The ‘Town Hall’ space at the PayPal offices in San Jose, California, was packed with hundreds of people, many having to stand. The meetup page for the bitcoin event lists over 700 people that had indicated a desire to attend.
Part of a regular series held by the company, the event included employees of PayPal and eBay, alongside members of the bitcoin community, and was intended to introduce people to the concepts and technology behind bitcoin.
The main speaker on the day was Scott Robinson, who heads the bitcoin incubator program at the Plug and Play Technology Center and hosts a weekly Silicon Valley Bitcoin meetup there every Tuesday night.
During Robinson’s presentation, he pointed out that many people probably have not heard about bitcoin because for most, the US dollar has been an effective currency.
He told the audience:
“We’ve never really been asked questions about the dollar. We’ve never really worried about the dollar.”
Explaining bitcoin to newcomers is not easy, especially with a large audience. Robinson tackled teaching bitcoin at the event by describing bitcoin’s novel approach. “Bitcoin is both a protocol and a currency,” he said.
Part of Robinson’s talk was dedicated to discussing how bitcoin solves the Byzantine Generals problem, an issue that other digital currency predecessors to bitcoin failed to figure out.
“The practical consequence of solving this problem means that any Internet user can send digital property to one another.”
During his presentation, Robinson asked how many people at the event owned bitcoin, and about one third of the audience raised their hands.
PayPal Hosts Introduction to Bitcoin Event