all the fervor of enthusiasts after the pandemic

Bloomberg — A throbbing rhythm was one of the constants of the Bitcoin 2022 conference held this week in Miami. That along with unlimited parties and testimonials about the powers of cryptocurrency that change lives.

madness to extravagance to celebrate and applaud the original digital asset. So many parties were organized that an Excel was distributed with the list of many of the evenings so that the attendees could plan them.

At the conference itself, companies displaying their wares amidst a sea of ​​exhibits were surrounded by physical manifestations of the enthusiasm for the crypto universeliterally. A giant moon hung over space to remind everyone of the heights to which they aspired. And as if that were not enough, a huge Mars hung above. The message is that you have to aim for the Moon, because the opportunities are limitless.

Crypto dignitaries including Michael Novogratz and Peter Thiehim, were gathered in panels in colossal rooms that were powered by fog machines and dance music. Purple and green lasers skittered across the ground. A special section was reserved for the so-called “whales”, that is, the VIPs who sat on chairs and sofas supported by elevators, levitating above the crowd.

“This is total insanity,” said Marc LoPresti, managing director of The Strategic Funds. “The who’s who of the blockchain industry is here. He is almost the greatest.”

In the years since the outbreak of Covid, the cryptocurrency industry has exploded: companies have sprouted and grown and there is more money than ever in the projects. Bitcoin has multiplied by more than four since before the pandemic, although it is down almost 40% since reaching its all-time high in November.

This year is the first since the pandemic began that many who have been part of the growth process are able to get together, and their zeal has spread throughout the conference, said Ophelia Snyder, co-founder and president of ETF issuer 21Shares.

“The industry is still in a phase where we can’t believe it,” Snyder said. 21Shares has grown its headcount from 25 to 150 during this period and assets under management have soared to $2.5 billion from $25 million, Snyder said.

Getting around the convention required dexterity: You had to dodge the crowds and models handing out crypto company-branded sunglasses. It was also easy to get distracted by the giant monitor that automatically put laser eyes at everyone who passed by.

The exhibition floor, meanwhile, was buzzing with the atmosphere of an amusement park. A sea of ​​company booths surrounded the perimeter, a cryptocurrency museum exhibited works of artvendors selling homemade goods, including Bitcoin logo artwork, stood in one corner. A 40-foot volcano greeted visitors as they entered, a colossal monument to El Salvador’s so-called Bitcoin bonus.

“It’s electric, there’s a lot of energy. You work in the trenches every day and then you come here and see what is really happening,” said Bobby Zagotta, CEO of Bitstamp USA. “If you didn’t believe before, you come here and become a believer.”

That’s the kind of fervor the attendees brought: a love for Bitcoin that borders on religiosity. The crypto space has a rabid fan base, a cohort of true believers who see Bitcoin as balm for the world’s biggest problems. It is a move or die group, whose proverbs include “Bitcoin is life” and “Bitcoin is the future”. Their preachers were there, on the stages, in the break rooms, at the after parties.

“There is a belief system called Bitcoin maximalism and it is a bit religious,” said Peter Smith, CEO of Blockchain.com, noting that he did not consider himself one of them. “You definitely see a lot of Bitcoin maximalist speakers on stage and they are there to preach the gospel. It’s super intense.”

At the convention, what caught the eye was a montage of the Bullish cryptocurrency exchange in the middle of the exhibition center: a mechanical bull, dressed in a spotted calfskin, turning jerkily from left to right. The bull itself was another demonstration of the spirit: the future is bright. Anyone could ride it, but whoever lasted the longest won the ultimate prize: a single Bitcoin.

“This is crypto, we’re in Bitcoin Miami – it’s all about attention,” said Chris Briseno, head of marketing at Bullish and the man behind the montage. “The sky is the limit. There are no limits here.”

Miami seeks to transform itself into a crypto hub. The city’s mayor, Francis Suarez, who is paid in Bitcoin, has fully embraced digital assets and all their tentacles, hoping that Florida’s balmy weather will continue to attract entrepreneurs.”

Those who collected on Friday afternoon were already looking forward to next year’s meeting. Some expect it to be bigger and brighter. In any case, “the toothpaste is out of the tube: It’s here,” said Bruce Fenton, a bitcoin advocate running for a New Hampshire Senate seat. “You can’t uninvent bitcoin.”

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