Cryptocurrency conferences have become huge money-making machines. A major annual blockchain conference – CoinDesk’s Consensus Conference – commences this week. The three-day event is expected to draw in 4000 attendees with tickets roughly costing $2,000 USD each. Some crypto influencers are unhappy with the exorbitant ticket prices.
The CoinDesk Consensus Conference is one of the bigger events on the block. This year it will feature speakers of the likes of Twitter Inc. CEO Jack Dorsey, FedEx CEO Frederick Smith, and James Bullard – President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Dorsey’s financial and mobile payments company Square recently launched bitcoin trading on its app.
The three-year-old event has seen exponential growth, starting at 400 attendees in 2015 to the more than 4000 expected this year. With ticket prices as they are, the event should pocket at least $8 million. These conferences have drawn more interest since institutional companies have jumped on board.
During “Blockchain Week” in New York City, payments firm Ripple has organized a private VIP gathering where Hip Hop star Snoop Dogg will entertain attendees. The event is to promote XRP.
In mid-December last year, bitcoin had skyrocketed to $20,000, more than double its current value. Crypto events have recently been attracting more people than ever. The overall crypto hype may have faded, but with new entrants – traditional investors – comes increased attention on the digital asset space.
Michael Oved, co-founder of token trading platform AirSwap, said:
“Consensus does have a reputation of, if you speak at that event you’re on the map.”
A few days ago, Oved’s blockchain conference dubbed Fluidity attracted more than 700 people. The tickets to the event cost $150 to $250, which Oved claims was purposefully kept low as he feels it is “an opportunity for us to talk about the things we’ve been working on”. Ticket sales for the Brooklyn event would have raised at least $140,000.
According to Bill Barhydt, CEO of cryptocurrency wallet app Abra:
“Clearly there’s a lot of money to be made in the enterprise IT world, and blockchain seems to be the flavor of month.”
However, the high prices of conference tickets have disappointed some, including Ethereum co-founder VItalik Buterin. In an April 26th tweet, Buterin complained:
“By the way, the conference costs $2-3k to attend. I refuse to personally contribute to that level of rent seeking.”
In another tweet, Buterin expressed his intention to boycott the conference because of what he called CoinDesk‘s poor standards of journalism:
I am boycotting @coindesk's Consensus 2018 conference this year, and strongly encourage others to do the same. Here is my reasoning why.
1. Coindesk is recklessly complicit in enabling giveaway scams. See their latest article on OMG, which *directly links* to a giveaway scam. pic.twitter.com/WDr9uZ8XOw
— Vitalik "Not giving away ETH" Buterin (@VitalikButerin) April 26, 2018
It is unclear if these events help startups jump-start their crypto ventures. With a string of conferences nowadays, one thing is clear: crypto events are a massive business.
Have crypto conferences like the Consensus conference become money-making enterprises or do they actually contribute to the ecosystem? Share your views in the comments section below.
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