Bitcoin 2019 welcomes a multifaceted cast of speakers who may share only one thing in common: The work that they do every day is shaping the future of Nakamoto Consensus Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency as laid out by Satoshi Nakamoto.
Bitcoin may mean different things to different people, but Bitcoin 2019’s speakers are all paving the way for BTC Core.
New speakers will be announced as they commit and the roles of those below may change. Please follow @bitcoin2019conf to stay up to date.
Aaron van Wirdum is the technical editor for Bitcoin Magazine. With a background in studying the historical influence of society-shaping technologies, he’s been covering Bitcoin and related projects since 2013. He is known for his ability to explain highly technical subjects to a layman audience and specializes in topics including Bitcoin’s history, scaling and privacy technology.
Andrew Poelstra is the director of research at Blockstream, one of the foremost institutions that provide funding and support for the development of Bitcoin Core. He has been working as a cryptographer in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency space for the last six years, contributing to the improvement of scalability and the development of privacy technologies such as Confidential Assets, Bulletproofs, Taproot and Mimblewimble. Most recently, he has become known for his off-brand use of digital signatures in the form of “scriptless scripts.”
Anthony Pompliano is a co-founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital, an investment firm seeking to provide wider access to blockchain technology and digital assets like bitcoin. Pompliano is widely known on Twitter as an advocate for the decentralized ecosystem, specifically focusing on Bitcoin. He may be best known for coining popular phrases like “Long Bitcoin, short the bankers.” Prior to joining Morgan Creek, he worked at Facebook and Snapchat as a product manager and a growth leader, respectively. Pompliano also writes a daily newsletter, Off The Chain, analyzing crypto news for institutional investors, and hosts a podcast of the same name.
Arjun Balaji is an outspoken commentator on the development of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency through social media, videos and essays. He first discovered Bitcoin in 2012 and fully dedicated himself to the bitcoin market microstructure in 2016, helping traditional hedge funds evangelize the original cryptocurrency. He was a software engineer at HubSpot and Flip before becoming the founder and managing partner of Shomei Capital, an investment fund focused on crypto assets. He is the author of the articles “Crypto Thesis for 2019” and “Conflict of Crypto Visions,” among other works.
Bill Barhydt is founder and CEO of Abra, a global crypto wallet and exchange network that uses bitcoin as an underlying asset to manage cryptocurrency investments. Abra’s breakthrough is its synthetic currency technology based on crypto smart contracts. In 2011, Barhydt gave the first-ever TED Talk on Bitcoin. He has also consulted with federal and international regulators on the impact of digital currencies and decentralized transaction systems. In 2000, Barhydt received the Technology Pioneer Award from the World Economic Forum for his work in online collaboration and internet technologies.
Dan Held is the co-founder and director of business development of Interchange, an institutional-grade cryptocurrency portfolio reconciliation tool. He was part of the original 2013 crypto Meetup group in San Francisco that included the founders of Coinbase, Ripple, Kraken and other major Bitcoin and blockchain companies. Held served as the director of product at Blockchain.com, which became the de facto search engine for the Bitcoin economy, and he built some early crypto products including ChangeTip (later acquired by Airbnb) and ZeroBlock (later acquired by Blockchain.com in the second-ever all-Bitcoin acquisition). Held has recently published Bitcoin-specific writings such as “Planting Bitcoin” and is a contributor to various publications, including Bitcoin Magazine.
As the co-founder and chief executive officer of BTC Inc, David Bailey is an industry leader and evangelist for the decentralized future. Since 2013, BTC Inc has grown to offer critical intelligence, brand-building expertise and technical incubation specialized for the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem, as well as industry-leading projects like Po.et. Under Bailey’s direction, the company now operates in multiple countries and has raised $35.5 million in aggregate across its businesses.
Bailey is also a member of the board for the Blockchain Education Network; serves on the board of directors for the publicly-traded digital publishing company Maven (MVEN); sits on the board of advisors for the University of Alabama; is a managing partner at 402 Digital Partners, one of the earliest crypto funds; and is an active angel investor for emerging blockchain-based projects.
Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar was one of the pioneers of web development in Argentina and all of Latin America in the mid-’90s and has had a leading role in fostering Bitcoin and blockchain technology in Latin America since 2012. He is a co-founder of Rootstock (RSK Labs), the first open-source, peer-to-peer, smart-contract platform and payment network with a two-way peg to Bitcoin that also rewards miners via merge-mining. RSK’s goal is to add value and functionality to the Bitcoin ecosystem by enabling smart contracts, near-instant payments and high scalability. Gutiérrez became familiar with Bitcoin in 2011 and since 2012 has devoted himself to the creation of Argentinean grassroot Bitcoin communities. Gutiérrez is one of the founders of the Argentinean Bitcoin Community, which has over 2,000 members registered via Meetup and 20,000 members in its online community.
