The trip over to Zurich was a real blast. It's been a long time since I've been able to meet new real bitcoiners who have actual skin in the game. But before we rush ahead, let me just say a few words about what Relai really is.
Relai is a Swiss Bitcoin Exchange that currently uses IBANs to allow users to acquire bitcoins. This is still not a completely private way to purchase bitcoins, but some users like this option because they do not have to show any type of identification documentation or give the exact details of their location. This form of KYC is less intrusive, but it is still revealing of real information because IBAN transactions contain your real life name and address details.
Beyond that, Relai is a quickly evolving company that just now released the 2.0 version of their app and have become their own broker to process bitcoin purchases for their clients. Congratulations to everyone at Relai for this achievement!
Before the 2.0 release, there had been rumours about a potential party appearing in the middle of Zurich, organized by the CEO of Relai, Julian. My dear friend Stephanie, aka @proofofsteph on twitter told me about this and it stuck in my head until one of my last visits to Prague in November when she confirmed that it was really happening. It was certainly short notice since, just a few days earlier, not even the official Relai Twitter account tweeted anything about it while I was rushing around to secure a ticket and accommodation for my stay.
My trip over to Zurich was rather uneventful .I encountered zero harassment from border guard agencies and nobody asked for any documentation. For Bitcoiners, the free movement of people and capital is of the utmost importance and it seems that sometimes this is possible across the Swiss border
It feels really great to be able to meet bitcoiners from around the world and this party was one great opportunity to do so.
The Relai party was held at Relai’s office in the beautiful city of Zurich, Switzerland. In fact, it’s exactly on top of the building where The House of Satoshi is located. It is a cosy little social space where people can sit down, enjoy a locally made beer or wine (or was it some sort of champagne or mead?) The space was created to educate people about bitcoin, with some hints of shitcoin here and there. Clearly, Bitcoin is the dominant setting and theme of the place.
From the moment you step in, everything about the space gives off the right Bitcoin vibes. That’s also how the party went.
I don’t want to accidentally out any bitcoiner who was at the party but everyone from the Relai Team were present and were making sure everyone had a great time. Endless Beer, pizzas and snacks were available putting everyone in a good mood.
Among the mingling bitcoiners, some were notable figures, like the sudden and short appearance of the LocalBitcoins.com founder who I completely managed to miss.
Steph aka @proofofsteph was wearing a tactfully chosen orange striped dress. If there were a Ms Party elected, it would definitely have been her..Maxim Orlovksy and Olga Ukolova also made an appearance at the event. Some local bitcoiners also came around whose names I am unable to remember, (I’m so sorry.)
A bitcoiner called Kenobi also came around just to meet cool bitcoiners. He was willing to sacrifice a good night’s sleep to spend the whole night with the cool kids. Hopefully, his ride back home on the train wasn’t too exhausting.
The Goon was passing out copies of the Bitcoin Day newspaper, straight from El Salvador’s September edition on the day the Bitcoin law came into effect. Now that is some serious swag he was handing out like candy.People from Shift Crypto, the creators of the BitBox hardware wallet, were also around.
This party was one blast of a meetup that every bitcoiner can only wish to attend. Those who missed it will likely have to wait weeks or months until the next international meetup where more bitcoiners will be present from all around the world.
Every chance at organizing bitcoiners in one location in real life is rare. Don’t let borders or regulations stand in your way to meet those who matter the most in this revolution. Bitcoin truly deserves our participation.