Most crypto investors are being force-fed a constant stream of negative FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) regarding the state of crypto. The reality is regulators are removing scams and allowing the entrance of institutional money into a technologically revolutionary space. The current week has conference after conference providing exposure to millions across the globe while also facilitating mass adoption by both companies and individuals.
Adoption and Catalysts
Cryptocurrency investors have long known that the markets are exceptionally volatile. If an asset has the ability to gain 400 percent in value in a specific year it also has the ability to fluctuate 80 percent in the opposite direction. However, this volatility is the reason most are interested in crypto as a short-term investment; while the blockchain technology provides a revolutionary platform from a security standpoint. In December, the bull rally was operating in full swing with bitcoin (BTC) almost breaching the $20,000 price mark. Four months from the ecstatic highs BTC has retreated over 50 percent, and it would seem most are frightened regarding what the future holds.
This fear is unnecessary as blockchain technology clearly is revolutionizing the way information is stored, funds are transferred, information is protected, and will soon be integrated into almost all business platforms. BTCManager has recently published pieces regarding blockchain technology penetrating the freelance hiring industry, the energy industry, and the supply chain management sector. Blockchain technology is here to stay and is still in the infancy of being adopted by major corporations, governments, and society as a whole.
Adoption by corporations, governments and the general population will occur when the majority realize the underlying benefits of the blockchain. Conferences can provide a significant catalyst to the short-term price of cryptos presenting, and great exposure for the technology as a whole. This week has conferences that are not only cryptocurrency specific but also blockchain oriented, payments related, investing focused, and technology focused. What was once a group of coders in hooded sweatshirts in small hotel conference rooms has turned into events that cost in excess of $2,000 for admission with senior management of the highest valued publicly traded companies in the world in attendance. This week provides conferences as the optimal timing to reverse this negative sentiment and begin another round of mass adoption.
2018 SXSW Conference March 9-18, Austin, Texas
South by Southwest Conference and Festivals (SXSW) is held in Austin, Texas, from March 9-18. This conference highlights how they, “celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries.” This enormous festival in Texas brings together individuals across the technology, entertainment, film, and music industries for a one-week long massive conference. The Ethereum co-founder, Joseph Lubin already presented on the first day of this massive event. He highlighted how he wants intermediaries out of the music industry and can accomplish this by putting music on the blockchain. Very few conferences get co-founders of such major coins to present. SXSW is not a strictly blockchain conference but has a much more music, film, and entertainment atmosphere.
The current price of tickets for this ‘different’ type of conference for the crypto investor and blockchain activist is $1,325-$1,650 based on the days you want access and the type of access desired. The Music, Film, and Interactive Badges can be purchased individually for $1,325 and only provide access to conferences and presentations directly related to the named badge. For example, “Music” provides access to the “Music” related events. If an individual wishes to have access to all events, “Platinum” would be their choice for $1625. Once again it seems the price to attend these major conferences seems to be climbing with more important individuals presenting at each additional event.
With this event almost half over and the Ethereum co-founder having already presented this is an important one to be cognizant of even if you are not already attending. It is a very positive sign to see such significant venues such as SXSW host the biggest names in the crypto space for keynote presentations. The vast reach and positive benefits of the blockchain are only beginning to be understood by the masses.
MoneyLIVE: Retail Banking Europe Along with Cards & Payments 2018, March 12-14 (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
MoneyLIVE is hosting two of the first conferences of the week with tickets providing access to Retail Banking Europe along with Cards and Payments 2018. This conference is being held March 12-14 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Conference ticket prices are also a point of contention among attendees. This conference is no different with tickets to the financial services portion costing $1,645 or the standard three-day pass costing $2,145. The good news? These very expensive tickets provide access to both conferences and the added benefit of lunch and refreshments.
This three-day multi-faceted conference has each day broken down into specific sessions addressing areas of blockchain, banking, fintech, and payment systems. Each of these sessions are being led by important individuals in the associated industries. The first day is highlighted by an evening of FinTech with pitches being conducted by many up and coming FinTech companies. However, Day Two is when the bigger names in banking and crypto begin to emerge.
