Our frontline journalist Raptor recently had the fantastic opportunity to be part of a significant Bitcoin event. The setting? The bewitching city of Prague, playing host to a massive Bitcoin gathering from June 8-10. This conference saw a parade of notable speakers, big names in the business world, and a sea of Bitcoin enthusiasts from every corner of the globe. Now, let’s make it cozy! Grab a cold Czech beer, put your feet up, and let’s take a virtual stroll through the enchanting streets of Prague!

Why Prague?

You might wonder why this conference wasn’t in one of the more “touristy” European cities. While the Czech Republic might not be the first place you think of when it comes to Bitcoin, this small nation of just 10 million people has made a mighty contribution to the Bitcoin ecosystem.

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Prague can proudly claim many firsts in Bitcoin’s history - the creation of the first mining pool, the birthplace of the first hardware wallet - Trezor model One, and even the location of the first Bitcoin cafe, Paralelni Polis! If you dig into the past on Google reviews, you will come across ancient one-star ratings from customers irked by the absence of fiat payment options. Yes, indeed, Prague has a solid spot in the Bitcoin chronicles.

There are many more Bitcoin tales that Prague can tell, each one deserving its own spotlight. But one thing’s for sure - a trip to Prague will make you feel like you’ve stepped inside a living, breathing Bitcoin storybook.

A Big Shout Out to the Organizers

We can’t move on without giving a massive shout out to the conference organizers, especially Martin Kuchar, the co-founder of BTCPrague. His warm response to our request for a media pass, despite Bitcoin Herald being a bit of a newbie on Nostr at the time, was heartwarming. This sense of community and support is what makes the Bitcoin world go round!

Martin’s generosity meant we could avoid the hefty price tag of an industry pass and still be part of the action. We were absolutely thrilled when the media pass arrived, and we want to say a big THANK YOU to Martin and the entire BTCPrague team!

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If you want to join in the fun at the next conference, hop over to https://www.btcprague.com/ and grab your tickets now. Remember, the early bird catches the worm - or, in this case, the best-priced tickets!

The first bitcoin cafe - Paralelni Polis

Overall, our reporter was not impressed with this establishment. At the time of his visit, the cafe was preparing for the ETHPrague conference, which was taking place at the same time as BTCPrague. Shitcoin conference and a small exhibition in the cafe. Vitalik Buterin is crying on the sidelines.

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Because of the high concentration of shitcoiners per square foot of space, staying in the cafe itself wasn’t an option. But it would have been wrong to just leave, so Raptor bought a cup of coffee with lightning, before continuing his walk around Prague.

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Immersing in Bitcoin: BTC Prague

Once he stepped into the buzzing conference complex, it was like plunging headfirst into a fascinating Bitcoin wonderland. The vibe was electrifying, even though it was only the first day and many attendees were still trickling in.

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Raptor’s first port of call was a meet-up with a representative from Trezor, who filled us in on all the exciting developments. We must give a nod to Satoshilabs’ immense contribution to the conference, both historically and as the main sponsor of BTCPrague. Their prime spot in the heart of the exhibition hall was well-deserved!

The exhibition hall was a hive of activity, packed with companies showcasing an array of bitcoin products. It was a delight to see open-source projects like Alby and Mempool.space well-represented. We’re already familiar with Alby’s solutions, but Mempool’s new offering caught our attention.

Introducing Mempool.space

As the developers explained, Mempool.space is set to become a finished product but isn’t resting on its laurels. They are gearing up to launch a new service that works similarly to RBF. In short, users can request Mempool.space to help push a stuck transaction through the mempool. By communicating directly with mining pool operators, they can negotiate adding your transaction to the next block. Once confirmed, the corresponding amount of satoshis gets deducted from your account.

This service can prove invaluable, especially for those using wallets without a built-in RBF feature. It can simplify the process for less tech-savvy users.

Discovering Vexl

Vexl made quite a buzz at the conference.

