Bitcoin’s spirit animal is the honey badger. Bitcoin evangelist turned Bitcoin Cash promoter Roger Ver first popularized the meme in 2013 when he paid $1,500 a month for a billboard in California to display “Bitcoin is the Honey Badger of Money.”
Since then, the honey badger has been an elusive beast, occasionally appearing in memes and tweets as well as at its annual hunt on the Baltic Coast of Europe.
A Baltic Honeybadger sighting excites even the most hardcore Bitcoiners. Living on a diet of red meat and Latvian beer, lurking near cypherpunk stages and often spotted skulking over a computer screen checking and rewriting lines of code, the Baltic Honeybadger allures cypherpunks and Bitcoin (BTC) advocates alike.
The Baltic Honeybadger conference began in 2017 when speakers Andreas Antonopoulos and Elizabeth Stark graced the stage. As “the most OG Bitcoin conference,” the Riga-based event elevates privacy, anti-surveillance and cypherpunk principles.
Privacy is a human right
These ethics materialized on the Cypherpunk Stage. Frequently packed or with standing room only, the Cypherpunk Stage was strictly off-limits for cameras, recording devices and live streams.
A team of “Bitcoin Bears” (aka, security personnel) watched over the Honeybadger audience. No media, tweets or photos would venture onto the internet — all the action remained in the room.
During the conference opening, Max Keidun, founder of Honeybadger and CEO of Hodl Hodl and Debifi, announced that any guests found recording or photographing the Cypherpunk Stage would be thrown out of the conference and banned from Honeybadger for life. He added:
“We don’t joke in Eastern Europe.”
These principles permeated throughout the conference. Many attendees wore badges stating their desire to avoid photos, the conference goodie bag included a privacy-centric bandana, and it was common to hear people ask one another, “Are you doxed?” — essentially meaning, “Is your identity shared or concealed online?”
Freedom of speech was also important. One of the Cypherpunk Stage talks by Bitcoin activist Rikki compared some aspects of Bitcoin in El Salvador to central bank digital currencies.
Giacomo Zucco, a Bitcoin educator, described how “midwits” can get in the way of Bitcoin. With comedic intentions, he highlighted that…