Consensus 2022 started in Austin this week.
This is a conference organized by the media company CoinDesk, which focuses on Web 3, Cryptocurrency, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, known as DAOs, Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs, Metaverses, etc..
A few hundred people participated in the first Consensus in 2015, and it has over 17,000 registered ticket holders. A general admission ticket costs almost $ 1,600, and the more expensive ProPass and Piranha passes are both sold out.
Consensus has more than 600 speakers on 23 stages and is spread across the Austin Convention Center, Hilton, Fairmount and various other downtown locations. It has a south to southwest feel on a smaller scale.
There’s a clear sense of FOMO with all the lineup and exhibitions happening at once, plus dozens of happy hours, parties, gallery shows, DJ’s, bands and even a night on the town. casino.
The event is also taking place during a volatile US economy with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, rising inflation, soaring gas prices and tensions created by the war between Russia and Ukraine, said Michael Casey, Chief Content Officer for CoinDesk. , during his opening speech on Friday. Cryptocurrency, like the stock market, is also experiencing some turbulence. Bitcoin hovers around $ 29,333, down from its record high of $ 68,990 in November 2021. And Ethereum has fallen to $ 1,676, from its record high of $ 4,865, also in November 2021.
On top of that, there have been cryptocurrency errors and scams, Casey said.
Recently, the collapse of the Terra project resulted in a combined loss of about $ 60 billion between stablecoin, also known as UST, and its sister cryptocurrency luna, according to CNBC. A few sessions at Consensus look at what went wrong.
“Since the beginning of 2021, over 46,000 people have reported losing over $ 1 billion in crypto to fraud,” according to the Federal Trade Commission.
But despite the massive volatility, bankrupt companies and fraud, cryptocurrency has taken hold globally and increasingly in the United States. In September 2021, the Republic of El Salvador became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender. Consensus has members of Congress and the Biden administration present and as speakers discussing regulation and consumer protection. But they are also talking about establishing a stablecoin and creating a digital dollar.
Recently, China unveiled its digital yuan or e-CNY, a digital version of its sovereign currency that is not a cryptocurrency but is instead issued and controlled by the People’s Bank of China, according to CNBC.
And NFTs have opened up a whole new way for artists and creatives to make money in the digital age. Some major brands, including Mastercard, Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi and the NBA, have also embraced NFTs as a way to engage their audiences.
There is also a lot of talk at the Metaverse conference, which was not really an issue when Consensus held its last conference in New York in 2019.
Consensus organizers decided to move the event to Austin because it has the infrastructure to handle large crowds, Casey said.
“It was a big decision to leave New York. But Austin made a smooth transition,” he said.
Mayor Steve Adler said Austin is known as a city with a tolerance for risk-taking, and that is what creates innovation and drives progress.
“It’s a city that is innovative, creative and entrepreneurial at its core,” Adler said.