Hacker's Congress is a very niche meet-up of crypto-anarchists, privacy extremists, bitcoiners and other misfits who want to change the world for the better. The entire event is organized in the heart of Praha-Holešovice, easily accessible by tram and metro, and is conveniently surrounded by some of the best restaurants in the city of Prague.
The event itself focuses on hacking and societal change that spreads awareness on freedom; it also educates visitors on topics they might have never got to encounter. From darknet stories to bitcoin lightning node management, you will find everything at The Hacker’s Congress.
Of course, if you prefer to just meet people, you are at the best place since it has the most diverse crowd of people from all walks of life and educational backgrounds come to Hacker’s Congress.
It’s basically one of the biggest opportunities of the year to meet new people and network in the bitcoin space as more and more bitcoiners gain interest in attending the event. The amazing dinners and great time you can have is entirely priceless in the company of some of the best people within our ecosystem. It is usually a very flexible event in that, it is what you make out of it.
After my first attendance at Hacker's Congress Paralelní Polis in Prague, I felt my views changed entirely on freedom and what freedom-seeking individuals can achieve together.
Since I was unable to attend the Congress in person in 2020, I was looking for an excuse to attend this year’s conference and it couldn't have turned out better.
Every year is a brand new slate for Hacker's Congress: a new theme, new topics and current issues that affect society are often hot topics.
This year, it was Chaos. The chaoticism of today's current world and how it affects everything from travel, politics, bitcoin and culture. Though this year's event was not especially content-heavy, it was convenient for picking your interests.
Some of this year’s presentations were outstanding in content, for example, Mario Havel’s presentation on how he made a physical lightning wallet using LNBits, giving congress attendees access to instant payments on the venue. I personally never came across a physical Lightning Wallet that works like debit/credit cards and I was amazed how cool it is. Anyone has the opportunity to hack the physical wallet and attach their own LNBits payment details onto it to make payments. In this way, there’s no need to rely on Paralelni Polis’ custodial lightning service.
Frank Braun and Smuggler were also the highlights of the congress. Their presentations always show you something you haven’t thought of before. However, the main attraction for a bitcoiner like myself is the possibility of meeting other like-minded individuals.
It is an unwritten rule of bitcoin’s social organization, that if you want to take your connections to the next level, you must meet your peers in the flesh. Online interactions are one thing and anyone can shitpost on Twitter, but have you ever met someone? Have you ever sat down in a restaurant, ate a steak together and had conversations about funny things that happened in life? It is an experience everyone must have because bitcoiners are some of the most vivid and intelligent beings on this planet worthy of your company.
I started organizing the Annual Bitcoin Maxi Dinner in Prague, a day before the Congress kicks off, and it has now become a tradition. Initially, this dinner was an impromptu meetup that outgrew itself and has become an annual event. Great people who matter in the Bitcoin space come to indulge in good food and good company for a lengthy night. This year, the meetup was amazingly large and continues to grow. The usual dinners organized spontaneously during the congress by other bitcoiners are also highly recommended. If you are unsure of how to attend these dinners, just ask your fellow peers whether or not they have plans to go eat out later during the day or night. Don’t be afraid to stop large groups moving outside to ask whether they are heading to a pub or a restaurant.
The Balance on Privacy
So, you can get to meet bitcoiners in the flesh, but isn't this also a privacy conference?
It certainly is!
Some people often hide their identities at these events, wary of cameras and surveillance. I, myself, wear a mask constantly that hides my traits, this is what privacy is about.
I do not want cameras taking pictures of me and I exercise my right to be selective about who I reveal my real identity to. This “information” is exclusive, not everyone is granted a right to violate my privacy in such ways. Without masks we all violate each other's privacy, therefore why should one not wear a mask?
Everyone should have the choice of whom to selectively reveal their identity to. When I attend dinners, I usually only go with groups who I trust or feel comfortable with going, down to the personal level. It is a super intimate experience, forming connections with others that will likely last a lifetime if treated right.
Should you Attend?
Bitcoin might have an ever-changing price, but the connections you make while participating in its revolution is priceless. Revealing your identity partially to make others more comfortable around you and showing them a level of trust you put into their hands to handle is powerful.
From one bitcoiner to another, would I recommend the yearly attendance of Hacker's Congress Paralelní Polis? Yes, definitely! I can't shill this event enough. But what I will tell everyone is that you should drop whatever you are doing in the first week of October and attend, whatever the cost may be. As always, it is a real pleasure to meet real bitcoiners who have real skin in the game and I wouldn't want it any other way. I hope to see the dear reader there one day as well!
If you want to find out more about Hacker's Congress or about Paralelní Polis, check out https://paralelnipolis.cz
This is a guest post by Karo Zagorus. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Wasabi Wallet or zkSNACKs Ltd.
Bio: Karo Zagorus is a Bitcoin Maximalist, he is the author of the book "Bitcoin and the Trust Problem" (to be released), he actively contributes cultural content for Bitcoin Magazine and Citadel 21. You can find out more about him at http://btcdragonlord.com or find him on Twitter at @btcdragonlord