What Consensus Speakers Are Looking Forward to This Year

Networking, conversations and the dozens and dozens of side events are some of the things this year's cast of crypto luminaries are excited about in Austin, Texas.

AccessTimeIconMay 21, 2024 at 8:37 p.m. UTC
Updated May 22, 2024 at 3:41 p.m. UTC

Some of the leading minds of Generation Crypto are heading to Austin, Texas at the end of the month for Consensus 2024. Here are a few of the things they are most excited about, including everything from a dedicated AI track to the many, many side events and afterparties.

CFTC Commissioner Summer Mersinger:

The conversations with so many different stakeholders. This is an opportunity to talk with people we ordinarily wouldn’t see in Washington, D.C. and to have them all in one place is really special.

CEO of the Foresight Institute Allison Duettmann:

I’m really looking forward to discovering what the state of crypto and AI has really come to at this point. I come at it from the foundational research side of things or more on the kind of cryptography and security side of things. But I also know that many people have been really building hard in the Web3 and AI space. So, I'm really interested to see which of my hypotheses — or which of other people's hypotheses — have come out. Who's building what right now? And where are there possible synergies across different products? I’m excited to see what’s happening in that space.

Alethea CEO Arif Khan:

Wilser: Any favorite memories from past conferences?

Khan: I remember meeting Michael Casey six or seven years ago at Consensus in New York, at some after-dinner event. And there was a physicist or mathematician — Eric Weinstein, who’s quite popular on Joe Rogan now. And he was riffing on stats and making some controversial point. It was like this melding of minds, and it was so awesome to be in the presence of thinkers who are really pushing the frontiers.

Wilser: Favorite parties or events at Consensus?

Khan: There are so many, but I think it's always fun to hang out with the editorial team and the journalists.

Consensys Director of Global Regulatory Matters Bill Hughes:

To tease our panel for Consensus, the news just came out that apparently Uniswap received a Wells Notice. I think it is safe to predict that this is the first shot in the new front of the war against crypto for the SEC. And so by the time our panel rolls around, we're probably going to have a sizable chunk of SEC related news that me and the other panelists will be able to really sink our teeth into.

Crypto lawyer Fatemeh Fannizadeh:

Fannizadeh: Many things! It’ll actually be my first time and I'm very excited. We're almost a month away and I’ve already heard of many interesting events lined up and have meetings organized – I can’t wait to just get together with the attendees, I heard the crowd is excellent. I usually go to very specific community centric or legal and policy conferences. But Consensus is so comprehensive, right? It seems like a platform where we can reach “consensus,” discuss things with very different actors all in one place.

And you tell me, you've been. Is there anything I need to keep in mind?

Kuhn: Actually, there's this programming track called Consensus @ Consensus, which sort of like small breakout groups that focus on very narrow but consequential questions. Those tend to be pretty interesting. I've only attended in person twice, and basically work like a dog, but Austin is a fun city in general.

Fannizadeh: Yeah, that usually happens at conferences.


Long: It’s a really well-curated conference. I would call it a scholarly conference, where the panels are well-vetted.

Wilser: Love it, and thank you. On a less scholarly front, what’s the best Consensus side-party?

Long: It'll be ours.

CCO at the Sandbox Game Nicola Sabastini:

Many of the panels. I’m blown away by the quality of the speakers that are there. In fact, I wonder what I'm doing there compared to them.

Early bitcoin investor, Otoh

Well, meeting Bobby Lee and Charlie Lee again. They both in their own ways have been very instrumental in helping me with my crypto journey. Charlie Lee by inventing Litecoin, where I did extremely well – probably even better than I did with bitcoin. And Bobby Lee for having BTCC (also known as BTCChina) and the physical coins. He produced physical coins just like Mike's Casascius coins. I have still got all my BTCC coins. That will be a future auction.

I've had quite a few adventures with the physical coins. I had to physically go to Shanghai to pick them up as they couldn't be shipped at the time. That was an adventure in itself.

There's other people that I know from forums and interacting with on the internet who I'm sure it would be nice to see again in person if I've met them at other conferences. It's a chance to put people together and exchange ideas that if one just sat behind a computer at home, perhaps wouldn't happen.

So I'm looking forward to it. It's quite exciting. It's my first visit to Texas.

Web3 Artist Shavonne Wong:

Wilser: You’ll be joining us at Consensus at the AI Summit. As an artist, how are you thinking about AI?

Wong: I’m very excited about our future because I feel like we’re actually moving to a world where there are two different realities that are somehow the same reality, right? The digital reality that we live in, and then the physical reality that we live in. And I believe AI will be playing a huge part in this digital future.

Wilser: Interesting. How so exactly?

Wong: We’re talking about digital characters. We’re talking about how AI will be part of our emails. AI will be part of how we’re talking to each other. I don’t even know what these incredible technology wizards are creating, but as they create and I learn along the way, I can learn and use tools that help support the ideas and artwork I want to create. And I believe that in the future, everybody’s lives will be filled with AI — sometimes not even consciously, but it will be the underlying layer in so many things we’re doing. I want to create work that talks about this future. I want to create work that starts conversations.

Gauntlet CEO Tarun Chitra:

Chitra: Doing another live podcast.

Kuhn: I was there last time. It was good!

Chitra: Yeah, the live podcasts are fun. Especially if you get like an audience heckler.

Kuhn: I’ll try to think of something clever to heckle.

Edited by Brad Spies.

CORRECTION (MAY 22): Bill Hughes is Consensys' senior counsel and director of global regulatory matters


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Daniel Kuhn

Daniel Kuhn is a deputy managing editor for Consensus Magazine. He owns minor amounts of BTC and ETH.

Jeff  Wilser

Jeff Wilser is the author of 7 books including Alexander Hamilton's Guide to Life, The Book of Joe: The Life, Wit, and (Sometimes Accidental) Wisdom of Joe Biden, and an Amazon Best Book of the Month in both Non-Fiction and Humor.