North American Bitcoin Conference Event Notes


One of the more prominent conferences in the blockchain/crypto space is this one - TNABC. The “T” is for “The"… See? Already these guys are rule breakers! Also, when you have “bitcoin” in the title of the conference, that gives you some OG credibility…

This was my first time attending the conference. Apparently, it was an attenuated year. Last year there was about 4000 attendees. This year there was about 1,500.

I’d guess that the “crypto winter” continues to keep the die hards and the committed actively building their solutions and dedicated to the industry. In the future, a “crypto spring” will emerge and with it curious tire-kicking opportunists looking for the next quick “buck.” For the moment, though, it feels like those lurkers are staying on the periphery awaiting rising currency values and useful tools to experiment with.

At this year’s event, no one was talking about tokens, unless of course it was a security token. In fact, that was much of what was discussed from the stage - who is best positioned to take advantage of the emerging security token (STO) market.

One of the gorillas in the room on this front is tZERO. The CEO, Patrick Byrne, was super clever and polished in his delivery. They’ve spent roughly $115M of shareholder money to build a security token exchange that has all the regulator approvals AND a patent on their process. It’s the only process to be approved by the SEC, according to Mr. Byrne (also the CEO of Overstock). That’s a serious market advantage that the CEO of PolyMath, Trevor Koverko, acknowledged when he referred to tZERO as the 800-lbs Gorilla.

It appears that the spaces “brands” are becoming more mature and teams are talking about the importance of their investments into user experiences. This, I would say, is an up-trend for the industry’s desire for more traditional and practiced product development. We (me and my colleague Jeff Vier) asked businesses what their primary milestones were for 2019 - the response: “MVP, MVP, MVP.”

Counter to the industry maturation, there still exists a wild west, huckster-ism element.

Counter to the industry maturation, there still exists a wild west, huckster-ism element.

Quick Hits

  • STO (security token offerings) will be an enormous industry

  • Blockchain service and layer providers are here. They want to make product development tools accessible and fast.

  • Identity, what was once denounced as un-blockchain, is now a leading topic and initiative. Most now know that you need verifiable identity to move this industry into the mainstream, not more Satoshi Nakamotos.

  • Blockchain will become truly mobile-first in 2019 (and we at Ideas By Nature have architected the solution on mobile security).

  • The ways that token projects had been promised to operate as community-inclusive, decentralized organizations may not be feasible in the manner originally envisioned.

Parting Note

We (Jeff and myself) were interviewed on the Crypto Show (, which was set up on the floor of the exhibition hall. We spoke with Chuck Williams (current client) about what we see happening in the space from a practical application perspective. I spoke about UX and veterans moving into this space from the digital design and development space. We enter at minute 25:20 and speak for less than five minutes.