The fourth annual Consensus Conference for blockchain technology and cryptocurrency kicked off Monday night in New York, with 8,500 paying $17 million to spend three days at the Hilton and rub shoulders with the great and the good behind such brands as Ripple, Dash, Ethereum and Bitcoin.
Anyone doubting that Bitcoin and crypto-cousins such as Ethereum and Ripple hadn’t arrived as a major commodity only had to drive past the New York City Hilton Monday to know different; such was the vast array of super expensive high-performance cars parked outside, one might have thought that Jay-Z and Beyoncé were having a party there and everyone whose anyone in hip-hop were invited.
As it turned out, several of the shiny new Lamborghinis parked bumper to bumper had been placed there strategically by an enterprising performance car dealer, hoping to entice a few of the millionaires, billionaires and wannabes in attendance to treat themselves to some new wheels.
$17 Million Live Gate
At $2,000 a ticket (last-minute admission rises to $3,000), the 8,500 paying attendees had generated a live gate of $17 million, a figure most major boxing matches would be proud of. The three-day annual event first began in 2015, and is hosted by the media and research company CoinDesk Inc. This year it is being held at the New York Hilton in Midtown NYC.
Final attendee count for #Consensus2018: ~8,500
— Barry Silbert (@barrysilbert) 14 May 2018
The Consensus Conference has over 200 scheduled speakers, and these will include such high-profile names as Fred Smith, the billionaire founder and CEO of FedEx, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, plus legendary rapper Snoop Dogg will speak on behalf of Ripple.
The box-office at the Hilton seemed overwhelmed on Monday by the sheer number of people trying to purchase tickets, and Jacob Donnelly, director of marketing at CoinDesk was forced to make a statement:
“Whilst we apologize for any delays, Consensus 2018 has received overwhelming interest and is the largest blockchain-focused event ever held in the United States. We are working to reduce the wait time.”
In general, those paying to be part of the conference seemed in great spirits, even if they had to wait a while to purchase a ticket. As Jeff Denton, senior director of global secure supply chain AmerisourceBergen said:
“I’ve never seen anything like this for registration. I’ve been in line for an hour. It’s expensive, but it’s the largest one in the U.S., so hopefully that brings the value for the cost.”
When the event was first held in 2015, it attracted an audience of just 500. By last year it had risen to 3,000, and CoinDesk were anticipating around 5,000 attendees this year, a figure way lower than the 8,500 who turned up Monday morning.
Blockchain Week NYC
The Consensus Conference is the flagship event of what is being called “Blockchain Week NYC”. More than twenty other events have been scheduled to take place this week, all based around cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and some with similarly high entrance fees as the Hilton. These events have been prepared in tandem between CoinDesk Inc. and the New York Economic Development Corporation.
If you are there, we hope you have a great time. However, if you can’t be there, you can watch the event live by clicking this link.