The biggest bitcoin event of the year, Inside Bitcoins New York, will start in five days. CoinFox asked Stewart Quealy about his work as an organizer, killer apps, and his personal views on bitcoin.

CoinFox: How do you feel about BitcoinConfNY? Any hopes or fears?
Stewart: Given that NYC is the world’s leading financial centre, I feel it’s also the ideal location for the largest bitcoin- and blockchain technology-focused event worldwide. Keep in mind that the Digital Currency Council is based here in Manhattan and their founder, David Berger, is speaking at the show. Likewise, the Wall Street Bitcoin Alliance is an influential advocacy group for financial market professionals and their executive director, Gil Luria, is participating as well. Bitcoin Center NYC is also quite influential in the cryptocurrency community and will be represented at the event. As Matthew Roszak of Tally Capital stated recently, “There is not one single whiteboard on Wall Street that does not have the word ‘bitcoin’ on it.”
CoinFox: Do you have a favourite bitcoin startup? If you do, please tell us more about it. Will we see it in New York?
Stewart: As conference director, I don’t play favourites but there are a multiplicity of compelling startups on tap at the NYC show including Augur, Factom, Airbitz, Noble Markets, Satoshi Fantasy, Bitwage, ProDataLab, BitGive Foundation, among others. Factom recently hired Morgan Stanley investment manager Jacob Dienelt as its head treasurer so lots is happening there. I would suggest attending the panel on “The Bitcoin Startup Ecosystem” or the session on “Bitcoin 2.0 and Blockchain Startups” if you are looking to dig deeper. You may also want to check out the “Bitcoin Startup Pitch/Competition” which promises to be entertaining.
CoinFox: What are your thoughts on the second version of the BitLicense?
Stewart: Industry insiders seem to be divided on the issue.  Some consider it an improvement and others are convinced the second iteration creates serious disincentives to start and operate virtual currency businesses in the state of New York. No doubt, this topic will prove to be a considerable bone of contention at the conference and should spark some spirited debate and heated discussion.
CoinFox: Do you believe that we will finally have the ‘killer app’ for bitcoin this year? If so, do you see one among the participants of BitcoinConfNY?
Stewart: Perhaps the greatest potential for Bitcoin is in its underlying technology rather than as a currency. At this point in its progression, the “killer app” of the blockchain has yet to be affirmed but perhaps it will reveal itself at Inside Bitcoins NYC.
CoinFox: Several major banks have expressed a cautious interest in the blockchain technology. Do you think that they will begin to use it in the near future? Which bank might be the first to do so?
Stewart: I don’t know who will be first but I do believe banks will begin implementing blockchain technology sooner than many anticipate.  The Bank of England called the technology “a significant innovation” in a report last fall. Likewise, Bank of New York Mellon is already experimenting with bitcoin in an effort to discover how it can make financial transactions more efficient. Bank of America Merrill Lynch might have been the first major US bank to publish a report on bitcoin back in 2013 but there have been plenty of similar bank-generated reports since, which is a sign of things to come. On the flip side, several blockchain tech startups have already started poaching talent from traditional banks.
CoinFox: In March, 3DHubs announced a new partnership with BitPay. This partnership will allow bitcoin users to use 3D printers around the world. Do you believe that 3D printing and blockchain technologies will keep growing alongside each other?
Stewart: Yes, I believe both are poised for profound symbiotic growth and share the fact that they are based on disruptive ideologies that emphasize innovation along with the removal of centralized institutions. Bram de Zwart at 3D Hubs explained it best when he said they are both platforms that enable communities to change large industries with a bottom-up approach to manufacturing and payments. As you already know, MecklerMedia also happens to run a popular event called Inside 3D Printing so I am bullish on the future of both topics.
CoinFox: In the constant debate between cryptoanarchists and “business bitcoiners”, which side do you fall on?
Stewart: I gravitate more toward the business side but I’m fascinated by both.
CoinFox: A personal question. How did you first find out about bitcoin and why do you like it?
Stewart: I’ve always been a fan of open source technology and I’ve worked closely with groups like the Apache Software Foundation in the past so the self-reliant nature and anti-establishment mindset behind bitcoin is something I found appealing. I first heard about bitcoin during an event we used to run called Social Gaming Summit, which featured a panel on the future of gambling and accepting bitcoin for in-app payments. Kind of a funny way to learn about it but not entirely surprising given that gambling accounts for more than 50% of all bitcoin transactions.