I've attended the first Bitcoin meetup in Stellenbosch yesterday. More than 50 people gathered at the University of Stellenbosch - which btw. has an amazing media lab. It was the first meetup of this kind in the area.
The quality of the talks was amazing. I was a little bit worried that is all about money and investment and bla but the opposite was the case. The talks and discussions have been quite technical and more about the possibilities of Bitcoin beyond what we currently see it/use it: transferring value.
I am pretty excited about micro-payment channels. It seems to be something that is not possible with any existing payment system - and something like that will decide about the success of Bitcoin.
The whole Contracts part of the protocol is something I need to look into more in detail and it seems it is currently not widely known yet.
Another interesting concept introduced by G-J van Rooyen is custotech.com. They use the Bitcoin network to disincentivise illegal sharing of digital goods. - anti pirating, DRM are topics... Whatever you think about that, the interesting thing is that it is an example of what the Bitcoin network can be used for and what possibilities it provides.
We really need to think beyond money transfer.
On thursday I will also be at the Cape Town meetup, discussing how to get more merchants accepting bitcoins.