Bitcoin.com Gets Real Digital Currency Debate Going–With a Big Bang

Bitcoin may still be geeky with its online forums and chat groups, but it needs a place where the people who define the industry can talk like adults. Roger Ver’s Bitcoin.com is trying to be that place.

Like many other technology movements destined to have a major impact on world history, bitcoin had humble beginnings. It came from home offices like Hal Finney and Gavin Andresen’s, from old cypherpunk mailing lists… and whatever mad scientist lab Satoshi Nakamoto worked from.

As you probably know, even giants like HP and Apple started in garages; got talked about in hobbyist groups like the Homebrew Computer Club.

In fact, you could say bitcoin is still at that hobbyist stage — even major players in the bitcoin industry are tinkering and trying to understand exactly what they’ve got on their hands. The world has never seen anything quite like it before, and so needs visionaries to figure it out for them.

So?

My point here is that online forums and discussion groups are still indispensable. It’s a global movement being built by geeks and entrepreneurs. They’re rarely all in the same place. Local meetups and conferences are great, but can also be silos. We still need virtual spaces where reprsentatives from all around the world can speak freely about their needs and plans. And more importantly, debate and argue when those plans clash.

To this end, the industry has relied on groups like Reddit’s bitcoin sections and the venerable BitcoinTalk forum. Often mocked as online peanut galleries, they’re also places where important people hang out to discuss serious topics concerning business and technical development.

It’s important to hear everything

When I say ‘debate and argue’, many bitcoiners probably know where I’m heading. Only through free speech and open debate do rational outcomes emerge. Unfortunately, as happens in politics and academia, some get tired of arguing and

The Bitcoin subreddit has already prohibited all discussion of BitcoinXT, the proposed fork that would allow larger transaction block sizes. Why? Is it a bad idea? Well, how is anyone supposed to know unless its merits and shortcomings are discussed openly?

Are bodies like the Bitcoin Foundation, Coin Center, the Chamber of Digital Commerce and the new Blockchain Alliance serving bitcoin’s interests well, or not? What exactly are they all doing? The only way you’ll find out is by hearing everyone’s opinion.

We don’t need gatekeepers controlling what vital information about bitcoin we get to read and what we can’t. That’s exactly what the mainstream media does with the news, and look at the mess it’s got us in.

Bitcoin gurus like Andreas Antonopoulos have expressed their frustration with ‘traditional’ bitcoin discussion channels in recent months, preferring neutral territory like Twitter. And that’s fine, but social media can have a poor signal-to-noise ratio.

A new public square

So at the very least, we need dedicated places for bitcoin discussion and they need to be vibrant. Enter ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ Roger Ver and his latest baby, Bitcoin.com.

You probably didn’t know the Bitcoin.com site existed — and until quite recently, it didn’t. Like bitcoin itself, it exists and seems significant, but many have struggled to find the best use for it.

So Ver and his team decided it’d make a great town square for bitcoin, if other places weren’t doing it right. The new Bitcoin.com forums are now live — and come a name that’s far easier for newcomers to stumble upon.

The mother of all Bitcoin AMAs

It seems others have noticed and want to get things moving. In November, Bitcoin.com is hosting a virtual Woodstock of digital currency, with a huge lineup of industry stars getting online to answer questions from all.

40 of them will be taking questions for two weeks from 2nd-18th November, with three new ‘ask-me-anything’ sessions starting every day.

Participants can talk to Andreas Antonopoulos himself, and power CEOs like Wences Casares, Jeremy Allaire, Barry Silbert and Patrick Byrne. They can hear the latest on the technical side with developers Gavin Andresen, Mike Hearn and Jeff Garzik — who now don’t have anything to hold them back.

There’ll be Bobby and Charlie Lee, Brock Pierce, Erik Voorhees, Pantera Capital’s Dan Moorhead, Kraken’s Jesse Powell and Blockchain.info’s Nic Carey. They’re all eager to talk about what they’re doing to take bitcoin to the next level.

Maybe you’ll like what they have to say. Maybe you won’t. Everyone’s got a different vision for bitcoin. The important thing is to listen to all of them, get ideas, be inspired, get angry, whatever.

The full lineup is here. If you’re interested in where bitcoin is going (and you probably are if you’ve read this far) then I recommend you join in — for your own enrichment, and for the sake of healthy debate.

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