Bitcoin (BTC) popularised the time period blockchain. Blockchains, or “decentralized and distributed digital ledgers used to file transactions throughout a community of computer systems,” have been round for over thirty years, the family title for a blockchain is Bitcoin. 

That’s even if the Genesis block was mined properly over 14 years in the past when George W. Bush was president and “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas topped the charts–Bitcoin continues to be high of the blocks.


It’s to be anticipated, then, that the majority blockchain advocates would have used, understood or a the very least experimented with Bitcoin.

Nope. Not so.

Talking with Victoria Gago, co-founder of the European Blockchain Convention. Supply: José Val Bal

Right here’s an instance. Whereas MC’ing on the European Blockchain Conference in February, I requested the viewers for a present of arms. I inquired of the circa 250 blockchain believers sitting in entrance of me:

“Who right here has used Bitcoin?”

Perhaps 20 viewers arms shot up. “Okay. Maintain your hand up for those who’ve used Bitcoin’s Lightning Community,” I mentioned. The Lightning Network or (LN) is the funds community constructed on high of Bitcoin which permits near-instant, near-free transactions. Over half these arms went down.

One information pattern is inadequate. So, the next day I quizzed the viewers on stage. I used to be shocked to obtain the identical outcome. 4-fifths of the blockchain convention viewers had by no means used Bitcoin.

Why is that? Why is it that so few folks have touched arguably the one blockchain that solves what is named the “scalability trilemma;” that of decentralization, safety and scalability?

The Bitcoin blockchain, or timechain as Satoshi Nakamoto known as it within the white paper, continues to be comparatively small. Anybody with an outdated laptop computer can obtain everything of all transactions with a view to run a node; the community can scale to achieve tens of millions and shortly billions of individuals with layers, whereas the Bitcoin blockchain has by no means been hacked. And but on the blockchain convention, only a few attendees run nodes or have transacted on Bitcoin.

Nonetheless, there usually are not sufficient information factors to but kind this conclusion. I wished to quiz people throughout the convention in the event that they have been blockchainers or Bitcoiners–and in that case, why is that the case?

I quizzed conference-goers a couple of easy query. I requested round 15 convention goers to decide on Web3 or Web5, and just one particular person of the fifteen selected Web5. Sarcastically, the only Web5 proponent within the interview is Bitcoiner Antonia Roupell, whose job title is “Web3 lead” for Save the Kids.

Most respondents appeared confused when offered with the selection of webs. “What’s Web5?” They queried.

Web3 is a world of reportedly decentralized blockchains through which tokens (and token gross sales) drive the financial system ahead; Web5 is the decentralized web constructed on Bitcoin. Naturally, Bitcoin maximalist Jack Dorsey champions Web5. 

Dorsey defined in December 2021 that Web5 will permit true possession of id and information, not like Web3. Dorsey explains that “Web3″ has the “Identical company incentives [as Twitter] however hides it underneath “decentralization.”

The Twitter founder reckons Web3 will never achieve true decentralization as beneath the advertising spiel and tokenomics it’s the enterprise capitalists and restricted Companions who own the blockchains and the info underpinning the techniques.

Web5 already boasts social media purposes reminiscent of Zion through which customers can simply ship Bitcoin to at least one one other and personal their information, constructed atop one decentralized blockchain and. Which blockchain? You guessed it, Bitcoin. 


Web3 has existed since Ethereum coder Gavin Wooden coined the time period in 2014 and thus has extra time on its aspect. Plus it’s a catchy, catch-all time period that’s usually used interchangeably with blockchain, crypto and metaverse. It’s laborious to outline, underline or body with out referring to financially profitable tasks. 

It lastly struck me that the main focus of most attendees on the European Blockchain Conference was enterprise over Bitcoin. Or to place it one other method–and to try to be rather less naive–the attendees wished to generate income over work in direction of a brand new financial coverage.

Moderating a panel on Web3 in the course of the convention. Supply: José Val Bal

I had the identical expertise when discussing Nostr, which stands for Notes and Different Stuff Transmitted by Relays. The comparatively new, decentralized community permits personal messaging and uncensorable communication–amongst different tasks. 

One of many purposes of Nostr, called iPhone app Damus, helped Nostr attain almost half one million day by day customers in mid-February. Consumer depend multiplied by 5 since its itemizing on the Apple iOS store and the protocol is stuffed with Bitcoin advocates.

I requested convention attendees for his or her public key so I may comply with them on Nostr. I used to be met with bemused seems. The blockchain believers and champions of decentralized protocols had not examined nor heard of Damus.

Nostr defined by

Would you like yet another instance?

An worker at a preferred Bitcoin firm–who I received’t dox on this opinion piece–approached me in the course of the convention. “I noticed you sending sats to folks on stage. You sound like a [Bitcoin] maxi,” he joked. 

“Responsible, officer” I joked. I solely maintain Bitcoin and am enthusiastic about bringing Bitcoin to the world, particularly these dwelling in financially kneecapped international locations.

“You’d most likely acknowledge the corporate I signify then. I work for Blockstream.”

After all! I informed him. I really performed Jenga in the park with Blockstream’s CEO, Adam Back, not too long ago. We instantly bonded.

Associated: Regulation stole the show at Barcelona’s European Blockchain Convention

The Blockstream worker confided in me that not a single conferencegoer had clocked his employer. Blockstream is a widely known Bitcoin corporations. Blockstream pioneers lightning adoption, aspect chains, inexpensive {hardware} wallets and liquid, whereas Again was one of many few names talked about within the Bitcoin white paper printed in 2008.

He shared his shock with me, however it was 5pm on the final day of the convention–by this level I understood. “It’s a Bitcoin firm, mate” I defined. And in any case, “Bitcoin and blockchain don’t actually combine.” Bitcoin has a advertising drawback, I mentioned.