This article was originally published on the Atlas Network website.
Atlas Network’s Radical Innovation Summit—held in collaboration with Universidad de la Libertad and Centro Ricardo B. Salinas Pliego—brought blockchain experts to Mexico City on August 31, 2023 to exchange ideas and develop their plans to advance sensible policy solutions in the decentralized technology space that defend innovation, entrepreneurship, and privacy.
The summit included a new evolution of Atlas Network’s Think Tank Shark Tank pitch competition: a special edition focused on decentralized technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency. This event featured several tech policy experts from around the world pitching to judges their innovation-focused projects, competing for a pool of $30,000 in grant prizes.
Grant McCarty, co-executive director of Bitcoin Policy Institute, emerged as the judges’ choice for the grand prize winner for his plan to “produce an economic research report on innovations in cryptocurrency, specifically Bitcoin, and then give lawmakers and their staff hands-on experience with the technology so they can better legislate this young and volatile industry.” Joseph McKinney (Startup Societies Network) and Felix Hosse (EGO Institute, Germany) won runner-up prizes.
Grant believes that politicized rhetoric leads many Americans to view Bitcoin as a potentially destructive technology. He points to the counterexample of the millions of people around the world—many of them living under authoritarian regimes—who rely on cryptocurrency in their daily lives. His project’s mission is to give policymakers a better understanding of the freedom-unlocking potential of Bitcoin.
“Bitcoin is a cool and interesting technology that is ultimately important for freedom and human rights because it is fully decentralized,” Grant said. “No one person or company controls it. Bitcoin is free and open access to financial infrastructure for anyone, anywhere around the world who has access to the internet.”
Of his fellow contestants, Grant said, "These people are working on some truly amazing things, and I'll be working with them on projects outside of this. This is the beginning of some amazing collaboration. I enjoyed getting feedback all throughout the day. The project that I came in ready to pitch ended up being vastly different from the project I ended up pitching. The feedback I got today, both from the other contestants and the brain trust that we had, was instrumental in my success. I'm incredibly grateful for this opportunity."