Day Two builds on Day One’s momentum immediately from the opening remarks which are presented by Sara Kocianski, a Senior Research Analyst for Business Insider. She is later followed by Christian Schafer, the Global Head of Payments, for Deutsche Bank. It is always important to see important figures from big banks along with media outlets present. However, a conference is really elevated when they have policy experts from regulatory bodies. Antonio Barzachki whose title is a: Policy Expert, Consumer Protection, Financial Innovation, and Payments, at the European Banking Authority. The long title is less important than who he works for; the European Banking Authority. This conference has regulators, media outlets, and major banks presenting alongside crypto experts from across the world.
A $2,145 ticket is hard to justify for most crypto investors. However, for those wanting to network with top individuals from regulatory bodies, banks, payment systems, and the crypto industry there is a ‘fee’ to be present. This conference may be slightly overpriced but would be a fantastic one to attend as its outreach is much further than the crypto space.
Battle of the Cryptos, March 13 (New York City, U.S.A.)
This event is only one day long, but its importance should not go unnoticed. The reasoning Battle of the Cryptos is so important is because of their keynote speaker. Patrick Byrne, the Founder of tZero and CEO of Overstock.com, will be delivering the keynote on March 13 at the Hyatt Hotel, Grand Central Terminal, New York, New York. tZero is in the hot seat after the SEC has announced they are reviewing tZero’s ICO. The review by the SEC of one of the largest ICOs allowing U.S. investors supported by the CEO of Overstock.com should come as no surprise.
However, each time the SEC comments on the “review” (not an investigation as they have made very clear), fear radiates through the spines of most in the crypto space. Investors and crypto activists should be welcoming regulators with open arms as that is the only way to filter out some of the scams that are rampant. Battle of the Cryptos is important because it demonstrates that even as an ongoing review of their ICO is taking place, the Founders are not hiding but becoming even more active.
There are many significant names than just tZero presenting at this one-day event. Trevor Koverko, the Founder and CEO of Polymath, will also be presenting having just concluded a hosted event in the Bahamas. This one-day event is attracting individuals from the most prominent ICOs along with a Partner from Pantera, Paul Brodsky, and the Founder and CEO of ARK Investment Management, Catherine Wood. Although not as impressive as ‘the Founder of Ethereum’ these are still very important names in the blockchain space.
This one-day event costs $799 to attend but if you want access to one on one meetings with any of the presenters the ticket increases to $1,199. This is a logical increase as facetime is always more expensive than listening from a crowd. However, even if the price increase is logical does it make sense to have one-day tickets starting at $799? This is for the crypto investor to decide.
The crypto markets, even in their three-month decline, provide for an ever-increasing demand and cost of attending these important conferences.
Middle East Blockchain and Fintech Conference, March 13-14 (Dead Sea, Jordan)
The Middle East Blockchain and Fintech Conference is a two-day event costing $1,500 for attendance. However, this conference in the price of the ticket is included a three-night stay in a five-star hotel along with complimentary refreshments, lunch, networking sessions, and post-event presentations. This conference does not have the most important names in blockchain attending but Jordan is attempting to position itself as a leader in the Middle East in blockchain technology, and the Jordan Chamber of Industry is one of the main sponsors and exhibitors of this event.
The speakers at this event are very well known in the Middle East and Jordan but are less familiar to those from other countries. Jordan is truly trying to legitimize blockchain and by having the Chairman of the Amman Stock Exchange alongside the Director General at the Association of Bank in Jordan, and the co-founder of the Jibrel network it becomes clear Jordan’s goal. This conference is integrating regulations, banking and the blockchain trying to create a better environment for the integration of the three.
This would be a great conference to attend if you are located in Jordan but would not be one quite worthwhile to travel to unless you want to partake in blockchain related business in Jordan. This event will provide a wide range of networking opportunities, and it is great to witness blockchain conferences occurring simultaneously on multiple continents.
Money 20/20 Asia, March 13-15 (Singapore, Indonesia)
If there was a “Best Conference” to be at this week, this would easily take the title. Money 20/20 Asia is being held in Singapore, March 13-15. This conference is not being held on the weekend and is asking $3,000 per ticket. Money 20/20 claims “everyone” is there and they are not lying. The top names presenting and sponsoring the Money 20/20 Asia conference include Google, Amazon, MasterCard, Discover and cryptocurrencies such as Monaco (MCO), Dash (DASH), and Ripple (XRP). It is obvious Money 20/20 attracts both leaders in blockchain and leaders in the technology sector.