Erik Voorhees is among the top-recognized serial Bitcoin advocates and entrepreneurs, understanding Bitcoin as one of the most important inventions ever created by humanity. Having been a featured guest on Bloomberg, Fox Business, CNBC, BBC Radio, The Peter Schiff Show, and numerous Bitcoin and industry conferences, Erik humbly suggests that there is no such thing as a “free market” when the institution of money itself is centrally planned and controlled.
Erik founded ShapeShift in August 2014 as an elegant, secure, and fast solution to digital asset exchanges. As a non-custodial solution, ShapeShift offers users the ability to convert digital assets without having to trust a centralized entity. Erik was most recently featured on the 2016 documentary, “Banking on Bitcoin.” His past blockchain company affiliations include: BitInstant, Coinapult and, most notably, SatoshiDice, which was responsible for most of the Bitcoin transactions in 2012 and 2013
Francis Pouliot is the CEO and co-founder of Bull Bitcoin, which integrates Bylls.com — Canada’s first and largest bitcoin payment processor — to allow Canadians to buy bitcoin and pay their bills or send it to others seamlessly. He self-funded and founded the startup Satoshi Portal, which develops and implements financial and software infrastructure for Bitcoin. He served as the director of the Bitcoin Embassy in Montreal until 2017. Pouliot is also one of the creators of Cyphernode.io, an open-source Bitcoin full-node software.
Hailey Lennon is the head of legal and regulatory affairs at bitFlyer, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in the world. She helped oversee the Tokyo-based company’s expansion into the U.S. in 2017 and facilitated the acquisition of its New York BitLicense — a cornerstone piece of regulatory framework for Bitcoin-based businesses. Prior to joining bitFlyer, Lennon led Silvergate Bank’s Fintech and Virtual Currency Compliance Department as its regulatory compliance and legal advisor. Before her time at Silvergate, Lennon served as in-house counsel for a fiat currency exchange company as well as a commercial litigation attorney at Gordon & Rees, one of the most prominent law firms in the U.S. She has advocated for self-regulation of the cryptocurrency industry and currently serves as a Board Member of the Virtual Commodity Association. Hailey also serves on the ACAMS Northern District Executive Board as Co-Programming Director.
Jihan Wu is an entrepreneur, former financial analyst and early Bitcoin adopter. He’s best known as the co-founder and chairman of Bitmain Technologies, the world’s largest supplier of ASIC mining chips. He worked as a private equity fund manager and financial analyst in 2009 before first discovering Bitcoin in 2011. He produced the first Chinese translation of Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper for Bitcoin and later founded the Chinese news site 8btc.com, which focused on explaining the fundamentals and value propositions of Bitcoin. After establishing himself at the forefront of the Bitcoin community in China, Wu co-founded Bitmain with two partners, bringing application-specific integrated circuits to the nascent field of Bitcoin mining. ASICs have become the world standard in Bitcoin mining, and Bitmain is the parent company of several brands, including Antminer, AntPool and Hashnest.
Jimmy Song is a Bitcoin educator, developer and entrepreneur. For the majority of his 20-year programming career, Song has worked as a software developer for a wide array of companies in different fields, including entertainment, healthcare and e-commerce. He began exploring Bitcoin in 2011 and was contributing to open-source Bitcoin projects by 2013. In 2014, he joined Monetas, where he led the development of Bitcoin integration with open transactions. After managing the development of a business-friendly bitcoin wallet for Armory Technologies, Song became the principal architect for Paxos, creating blockchain solutions for institutional entities. In 2018, Song joined Blockchain Capital as a venture partner. In addition, he runs Programming Blockchain, a company that trains students around the world in blockchain programming and development techniques.
Lily Liu is the co-founder of Earn.com (formerly 21.co), which allows users to earn bitcoin for replying to emails and completing tasks. Earn.com was acquired by Coinbase for more than $100 million in one of the biggest acquisitions in the cryptocurrency world to date. Liu has an extensive cryptocurrency investing and advising background, with experience garnered in the U.S. and China. She was the CFO of Chinaco Healthcare Corporation, where she oversaw the creation of China’s first foreign joint venture private general hospital, and has worked for McKinsey in both New York and Beijing. Liu received her bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations from Stanford University and focused on East Asian studies at Harvard University.
Matt Corallo is a longtime Bitcoin developer who has been contributing to Bitcoin Core since 2011. Corallo helped co-found Blockstream, where he co-authored the infamous white paper “Enabling Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains” and implemented the Elements sidechain. He also built and maintains the Bitcoin FIBRE project, the latest generation of low-latency Bitcoin block relay. More recently, Corallo has been building rust-lightning, a Lightning library that makes it easy for existing apps to integrate Lightning.
Max Keidun is the CEO of Hodl Hodl, a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange that embraces Bitcoin’s decentralized ethos by refusing to hold any funds, and the CEO of HouseHodl, the world’s first platform for securely buying and selling real estate with bitcoin. He is also an editor at Hodl Hodl News, a news aggregator presenting “Bitcoin news with zero fluff.” Since May 2017, Keidun has organized the Baltic Honeybadger conference, a global event dedicated to Bitcoin and the technologies built around it. Previously, Keidun was the head of EU operations at Mycelium, a digital banking company that builds innovative products and services based on Bitcoin.
