How We're Raising the Virtual Bar at Consensus: Distributed

Over 10,000 attendees worldwide have registered for our marquee event, which goes fully virtual next week.

AccessTimeIconMay 7, 2020 at 1:49 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:38 a.m. UTC

Crypto finance is far bigger now than five years ago when the first Consensus conference took place, and so is Consensus. 

Since 2015, Consensus has quickly gained attention as a "must attend" event, growing from 500 attendees and 12 sponsors to 4,700 attendees and 175 sponsors in 2019. 

Despite immense challenges this year from social distancing restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’re welcoming 10,000+ registered attendees from around the world to join us May 11-15 at this year’s completely virtual event, Consensus: Distributed.

CoinDesk’s editorial team continues to drive the narrative around the future of money, leading attendees through the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry's journey with leading economists, entrepreneurs, cypherpunks and visionaries. 

As our attendees would expect, we’ve meticulously put together a high-caliber lineup with industry leaders including Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin, renowned economist Carlota Perez, Consensys CEO Joseph Lubin and Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, as well as pop culture icons Michelle Phan, Akon, Spencer Dinwiddie and The Chainsmokers, all of whom are actively trying to bridge the gap between their communities and crypto.

This year, we’re raising the bar. Going remote has allowed us to reimagine new ways of bringing together people from diverse industries and backgrounds. We’re experimenting with new ways of facilitating conversation, knowledge sharing and enjoyment.

Here’s a handful of the new experiences we’re offering at Consensus: Distributed:

24/7 programming for the masses

Crypto is a 24/7 industry -- and this year, so is Consensus. No longer bound by the geographic confinements of a physical space, our global team from New York to Chengdu is presenting CoinDesk TV — round-the-clock live programming for the first 24 hours of the event, blending the dynamic mainstage experience of our New York conference with the fast-paced energy of broadcast television. 

We stream live on, YouTube and Twitter from Monday, May 11, at 8:30 a.m. ET to Tuesday, May 12, at 9 a.m. ET -- almost certainly coinciding with our coverage of the bitcoin halving. Can you pull an all-nighter?

That’s just the start. Far beyond the offerings of either a virtual seminar or no-touch TV show, our programming ensures diverse levels of engagement, from a keynote address by influential economist Carlota Perez to an AMA with "Locked Up" singer Akon to interactive workshops where you can get your hands on some cryptocurrency. To access the full programming, register for free access to our conference, hosted on Brella.

We’re also introducing programming tracks for broader skills and interests: Unlocked offers elementary and intermediate sessions for investors, developers and cypherpunks who want to dip their toes into blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Also, there's Foundations, a forum allowing over 20 partners —including the Ethereum Foundation, Hyperledger, and the Lao Foundation — to connect with their communities.

Plus, in a rare opportunity to convene some of the world’s most influential economic decision-makers, central bankers and other policy leaders, Consensus will play host to a workshop on the challenges, opportunities and future of central bank digital currencies with the National Bank of Cambodia’s Serey Chea, Mauritius Financial Services Commission’s Loretta Joseph and East Caribbean Central Bank’s Timothy Antoine. Moreover, Yves Mersch, a senior European Central Bank board member, will lay out the ECB's thinking on central bank digital currencies. 


Not only did Consensus go virtual, but so did all of New York Blockchain Week 2020. In light of the public health and global economic crisis, we’ve banded together with some notable firms to launch a New York Blockchain Week COVID-19 Response fundraiser to provide relief to the communities that need it most.

CoinDesk has partnered with Gitcoin, The Giving Block and Ethereal Summit to raise money for a handful of nonprofits, several of which accept cryptocurrency payments. What's more, we’re employing the quadratic funding mechanism, conceived, in part, by economist Glen Weyl, which gives you a say in how the raised funds are allocated. 

CoinDesk will match $25,000 of the funds raised.

It’s five o’clock somewhere

To drum up excitement for our fundraiser, we're hosting a virtual happy hour where we'll be loosening the ties and kicking off our heels to hear from a vibrant lineup of artists — not only their thoughts on the industry but also their creative talents. 

Hear performances from Akon, Haley Smalls, Skip Marley and more. Musicians will perform live acoustic versions of some of their most popular songs as well as show us some hacks to make it look as if they are jamming live, even while we're apart. 

Visual artist Mr. StarCity will be creating an interpretive painting, inspired by the music and the conversation, throughout the show. This painting will be put up for auction at the end of the show with all proceeds going to the #NYBWGives campaign.

Bitcoin halving countdown

As if planned, the next bitcoin halving — when the reward for miners verifying blocks is cut in half — is set to occur during Consensus: Distributed. We can't predict exactly when it will happen, but whenever it does we’ll be there, providing commentary and analysis with guests including Wang Chun, “Digiconomist” Alex de Vries and David Johnston. 

Register: Bitcoin Halving 2020 Live Analysis Begins May 11 at Consensus: Distributed

Throughout the day, speakers will be discussing this pivotal moment in the economics of bitcoin supply, and our journalists and hosts will provide up-to-the-minute coverage of the event for you.

Virtual walk

Are you getting used to your new digital-first life after weeks in lockdown? We won't need you to break those rules, but we have a different kind of city for you to explore.

In Decentraland, take in the sights and sounds of this blockchain-enabled virtual world led by noted LAND lovers DCL Blogger and Barry Silbert, who's also the CEO of Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk’s parent company. 

On May 11 at 1 p.m. EDT, the group leaves Centre Genesis Plaza (0,0) then ventures to check out some art, pop by Crypto Valley Convention Centre (64,15), visit a museum, and wrap up with chit-chat at Sugar Club. 

It’s about the networking

The importance of event networking is not lost on us -- in fact, that is why we selected Brella, a networking-first event platform, to host our virtual conference experience.

When you register, you’ll be able to identify what topics interest you and find other participants with similar interests. You can set your schedule based on what panels you want to watch and set up available times to send and accept meeting invitations. 

We look forward to seeing you there.

Consensus: Distributed is our fully virtual, free conference May 11-15, 2020. Register here.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Read more about