This conference boasts over 350 speakers and over 80 hours of presentations. Discover, MasterCard and Google are all five-star sponsors of this conference. The presentations being conducted by companies are being conducted by the highest level individuals on the team demonstrating the sheer importance of this middle of the week conference.
Brad Garlinghouse is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ripple which is the company behind the XRP token. He is speaking specifically at this conference and has been featured in Forbes and CNBC many times. He will be accompanied by a newer position on the Ripple team, “The Head of Regulatory Relations,” seems like a title that would have only had to be recently created to deal with the government regulators around the world. MCO and DASH are also presenting and sponsoring this event to different degrees, and it is likely one of the three will have a big announcement over the three-day period.
Even if MCO, DASH, and XRP do not have a major announcement planned for this event, the sheer exposure will create a nice increase in volume and public sentiment as some of the top cryptocurrencies present alongside the most important names in technology and finance. This would 100 percent be the most important conference to attend and would possibly be worth traveling to if the funds were available.
APAC Blockchain Conference, March 13-15 (Melbourne, Australia)
The APAC Blockchain Conference was developed in partnership with the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA). The purpose was to look beyond the hype at the real impacts and potential of blockchain technology, specifically in Australia. This is the second annual event and is being held March 13-15. This even is focusing on identifying opportunities while overcoming the challenges currently facing revolutionary blockchain technology. This conference is unique as it has a focus on benefiting specifically Australia which has very significant regulations regarding how much crypto can be purchased weekly.
The ticket prices for the APAC Blockchain Conference start at $900 for a two-day package that includes only the conference (no workshops). This increases all the way to $3,000 for access to the full three days accompanied by a workshop. For those outside of Australia, these prices would not make sense for an Australia specific conference. However, for those focused on implementing blockchain tech in Australia while networking with top members of government and Australian blockchain enterprises, this provides the perfect venue.
Some of the important sponsors in the blockchain industry include Horizon State (HST) which specializes in aiding countries and organizations with voting procedures on the blockchain. With all the voting fraud alleged during 2016 and 2017 elections, HST seems to have a very bright future. VeChain which just underwent a rebranding and partnered with BMW and Oxford University will also be present and sponsoring. It is evident this conference has a focus on Australia, government regulation, and a few major cryptocurrencies.
This conference may not have the “biggest” names in crypto and industry but still has the founders of cryptocurrencies worth hundreds of millions of dollars in attendance. If you are anywhere near Melbourne and have a few thousand to spare this would be a great way to spend a few days this week!
4th Annual Block Chain Finance & Fin-Tech China 2018, March 15-16 (Shanghai China)
It is always intriguing when countries that crackdown and ban ICOs, cryptocurrency, and exchanges manage to host some of the largest events of the month. China has had a nationwide crackdown on ICOs and exchanges and threatens more regulation. Even with this atmosphere of FUD, blockchain conferences are continuing unscathed throughout major Chinese cities. Shanghai is due to host the 4th Annual Block Chain Finance & Fin-Tech conference March 15-16.
The headliner at this conference is NEM (XEM) with the majority of other booths and presenters being Chinese companies. Given this is a conference held in Shanghai, a finance capital of China, it seems likely the majority of presenters are Chinese. This conference is smaller when compared to many others on this list but still provides great exposure in a country whose government has been publicly very hesitant regarding crypto and the blockchain.
For those that happen to be in Shanghai, this would be a lovely event to attend to gauge how the Chinese population is reacting to the recent FUD. However, given the lack of media attention or big-name presenters, this conference should be skipped for crypto travelers looking for an event to attend.
TokenFest, March 15-16 (San Francisco, U.S.A.)
