Second Annual Canadian Bitcoin Conference Focus on Freedom

Written By Neil McKenzie-Sutter, Posted on May 26, 2024

By Neil McKenzie-Sutter

Following the success of the 1st Canadian Bitcoin Conference hosted in Toronto in 2023, the second legacy event took place this past weekend, May 16-18, this time in Montreal. The organizers have the numbers, and compared to last year, the 2024 conference demonstrated noteworthy growth and success.

“It really worked well this year with running two workshops at the same time,” said Manuela Carlin, one of the lead conference organizers. “We just want to grow. So we need to find a bit more exposure.”

“So last year we were in the 300s, and this year we are over 400, and the live stream is bouncing around 4,000 people a day,” Manuela continued.

“The big feedback that I’ve been getting, really; the energy, I mean you can hear the energy that’s around. I mean it’s 3 o’clock on a Saturday; it’s still packed,” said Daniel Carlin, lead conference organizer.

Part of the reason the conference drew such crowds was the presence of numerous noteworthy figures and influencers in the Bitcoin space including, Adam O’Brien CEO & Founder of Bitcoin Well (BTCW.v), Nico Moran, host and founder of the Simply Bitcoin Podcast, Mark Jeftovic CEO of EasyDNS and The Bitcoin Capitalist, Lawrence Lapard Managing Partner or Equity Management and Associates, Francis Pouliot CEO and founder of, Julian Figueroa Co-founder of Get Based Media, and many others. There were also several nighttime social events and even a Canada versus USA bitcoin Hockey game including Bitcoin Youtuber and former pro-hockey player Brandon Gentile. 

Significantly, the conference featured sitting federal Quebec City MP Joel Lightbound. Lightbound is a former Liberal MP who left the party in 2022 following years of personal discontent with the party’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Freedom Convoy Protests were Lightbound’s breaking point with the party. He now sits in parliament as an independent.

Lightbound’s inclusion in the Bitcoin conference is noteworthy and logical, as Bitcoin played a key role in the Freedom Convoy, which was, again, Lightbound’s final straw with the government, as it was for many Canadians, and a defining moment in Canadian history.

Regarding the Freedom Convoy, several other speakers who were deeply involved in the protest event were featured prominently, including a panel featuring BJ Dichter, Ben Perrin (aka BTCSessions), and Nobody’s Caribou.

It can’t be highlighted enough that the 2022 Trucker Protests provided an important test for Bitcoin. Going back to its inception in 2009, Bitcoin had been designed as a robust, decentralized, and censorship-resistant combination electronic payments system and token, designed to work in adversity. Prior to 2022, however, Bitcoin hadn’t been ‘battle-tested,’ and the Freedom Convoy provided that opportunity.

“I’ll always remember,” Dichter said, reminiscing about the Ottawa Freedom Convoy during his panel discussion. “These two guys. They’re both truckers. They’re wearing their trucker uniforms or whatever. And they were talking to each other. They’d clearly formed some kind of friendship, but they were speaking through Google Translate.”

“We are all Canadian. We know the stigma that the swamp has tried to infuse into us,” Dichter continued. “This was the first time in my entire life that I saw our country truly unified.”

It’s also important to remember that Montreal is only a short distance from Ottawa, where the largest of the 2022 Trucker Protest events took place, and the conference organizers were conscientious of this.

“We wanted to provide space for an open discussion about the convoy and Bitcoin’s role in the convoy,” said conference organizer Daniel Carlin.

Arguably, the height of tension during the 2022 Freedom Convoy Protests occurred when the Canadian Federal government froze the bank accounts of hundreds of individuals associated with the protests. It was at this critical moment that Bitcoin proved its mettle.

“Ten million dollars was raised through GoFundMe,” Caribou said during the Freedom Convoy panel discussion. “Thirteen million dollars. GiveSendGo. Zero of those dollars made it to truckers. 2.1 billion Sats were raised. 1.4 billion sats made it directly to truckers. I only know because I handed the envelopes out myself.”

“So did Bitcoin prove itself?” Caribou continued. “You can be the judge of that, but it was the only form of money that actually made it to the intended recipients of donations.”

Similarly to the 1885 ‘Last Spike,’ which united Canada via rail, the 2022 Trucker Protest in Ottawa will most likely be recognized as a defining and uniting moment for Canada. Given Bitcoin’s role in that moment, it makes sense to find the convoy highlighted at the conference.

Beyond just the speakers, the conference featured a hands-on workshop held by the Bitcoin mining company ‘D-Central,’ where attendees were able to construct their own decentralized miners.

“We’re social animals, right? So we need to socialize. It’s part of life. It’s part of what gives money its value,” said Jonathan, CEO of ‘D-Central,’ when asked whether the conference was worthwhile from the perspective of a business owner. />

“You want some more value added from this conference?” Jonathan continued. “I’ve actually met this guy, and this guy is coming Monday for an interview to work with us. So we are even finding employees… so there’s a lot of value added to those events.”

The Canadian Bitcoin conference featured numerous high-level discussions ranging from the political to economic and technical aspects, even a pickup hockey game. But even newcomers to the Bitcoin space were able to gain something and experience a welcoming environment.

“After this conference, I’m curious to learn more,” said Sabrina, who was a new Bitcoiner at the conference. “I’m excited about engaging in small steps.”

Bitcoin is for everyone, so even beginners like Sabrina should consider attending next year’s conference if they’re interested in the protocol. Those interested in potentially attending in 2025 should follow the conference’s X page or check out their website for details.

Neil McKenzie-Sutter

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