Clearly, I invested a great deal of time meeting and speaking with people in the blockchain community, many I first interacted with in virtual crypto treehouses and clubhouses located in messaging app Telegram. Although, I had attended a hackathon sponsored by Deloitte during Consensus 2016, this year’s conference was much more comprehensive for me. And truly overwhelming. In a good way.
Australian Co-Founder Leah Callon-Butler wrote, ”Many people joke that the crypto world is moving so fast, it feels like a whole ‘crypto year’ is equivalent to one week in the ‘real world’."
There was an overload of information, people and events. Perpetual presentations during the day, and parties every night.
Personally, I absolutely loved Blockchain Capital Venture Partner Jimmy Song on stage with Consensys Founder Joseph Lubin. Moderated by former head of blockchain projects at JP Morgan Amber Baldet, the two men debated their vision of a decentralized internet built on the intersection of market forces, cryptography and engineering. Lubin bet Song any amount of bitcoin that Song is wrong that most projects built today will cease to exist in five years. "Blockchain is not going to solve all your problems for you," Song argued. "Blockchain is not this magical thing where you sprinkle blockchain dust over a problem." Many companies using blockchain technology don’t need it.
For the second to last fireside chat of the conference, Wall Street Journal Reporter Paul Vigna, moderated a calmer discussion between Coinbase CTO Balaji S. Srinivasan and Union Square Ventures Partner Fred Wilson.
According to Srinivasan, the growth of augmented reality & virtual reality, means we'll be spending even more time in the digital matrix, and we’ll need a virtual currency to do so.
Everyone at the conference seemed to agree that there is a steep learning curve to climb, as discussed during the panel, On-Chain Financial Products & Services. “We're still really early. How do we get more educated? We need to realize a deeper level... The technology is not understood enough [but] as soon as the infrastructure gets built, we're going to see a mega-trend of security coins coming to market like we've never seen.”
In the final fireside chat of the conference, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey told Lightning Lab CEO Elizabeth Stark that “We can't just wait for things to happen to us. We have to help make them happen. We have to do the work to educate regulators and educate the SEC about this technology… There is a lot of work to make this become what it can become.”