There is never a dull moment in cryptocurrency. Blockchain, DeFi and web3 technologies continue to evolve rapidly in a world of wild extremes. How extreme? Consider these two examples.
The The Terra ecosystem is disappearing in a multi-billion dollar crash and burn, while traditional investment firm Andreessen Horowitz is closing $4.5 Billion Crypto Mega Fund. Then you have ongoing cryptos regulatory tug of war against the backdrop of Coinbase Insider Trading Suit.
That’s a lot to keep track of and digest, so we asked some of our editorial team, Lucas Matney, Jacqueline Melinek and Anita Ramaswamy — who eat, sleep and dream all things crypto — to weigh in and share their insight and perspectives. They are also the brain trust behind the programming of TC Sessions: Crypto and TechCrunch’s hosts Chain Reaction Podcast.
Without further ado, here’s a quick look at what our editors are most excited about heading into TechCrunch’s first TC Sessions: Crypto event.
What are your main priorities or goals as you put together the program for the first sessions of the TechCrunch: Crypto event?
Anita Ramaswamy: I am focused on making sure that our lineup of speakers and the topics we bring together are representative of the diversity of views and backgrounds present in the web3 community.
Lucas Matney: I spend a lot of my time building a program that ensures we pay tribute to the unprecedented excitement surrounding this industry while providing a less glamorous context to the inherent risks around pushing more consumers into products that encourage speculative investing.
Jacqueline Melinek: I hope to create a program that dives into the complexities of the industry while making the content easily accessible to those curious about crypto while having experts in the space highlight and comment on the risks associated with the industry.
Speaking of the name of the event, will we be hearing more than “crypto”?
LM: You bet. While cryptocurrency adoption continues to be the high-level focus of the industry, the space has become much less monolithic over the past two years with founders pushing new blockchain technologies to organize and manage online communities and drive early adoption of new products in the network.
JM: The crypto industry has a deeper level than just “crypto”. Attendees will be able to listen to discussions on a range of topics that benefit or stem from it, but also create their own path with technology. Crypto is the hub of the industry, but it’s not the overarching term to discuss.
AR: Absolutely – many people use the word “crypto” as a synonym for everything related to blockchain technology, although it mainly covers the financial applications/tokens themselves. Those are important, but we’ll also talk about how blockchain technology and the ideas that shape it impact founders, creators, and everyday internet users who may not be as deeply immersed in the web3 space. Cryptocurrency itself is at the heart of most web3 projects, but I think this is a broader web3 event.
What makes 2022 a particularly compelling year to host our first crypto event?
JM: This year has been nothing short of turbulent—I mean in both good and bad ways—and many people want answers related to that volatility. Even by the time the event takes place, the crypto industry may be significantly different than when we started planning it. There’s a chance we can shape our discussions to fit the current landscape, but that’s kind of the “beauty” of this industry. It’s constantly changing and it’s fitting that we host an event during one of the ‘crypto winters’ because we need to provide content and conferences even when things don’t go according to plan. Hosting an event this year shows that we are here to provide discussion in good times and bad.
AR: Regardless of the recent talk of “crypto winter,” I believe the last two years have marked a significant inflection point in the arc of crypto history. Market conditions can (and probably will) vary, and we’ll delve into that a lot at the event, but the past two years have seen a huge influx of people dipping their toes into crypto for the first time. That’s why 2022 is a great time to reframe some of the discussions we’ve been having within the crypto community with a broader perspective and an eye toward the future.
LM: Crypto may be in a slump right now, but during these periods, players looking for a quick buck leave the industry and the industry streamlines. Running this event in 2022 promises an opportunity for those who want to stay to hear from long-time players with success about their success stories and how they survived past winters.
In terms of your own background, how did you become interested in writing for the crypto, NFT, blockchain and web3 communities?
LM: Much of my own initial interest had to do with the developer fervor around the space, which felt different than financial speculation. The close relationship between technologists in the NFT community and emerging digital artists—who have never had an effective means of monetizing their work—gave me early inspiration to further explore the sector and venture into communities working on things that have never have been done before. It’s been a wild ride ever since – it’s all played out 24/7 on Twitter.
AR: I credit a cousin of mine, who is now a commodity trader, with sparking my initial interest in blockchain – I’ll never forget visiting his family while I was still in college and listening to him explain things like decentralization and hashrates in bitcoin context. It sounds nerdy, but as a political science major I was fascinated trying to explain the ideology behind it. And as a former investment banker turned business journalist, I spent much of the pandemic following huge, bureaucratic financial institutions as they slowly warmed to the idea of crypto, often due to customer demand.
JM: I had a personal interest in crypto before I covered the industry full-time, but I never really dived too deep into it. Little did I know that the space was much bigger than I originally thought. Once I started reporting on it, I discovered that many of the “good” players in the industry were innovative – albeit a bit bold – and determined to succeed regardless of the obstacles thrown their way. That was inspiring to me. My interest also stems from my love of learning. Even though I have covered numerous crypto topics, I still learn something new almost every day. This industry keeps me curious and always on my toes.
Finally, aside from the obvious reason that it’s a great city, why host this event in Miami?
JM: Miami has become one of the leading representatives of the crypto industry and has a vibrant community of builders, developers and retail and institutional investors.
AR: Miami has always been one of the most global cities in the United States, with a vibrant immigrant community. The city has now become somewhat synonymous with crypto, with major investment firms and startups in the space settling in to call Miami their home. As a New Yorker born in Miami, it has been amazing to see what a significant impact the influx of crypto talent in Miami has had on both my friends and family who still live there, and my peers in New York, many of whom are moved to Miami temporarily or permanently.
LM: Just as crypto has been the breakout success of the tech market rally over the past few years, Miami has become the epitome of a new brand of tech hub amid the pandemic-fueled exodus of young tech workers from the Bay Area. People have a lot of opinions about the city, but no one argues that Miami lacks passion or intensity—elements that I’m especially excited for TechCrunch Sessions: Crypto to tap into.
Here it is, and we’ll be sure to contact our team when we get closer TC Sessions: Crypto. In the meantime, take advantage of our special launch pricing and save $250 on general admission passes. Buy your pass or package today and then get ready to go crypto with the web3, DeFi and NFT communities.
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