Consensus 2022 Visitor Guide: CBDCs and Public Money

Central bank digital currencies, including a possible digital dollar, remain a hot-button topic in the crypto world. Here’s a rundown of our top choices for attendees interested in government and money at this year’s Consensus Festival in Austin, Texas.

AccessTimeIconJun 1, 2022 at 11:36 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:18 p.m. UTC
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The 2022 Consensus festival will attract speakers leading the global conversation on all things crypto, including how CBDCs – central bank digital currencies – could potentially change money as we know it.

A handful of small countries – the Bahamas, Nigeria – have launched fiat digital currencies, but more than 30 nations are developing or pilot testing them, including China. Last week, the city of Shenzhen in southern China announced $4.5 million in digital yuan as stimulus payments to residents to counter the negative economic effects of the pandemic. The U.S. is considering a digital dollar, but Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard said recently it would take approval from the Biden administration and Congress, and would take at least five years to materialize. At this year’s Consensus festival in Austin, Texas, from June 9-12, some of the biggest names and most vibrant minds will come together to debate issues in the rapidly changing financial ecosystem.

Below are our top choices for those interested in learning more about CBDCs and public money. All times are in central daylight time (CDT).

Thursday, June 9, 2022

On the Investing Stage on Fairmont Austin’s fifth floor, CoinDesk Chief Content Officer Michael Casey will be joined by former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner, and regulatory expert, Dawn Stump for a conversation from 10:05 a.m. to 10:35 a.m. on the independent agency’s vision on crypto regulation. The U.S. agency has seen a number of its former leaders exploring the possibility of a centralized, U.S.-based digital currency.

One of those leaders is J. Christopher Giancarlo, former chairman of the CFTC and now senior counsel at Willkie Farr & Gallagher and a co-founder of the Digital Dollar Project. He joins Neha Narula, director of the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, in a conversation about “The Coming Digital Currency Wars” moderated by Emily Parker, CoinDesk's executive director of global content, on the Investing Stage at the Fairmont, from 11:05 a.m. to 11:35 a.m.

Later that afternoon, from 12:35 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. on the same stage, Forkast.News founder Angie Lau will be joined by Circle Chief Strategy Officer Dante Disparte, Custodia Bank CEO Caitlin Long and Willamette University professor of law Rohan Grey for “Who Should be Allowed to Issue Digital Dollars,” a panel discussion that will be sure to raise some interesting questions about public and private forms of money.

Friday, June 10, 2022

On the Explorations Stage 1 at the Austin Convention Center, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., CoinDesk Research analyst George Kaloudis will moderate a conversation with Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein, “From White Paper to Wall Street: The Evolving Bitcoin Investor,” that will look at how investor sentiment is changing in a volatile bear market. (Grayscale is a CoinDesk sister company.)

Over on the Explorations Stage 2, from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Coinbase Director of Trading Product Rick Schonberg, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo and BH Digital’s Private Investment co-head Peter Johnson will discuss “Wall Street Suits Meet Hoodies,” a session that aims to uncover who is funding the future of Web 3.

Head to the Main Stage for “Washington’s Crypto Awakening: The Lawmaker Town Hall” panel, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., where U.S. senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) discuss regulation of crypto.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

As the first cryptocurrency, bitcoin (BTC) will undoubtedly include debate about the idea of money itself and the role of government. Kick off the morning from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Main Stage, where CoinDesk Managing Editor of Technology Christie Harkin moderates “Bitcoin’s Many Narratives: Digital Gold, Payments, Platform,” a conversation with Blockstream CEO Adam Back, Hiro CEO Alex Miller and Block lead Mike Brock.

From 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., on the Main Stage, Binance founder Changpeng Zhao will discuss “Why Crypto Matters” with CoinDesk Executive Director of Global Content Emily Parker.

Finally, on the Features Stage from 4:10 p.m. to 4:40 p.m., will be “Crypto Policy Without Borders,” where Crypto Council for Innovation CEO Sheila Warren moderates a discussion on the future of crypto across the globe with White House Director for Cybersecurity Carole House and Prime Minister of the Bahamas Philip Edward Davis. The Bahamas has the distinction of having issued the world’s first central bank digital currency, the "sand dollar," in October 2020.


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