Regulatory Criticism, Internet Troubles Disrupt Spain’s Largest Crypto Event

Mundo Crypto gathered 7,000 people in Madrid to talk about learn-to-earn and the possibilities of education in the metaverse

article-image

Attendees at Mundo Crypto’s event in Spain | Photo: Ornella Hernandez

share

key takeaways

  • Speakers included representatives from FTX, KuCoin, Waves and a delegation from El Salvador
  • A Spanish regulator issued a warning to Mundo Crypto and its sponsors a few days before the event, reminding them they are “not licensed to advise on financial instruments or broker investment transactions.”

Spain’s largest-ever crypto event was met with a few obstacles last week, including not-so-favorable press from a regulator and internet issues that thwarted a Guinness World Record attempt.

Blockchain education platform Mundo Crypto, the event host, intended to deliver a live virtual reality (VR) presentation about its upcoming learn-to-earn metaverse, which aims to transfer its 2D online courses to 3D metaverse offerings.

The VR headsets distributed to event attendees | Photo: Ornella Hernandez

Almost 7,000 virtual reality headsets were distributed to attendees — a stab at breaking the record for the most people simultaneously using VR displays — but internet connection issues disrupted the company’s plans.

Founder Mani Thawani instead took the stage in person at the indoor sporting arena in Madrid, Spain, instead of his avatar speaking to the audience through the headsets.

“Cryptocurrencies represent freedom. And we know that the expression of freedom converges in the metaverse,” Thawani said, explaining his vision for “responsible massive adoption.” He intends for the Mundo Crypto metaverse to be an educational and virtual “gateway to an industry unknown to many.” 

Loading Tweet..

Leading up to Thawani’s presentation, attendees listened to panels featuring companies such as FTX, KuCoin and Waves; European economists; crypto influencers including Brock Pierce; and even a delegation from El Salvador. The spectacle-like event also included a car giveaway, a magic show and crypto jeopardy interludes. 

What does it take to put on such a grand-scale event during a bear market? In this case, 2 million euros and regulatory intervention.

A few days before the event, Spain’s National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) issued a warning to Mundo Crypto and its sponsors, reminding them they are “not licensed to advise on financial instruments or broker investment transactions.”

Mundo Crypto has held a spot on the CNMV’s “gray list” since July 2021, which includes entities not registered with the regulatory body “that could be carrying out any type of fundraising activity or providing any financial service.”

Thawani told Blockworks the resulting media attention had both positive and negative effects. “Thanks to all the news published, we have managed to make the crypto industry more known and to start generating more curiosity. The negative is that many speakers and sponsors dropped due to media and political pressure” he said.

Binance and PlayStation pulled out as sponsors at the last minute. Police and paramedics were parked outside of the WiZink Center for the nearly 7-hour “Metaverse Day.” 

WiZink Center | Photo: Ornella Hernandez

Despite the controversy, some attendees found the event — tailored to consumers just starting out in crypto — refreshing.

As opposed to crypto events such as ETHBCN or Solana Breakpoint, which center developers, the Mundo Crypto event “focused on a novice user who is researching about cryptocurrencies, who has friends who have talked about it, or who follows some influencer,” Xavier Molina, FTX’s manager for the Iberia region, told Blockworks.

“I think they wanted to give a show and they did it,” he said. “It was the biggest cryptocurrency show that has been put on in Spain. Most of the criticism came from the crypto community itself, mostly veteran people. But they must understand that it had a different target audience.”

Sasha Ivanov, CEO and founder of Waves protocol, offered some advice to blockchain beginners attending the event: “Stop trading so much. Instead, pick up a project you like and understand how it works. Participate in the community.”

“Blockchain technology needs to be used everyday, not just for trading. The next step is to make blockchains ubiquitous,” he added.

Loading Tweet..

The Mundo Crypto team decided post-event to refund buyers the cost of their ticket — 49.35 euros — whether they attended the event or not.

Interviews in this article were conducted in Spanish.


Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.

Tags

Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

ao cover.jpg

Research

Arweave recently launched the testnet for AO computer, a new messaging protocol that will sit atop a PoS network and aims to become a scalable global compute platform through parallel processing and modularity.

article-image

Ore’s price more than tripled as the supply of new tokens paused

article-image

I spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about crypto securities law — and I can’t see how ETH is now a securities offering under Howey

article-image

Regulators in South Korea, Japan and Singapore could follow Hong Kong’s lead as Asia responds to spot bitcoin ETF approval in the US

article-image

Martin Grant worked with the Fed for roughly 30 years before leaving his position in 2022

article-image

BitGo CEO Mike Belshe shared his thoughts on the halving and bitcoin ETFs in an interview with Blockworks

article-image

Crypto markets were largely the only ones open over a tense weekend, and they took a beating for it