Hello Africa,

Bitcoins-Life-Changing Impact

I recently just returned from an incredible few days at the Plan B conference in Lugano, Switzerland. As a Bitcoin enthusiast, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend this premier Bitcoin event. For me, this trip marked several major firsts: my first time leaving Africa and visiting an European country, as well as my first time speaking on such a big stage. I want to share some of my adventures from this unforgettable experience with you

From meeting some of the biggest names in Bitcoin to exploring the scenic city, it was a non-stop few days full of learning and excitement. As someone who had never left the African continent before, it was surreal to fly across the world and find myself in the pristine surroundings of Lugano. Stepping on stage to present on a big stage was also incredibly nerve-wracking but an amazing feeling.

Keep reading for a rundown of the experiences that made this such a momentous conference for me, both professionally and personally. I created memories that will stick with me for a lifetime. This conference marked major firsts for me and reinforced why it’s so important to continue growing Bitcoin adoption in Africa.

The Unexpected Invitation

It all began when we received a direct message on Twitter from Giw Zanganeh in January 2023, requesting a meeting. I jumped into the meeting where we discussed the Africa Free Routing project, and he seemed to like it. Then he shared the good news about how they wanted me to speak about our project. It was the best news I had ever received; I was soon travelling abroad! Of course, I quickly responded with a “yes.” Then the journey of preparation began. They also mentioned that the trip would be fully funded by Plan B, including the visa application fees. I am so grateful for this as would not have been able to afford it otherwise. Needless to say I was thrilled. Fortunately, the visa application process was stress-free, and I couldn’t wait for the D day to arrive.

My Journey to Lugano

The day finally came; I could hardly sleep the night before. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and at the same time, I couldn’t believe it. So, I left my house for Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, filled with excitement. My flight was scheduled to depart at 11:59 pm, but I arrived at the airport by 3 pm. I didn’t want anything to risk missing such a great opportunity. I checked in early, but our flight was delayed, so we ended up leaving around 12:40 am. It was my first time flying on such a large aeroplane. Incidentally, the first time I ever left Nigeria or flew on a plane was in December 2022 to the African Bitcoin Conference in Accra. Another first that Bitcoin made possible.

We arrived in Paris later than expected, and I missed my connecting flight as a result. Thanks to Air France, a new schedule was booked for me, giving me an extra three hours to relax and explore the airport. The sights I saw were mind-blowing; they were so beautiful. I took a couple of pictures and videos before it was time to board the plane. We arrived in Milan around 5 pm, and Plan B had arranged for a private courier to transport me to Lugano. I felt like a king! I arrived in Lugano around 6 pm European time and was taken directly to Hotel Walter au Lac, lugano, where my accommodation was booked. The hotel room was more beautiful than any I had stayed in before. It had a balcony with a lovely view. I was thrilled and couldn’t help but share some videos and pictures. Then I freshened up and immediately got into bed because I was so tired.

Megasley In Milan Airport
Megasley at Milan Malpensa Airport, Italy
Megasley In Paris Airport
Megasley at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France.

The Grand Day Arrives

The morning came, and I had a nice prayer session with one of my African Bitcoiner colleagues, Sarah, before I got up to prepare for Day 1 of the big event. It was a significant day for me because I was presenting my talk in the afternoon. The very first big name I met was Joe Nakamoto, a Bitcoin journalist for Cointelegraph. I encountered Joe at the hotel restaurant while he was having breakfast. I was delighted to meet him because, without him, Plan B might not have noticed the existence of Africa Free Routing. Joe had interviewed me after we launched Nigeria Free Routing, and he had published it on Cointelegraph. The publication had gone viral in the community. When I saw Joe, I couldn’t help but walk up to him and introduce myself. He was very welcoming.

Megasley at the conference center in Lugano
Megasley at the Conference center in Lugano
Megasley at the conference center in Lugano

I arrived at the conference venue around 8 am. I met Kgothatso just outside the venue, and he welcomed me and guided me to the registration stand. I forgot to mention that I had a tough time charging my phone. Apparently, the electric plugs in Lugano are entirely different from what we have in Nigeria. So my phone battery died before I could register. Kgothatso and I had a very nice conversation about increasing the adoption of Bitcoin in Africa and the upcoming adopting Bitcoin conference in Cape Town next January. He also encouraged me to network with as many people as I could and to take note of the sessions I attended.

Next, I met Stephan Livera, and I introduced myself and what we do to him. I told him about how much we loved his podcast and how we never missed it. He appreciated it, and I asked for a picture, which he obliged.

Megasley with Stephan Livera
Megasley with Kgothatso

Then I met Abubakar and introduced myself and what we do to him as well. He is a responsible and kind man. We had an extensive conversation about Bitcoin in Africa, our Bitcoin stories, and even some aspects of our personal lives. It was a really great conversation, and I realized we had a lot in common. In between, I also met a couple of less well-known Bitcoin enthusiasts; I shared information about what we do, and they talked about their own work, and we networked.

I attended a masterclass on running Lightning Nodes in the Cloud by Massimo Musumeci. While seeking solutions for our node’s force closure and remote signing issues, the session didn’t provide much help in that regard. However, Massimo did recommend Voltage as the ideal platform for Lightning nodes which we definitely agree with! I met Obi Nwosu from Fedi and Farida from the African Bitcoin Conference during the launch session and introduced myself to them and had a conversation with Farida.

Megasley on the P2P stage delivering a keynote presentation

Then I met Kevin Rooke just minutes before my talk. He’s a very friendly and approachable person. Apparently, he was moderating the session at that time, so he called me up for my talk. When I stepped up to the podium, my heart threatened to beat out of my chest. Looking out at the sea of expectant faces, I took a deep breath and launched into my talk. The overwhelming nervousness was quickly replaced by joy and pride as I shared our progress in growing the Lightning network in Africa. After all the hard work, it was so fulfilling to be able to share it on this global stage. Stepping off the stage, I was overwhelmed by the support from fellow Bitcoin enthusiasts congratulating me on my presentation. Taking it all in, I was filled with motivation to keep pushing forward.

Megasley with Kevin Rooke
Megasley With Massimo Musumeci
Megasley with Massimo Musumeci

Day 2

The second day was even more exciting for me as I didn’t feel any pressure at all, having delivered my talk the day before. The session I was looking forward to the most was a masterclass session on “Monitoring Lightning nodes to optimize performance” by Bastian Feder and Adrian Pauli. It was a great masterclass, and I gained a lot of useful insights on effectively managing a Lightning node. I attended a couple of sessions in between, including a panel session on “Bitcoin Ossification: curse or blessing” with Adam Back, John Carvalho, Giacomo Zucco, Jameson Lopp, and Aaron Van Wirdum. I took the opportunity to meet the legendary Adam Back after the session. He seemed to be in a hurry, so we couldn’t talk much, but we did manage to take a picture together. I saw and met many popular and lesser-known names in the Bitcoin community and connected with a lot of them.

Megasley With Adam Back
Megasley with Adam Back
Megasley at the Conference center
Megasley at the conference center

Afterward, I took some time to walk around the city of Lugano. I didn’t want to miss the chance, as my return flight was scheduled for the next morning. Lugano is such a beautiful city, and I was thrilled by the sights I saw. I took a couple of pictures and videos before heading back to the venue for the after-party. We all had a great time eating, drinking, and dancing at the party. I left very early the next morning.

Taking it all in, I was filled with motivation to keep pushing forward. This conference marked a major milestone both professionally and personally, and I returned home more inspired than ever to drive Bitcoin adoption across the continent. Indeed, Bitcoin does change lives! And I am profoundly grateful for it. Just two years ago, I had no immediate plan of leaving Nigeria yet here I am, already back from a trip across the world.


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