Consensus 2018: What We Learned from the Cryptoforum of the Year


Buterin’s boycott, multimillion-dollar bets, rented Lamborghinis and breakfast on the floor next to the toilets. A story about the premier cryptogathering of our time.

On 14-16 May, New York hosted the largest blockchain conference in the world. There were 8,500 participants who splashed out a total of $17m on tickets. The 250 speakers included Charlie Lee (Litecoin), Jed McCaleb (Stellar, Ripple), Jack Dorsey (Twitter, Square) and other global figures.

However, the father of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, refused to take part. Firstly, he didn’t like the ticket pricing ($2,500). Secondly, he accused CoinDesk (the main organisers of Consensus) of putting links to malicious websites in their articles. They apologised, saying that this did in fact happen once, but it was due to human error.

Or maybe Vitalik just didn’t want to go to a conference sponsored by Lisk? After all, some consider this blockchain platform a strong competitor for Ethereum.

Hodlers worldwide ordered oysters and prostitutes, anticipating a rapid rise in Bitcoin because of the conference (which had always been the case in the past), but it actually fell by 5%.

But from the sidelines everything looked great. The Hilton Midtown in Manhattan was hired out for the event and Lamborghinis glittered by the entrance. Although it did later turn out that they had been rented by the organisers for $1,000 a day. Attendees had to take a cab.

The CIO of Altana Digital Currency Fund, Alistair Milne, didn’t take too kindly to the overblown extravagance on display.

He still needs to see the kids of Latin American dictators and teachers in oil-rich Arab countries.

A lot was said over the three days. But, unfortunately, there was nothing this good 🙂

Some of the interesting things said by speakers:

  • Jed McCaleb noted that money has a strong network effect. In order for Bitcoin to scale and evolve, a large number of people need to be brought onto its side. But at this stage, we need services that use both fiat money and cryptocurrency. This means interaction and transformation, which is the only way people will understand how to get to the next level.
  • David Schwartz said that interaction between cryptocurrencies could create a perfect system like TCP/IP, while Charlie Lee sees danger for users that don’t have a good technical background in UI.
  • FedEx CEO Fred Smith said that blockchain is “the next big disruption” and its application in logistics will significantly expand the industry’s horizons (hopefully not in the same way as Confido).
  • President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis James Bullard appealed for cryptoenthusiasts to substantiate their promises for new currencies. Otherwise they will always be highly volatile and eventually turn into the Venezuelan Bolivar. Which, as we know, has been worthless for a long time.
  • Former JPMorgan Chase bankers Amber Baldet and Patrick Mylund Nielsen announced that they are creating a platform like the AppStore for downloading decentralised apps. The project is called Clovyr and it needs investors.
  • After the Clovyr presentation, Blockchain Capital partner Jimmy Song and founder of Ethereum ConsenSys Joseph Lubin got in the mood for gambling their bitcoins. The former stated that the projects presented at the conference seem like “magical blockchain dust” and only Bitcoin has a future. The latter said that’s not true and suggested betting all their remaining BTC on it. Song’s wallet is said to be worth 1-5 billion dollars.
  • The Winklevoss twins declared that their exchange Gemini is the first to list ZCash.

And, of course, there was no escape from the reaction on social media. There was a shitload of it.

Instead of a conclusion, we’ll just leave you with someone else’s tweet. Because we completely agree.

If you know something that we don’t, feel free to leave a comment below.

In blockchain we trust!

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