As we learned with Lira, my new Fiat 500, Bitcoin has already been a powerful force within my life.
Within days of my Eureka! moment, I’d booked flights to San Jose, CA for Bitcoin 2013, the first North American conference for the emerging payment system.
Being a different and resourceful lad, I made the decision to fly through San Francisco, providing an opportunity to drive my favourite muscle car, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, around the Bay Area’s boundless roads.
I first fell in love with the 392 last summer during a weekend trip to our family’s country house in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. There, the broad-shouldered cruiser was a tight squeeze on the winding single-lane passes. California would provide more Lebensraum for the 6.4L V8 thirsty lungs. All over, this was shaping up to become unique and memorable weekend.
Flying into San Francisco on Friday afternoon, I picked up the jaw-dropping Dodge from the Park ‘N’ Fly and confidently cruised to Union City to meet Jim Yu of Tamerlane’s Thoughts.
For those of you who don’t know, TT is my favorite blog in all of autoblogdom. Bar none. With his peerless and unusual blend of geopolitics, travel and food and cars, Jim’s is the only blog I visit on regular basis. Far more than Jalopnik or TTAC, a lot less AutoGuide. Of course I was greatly looking forward to the blogger extraordinaire/law-talking-guy.
We met at Tapioca Express, around the east side of the Bay Area, for the best popular bubble tea… on the planet. The lineup was the door, something I’ve never seen in a bubble tea shop with a Friday at 4: 00pm.
We chatted for a good hour about our unorthodox backgrounds, our travels, and ultimately in regards to the disruptive technology that had taken me 2,500km at home. If a bus company inLatvia and Bolivia, or Côte d’Ivoire starts accepting payments through the Bitcoin network, I fully accept Jim to hop aboard the very overnight.
Our meeting was a convivial success and I look forward to crossing paths with Jim again soon.
Continuing my journey to San Jose and also the conference, I clutched the pistol grip shifter and non-cryptographically hashed my way down the Interstate. That’s a Bitcoin joke. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Pulling up to the valet in the Westin San Jose, coupled to the convention center hosting the conference, the smiles in the faces of the admiring young staff filled me with happiness. This is a car that brightens people’s days. It’s a rarer sight in comparison to the Mustang and Camaro, and better for this.
After meeting a few Silicon Valley developers in the registration line, among whom had all his savings dedicated to Bitcoin(! ), we shuffled in to the main hall to take inside the opening presentations. With the drinks flowing and the crowd buzzing, the Winklevoss twins took the stage as keynote speakers. As owners of ~1% of the current 11.3 million Bitcoins (there will only ever be 21 million), the brothers famous for their social media marketing vision were bullish on Bitcoin’s potential. Their most memorable quote, borrowed from Mahatma Ghandi and repeated countless times throughout the weekend, was:
First they ignore you, they laugh to you, then they fight you, then you certainly win.
And where about this continuum is Bitcoin today? Transitioning from the first phase to the second, I expect. The fight is some ways away.
Pursuing the Winklevii talk were two and a half days ofconnecting and sharing, and dreaming of a greater world. Although I lacked the technical acumen of many attendees, I felt extremely at home with all the culture. Unexpectedly so. But any group that can quote St. Thomas Aquinas, Marcus Arelius, and Aristotle in a single meal is difficult for me to never love.
Another unexpected realization stemming in the conference was just how undeveloped and open the area is. Bitcoin is still geeky, confusing, and largely unknown to the mainstream, much like Twitter was once i started making use of it in January 2009.
Today, of course, Twitter is everywhere. You can’t watch the news anchor on television or get a hotdog in a mobile cart without seeing an @ symbol and “follow us” encouragement. Twitter has taken 4.5 years to evolve from something that only social media mavens used into the social media goliath it is today. Bitcoin, leveraging always-at-hand smartphones and even higher SM adoption, as well as an incented global community of innovators, will see widespread adoption more rapidly than any technological revolution ever has.
Early Monday morning, I said goodbye to my Argentine roommate and sleepily checked out of our own room. I drifted back onto the Interstate with the sunrise and floated to SFO on a cloud of exhaustion and exhaust. I’d slept lower than 10 hours in 3 nights and the Challenger’s wide seats practically whispered if you ask me. 40’s on 4 gently pulsed through the sublime Harman Kardon speakers.
Back in the airport, I relinquished the 392’s keys once more. Not for the last time, I hoped.
Much like Bitcoin, the SRT8 392 doesn’t make a great deal of sense up until you use it. Once you try either, you’ll notice that they’re both faster, more pleasurable, and just plain better than what you’re utilized to.
That’s the secrets. That’s the revolution.
P.S. While a Challenger SRT8 would cost ~450 Bitcoins today, used ones will depreciate while Bitcoin continues to increase in value. I’d happily pick one up for .5 Bitcoins within a couple years… Then they laugh, even though i’m not prepared to buy one yet!
P.P.P.S. If you’re in the Edmonton area, join our (very casual) bi-weekly Meet-Up group to obtain connected with local Bitcoiners.