have the ability to have ad hoc questions, whereas everything happening online [has] a premeditation of the answers,” Mr. Levin said.
January’s conference follows up September’s Amsterdam Bitcoin conference. Expected speakers include Bitpay founder Tony Gallippi, creator of Litecoin Charlie Lee and investor in many Bitcoin-related ventures Roger Ver.