Minutes of BitcoinIreland meeting held 28 Jul 2014 6.30pm at Oil Can Harries pub, Dublin.
- Tim Callagy (Chair)
- Martin Codyre
- Peter Doherty
- Mado Doherty
- Ronan Lynch
- Fergal Murray
- Paul Williams
1. BitFin Conference, 3-4 July 2014 in the RDS
Fergal gave a summary of the conference. The idea of the conference wasn’t to make money, it was to put us on the map and bring the international Bitcoin network to Ireland. In that sense, it was a success, with everybody making some great contacts. The opportunity for networking was also highly praised in the very positive feedback from the conference attendees. A lot of people said that next time we should do it in London, as it would attract a much larger crowd.
Some lessons learned: Fergal didn’t want action items falling through the net so took on a lot himself. However, next time he would seek to have more organisers and would delegate responsibility. He was happy with the speakers but it was very time consuming organizing them all. There was also a ton of sales and marketing work for ticket sales, so he would start these activities (organizing speakers, sales and marketing) much earlier. He would also pick different dates next time, as the conference coincided with 4 July holidays in US, and with the World Cup. It would make sense to do a double whammy with some other event such as the London Coin Summit.
- Fergal will write up a summary of the conference for the web page.
- We should take advantage of the momentum from the conference to organize other technical, social and educational events.
- It could be a good idea to set up an Association for Bitcoin Businesses, as they have done in the UK.
- It is also worth watching the progress of the legal discussions going on in the UK (which have been going very well apparently), as they may be relevant to Ireland as well.
2. Hackathon, 5-6 July 2014 in the Liffey Trust Centre
Paul gave a summary of the hackathon. We managed to attract a high calibre of participants and some interesting projects came out of it. It would have been nicer to have more participants though. Lots of developers expressed an interest, but couldn’t make it due to holidays. One or two more high profile developers would have made a difference. The venue was excellent and would be good for future hackathons, especially considering the difficulty we had in nailing down a venue initially. Realex stepped up again to provide sponsorship, and Moolah also got involved as a sponsor. The hackathon showed that there are a bunch of people who want to learn from each other.
- Paul will write up a summary of the hackathon for the web page.
- We will think about a format for a technical meetup going forward. One possibility would be for one or two people to give a talk on what they’re working on. Another would be a workshop style meetup. Maybe alternating the two formats would also work.
3. Promotion of Bitcoin Ireland
The Bitcoin Ireland group easily has the largest concentration of bitcoin expertise in Ireland. However, when you google “Bitcoin Ireland”, the bitcoinireland.org website only reaches half way up the second page of results, behind a large number of duplicate and irrelevant sites. So why aren’t we getting the word out about the Bitcoin Ireland?
Everyone agreed that it takes time and concerted effort to get the word out, to build up followers on social networks, and to build a mailing list. You have to make it easy for interested parties to follow or join our mailing list and social media groups. Instead, we make it hard.
Everyone agreed that we need a media officer to act as a single point of contact for the group. However, all the attendees refused to volunteer for this role. This exposed a likely major cause of Bitcoin Ireland’s lack of momentum on this front – none of us has an economic incentive to promote Bitcoin Ireland, whereas other groups with a strong online presence do have such an incentive. On the other hand, we do have personal incentives to organise meetups and events, as we all gain from the social and technical exchange. We should take this fact into account when setting the goals of the group.
4. Future events
Everybody agreed that there is a need for regular, quality meetups. However, the problem with meetups is that you need commitment and financial sponsors. Circle or Realex might be interested in providing that sponsorship. A fixed location would also be a big advantage. Wayra was a great (and free) location, but likely won’t accommodate regular events. TCube was also good but costs E150 per night. Doing meetups more often than once per month may be too often. Having a technical meetup, topical meetup and beginner’s meetup could work.
We do want to help new people understand and safely use bitcoin and so we should structure something for beginners. However, maybe this is better done through online materials instead of meetups. It might make more sense to dedicate our time to educating merchants and supporting Bitcoin startups instead of educating beginners.
- Approach Realex / Circle for meetup sponsorship.
- Organize regular meetup events in a fixed location (although not yet clear what the format will be).