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Virtual blockchain summit attendees set to get at least US$1m in Bitcoin payouts

Blockchain venture studio Draper Goren Holm's pledge is a push to drive adoption

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Hype around cryptocurrencies has elevated this year thanks to Bitcoin's return to US$10,000.

Los Angeles

CRYPTO mania is back in full force and the latest iteration of excitement during these pandemic times comes in the form of a new wrinkle on one of the oldest promotions: Free Bitcoin.

Tim Draper's blockchain venture studio, Draper Goren Holm, is pledging to give away at least US$1 million in Bitcoin payouts to attendees of its now-virtual Los Angeles blockchain summit set to take place later this year. The push to stimulate adoption hearkens back to the so-called Bitcoin Faucet set up by early advocate Gavin Andresen in 2010 that gave away tokens as rewards for completing tasks and as prizes for games.

Hype around cryptocurrencies has elevated this year thanks to Bitcoin's return to US$10,000 as well as the coin's halving, a technical event that was widely heralded as a positive price catalyst. In addition, many crypto fans have been heartened by widespread intervention and massive money-printing by global central banks in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which they see as constructive for digital assets. Mr Draper reiterated earlier this year that he expects Bitcoin to reach US$250,000 by 2022. "There is no better time to learn more about crypto and blockchain than right now," said Alon Goren, founding partner at Draper Goren Holm.

So far, the firm has seen close to 1,000 sign-ups, which equals to about US$10,000 in expected Bitcoin payouts.

Attendees of the LA Blockchain Summit, as it is known, are required to first open an account with eToro, a brokerage firm. They also have to spend money on cryptocurrencies on the platform to qualify for a ticket to the event and will get the Bitcoin payout at the conference in October. The venture studio said it will give out US$1 million at a minimum but is considering extending the campaign should interest heighten. It's expecting over 20,000 attendees.

Giveaways have always been part of the crypto world. Draper Goren Holm's move is also reminiscent of the so-called airdrops tactic employed by startups seeking to broaden ownership and raise the profile of blockchain projects. But with the new giveaway, the firm is hoping to stimulate mass adoption. It's made easier by the fact that attendees don't have to spend money on flights to the event, and with the conference moving to a virtual format, the company has a larger marketing budget, said Mr Goren.

Crypto adoption hasn't been as robust as many hoped. Interest started to wane following Bitcoin's late-2017 boom and bust and has remained tepid since. It's tough to get those outside the crypto universe excited because many are still unfamiliar with digital currencies, he said. BLOOMBERG

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