This will be the last post for my series on Bitcoin. Check out my Pundit Blog if you're just joining in and want to read from the beginning. But before I close out my final thoughts on the conference and Bitcoin as a whole, there were two other projects I didn't get to talk about that seem worthy of a mention.
The first is the eCardOne Bitcoin Debit card. The debit card allows users to spend Bitcoin as either Dollars or Euros for point-of-sale transactions; it actually functions the same way as other setups do with gold, where the underlying funds are held in escrow and at the time of purchase the appropriate amount is debited at the prevailing rate-it's really just piggy-backing Bitcoin on the current system, but it's still an interesting idea.
Dark pool trading by Tradehill was the other neat product. Tradehill is one of Bitcoin's premier exchanges, the first in the U.S. if I remember correctly, and they cater exclusively to professional traders and large institutions wanting to work with Bitcoin.
Dark pool trading allows large scale buying or selling of Bitcoins to take place without having to put a million dollar order out in public view on the normal exchange-the problem being such a big order can cause price swings that would hit before an investor could even fill his or her orders. All in all, a neat idea that helps ease some of Bitcoin's growing pains.
As far as the conference itself, I have to tip my hat to the Bitcoin Foundation, especially Lindsay Holland who personally organized the event. She deserves special credit as the entire weekend seemed to go off without a hitch.
I was also impressed by the community as a whole. There were a number of different backgrounds and interests represented at the conference. Coders working on updates, miners and hardware aficionados, business owners accepting Bitcoin, startups working on building financial infrastructure, venture capitalists looking to get in on the ground floor, and innumerable others I don't have space to name were all in attendance.
I think the success Bitcoin has enjoyed thus far and however much it enjoys in the future will have to do with the diversity of its community; the kind of diversity of thought the Bitcoin crowd brings to the table means problems get attacked from every conceivable direction. Intellectual monoculture has killed a lot of organizations in the past, but Bitcoin's supporters exist in an open community which I believe bodes well for its ability to meet new challenges as they come.