For the crypto enthusiasts, this would be the number one or number two most important event to attend this week. TokenFest is taking place in San Francisco, U.S.A., from March 15-16. This conference has a unique pricing breakdown depending on the type of experience the individual wishes to have. There is an Expo Pass, a Late Adopter, and a VIP Pass. The Expo Pass costs $297 and only includes exhibit access without lobby access. The Late Adopter is $997 but includes breakfast, lunch, networking events and special programs. The last option, the VIP Pass includes the works of the Late Adopter plus VIP Parties, Seating, Gifts, and special networking events. This event has many of members the top cryptocurrencies present with some choosing sponsorship roles.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bread (BRD), Ark (ARK), Qtum (QTUM) and Metal (MTL) are sponsoring this event with important companies such as Deloitte, Nano Ledger, and Steemit. When an individual spends over $250 on a ticket, it is always important to know the sponsors and presenters are of the caliber to make the experience worth it.
TokenFest should not disappoint. The founders of TokenFest are all speaking but so is Tim Draper, a founding partner of Draper Associates, Matthew Roznak the co-founder of Bloq, and Kathryn Harrison from IBM’s Blockchain Platform. The list goes on and on incorporating even more familiar names in blockchain and big business. One of the most notable speakers is Marshall Hayner, the CEO of MTL who has put his team back on track following a setback in December resulting in Bittrex delisting MTL. This event should provide ample opportunities for publicity, exposure and surprise announcements from many of the cryptocurrencies ‘correcting’ this week.
TokenFest is one of the conferences this week worth traveling to if you wish to network or watch presentations from the leaders in the crypto and blockchain space. This is the largest cryptocurrency dedicated event of the week, and its importance should not be ignored.
Blockchain Summit Bangalore 2018, March 16 (Bangalore, India)
At only $100 per ticket after the currency conversion the Blockchain Summit Bangalore, seems to be priced according to its population. This is a very positive sign as the attendance would probably be very minimal if they attempted to charge thousands of dollars to an impoverished Indian population. The benefits of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies are enhanced for the underbanked populations of the world and India hosts many of those individuals.
This conference is very small and intimate compared to the bigger ones listed. They are planning on having approximately 100 individuals and eight speakers along with the Finals of the Blockchain Tussle (a competition that has been running since February).
CoinAgenda Caribbean, March 17-19 (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Well this Conference hosted in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has $2,199 tickets available online or at the door for $2,499. This seems to be the third or fourth conference this week that has a four-figure entry cost. Not long ago seeing conferences in the hundreds of dollars was difficult to stomach, and now the average price for three-day events far exceeds the $1000 price point. The top sponsors for this even include Skycoin and Achain. Skycoin was recently investigated regarding whether it was a Scam or Not? This event is hosting many of the smaller names in crypto and many upcoming ICOs.
The list of speakers is nowhere near as impressive as TokenFest or Money 20/20 Asia even though the ticket price is comparably expensive. Some of the leading names on the speaker list include; Reeve Collins, CEO and co-founder of BlockV, Chance Barnett the co-founder of Coincircle and Crowdfunder.co, and surprisingly Seth Shapiro, a Two Time Emmy Winner. The list of speakers is not overwhelming and could use the addition of a few big names from finance, technology, or crypto.
A nice positive when analyzing this conference is the realization that there are conferences in China, the United States, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, and India this week. These conferences have expanded their focus from crypto and the blockchain to incorporate many other industries. The Puerto Rican conference wraps up a full slate of conferences for the week.
Conclusion: Conferences All Week!
This week is jam-packed with conferences that are all blockchain and cryptocurrency specific expanding all the way to the arts and country-specific regulatory conferences. The price of tickets is also steadily increasing with multiple two and three-day conferences costing well in excess of $1,000. With costs of conferences increasing and the total number of conferences skyrocketing it is exciting to see crypto building momentum again.
The crypto space is very volatile, and the volatility is tied directly to market sentiment. Having the leaders of the crypto space presenting alongside senior management of Google, Amazon, and many more should facilitate the shift from negative sentiment back toward positive. Positive sentiment was highest in the middle of December as bitcoin (BTC) approached $20,000. Last week negative sentiment was effusive with FUD coming from Mt. Gox and the SEC, but there should be a paradigm shift occurring at some point this weekend allowing for BTC to rebound from its current $9,000 range to trending North above the $10,000 price point.
To read the King’s prior articles, to find out which ICOs he currently recommends, or to get in contact directly with the King, you can on Twitter (@JbtheCryptoKing) or Reddit (ICO updates and Daily Reports).