Cryptocurrencies

I have attended over a dozen conferences in 2023 and at least 15 in

I attended more than a dozen conferences in 2023 and at least 15 in 2022. I hosted many of these events as a garishly dressed presenter, moderating panels, and doing my best to hide my strong bias towards Bitcoin (BTC). I also organized quizzes, game shows and talks to motivate the audience and get them to think a little differently.

So I know a little bit about conferences, networking events and how to attract and engage an audience.

When I look at these moments, from the World Economic Forum in Davos to El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin to the Lisbon Web Summit to AfroBitcoin in Ghana, there is not a single event that can compare at the Oslo Freedom Forum, which I previously attended. June of this year.

From Oslo to the world

Located in Norway’s laid-back and sophisticated capital, the Oslo Freedom Forum is an intellectual scene. You walk into an Oslo concert hall at 10 a.m., bleary-eyed and foggy after interacting with freedom fighters and bitcoin holders for small but alarming hours. Then, from your chair, you travel across the planet, delving deeper and deeper into human experiences.

about: Brian Armstrong promised me $100 in Bitcoin – where are they?

Nowhere in the universe will you find a more interesting, inspiring or energetic group of individuals. Activists and artists from around the world take the stage to practice and promote freedom of expression. The combination of these minds and the collision of ideas and visitors creates an energy unlike any other in my life.

From Rwanda to Palestine, from Uganda to Ukraine, you are moved, moved to tears, silenced and angry. You find yourself laughing at deadpan jokes. Your mind clouds when you think of Iranians deprived of their freedom to sing in their home country – while an Iranian opera singer excites an audience in Norway, thousands of miles away. On a personal level, I was blown away by the professionalism put into producing such an engaging and polished show.

Satoshi would be proud

The divisive conversations arising from the series range from trans debates and genital mutilation to war, famine and heroism. I tried my best to answer your questions about Bitcoin: “What is Bitcoin CoinJoin?” Is it really private? I was interviewed by a member of the Hong Kong team fighting to free an activist from prison.

While the third day of the conference was largely focused on Bitcoin and tools for financial freedom, Bitcoin advocates, including Lynn Alden, also took the main stage to discuss NOSTR, algorithms, and control. Bitcoin wasn’t the focus of the event, although Twitter founder Jack Dorsey did well to remind us of the protocol’s importance, wearing his Satoshi/Nirvana branded t-shirt on the main stage .

Jack Dorsey and Lynn Alden discuss Nostr and Bitcoin at the conference Oslo Freedom Forum. Source: YouTube screenshot

These thoughts and discussions kept me going late into the night. In fact, my sleep tracker tells me that I sleep an average of 5 hours a night in Norway – mostly light and rarely deep. Unfortunately, this deprivation cannot be blamed on Norway’s unusually vibrant nightlife which transformed the city during the forum.

In fact, the experiences one can have outside of the theater are unique and countless.

I took a selfie with a legendary Colombian musician before dancing to his songs in the lobby of what looked like a library. The space was immediately filled with amazed Latino and Northern European fans.

Related: The threat to freedom posed by central bank digital currencies came under scrutiny at the Oslo conference.

I accidentally urinated next to a prolific, exiled Indian journalist, had a pleasant conversation, and learned – visually – how the world’s biggest brands and governments launder money.

I shook Jack Dorsey’s hand for the first time and decided to take the photo. I invited him to surf with me on the biggest waves in the world – Nazareth – in Portugal. (That’s a “no” – at least for now.)

I also enjoyed a sauna and fjord experience with two legendary pseudonymous Bitcoin advocates, as well as many other enriching experiences that should not be shared publicly.

Professionally, I have Bitcoin leads coming out of my ear. As a Bitcoin journalist, I am very excited to publish more Bitcoin documentaries and news about real-world freedom technologies. My next stop is Ukraine, Bolivia and Venezuela. There are so many untold stories of struggle, survival, financial freedom and joy – so much joy.

Fight fear with joy

As Thor Halvorsen, CEO of the Oslo Freedom Forum, described it in his opening speech, the event is not a “Pain Olympics.” We can find joy and laughter in the darkness. And we must do it.

Paco de la India at the Oslo Freedom Forum. Source: Joe Hall

I met Thor briefly at the afterparty and tried to describe how amazing the space was. “It’s like a TED talk on steroids,” I tried to explain. I worked at TED in 2015 as a masters student at the University of Edinburgh, so I’m familiar with their formula – but it’s an unfair comparison. Comparing it to TED only scratches the surface of the depth and emotional range on display on the forum.

However, despite Thor’s optimism, there is a recurring theme in the event that led me to the same conclusion and question: The world is completely damned. We have a lot to do. How can I do more?

Yes, the event is incredible and unique. Yes, it’s a call for freedom, perseverance, and human effort, but it’s also a frank admission that humans have been tearing each other apart for thousands of years.

When Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of what became known as Hotel Rwanda, confronted the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi, he armed himself with words, saying: “The best weapon is my word.” »

Faisal Al Matar echoed this sentiment: in the ashes of the Iraqi civil war, his lectures and works have touched millions of listeners, from Afghanistan to Morocco. The activist and businessman comes to plant his words, his speech to fight tyranny.

Out of bounds ideas President Faisal Al-Matar at the Oslo Freedom Forum. Source: Joe Hall

If we want to change the course of the world and improve it, we must meet it with our words and our rhetoric – but also with joy, resilience and humanity. Fortunately, this is available for download on the forum.

Compared to the largest Bitcoin conference in Europe – BTC Prague – I am of course obliged to say that the forum is not a Bitcoin conference. But if I were to attend just one event on the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency calendar next year, it wouldn’t be a Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, or fintech conference. This will be the Oslo Freedom Forum.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

Joe Hull He is an independent journalist and filmmaker who travels the world documenting Bitcoin communities and sharing stories of Bitcoin adoption. A former correspondent for Cointelegraph, he holds a master’s degree in French and Spanish from the University of Edinburgh and a degree in languages ​​from Sciences Po Lyon.

This article is intended for general information purposes and is not intended and should not be relied upon as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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