Out of general curiosity, I started following Bitcoin in 2012 but it didn’t really hit me as being real until I bought a coffee at Waves on Howe St. The woman at the counter handed me my coffee and I thought to myself, wow – this is really going to happen! It was the beginning of a long journey into cryptography, digital currency and global finance that has changed the way I look at our world and hopefully shape my future career.

Since this happened, I’ve been trying to get friends and family to understand why I’m so excited about the potential of Bitcoin, but it’s really hard to do in abstraction. Like myself, the only effective way has been to actually convince someone to “use” Bitcoin as I did. It is with this realization that I’ve decided to try and integrate the Bitcoin experience into Startup Week.

 

Why should I care if people use Bitcoin? Adoption drives Acceptance

Bitcoin is still very young. The technology is only 5 years old, and it’s utility has reached only a fraction of it’s potential. Due to it’s spectacular rise in price last November it hit the mainstream media and since then, the general developed-world population has heard about it. Unfortunately, Bitcoin is often mentioned alongside Silk Road, Anti-money laundering policy and financial reform legislation like BitLicence. We’re trying to fix an ecosystem that hasn’t yet been explored or adopted and so many decisions will be made without actually understanding how impactful this new technology could be.

Simply put, the more people that use Bitcoin, the more people will understand it and support it’s evolution. See my previous post 4 Reasons you should try Bitcoin.

 

We’re going to give everyone free Bitcoin and incentivize them to use it

Every Startup Weekend Vancouver attendee is given the option to receive $5 in Bitcoin after registration and I’m hoping we’ll have enough signups that we’ll be able to create a real Bitcoin experience during the event. This is hardly the primary aspect of Startup Weekend; more of a supplementary, as we can get people talking about Bitcoin before the event, and hopefully cultivate some Bitcoin or crypto-related ideas for the pitch competition.

 

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Here’s the plan:

1. Ask registered attendees to create a mobile Bitcoin wallet

2. Send each attendee with a wallet $5 in Bitcoin

3. Provide opportunities for attendees to purchase items or donate their Bitcoin

4. Award users of Bitcoin during the event with a chance to win all of the Bitcoin that was received from the aforementioned sales.

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Ask registered attendees to create a mobile Bitcoin wallet

Via email, we’re communicating with registered attendees and providing instructions on how to sign up for a wallet and send us their public key so funds can be transferred. I’ve included a recommendation to use Blockchain as the wallet-of-choice and instructions on how to use it. So far this has gone really well and there haven’t been any real challenges with setup (which is awesome!).

We’re also going to host an event at Decentral.Bangtown where attendees will be able to get help with wallet setup, ask questions and generally engage with the cryptocurrency community in Vancouver. Details are TBD.

 

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Send each attendee with a wallet $5 in Bitcoin

Since we’re not actually selling anything, this amount is arbitrary but had to be enough to pique user interest and also not drain our Bitcoin reserves. Thanks to the Vancouver Bitcoin community for providing the necessary funds!

 

Use Bitcoin, win Bitcoin!

This is still being hashed out, but will probably look something like this:

  • Beer tickets: Attendees will be able to ‘buy’ beer tickets for use at the event. Note, the beer is already free and a ticket will not be required for consumption. The only real incentive here is that, by using your coin, you’ll be entered into the Bitcoin contest:
  • Bitcoin Contest: Each registered wallet that shows any use during the event will be entered into a random draw for 50% of  the Bitcoin that we receive back during the event, from the beer “sales” above and any other option we provide.