At Scott’s Mining Conference this week, attendees toured a bitcoin mining facility, heard from Michael Saylor and channeled the industry’s energy.
On February 7 and 8, Round Rock, Texas experienced an event that could prove to be a pivotal moment for the whole of the Bitcoin space. What was happening in this suburb of Austin was not motivated by “nUmBeR gO uP,” or “wen lambo.” The only conversations that could be heard were exchanges of real value: Discussions on how we can all improve our mining operations and facilities, educational materials, better strategies for speaking to those who simply do not possess the time to wander down the rabbit hole like we have and, of course, methods of better protecting the hardware that secures this goliath of a computing network.
It was Scott’s Mining Conference 2022, and below you’ll find the space’s most significant takeaways.
Day One: Live Demonstrations, Bowling And Palpable Excitement
Let it be known: When hundreds of blue collar workers — the men and women that will get things done in the space of meat, sweat and dirt — descend onto a convention center, there’s going to be high demand for coffee before there’s even an inkling of the literal crack of dawn. Bitcoin’s miners mean work, and have no intention of wasting daylight.
On the morning of day one of Scott’s Mining Conference, the air was filled with an electricity of excitement from the crowd preparing to stampede the Riot bitcoin mining facility, which was being toured as part of the conference agenda.
Real electricity was flowing just a few yards away as the discussion and demonstration panel, led by ASIC Master out of Chicago, was preparing to kick off. Starting off the morning light with the basics of individual ASIC setup, the representatives of Master did the group a service by taking an easing-in approach to the morning, saving the more intense discussions around the tricks of the trade behind board repairs and strategies that will save mining operations oodles, for later. Between divulging insights on capital and opportunity costs of the ASIC repair business, ASIC Master did a stellar job of placing the audience and the mining operators first.
Meanwhile, Digital Shovel was sparking off a buzz of its own (that would end up igniting a conflagration that spread aggressively throughout day two) within the exposition hall of Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, the main site of the conference.
The source of the excitement, that had a conference full of nerds, blue collar workers and technologists brimming with excitement and energy? I am not skilled in this area so prepare for an effective butchering, but what the brains over at Digital Shovel have done is to have seemingly made life for miners dramatically improved. And not just by providing its Pods (which allow for speedy deployment of anywhere from 88 to more than 100 miners per pod, depending on miner model), but by explaining how Digital Shovel has incorporated an individual circuit transformer that acts similarly to power distribution units, allowing for monitoring on a per-bay basis.
Bringing the first day to a wrap, the event culminated with a hearty dinner and bowling tournament where bowlers competed for a prize paid out in bitcoin, naturally. Still, there was seemingly little that could be done to curb the excitement of the bitcoiners, miners, manufacturers and oil and gas operators into the evening.
As conversations all directed towards the prospects of day two, particularly with speculations of whether MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor would be tuning-in remotely or in-person, there was shared excitement over potential insight into the progress of political developments coming from an upcoming panel led by D.C. insider Amanda Cavaleri and Major League Baseball Pitcher turned Bitcoin advocate C.J. Wilson, as well as inputs on the environment of mining operations from the likes of Rhodium Enterprises CEO Nathan Nichols and value investor Mike Alfred.
Needless to say, day two was going to be jam packed, and as day one was approaching a wrap, the energy of the evening was redirected to getting ample sleep in order to survive the high-octane schedule that was fast-approaching at the break of tomorrow’s sunrise.
Day Two: Politics, Michael Saylor And SHA-256 Games
The morning’s remarks from our hosts, Scott Offord, Shanon Squires and Brad James, ended effectively feeling like a team meeting that culminated in a “ready… break!” sensation. Attendees broke out from the mainstage hall like a can of biscuits, and coffee-fueled life was sparked back into the halls of the northernmost wing of Kalahari Resorts.
The panel on “Transcending The Political Divide” proved to be the apple of the eyes of many attendees to kickstart the morning, as operators, investors, manufacturers and educators all keyed in to hear how progress was going around a political issue that, while heavily publicized (especially as of late), is very much still clouded in mystery and lacking in understanding.
Cavaleri expressed the complexity of the political landscape, noting particulars in what is admissible in the lobbying world, as well as a providing many kernels of wisdom and hope.
“We as Bitcoiners need an injection of wisdom and reflection — to not fall into the low time preference, controversial algorithmic farming approach to political engagement,” she said. “So that we can reach those beneficial outcomes while avoiding over regulation, versus just making noise.”
This was followed by one particular bit of patriotism that shed some light on the positive ground that is being gained with regards to Bitcoin’s bipartisanship.
“... but there’s two things that are resonating with both sides [of the aisle]: Freedom and equality. Which is America,” Caveleri added.
Then, Wilson dropped a real nugget of value for those looking to improve their approaches to orange-pilling individuals — whether they be politicians or parents.
“We as Bitcoiners need to approach the education process for legislators like we do when teaching an individual how to play baseball,” he said. “We have to start with tee-ball first. Making the key points easy to see, easy to acknowledge and as easy to grasp as possible… Then education can be iterated and pushed further.”
As hallway meetings and lobbycon introductions continued to catalyze and snowball, time stopped following lunch. All eyes turned to the mainstage hall, crowded with eager ears intent on hearing remarks from Saylor as he was to be interviewed by HODLujah’s John Fakhoury.
Saylor did not disappoint, as discussion continued, he gradually let his Bitcoin pleb side really start to shine through. Echoing the talking points of many a Twitter personality, he expressed concern and frustration with the dynamics at play of poor information that may (or may not be) receiving guidance from those with misaligned incentives toward an industry that is aiming to provide society with radical improvements upon efficiency, value and truth.
Following Saylor, I managed to meander my way back to the main stage where Bitcoin author and influencer Jason Williams and Ancova Founder Max Gagliardi shared discussion and insights around clever strategies for providing energy that are essentially only made feasible after bitcoin mining. This not only provides a service via energy generation, but also provides opportunities that yield energy and have much more positive impacts on the environment.
Fellow pleb and popular Pleb Net representative D++ held an interactive workshop which, while providing a breakdown of what SHA-256 encryption means, also single-handedly provided the audience a hands-on experience of how miners operate.
By providing a game that had players attempt to guess a hash entirely by random with the audience, D++ effectively expressed the beauty of the difficulty adjustment within bitcoin mining, as well as its effectiveness. You could not only hear, but you could feel the collective “a ha” that washed over the audience and participants.
As if all of these events weren’t energetic enough, the hosts capped off the conference with an appearance from DJ Paul Oakenfold held in the onsite event center, where dinner and libations were joyously consumed and followed by a clustering of conversations around Bitcoiner politics, philosophy and game theory, all centered around the many bonfires throughout the resort grounds.
This is a guest post by Mike Hobart. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.