Decentralize Finance Conference at Próspera

by | Jun 12, 2023 | Blog

On May 5-7, the ZEDE Próspera hosted a gathering of entrepreneurs for an entry in the ongoing series of Builders’ Summits that are taking place on the beautiful island this year. Billed as unconferences for their emphasis on networking over traditional speeches, this summit featured decentralized finance as its theme. Niklas Anzinger, the founder of Infinita VC, again organized the event.

Niklasmacaw

Niklas Anzinger

Approximately 30 builders, some with family members, attended the three-day meeting. They represented a variety of businesses, all innovating around the concept of start-up cities. Several companies were involved with Bitcoin or blockchain technology.

Multiple countries, such as the US, UK, Germany, Dubai, Brazil, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and of course, Honduras, were represented.

Many attendees arrived on Thursday, May 6, and got a head start on getting to know each other at dinner, which took place at the Cove Restaurant in Palmetto Bay. The lovely beach scenery added to the relaxed atmosphere.

The first day of the conference began in a meeting room at the Beta Building in Próspera with Erick Brimen, CEO of Honduras Próspera, Inc., describing his vision for the zone. He also updated the group on the progress that Próspera is making despite opposition from the Honduran government.

Niklas Anzinger followed with an overview of what has been happening with new cities, network states, and technology within the space. He had just come from Montenegro, where he had organized an event combining the Free Cities movement with the cryptocurrency movement. The “pop-up city” of Zuzalu had seen a convergence of crypto leaders like Vitalik Buterin and Balaji Srinivasan with Free Cities leaders like Titus Gebel and Massimo Mazzone.

After lunch, “crypto god” Eric Voorhees was interviewed virtually by Niklas in an informal fireside chat. He had many insights  to share with the group, especially in response to questions from some of the builders. For example, he believes that the threat to bitcoin from politicians and bureaucrats has been less than expected because they have too much hubris and ignorance to realize that cryptocurrency is an existential threat to their fiat currency monopoly on money. Also, he believes that bitcoin, rather than other cryptocurrencies, is the best chance to replace fiat currencies with decentralized money, but he sees important uses for other cryptos, including stablecoins. He stressed the importance of self-custody.

Much of the afternoon was devoted to a tour of the Duna Residences, which are still under construction but expected to be completed and ready for move-in later this summer. Finally, the group gathered for dinner at the Palmetto Bay Brewery, where spirited conversations took place until the restaurant closed.

Dune Residences

Duna Residences currently under construction in Próspera

One conversation that a visiting documentary maker filmed was a friendly debate between Erick Brimen of Próspera and the team of Alex Ugorji and Joyce Brand of the ZEDE Ciudad Morazán over which is the better business model for a Free City. The conclusion was that both business models (and others) are needed to create competition in the market for living together.

The second day started at the gorgeous Bitcoin Education Center, which features fantastic views of the island. Located at the highest point on the island, the building offers views of both the north and south shores. Dušan Matuška began the day by describing his Amity Age Academy, which uses the building as the center for education about Bitcoin.

Amity Age2

Amity Age, Bitcoin Education Center in Próspera

Other speeches included Ricardo González talking about doing business in Próspera and Christian Betancourt describing Seshat Bank and how it came to offer unique banking services in Próspera. After lunch, Matthew Queen spoke about insurance jurisdictions.

The afternoon session broke for fun. Some of the group went snorkeling and scuba diving. Others visited the Mayan Eden Animal Sanctuary to hold macaws and sloths and watch capuchin monkeys play. Still others used the time for discussing business. Another restaurant offering relaxed dining and conversation was the Campfire beach club, where the group reconvened for dinner.      

The morning of the third day was a time for rest, with the gathering resuming in the afternoon in the Bitcoin Education Center. Several hours were spent on a pitch competition. Sixteen builders presented business pitches ranging from a small proposal for selling Honduran coffee directly to North Americans to a complex plan for a telecom company. Aside from the competition, some presenters received promises of investments in response to their pitches.

After dinner, the winner of the competition was announced. Alex Ugorji had already left the island when Niklas Anzinger announced that Alex’s proposal for a solar panel business with tokenized investment had won. His prize was presented to him by phone. The event was closed out with a Karaoke party at the Bitcoin Center.

Alex wins

Alex Ugorji wins pitch competition

The Decentralized Finance Builders’ Summit at Próspera was a great success enjoyed by all. The meeting of people who are innovating in different ways that startup cities need is important for the Free Cities movement. We are now seeing these kinds of connections being made around the world.