Consensus 2015 is set to take over the TimesCenter building on Thursday (10th September), for a one-day summit to examine the real-world potential of bitcoin and blockchain technology.
Besides being CoinDesk’s inaugural conference, the event – with over 50 speakers and 450 attendees – will see a number of ‘firsts’.
Here, we’ve handpicked a few to look out for over the course of the day.
FBI and IRS agents open up
Back in June, DEA agent Carl Force VI and Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges made headlines following allegations they had stolen over $700,000 worth of bitcoin while running the Baltimore Silk Road investigation. Bridges has since entered a plea deal, while Force, who has pleaded guilty to charges of extortion, money laundering and obstruction of justice, is awaiting sentencing next month.
At Consensus, Kathryn Haun and Tigran Gambaryan, two officials involved in the case against Force and Bridges – alongside other high-profile investigations – will join a session to discuss law enforcement on the blockchain.
Bankers, bankers, bankers
Bankers are rarely in the same room at the same time. However, a number of top financial firms will be out in force at Consensus 2015. Santander’s Julio Faura will discuss the role of the blockchain in the bank’s consumer-facing applications, while Barclays’ Simon Taylor will talk about his bank’s work with bitcoin exchange Safello.
Additionally, Citi, one of the main sponsors of the event, is putting its name to blockchain projects for the first time. Expect to hear more about its plans during a 1-on-1 with the bank’s global head of innovation, Debra Brackeen.
Diversity on the agenda
Bitcoin has become a byword for a certain type of person: young, white and male. This is supported by our recent research report, which found the technology needed to improve to break this mould. The launch of Consensus 2015 also coincides with the first dedicated diversity programme in bitcoin. In partnership with MIT Media Lab, 50 students aged between 18 and 25 will receive mentorship and access to the event, worth $75,000.
The Media Lab’s DCI is working with local groups like Girls Who Code, CODE2040 and the National Center for Women and Information Technology to encourage applications for the scholarships.
The permission debate
Should blockchains be closed or open systems? As the technology makes gains in the private sector, this question is becoming ever more pressing. Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s creator; and researcher Tim Swanson, a notable bitcoin skeptic, will join with two bitcoin development thought leaders – Mike Hearn and Gregory Maxwell – on a panel addressing innovation on the blockchain, moderated by Cornell’s Emin Gun Sirer.
Necker Island follow up
At the now-infamous Necker Island blockchain summit, which gave the world the first images of bitcoin-powered lightbulbs, actress and director Lucy Liu joined participants for a Skype discussion on how the blockchain could play a role in identity management.
More about the project she was linked to, ID2020, will be revealed by RedRose’s John Edge, co-founder and chairman of the project during a panel on social good.