BitBoy Crypto founder Ben Armstrong shares key points from the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami and what awaits the crypto world.
– Well, speaking of hype, a lot of hype came out of Bitcoin ’22 in Miami. To break it all down with us and take a look at the next step, join me, Ben Armstrong, founder of BitBoy Crypto. It’s good to have you back, Ben. So, Ben, in terms of attendance this year at this big event and what you got out of the experience, how would you describe it?
Ben Armstrong: Well, attendance was very high. Supposedly, the Miami Beach Convention Center can accommodate up to 15,000 people. Sure, it didn’t seem like it was at full capacity at all times, but maybe if you factor in how many people were spending the weekend, there were probably upwards of 15,000 people there. It was estimated that up to 30,000 people would attend the conference.
It’s just kind of, like, doing a lot of these big conferences — I’ll tell you, a lot of people go into town, for later parties, and they don’t necessarily go to the actual event itself. But I think it’s been upgraded quite a bit over the past year. Going back to two previous conferences, to 2019, Bitcoin 2019. Of course, we had the COVID year of 2020 where there wasn’t one. And I can tell you, this conference came miles and miles and miles away.
It’s our biggest crypto conference today. There is definitely a lot of excitement. There were some big announcements. Some are a little dull. But definitely an event worth attending if you are into Bitcoin or crypto.
– What are the biggest ads that popped up for you?
Ben Armstrong: Yes, the biggest announcement – there were really two. One that turned out to be — of course, last year, El Salvador announced that it would accept bitcoin as legal tender. This year, we have potential for Honduras, maybe we have potential for a city outside of Portugal, and then Mexico is really thinking. We didn’t get a really big boom announcement, like there was a giant country accepting bitcoin as legal tender at this point, but maybe those were some precautionary announcements for some things to come.
But the big, big thing was that NCR, which is the largest point-of-sale system in the world, were — I think Bed Bath & Beyond, Walgreens, McDonald’s, Ted’s Montana Grill, a lot of other companies, that they’re actually going to integrate with the Lightning Network so that using the Cash app And the Lightning wallet, which is similar to the Bitcoin layer, will be able to spend Bitcoin in several different locations that you couldn’t use before. It is a different network.
It’s not the standard card network, which retailers lose 3% on all those sales. It’s a much lower fee – less than 1% – that they will lose. So I guess, for me, it was a little lackluster because I think you have to get the retail side, and the stores themselves, to really push this novel, hey, we can give you a discount if you use this network, or something like that. I think we’re still dealing with the stimulus issue, because it’s two more steps to actually spending your Bitcoin – or you can actually spend the US via the Cash app using the Bitcoin Lightning Network as well.
But it’s a few extra steps to get people to do it. And I feel people will continue to offer the card because it’s easier.
– And this is interesting because, obviously, when Bitcoin first appeared, it was considered a currency. But then it’s obviously switched now, and you’re seeing more people using it as a long-term investment. So how can this point of sale now be used – how could this hurt or help the growth of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general?
Ben Armstrong: This is a great question, and I don’t think there is a good answer to it. you know. So you had Michael Saylor, who came on stage with Cathy Wood. When he left the stage, he said never sell bitcoins. And of course, the crowd is raging, applauding and all that stuff. Then you have Jack Mallers, who comes along and makes this point of sale ad.
This is basically like, hey, this is a new way for you to spend your bitcoins, which is the equivalent of selling them, and the crowd ignites. There is a lot of hero worship in the cryptocurrency world, and I think people should think critically. Again, the only way this actually helps is from the retail side to motivate customers or users to use another network so they save money.
You’re right, Bitcoin, to me, has become digital gold. It’s not something you want to sell. It’s an asset you want to accumulate more of. This is also why I think when you come to countries that accept crypto and – or Bitcoin as legal tender specifically, for example, why would we want a third world country that accepts Bitcoin as legal tender, which means that the people who live in that country actually live in poverty So much so that they actually spend and appreciate the assets. This is really illogical.
I think it’s time for Bitcoin fanatics to move away from this “let’s make it like a currency and everyone else” argument, and let’s accept it for what it is at this point, an asset that you want to earn more over time.
– And I want to talk about turning points. I mean, we’ve seen with Bitcoin, some people say, look, I mean, obviously, Bitcoin is down today. It’s currently under $40,000. Some people say it will be up to $30,000. Cathy Wood, as I mentioned there, predicts Bitcoin will reach $1 million by 2030. And then, of course, you have the Ethereum merger that everyone has been waiting for.
If you can quickly give us your predictions, regarding the biggest turning points in Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Ben Armstrong: Well, for me, the biggest turning point now will be this ETH consolidation over the summer. So, traditionally, what we see is a four-year Bitcoin cycle based on what we call halving Bitcoin, in which block rewards are halved. Basically, bitcoin production is cut in half every four years. This leads to a price hike for about a year and a half, and then a massive drop in prices. Right now, we’re in the midst of where we need to be in the midst of a bear market.
But bitcoin held. We haven’t seen new lows since last summer. For me, I think the only chance that we get out of this four-year cycle and see Bitcoin reach all-time highs again – perhaps by the end of this year, early next year – is for Ethereum to finally take its seat at the top of the market and lead the market. Ultimately, I believe that Ethereum will surpass Bitcoin in market capitalization. I don’t think it’s a question.
It is just a matter of time. So with this ETH consolidation, with ETH inflation going from, like, 4.3%, down 90%, to 0.4% annually, I think this is a huge moment in crypto history, and that will be the moment when we will determine if ETH can take its seat and lead the market Or will we remain slaves and rely on Bitcoin to move the market. And if that’s the case, then next year could be a bit harsh as we approach the halving in 2024, which should happen sometime in March or April in 2024.