The digital currency movement will take center stage in Austin next month, as thousands of attendees are expected for a conference focused on cryptocurrency, blockchain, the metaverse and other emerging technologies.
The event, called Consensus 2022, is scheduled for June 10-12. Hosted by cryptocurrency-focused news site CoinDesk, it will include speakers and panels focused on the blockchain and crypto ecosystem.
Consensus is expected to bring together top developers, creators, investors, policymakers, artists and academics across a wide array of projects and platforms.
Held in New York since its founding in 2015, Consensus is moving to Austin this year as organizers say they are aiming for more of a festival approach. The event will also include musical performances. Ticket prices range from $1,000 to $9,000, with discounted rates for students.
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Brad Spies, managing director of Consensus, said the event’s inclusion of so many different technologies sets it apart from other festivals that focus on just one part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
“Consensus has always had this big tent approach,” Spies said. “It deals with all of the different chains, finance, regulatory issues, and now NFT’s, DAOs, the creator community. There’s just so much happening in the space and there’s so many industries that are touched by this event.”
‘A natural fit’
Austin’s strong technology sector and reputation for hosting large-scale events made it the right location for Consensus, said Spies, who previously worked as director of special projects for South by Southwest.
“Between what’s happening in Austin in blockchain, crypto, Web 3 and the layout of Austin with different venues and places to take over, It really was a natural fit for it to move to Austin,” Spies said.
The festival will be operate a bit like SXSW, with houses, popups, live music and other events, and main panels and sessions centered at the Austin Convention Center.
The festival is also designed to be interactive and will include elements of Web3 and emerging technologies. Definitions of Web3 differ, but generally it’s considered to be the next iteration of the World Wide Web, which will be built on blockchain technology and decentralized.
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Coindesk will have its own social token, a type of cryptocurrency, called “Desk” that event attendees will be able to acquireat the festival or interact with in the trade show or networking. They will be able to exchange the tokens for food, beverages and merch.
The array of events will include the Metaverse Zone, a 6,000 square foot space that will feature content and sessions related to virtual worlds and economies. The festival will also feature a “SportCourt” with athletes and brands that are focused on crypto holding panels, conversations, games, contests and tournaments. The DAO House will allow attendees to explore the world of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations through featured sessions.
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Austin Mayor Steve Adler will be among the speakers at Consensus. In March, Austin announced the rollout of a number of initiatives aimed at making Central Texas a leader in emerging technologies.
Spies said involvement from cities like Austin is vital to building out these emerging technologies.
“We’re talking about a totally new framework for the digital economy, and it’s a really complex new architecture that needs to be built,” Spies said. “It’s really important to convene all sides of that and bring them together and bring people together to kind of see how those pieces can fit. And Austin is perfect for that”
He credited Austin’s tech roots and welcoming environment as paving the way for emerging technologies in Austin.
“(Austin) has a really deep pool of talented, tech-forward, creative and inspired people. Austin has always been a home for technology from the days of Motorola and IBM and Dell and through SXSW and all of the huge tech companies that have a massive presence here today. I think this is just in some ways a continuation of that,” Spies said. “Austin has also always welcomed outsiders and misfits and gives them spaces to come together.”