This is a follow-up to my post on February 19th, 2023, Nothing Matters - Sunday Orange Flow
As bitcoiners, we often feel our commitment and efforts might be for naught. It may be the launch of many new projects, but it sometimes feels like you are running against time. Sometimes in the bear market, you can start feeling overwhelmed. Some say the lack of interest in bitcoin and lightning has waned, especially with more VCs focusing specifically on nostr and ai. The move has honestly discouraged some builders who see it as just another trend that becomes a distraction.
As I observe the surge of interest in nostr and ai, I believe we shouldn't perceive it as a distraction but as an opportunity. On the front lines, lightning and bitcoin interest have increased exponentially among "Web 3" builders.
I see it in Austin. But Why?
I'd argue that nostr and ai are just a funnel into lightning and bitcoin. New builders are coming into the ecosystem because they found those technologies first.
Even Coinbase is now interested. You can see it on the developer side; there are more and more offerings from a new initiative of bitcoin projects/events that want to change the opinion that Bitcoiners don't build.
Bitcoin building is so back!
ATL BitLab: ATL BitLab is a hackerspace in Atlanta offering support to developers, projects, and startups building. They also do workshops and have a co-working space they host events at.
Base58: A bitcoin protocol school. They have online and in-person courses, a perfect starting place for technical beginners looking to scratch the surface and even the most experienced devs looking to challenge themselves with a dive deep into the bitcoin protocol. Base58 also created bitcoin++, a global developer-focused conference series, with one coming up in Berlin. They heavily emphasize long-form lectures and workshops, with smaller, more-focused audiences excited to get deeper into the cutting edge of bitcoin tech.
BOLT.FUN: An open-source project like no other. The project was started by a core team of designers and developers looking to facilitate learning and experimenting on the lightning network. They have been creating multiple hackathons online every quarter, and the momentum is building.
PlebLab: A Bitcoin hackerspace and community accelerator in Austin, Texas. They have a place for the hacker misfits – unconventional thinkers who offer unique solutions and drive Bitcoin, Lightning, and Nostr forward. They host weekly workshops, quarterly hackathons, and twice-yearly startup days. They have also released some introductory education courses for onboarding new builders into the space.
TabConf: Brings together the best and brightest minds in the bitcoin world to share their insights, knowledge, and experience about the latest developments. From seasoned core devs to up-and-coming plebs.
This perspective gains profound meaning when we witness the growing community of builders and innovators dedicated to empowering the bitcoin development community. ATL BitLab provides a nurturing environment for developers and startups in Atlanta; Base58, an educational academy that brings depth to understanding the bitcoin protocol; BOLT.FUN, an open-source initiative fueling hacker experimentation on the lightning network, nostr, and ai; PlebLab, a bitcoin hackerspace and community accelerator in Austin, offering a platform for the misfit hackers to experiment with everything; and TabConf, a dev conf focused just on building – all of these stand as vibrant testaments to the creativity, commitment, and collaboration within the bitcoin, lightning, ai, and nostr ecosystems.
Rather than getting lost in the chaos of new trends and technologies, these builder-first initiatives remind us to focus on the core values and collective endeavors that genuinely matter. The bear market is not a time for despair but to recognize the robust ecosystem thriving around bitcoin, lightning, and these intersecting technologies. The momentum is building, not waning, reinforcing that in a world where sometimes nothing seems to matter, our collective actions are the ones that genuinely do.
Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen. ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe