The history of Bitcoin Ljubljana

This started as a twitter thread that is now a long form article.

In August 2021 a group of us who semi-regularly got together for beers and bitcoin-related discussions had a brilliant idea - why not make this a public event?

Back then there weren't any bitcoin meetups in our town Ljubljana and we weren't sure if there will be lots of interest for it, but then again we were meeting anyway so there was not much to lose. We brainstormed on the format and decided that we will each do a presentation on something we're interesting in - and this is how Bitcoin Ljubljana was born.

I got Zebedee's Jure Grahek to create this beautiful logo because you can't have a meetup without a logo right? Now that logo was done I felt confident enough to create the group.

My friends at Zebedee were also kind enough to give us a bunch of vouchers for their new wallet so we could introduce people to lightning and give them some free sats (i case free beer was not a good enough motivator). Thanks again Zebedee!

Peter generously volunteered their office as the first official home of the meetup so we also solved the space problem. But not for long.We started inviting (annoying) our friends and we had a nice group of 10-12 enthusiasts for the first couple of meetups. Free beer helped.

During the great oppression, i mean lockdowns, we had a couple of online meetups just to keep the streak going, sadly sharing a beer over ip was not invented yet. It was also a good learning experience - meeting in person is key as many(most?) participants came for the discussions and networking after the presentations, not necessarily the presentation itself.

Meanwhile the meetup crowd grew and our 7th meetup already needed a new location to accommodate all the bitcoiners thirsty for knowledge. And beer. Luckily Toni, the president of Bitcoin Association of Slovenia, was a regular visitor and volunteered to help me with the search for a new venue and also generously offered to cover the associated expenses with it (which the association is still doing to this day). He found a nice bar with a presentation space that has hosted every meetup since March 2022.

New venue brought a lot more people. We went from ~10 people meetups to a fully packed place with people sacrificing themselves to stay at the bar so others could listen in to the presentation. New venue also solved another issue - having a place to sit and chat for hours after the presentation. That enabled us to built a great community.

We had great presentations over the last 2.5years by many different people coming from all sorts of backgrounds. For some of them it was the first time on stage. This summer we also had the first foreign speaker - Katie The Russian. Sincere thanks to all of them, without their help we couldn't built this community.

During this time we were also translating Saifedean's Bitcoin Standard to Slovenian language, not knowing that this will snowball into many other translation efforts, including our very own Bitcoin library - Bitcoin Knjiznica. The once place where people can get all bitcoin books translated in Slovenian language, which at the time of writing consist of The Bullish case for Bitcoin, Fiat Standard and Bitcoin Standard. No doubt many more to come.

This was also the time when I left Slovenia and passed the mantle of making sure the meetups happen solely to Toni's capable hands. And he did more tna just that. He's responsible for other great events like this years Pizza day in Ljubljana:

Beginning of this year our little country got richer for another Bitcoin project - Toni and Klemen started their very own Bitcoin shop, a place for bitcoiners to buy bitcoin things. The community and its efforts kept growing and growing. More and more people came to meetups and started becoming active in our telegram group. Things grew so much that September this year a new meetup was spun of from Bitcoin Ljubljana on the other side of the country - Bitcoin Maribor, organized by Danilo Majhenic and Toni. Thanks to NiceHash for supporting the efforts of our sister event in Maribor!

November 2023, two years and 3 months after the first meetup, Slovenia, a country with only 2 million people had 3 separate bitcoin meetups in one week! If this is not a sign of a great community I don't know what is.

And just next week followed a presentation about bitcoin at a local high school of economics:

What started as couple of friends discussing lightning network over beers in a bit over two years grew to:

  • two monthly meetups, with Bitcoin Ljubljana regularly having 40+ visitors
  • Bitcoin Library
  • Bitcoin Shop

And most importantly - a great community.

All of this was accomplished mostly with proof of work by highly motivated bitcoiners, willing to sacrifice some (or occasionally) a lot of their time to make their corner of the world a little better. And make a lot of new friends along the way.

If you made it this far pleb - stop scrolling and go start your own meetup!