Nik Bhatia is a relative newcomer to the Bitcoin scene but has captivated many long-term Bitcoiners through his personal blog, Time Value of Bitcoin, focused on Bitcoin-native financial theory. Bhatia has been an investment manager at Payden & Rygel, and one of his goals is to bring a capital market to Bitcoin so it can achieve status as a global reserve currency. He received his master’s in finance from IE University in Madrid, Spain, in 2013, and received his bachelor’s in social sciences (economics) from the University of Southern California in 2011.
Nimrod Lehavi is a board member of the Israeli Bitcoin Association and the founder of the online payment processor Simplex, which enables bitcoin exchanges, brokers, wallet holders and credit cards to operate without the risk of financial fraud. Binance and Xapo are among Lehavi’s Bitcoin-focused client base.
Paul Sztorc discovered Bitcoin as a graduate student in 2011 and has been active in advancing the technology ever since. His 2014 white paper, “Truthcoin,” which proposed a proof-of-work sidechain to support prediction markets, was developed while he worked as a statistician in the Yale University Department of Economics. Sztorc leveraged the exposure this paper provided, leaving his job to develop the software for the project soon after. From 2016 to 2018, he worked on Drivechain, a peer-to-peer sidechains technology designed to bring new software to Bitcoin. Driven by a strong interest in market governance, Sztorc has served as an economist at Bloq, is currently the director of research at Tierion and publishes research articles on truthcoin.info.
Pierre Rochard is a software engineer who has researched and written about Bitcoin since February 2013 and now runs Lightning Power Users, one of the largest Lightning Network routing hubs. He co-founded the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute in 2014 to curate the best primary-source literature around Bitcoin, and in 2017 he launched the Noded Bitcoin Podcast. In addition to developing Bitcoin software, Rochard is an outspoken advocate for Bitcoin’s decentralized governance and is widely recognized as an authority on the investment case for Bitcoin. Recently, Rochard began hosting Lightning Power Users workshops to better instruct those interested in the emerging viability and upside of the Lightning Network.
Spencer Bogart is a partner at Blockchain Capital, a venture firm that invests in cryptocurrency- and blockchain-based projects. Bogart brings a deep understanding of Bitcoin’s unique value to his work analyzing other cryptocurrency and traditional equity opportunities. Prior to joining Blockchain Capital, Bogart was a vice president and Bitcoin analyst at Needham & Company, where he authored Wall Street’s first industry report highlighting the use cases, companies and potential of blockchain technology. He has also authored detailed reports and research on Bitcoin’s fundamental value propositions, price forecasts and technical advancements.
Stephen Pair is the co-founder and CEO of BitPay, a leading worldwide provider of Bitcoin payment technology. In 2011, Pair co-founded BitPay with Tony Gallippi because he saw Bitcoin's potential to transform payments for businesses and consumers. As CEO, he is involved in directing the day-to-day operations as well as the long-term vision of BitPay, from research and engineering to product development and information technology. Pair started programming at a young age and spent much of his early career focused on languages, compilers, operating systems and virtual machines. Later, he developed an interest in the mechanics of financial markets, economics and monetary systems, as well as developments in cryptography. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds two patents in the field of streaming analytics.
Dr. Tom Robinson is the co-founder and chief scientist at Elliptic, the world’s leading crypto compliance company, which works to detect and prevent criminal activity around cryptocurrencies and track illicit Bitcoin activity. Elliptic’s blockchain intelligence products are used by cryptocurrency businesses and financial institutions around the world to ensure that the pseudonymous use of Bitcoin does not contribute to harming others. Robinson’s forensic analysis of bitcoin transactions has helped secure the convictions of cybercriminals and he has advised governments, tax authorities and regulators on crypto assets.
Tuur Demeester is a founding partner at Adamant Capital, a fund with a decades-long outlook on the future of Bitcoin. He is a data-savvy thought leader on bitcoin and crypto markets, a regular speaker at Bitcoin conferences worldwide and an early bitcoin investor. Demeester is also the co-founder of the Rothbard Institute, a Belgian think tank.
Zac Prince is the founder and CEO of BlockFi, a leading retail financial services provider for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that offers interest-bearing accounts and USD loans. The company supports customers worldwide and is the only lender to raise institutional capital with a range of traditional and crypto-focused investors, including Fidelity, Susquehanna, Galaxy Digital, Coinbase and Akuna Capital. Prior to starting BlockFi, Prince led business development teams at Orchard Platform, a broker/dealer in the online lending sector; and Zibby, an online consumer lender. His previous experience also includes leadership roles at successful tech companies.
New speakers will be announced at an unpredictable rate, so please follow @bitcoin2019conf to stay up to date.