The time is upon us. Starting today, the so called Blockchain Week for this year will begin, during which many different events regarding blockchain development and cryptocurrency implementation will take place. Seminars, forums, meet-ups and many more, all within a week, but the one that attracts the most attention is the Consensus.
This yearly event, which will hold their 5th iteration in 2019, is known for its openness (compared to other events during Blockchain week, which are more expensive or require invitations) and diversity in content. With talks dedicated to industries from manufacturing to transportation, 8,000 attendees coming from more than 100 countries and more than 250 speakers, Consensus 2018 was arguably the biggest blockchain-related event in the whole year.
On top of that, companies like IBM, Ripple, Citi and Microsoft made appearances as sponsors, held conferences or participated in the organization of the event, which worked not only as an attraction point for users, but as a chance for companies to showcase their advances and proposals to enter the cryptocurrency market.
But what is there to expect from this year’s version of the event? We looked at the agenda and recent news to extract the most relevant topics and conferences to pay attention to:
The aim of every blockchain event is to showcase the development and implementation of new technologies into the environment, whether to improve stability, speed or to simply widen the reach of these technologies into new users.
The most anticipated topic to be discussed is how more and more industries are willing to adopt blockchain into their traditional processes. We’ve seen how tokenization and digitization of assets have already made their way into art sales and real estate, how supply chains and shipping processes take advantage of distributed ledgers and smart contracts are being adapted for new sectors in a steady pace.
Along with this, the projection of these industries into the future is also a discussion topic, considering how blockchain can disrupt into other technologies like AI, Internet-of-Things and 3D printing. Also, advancements in privacy and crypto mining are also expected to be discussed extensively, with IBM sponsoring some panels about related topics.
More focused towards the growth of blockchain within crypto trading and capital raising, the Business track of Consensus 2019. Regulations and sanctions are expected to be talked about in great detail, because those are the main concerns developers and investors have when the topic of cryptocurrency is set on the table and, with so many industries adopting blockchain, it’s logical that the interest in regulations is on the rise.
Other talks are expected to shine light on topics like ICOs and what we could learn from their rise and fall from popularity, while using this lessons to think of new ways to raise funds for startup projects, and blockchain implementation in the gaming industry, considering how it represents a market worth over $78 billion, with 2.5 billion users and its revenues are heavily tilted towards the software side.
The third focus of Consensus, oriented directly towards trading, is set to examine recent trends in crypto-trading and digital asset management.
This big branch of topics is one that benefits greatly from the insight of great minds outside of the blockchain environment, which gives them an outside view topped with their experience in other trading landscapes.
Plenty of speakers in this branch have experience in Wall Street, a model that many exchanges learn from and try to replicate its best aspects while improving on others. Other speakers come with extensive experience in Silicon Valley, which can provide great opinions from the developer side of things.
All in all, this is an event that deserves every inch of attention any crypto enthusiast can give it. Not only will these conferences determine which will be the main topics to discuss right now, but they also give speakers from other backgrounds the opportunity to give their insight and opinion on the growth of blockchain.
We will be updating this article with news every day, so stay tuned!
Monday 13th - Recap
First day is over and the influence of the event is already showing all around the market. From small hints from eBay towards a possible adoption of crypto payment to big anticipated announcements, like Bakkt initiating tests this summer, day 1 of Consensus gave us quite the look about what this event can truly be.
Another great announcement was the partnership between Flexa, a cryptocurrency payments network, with the Winklevoss twins, as an effort to push some renowned retailers into accepting crypto. This means customers of stores like Barnes & Noble, GameStop, Office Depot, Regal Cinemas (and more) would be able to make purchases using their SPEDN wallet, which supports BTC, ETH, BCH and GUSD.
But all of these news pale in comparison to the huge rise of Bitcoin, breaking the $8,000 mark for the first time since last July. Since the whole market followed this trend, analysts and enthusiasts attribute this “bullish run” to the big impact of Consensus, which can imply a steady climb for the rest of the week.
Tuesday 14th - Recap
In events of this kind, the second day is usually slower on the news than the first one. Even if we did not get any huge or greatly anticipated announcements, we still got some interesting talking points, and BTC still floats above $8,000, with the rest of the market catching up on the rising trend.
A main topic was the regulation of cryptocurrency, with special focus on the SEC lack of decision towards the potential approval of a crypto-based ETF. We saw Hester Pierce, an SEC Commissioner known for her positive attitude towards cryptocurrency, saying that “the time for a Bitcoin ETF was right a year ago” and that the SEC should provide guidance instead of restriction. On the other hand, the SEC themselves delayed their announcement on a Bitwise ETF.
Meanwhile, we saw personalities the likes of Kevin O’Leary and Anthony Pompliano talk to CNBC about institutional investors, and the reasons why these are gaining interested in entering the crypto environment.
Lesser announcements include Coinbase opening more trading opportunities (XRP for NY residents and USDC in 85 countries), Samsung adding their wallet to cheaper phones, Charles Hoskinson (Cardano) partnering with Polymath and Uphold implementing Ledger’s Vault to increase security.
Wednesday 15th - Recap
Consensus 2019 is officially over, and its last day gave us some good news, but BTC and many others started to drop a little bit. An interesting insight into the market is that Coinbase said that they manage $1 billion in assets from institutions, which is hard proof of the interest for entering the market.
To further strengthen that point, EDF (the 5th largest electric company in the world) launched certain simulator DApps in the Ethereum network and Deloitte (one of the “Big Four” in the world of professional services) will also launch a large project on Ethereum.
Lastly, some political figures gave their insight on cryptocurrency. Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, gave his view on cryptocurrency before his retirement:
I recently identified several factors that are challenging the work of regulators: the extraordinary pace of exponential technological change, the disintermediation of traditional actors and business models, and the need for technological literacy and big data capability.
We also saw presidential pre-candidate Andrew Yang stating his viewpoint on how regulating organizations “owe some degree of clarity” to the public who’s less experienced in the subject, and that their secrecy and lack of communication is “unfair to folks” who don’t have the clarity required.
All in all, the event seemed to cater to all the attendees’ needs, so it’s a matter of waiting until the official numbers and statistics to show if it kept up with the expectations.