My experience from Consensus2019 in NYC

Last week I had the chance to attend Consensus2019 in New York City. This year’s conference took place in midtown Hilton from 13 to 15th May. I estimated that more than 4500 people have attended, quite a decrease from last year’s 8000.

What is Consensus event?

Consensus is held by Coindesk, a news site focused on blockchain technology and digital currencies. It started about 5 years ago and now become one of the biggest and more important industry event. The ticket price is however not cheap thought the number of companies and attendees presented are quite a lot. It is a great opportunity there to network and make deals. According to the 2018 event report, profiles of the people are executives, developers, founders, regulators, investors, government officials and more.

What will happen there?

There are several stages in the conference, CONSTRUCT, MARKET, BUSINESS,CHANGELOG, main stage and many different conference rooms which cover various topics in the industry, such as blockchain innovation, trading, regulations, investment, business implementation and so on. It goes from business-oriented discussion all the way to deep tech. What I found useful is that you can listen to all kinds of speakers and experts and learn a lot about the technology and its use cases. More than 200 speakers, 40 sessions in those 3 days. There are also 2 floors of exhibition area where companies can showcase their products and meet potential customers or partners.

I have seen a great shift from cryptocurrencies to real business cases in the exhibition hall.

Security tokens has become a hot topic, one of the most obvious example is gold token. There were about 4 to 5 booths there are about gold-backed token. However their business models are different from each other. One of the companies is called Novem Gold. It is a Liechtenstein-based company issuing gold tokens for people who want to to buy, sell, and own gold. At the booth, I received 1g of gold as appreciation of following their social channels:)

Besides the stages and exhibition areas, you can also network with people through the Consensus app, it has the chat function where you can find interesting attendees through the app and initiate a conversation with him or her. This largely increase the possibility to network, not to mention the breakfast, lunch and end of the day drinks. At night, a lot of companies also held their own parties or networking events. If you meet some people during the day, they probably can invite you to one of the events at night. I personally attended the Crypto Valley Association networking event in sky lounge near Times Square.

Whom I have met?

I don’t know a lot of ‘famous’ people in the blockchain space, but I have seen one of the Ethereum blockchain founders Charles Hoskinson, CEO of Tron Justin Sun who is quite like a celebrity with a couple of assistants, and Winklevoss twins. Besides the ‘famous’ people, I had conversation of an officer from US Homeland Security, Canadian entrepreneur, Partner of a law firm in Ottawa, Investment consultant from London, an Economist from a think tank in D.C, and so much more. Some familiar faces from WEF Davos in January too. Blockchain is truly a global industry.

Tips for the next time

For those who are considering attending Consensus, I would highly recommend to stay longer in NYC. It is more than a 3 day event, but a whole blockchain week. I didn’t have time to visit other side events which took place in other locations in the city. If I were going there again, I will stay a whole week and attending more events and meet more people. Plan your trip ahead, do some researches on what are other interesting events there, who do you want to meet. Try to talk to different people, join some of the night events and bring enough name cards :)

For companies who want to participate as sponsors, I would recommend to have your sessions as well, either as a night event or on a separate location with educational sessions. Anyway there are tons of people who are interested in the city during the time. Bring your business development and investor relation people there, it is a perfect occasion.

My first Consensus experience is good, I would benefit way more from the event next time taking the learnings I have. Maybe I will join again, but in Singapore this year!

🎧 Host of Fast Track Podcast |Career|Money|Entrepreneurship