Much thanks to Mayor Francis Suarez, Miami has become a hub for the crypto community according to Brock Pierce who credits it to Florida’s good weather and low taxes.
It’s no surprise that the city hosted the world’s largest bitcoin conference that attracted 30,000 to 50,000 visitors at the Miami Beach Convention Center this past week.
With almost 50k visitors, there was a lot of engagement at the convention on South Beach, so 360 spoke with the Head of Developer Relations at MobileCoin, Collin Lowenberg to get the inside scoop on what we missed.
Q: Collin, what was the most exciting thing to happen at the conference?
A: Peter Thiel said Bitcoin will go up 100x, the government will never be in control and banks are swiftly going bankrupt. Thiel even tossed a bunch of $100 bills into the crowd. Don’t forget he was a White House advisor and is the largest shareholder in Palantir.
Q: Do you agree with him?
A: No, I think his anti-bank anti-traditional banking anarchist thing is off balance. Chill out bro.
Q: What else happened at the conference?
A: Everything that happened around the conference was more interesting than inside the conference. I didn’t really need a badge or ticket to attend the event, it just wasn’t worth it. All the major players had their own events. Ledger, SFOX, Monero, Crypto week was bigger than just Bitcoin Miami. There were several side conferences including Shitcoin conference, kadena conference.
Speaking of the other conferences, we spoke with Mack Rivkin, Co-Founder and CBDO of Flake DAO about Miami NFT and how he got into the space.
Q: How did you get into NFTs?
A: I got into NFTs for the first time this year when I was asked to collaborate with my comrade Mike Brooks with his business, Flake DAO, we have been working on that since the beginning of the year. Since then, I have been collecting a lot. And I’ve been running a company that is helping artists. Prior to that I’ve been in the web3 space as an investor since 2016.
Q: Prior to Web3, what is your background?
A: My day job is in the marketing field, more specifically growth and performance marketing working for pikeman and Cheesecake Factory, tech startups, freelance and consultation. My background, though, is in theater. I have been running a lot of underground events, like warehouse parties, popups, fundraisers and festivals. A lot the work transpired through my burning man crew, especially with the web3 space. I got into web3 events through [my friend] Shannon O’Donnell who needed help with her event at ETH Denver and we’ve pulled off some pretty cool activations since.
Q: You said you spoke on a panel at NFT Miami?
A: The panel was called Just DAO it. It was a panel of people of varying levels of perspectives and experience regarding DAOs. My partner Mike Brooks and I were on this panel with 3 others, not including the moderator. We were interviewed by a woman from Tron Network. We talked about who we are and our relationship to DAOs.
Q: Where are DAO’s heading?
A: I don’t know. DAO’s heading, in my opinion, are highly idealistic. It’s a system of governance, idealistic like true decentralization. It’s arguable as to whether or not if we’ll ever have a process that is truly decentralized, as long as humans are involved, because humans by nature are imperfect. We are not robots. But what we can do is leverage a lot of new technologies like Discord for bringing people together from all around the world. Organizing the space into rooms where people can have varied discussions by people or bots.
Speaking of bots, there are so many ways that bots can be used to automate these communities. Bots can be used to automate the DAOs and voting. When DAOs are first being formed it recovers a lot of oversight. Its highly centralized. The goal down the road is to build something highly decentralized. Movement DAO is one of the strongest corporations that I’ve seen in terms of how they run. They’ve got a lot of amazing systems in place, and they figured out a way to prioritize decentralization. But honestly, 99% of DAOs is so far off from the ideal and that includes ours. One think that is important to keep in mind is nothing is going to be perfect right away.
Q: Were you able to attend any exhibits?
A: I hit up every vendor booth I could. The conference hall wasn’t that large. In terms of panelists I saw Eric Lapoglia, he’s the one who put everything together, and Mark Cuban.
Q: Did Mark Cuban speak on anything specific?
A: I left midway through his talk because I was not impressed. He was one of the headliners. Web3 is a revolution. That’s my belief and why I’m so excited to be in the space. I believe so strongly in decentralization because our systems, our financial system specifically, is not working for us, I mean the majority of us. The wealth gap is widening every year and it’s sickening we are losing power everyday.
Regarding Mark Cuban, I didn’t know a ton about him outside of shark tank. I have a lot of respect for the guy, and I appreciate when public figures vouch so heavily for web3, it brings a lot of necessary momentum for web3. But, I think the reason he is involved is to make himself wealtheir. I got that impression because the topic he was giving wasn’t about providing value to the people, it was about promoting his new app. So, putting more money in his pocket. And there’s a reason he got to where he is. He’s a salesman. No judgment, but not my vibe. It’s not why I’m in the space.
It’s not just a criticism with him, but a lot of folks in the space. A lot of people are in crypto and in NFTs because they want to get rich. There’s nothing wrong with that, but a lot of times people don’t understand the importance of what’s happening here. We have the tools to revolutionize how we operate in terms of how we operate, like global trade, and politics and put more power in the hands of people like you and me. It’s not a get rich scheme. Outsiders feel like it’s a pyramid scheme. It’s because of the people who shout the loudest are doing that. But for me it is about community and redefining our place in the world.
Q: Are you hopeful that these tools will be used to revolutionize the system?
A: I have a very strong point of view. I have two options, I have a strong point of view and either A) I can try as hard as I can to be a part of the movement and educate people on my point of view and why I think this is so important to get involved in and find the people I am aligned with and gather that momentum and I could be part of that or B) I could sit idly by and let things ride its course. Right now, I am taking path A. I do have hope and see that things are moving in a positive direction.
Just in the past 5 years headlines regarding crypto and NFTs are gaining a lot of attention. The government is now talking about things like this, talking about bitcoins and Ethereum. We have a country, El Salvador, is building a city built entirely on bitcoin. We are heading in a direction. The world is not black or white. It’s not a bad direction, but it’s a direction. I have my beliefs, but they are my beliefs. I am a cis white American man and that impacts my experience in the space. Bridging gaps is always something I have been very passionate about. I’m trying to create systems that are accessible and equitable for everyone. My focus right now is artists. I’ve been focused on creating opportunities for artists for a long time.
After talking with both Collin and Mack, it seems as though there is a stark difference between the conference and those throwing their own surrounding events. Those who want to uphold the status quo and those who want to dismantle it with a crypto revolution. Which side are you on?
Article by: Bee Davies