Consensus 2024: Crypto’s back, baby

The side events were the places to be at Consensus 2024, according to attendees


Consensus modified by Blockworks


Consensus 2024 wrapped last Friday, and it went out with a whisper. 

To be honest, that’s the case with most crypto conferences. By the end, people are ready to hop on their flights and jet home, especially if they decided to event-hop the night before (shout out to the two guys who agreed to a 4:30 am bedtime Thursday after leaving an event that wrapped up at 8:30 pm). 

This year’s conference, multiple people told me, was all about the side events. Again, that’s not unusual, but it did make the conference itself feel emptier at times. 

I attended Consensus last year, and thought that the comparison would be stark. But this year’s conference didn’t include as many flashy booths, though there were plenty of stages filled with interesting speakers. 

Dear reader, I have to admit I wasn’t there on the first day, but attendees told me that people were excited and crowds were large on Wednesday as the conference kicked off. That seemed to taper off slightly through Thursday and Friday, though.

I was told that there were close to 15,000 attendees, up from last year’s 10,000. The Austin Police Force’s presence seemed to verify my information, as security was definitely heightened throughout the conference. By Friday, it seemed like most had relaxed, and I even saw a police officer playing life-sized chess against an attendee. 

The vibe this year was very much focused on institutions, and clearly there’s support from both sides. For example, Google Cloud had a “start-up village” which included a stage for founders, investors and entrepreneurs, and which featured constantly a rotating assortment of panels and talks. 

Source: Consensus

Read more: RFK Jr is ‘happy’ about Trump’s crypto commitment

In that regard, it felt like crypto was back and definitely more upbeat than last year. While Consensus 2023 may have felt more crowded, there was a lot of healing still taking place as the industry dealt with the ramifications of the FTX collapse, bankruptcies and looming Securities and Exchange Commission actions (important to note, though, that neither Binance nor Coinbase had pending legal action at the time). 

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presence on Thursday definitely added to that, as the presidential candidate spoke both to the press and on stage. In fact, the news of former President Donald Trump’s verdict (found guilty on all 34 counts) broke while RFK Jr. was in the press conference. At first, he said he’d been “disciplined” about not commenting on the court cases. 

However, he and his team must’ve decided to change course, because he later said that he believes the verdict could end up “helping” Trump since it was the “weakest case” brought against him. 

One thing that was brought up in plenty of conversations both at the venue and the side events were the Jamie Dimon knock-offs stationed outside the entry doors. And, honestly, is it even a crypto conference if there aren’t some weird shenanigans taking place? (The answer is no.)

I still couldn’t tell you exactly what the point was, though — according to a press release in my inbox — the company behind the stunts is UNFK, “a secret society and Web3 game to prank the world’s largest corrupt corporations.”

While I heard reports about the lack of deodorant at ETH Denver, I can promise you that wasn’t the case at Consensus. I caught the strong whiff of cologne multiple times as I wandered the venue hall, even tearing up from the odor once or twice. 

There were also a large number of kids, at least on Friday, but perhaps that’s a sign of crypto maturing — though not in the way most of us expect I guess.

But, back to what’s important: Overall, it was a fun event and it felt like crypto really has bounced back. Vibes were high, side event food was good and there were productive conversations both on and off stage. 

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