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This peer-to-peer exchange app allows you to buy and sell pretty much anything by connecting with your contacts. Once installed, you can browse through various sell or buy orders, filter by your contacts, or your contacts’ contacts. The app aims to build a web of trust based on shared connections. However, if your contact list is small or none of your contacts are selling anything, the app’s utility is reduced.

Tropic Square’s New Development

Another intriguing product comes from Tropic Square, an arm of SatoshiLabs. They are currently developing a security chip for Trezor hardware wallets.

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What sets this chip apart is its open code, allowing everyone to verify its security. As pioneers in Bitcoin infrastructure, SatoshiLabs continues to innovate, and we eagerly await this new product.

The Main Stage

While the main stage is typically the conference’s highlight, it left us slightly underwhelmed. This does not imply it was bad, it rather was aimed at the newcomers, so the discussions felt somewhat basic for the more seasoned bitcoin enthusiasts. Even Michael Saylor, a crowd favorite, didn’t bring much novelty to the table.

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Compounding this was the poor acoustics, making comprehension from the last rows a challenging feat. On the bright side, all the main stage presentations were recorded, providing attendees with an opportunity to review them in a more comfortable environment.

The Secondary Stage

The secondary stage, however, was a hidden gem. Despite being less frequented, it hosted presentations more catered to advanced users, covering a range of topics from value-4-value and Nostr to Trezor and Jade. Raptor was particularly enthralled by the Vexl presentation, given its novelty within the Bitcoin ecosystem. Though Vexl has been operational in the Czech Republic and Slovakia since September 2022, its presentation at BTC Prague was its grand introduction to the international Bitcoin community.

Meeting Plebstr

In between exploring exhibits and workshops, we had some intriguing encounters. One such meeting was with Mates, the CEO of Plebstr.

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The revelation of imminent ads within the Plebstr app initially surprised us. However, these can be turned off via a paid subscription, or alternatively, users can stack sats by viewing them. Plebstr’s planned open-source app, which will allow signing Nostr events with private keys without exposing them, further piqued our interest. We wish the Plebstr team the best and eagerly anticipate their upcoming solutions.

Mining on the Go

The conference also introduced us to a unique mobile mining rig, a cool accessory though not a profitable one.

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Thanks to its owner, we got a chance to mine on the go and snap a memorable photo.

Catching Up with HODL HODL and the Baltic Honeybadger

Ann from Hodl Hodl kindly shared some exciting updates, including upcoming Lightning support, a feature that promises to be unlike anything else in the market.

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She also provided insights into the Baltic Honeybadger conference, promising a more in-depth exploration of Bitcoin for advanced users, piquing our interest for future attendance.

Bleskomat: Fiat to Bitcoin in Seconds

Bleskomat offered an intriguing experience - an ATM that converts fiat to Bitcoin lightning-fast, without a need for an internet connection.

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Our correspondent tested it out, and the transformation of Czech crowns into sats was impressively swift. We wish such machines were installed in every local shop. They are certainly much more privacy oriented and feel very cypherpunkish and cool.

Exploring BTC Map

Our conference experience concluded with a chat with Nathan Day, the developer of BTC Map. Nathan’s Bitcoin journey began just two years ago, but his Bitcoin map project is already leading the pack.

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His goal is to connect new businesses to his platform, making it easier for users to find places accepting Bitcoin. Keep an eye on BTC Map, as it promises to grow significantly in the coming years.

Hall of Fame

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Knut Svanholm

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Saifedean Ammous

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Michael Saylor

Is BTCPrague Worth Visiting Next Year?

Absolutely! Prague, in its beauty and historical grandeur, is a fantastic place to visit - not just for Bitcoin enthusiasts but for anyone seeking an enriching experience. Arriving a few days before the conference and taking the time to explore the city will undoubtedly make your trip exceptionally eventful.

The conference itself offers a myriad of opportunities. You’ll have the chance to experience new products firsthand, listen to thought-provoking speakers, and even buy a beer with sats. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect is the potential to forge new connections. Who knows, a few years down the line, we might be reaching out to you for an interview!

So, set your sights on Prague for next year’s conference. It’s an opportunity not to be missed.