After a welcoming dinner last night, the secretive event ‘Satoshi Roundtable’ kicked off this morning, sources tell the Bitcoin.com News team. The meeting represents a controversial two-day private affair featuring Bitcoin community members invited by ‘Blockchain Economic Advisor’ Bruce Fenton, who has shrouded the event in mystery.
“All bags with Satoshi Roundtable paperwork were rerouted and held in another city in America for 24 hours before release. Coincidence?” tweeted the Roundtable founder Mr. Fenton after the 2015 event, for instance. Perpetuating the notion that documents from the 1st annual Satoshi Roundtable were inspected by federal authorities certainly adds an air of importance to an event some of the biggest names in the Bitcoin industry have attended.
Chatham House Rules
According to Satoshi Roundtable’s official website, Tally Capital Andrew Flipowski, Decentral founder Anthony Di Lorio, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver and a litany of others have received invites over the meeting’s three-year history.
Discussion at Satoshi Roundtable abides by the courtly “Chatham House Rule,” wherein “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.” Chatham House originated among UK statesmen in the early-to-mid twentieth century.
Crashing Satoshi Roundtable
Chris Derose and Joshua Unseth, Bitcoin Uncensored hosts, crashed Satoshi Roundtable 2016. They “were made aware of the event by nearly 10% of those in attendance,” wrote Mr. Unseth on his blog. “Through various channels, seven or so people told us where the event was and asked us to please come.”
Mr. Unseth, who attended the Roundtable wearing a sombrero and poncho, noted: “[T]o be honest, the Satoshi Roundtable isn’t far from a parody of itself.”
He calls the meeting “contrived exclusivity”, and reports of a “strong contingent of those in attendance who were livid” at the podcasters appearance and plans. This includes Mr. Fenton, who suggested attendees decline BU interviews and tried to remove Mr. Derose and Mr. Unseth.
“[Satoshi Roundtable 2016] was the Bruce Fenton experience, whereby Mr. Fenton attempted to create an air of access that he was facilitating that wasn’t accessible to others,” recalls Mr. Derose to Bitcoin.com. “He invites scammers, and people with nothing to contribute to Bitcoin, and many of whom are in some ways financially eviscerating digital currency newcomers.”
Executives Weigh In
In a less critical review of Satoshi Roundtable 2016, which competes with the self-proclaimed ‘Bitcoin Illuminati’ who meet on Richard Branson’s Necker Island each year, Bitpay CEO Stephen Pair tweeted: “…the#SatoshiRoundtable was a very productive waste of time … @brucefenton deserves a lot of credit for organizing it”.
He expounded on Medium, where he thanked Mr. Fenton for organizing the event. Much discussion at Satoshi Roundtable 2016 dealt with the Bitcoin block size debate, he writes.
“The most important thing I learned at the event was that a lot of people care a lot about Bitcoin and these people are what make Bitcoin work, not lines of code or software”, Mr. Pair wrote.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong posted on the Coinbase Blog about his Satoshi Roundtable 2016 experience. “A number of meetings took place between core developers, miners, and CEOs of Bitcoin companies,” the CEO of the San Francisco-based bitcoin exchange wrote.
Mr. Armstrong relates a revelation he had while at the event: “…the systemic risk to Bitcoin if Bitcoin Core was the only team working on Bitcoin…The core team contains some very high IQ people, but there are some things which I find very concerning about them as a team after spending some time with them last weekend… Some of them show very poor communication skills or a lack of maturity — this has hurt bitcoin’s ability to bring new protocol developers into the space… They prefer ‘perfect’ solutions to ‘good enough’.”
Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen shared his thoughts on Satoshi Roundtable, recalling key moments.
“Everybody was asked if they supported the ‘Hong Kong compromise‘ from the week before (segregated witness in April, then code for a 2MB hard fork in July of 2016 with a minimum of a year before 2MB blocks are allowed),” Mr Andresen recalls. “‘Everybody who support that, raise your hand’: a dozen or so people, most of whom were part of that Hong Kong meeting, raise their hands. ‘Everybody who does not support that, raise your hand’: everybody else (forty? fifty people?) raised their hands.”
Jeff Garzik, Bitcoin developer and CEO of Bloq.com, was invited to a previous edition of Satoshi Roundtable but canceled due to illness. He believes such meetings can prove useful.
“Taking from the Linux days, private meetings can be productive, but participants need to commit to a culture of transparency,” he told Bitcoin.com. “‘Chatham house rules’ seem to be a good compromise.”
He adds: “Private meetings sometimes move specific issues forward, but ultimately it comes to a public forum for a decision.”
Do you think such exclusivity is good for the Bitcoin economy? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Images via Medium, the previous Satoshi Roundtables, Shutterstock and Pixabay.