Are you new to bitcoin? Or are you trying to learn more about bitcoin? Local Bitcoin meetups are a great way to build your knowledge. They’re also great for making bitcoin friends. As time goes on, you’ll need them!
Generally speaking many cities around the world have a bitcoin meetup (or multiple). Make sure you go to a Bitcoin meet up, and not a “Crypto” or “Blockchain” meet up as there are a lot of affinity scamming LARPers in this space. The “Crypto” and “Blockchain” people will mostly waste your time and may cause you to invest in shitcoins. As we pointed out in our earlier article, Don’t Get Into Crypto, Get Into Bitcoin. When in doubt, start with this list of bitcoin-only meetups by 6102bitcoin.
There will usually be a meetup.com page and a telegram chat group for coordination and general chat. I’d recommend joining both so you can get updates on meetings, and lurk the discussion there. For e.g. I’m a co-organizer of Bitcoin Sydney, Meetup link: Bitcoin Sydney and Telegram chat: BitcoinSydney.
Some cities around the world have a Socratic Seminar, which is a more technical focused discussion talking about Bitcoin and Lightning technical news, development, software and hardware exploits and hacks. These are generally an open forum discussion, led by moderators, with a reading list prepared in advance. This style of meetup started in NYC with BitDevs. It was later brought to San Francisco (SFbitcoindevs.org), and is now being replicated around the world. If you’re interested to know more about this format, check out SLP136 with Alex Leishman on this exact topic. Bitcoin Sydney Socratic is run as a zoom call for AU/NZ/Asia time so join the Bitcoin Sydney Socratic Telegram if you’re interested.
- Over time you’ll pick up the general ways of doing things in Bitcoin – such as setting up your Bitcoin / Lightning wallets, hardware wallets, cold storage, running your node.
- You’ll learn a lot, even going and listening to discussion. Though obviously it’s best if you have some questions. Most bitcoiners are happy to answer.
- Some questions won’t occur to you until you’re actually at a meetup and hearing bitcoin discussion. Without going and talking to bitcoiners, often times you “don’t know what you don’t know”. There will be entire topics that you’ve never broached because you might not have come across them.
- You might find a trading partner to buy or sell bitcoin for cash. The buyer may pay a slight premium over market rate, but in return you may be able to acquire those coins without KYC.
- You can find partners for your Samourai Wallet 2 person collaborative coinjoin transactions, such as STONEWALLx2 and Stowaway (aka PayJoin) transactions. These are transaction types where you can work together with another Samourai Wallet bitcoiner, to maintain your privacy while transacting.
Warnings for newcoiners and other tips
- Be wary of any meetups with the words “Bitcoin Cash” (aka BCash) or “Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision” (BSV), these are not bitcoin. They have big marketing budgets and lots of lies to sell, but they’re not the real Bitcoin. They are effectively an extremely loud vocal minority. There is only one Bitcoin (see SLP75 with Giacomo Zucco for a full exploration on this).
- Do not leave any large amount of Bitcoin on an exchange. Instead, learn to self custody your coins. Start small with a day to day spending amount on your phone. Then progress up to using hardware wallets and running your own node.
- If you want to be more privacy conscious, consider using a pseudonym and being known only under that name. Also note that you shouldn’t ask too many personal questions of attendees as there will be some bitcoiners that want to maintain their own privacy. You don’t have to know where people live or what they work as! You can just keep the discussion going about bitcoin and why they like it.
- Reminder that you get out what you put in – some cities or towns don’t have a bitcoin meetup. In this case, go and start one! You only need a few people to get started, and consistency helps. Also, offer to present at your local bitcoin meetup. You can take a 15-20 min slot and teach the group about how to do coinjoin, or how to set up a node etc.
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