Blockchain Bites: Your Ultimate Guide to Consensus Distributed, Day 2

Here's the rundown on what not to miss.

AccessTimeIconMay 12, 2020 at 1:36 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:40 a.m. UTC

As the sun rises on the second day of Consensus: Distributed, CoinDesk TV will draw to a close. We kicked off our virtual event with a 24-hour non-stop live stream featuring more than 50 programs and dozens of esteemed guests. 

But the conference is far from over. Today features just as many panels, workshops and presentations as yesterday. We’ve just decided to call it a night at 10:30 p.m. ET.

You're reading Blockchain Bites: Consensus Edition a twice daily roundup of all the notable news out of Consensuse Distributed. You can sign up for this, and all of CoinDesk's newsletters here.

Here's what my colleague Christine Kim looks forward to today:

Consensus: Distributed continues today for its second full day of virtual programming. You can bet that the lineup of speakers and panelists are equally as decorated as yesterday’s. Here’s what I’ll be watching for on our livestream broadcasting and social networking platform Brella: 1. What’s going on with the crypto markets in Asia and Europe? If you’re a night owl like I am, I highly recommend tuning into the panels about the cryptocurrency industry in China and India. It’s a perspective on bitcoin and crypto not often talked about or shared on Western media outlets. Same goes for the panel about capital controls in Europe. Take this opportunity to learn more about activity in the cryptocurrency markets happening outside of North America.2. Care for a drink with some new and old faces? I’d be remiss if I didn’t put a plug here for my very own colleagues at CoinDesk Research. Noelle Acheson and Galen Moore will be hosting a virtual happy hour sessions with some of the industry’s biggest crypto funds. It’ll take place at 5:30 p.m. (ET) so after deep contemplation on the state of crypto markets beyond North America, I encourage you to swing by with a drink in hand and tune in to this panel.3. Last but not least, am I the only one scheduling one-on-one meetings on Brella? I certainly hope not. One of the great benefits of attending Consensus each year, be it at a hotel in New York City or online through Brella, are the people you meet and the connections you make during the conference. So if you didn’t take advantage of the networking options available to you on Brella during the first day, don’t wait until later and schedule some meetings today. It’s not only our panelists and speakers that have great insights to share but our attendees as well, who, due to the virtual format of our event this year, are part of the most geographically distributed audience CoinDesk has ever seen at Consensus. I hope I’ve gotten you excited for Day Two of Consensus: Distributed. Here we go!

What to watch

10:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET The Future of Fiat: Central Bank Digital Currencies Workshop
A program dedicated to the rise of CBDCs will feature Raphael Auer, BIS' Innovation and the Digital Economy Unit economist, Raj Dhamodharan Mastercard executive and Sheila Warren of the World Economic Forum, among many other high-profile guest speakers.

1:30 - 3:00 p.m. First Mover With Brad Keoun
This program is split into sections dedicated to the economics of mining, especially post-halving, crypto prime brokerage and market surveillance. 

2:00 - 4:30 p.m. Programmable Money and the Future of Enterprise Blockchain
A look at enterprise use cases for blockchain and cryptocurrencies with appearances by Hyperledger's Brian Behlendorf, EY's Paul Brody and Kaleido's Sophia Lopez, among many, many more.

4:30 - 6:00 p.m. Complete Anonymity: An Advanced Workshop on Using Crypto for Privacy
Privacy experts with Nym walk you through how to preserve your anonymity through cryptography and best practices.

6:30 - 7:30 p.m. QuadrigaCX - Yell Into the Void and Get Some Questions Answered
The best-titled program of the bunch examines the on-going issues faced by former clients of the defunct QuadrigaCX exchange as they try to get their money back following the mysterious death of the company’s CEO, who took the keys to the vault with him. 

Bitcoin halving recap

Yesterday marked the third halving event in Bitcoin’s 11 active years. Now that the mining subsidy has been reduced to 6.25 bitcoin, it’s likely some miners will pull out of a no-longer profitable enterprise. We still don’t know the full repercussions, though some are quick to note how this halving is already subverting expectations.

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Price Action
Bitcoin slid about 2% Monday, the fourth straight daily decline, to about $8,600. The cryptocurrency's price is down 14% from last week's high of $10,000, CoinDesk's Brad Keoun notes in the First Mover newsletter.

"The only real surprise was for anyone expecting anything different, given that prior bitcoin halvings had little immediate impact on the market price," he said, adding: When the first halving took place, on Nov. 28, 2012, bitcoin's price slid by 0.5%. And on July 9, 2016, the second halving, prices fell by 2.3%. 

It could take months, if ever, for the halving to catalyze a bull run. You can subscribe to First Mover here.

CoinDesk: Covid Response

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New York-based interpretive artist Mr. Star City created an original piece of artwork at Consensus: Distributed for auction to support COVID-19 relief.

CoinDesk has joined Gitcoin, The Giving Block and Ethereal Summit to support charities helping communities in difficult times. We're raising $100,000 and giving you a voice through the quadratic funding model. Learn how it works and how to donate.

In addition, New York-based abstract artist Mr. Star City created an original piece of artwork, shown above, as a part of Consensus: Distributed. The art, inspired by love, unity and technology, will be up for auction this week. Follow @coindesk on Twitter to find out how to bid — the proceeds will go to the same cause.

Media diet

The Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie Makes the Bull Case for Tokenizing Entertainers
Since late 2019, Spencer Dinwiddie has been looking to offer a piece of his future cash flows via a crypto token. "It's ongoing and it's something I'm really excited about actually," he said. Though the deal hasn't yet gone through, his peers are starting to ask him questions about his approach. 

Hut 8 Mining Revenue Continues Decline in Q1
Hut 8 Mining, one of Canada’s largest mining operations, saw its third consecutive quarter of revenue declines, according to its Q1 earnings report. The firm also reported a 32% decrease in the number of bitcoin mined during the quarter as the network hashrate continued to rise. This was partially offset by a 27% increase in the average price per bitcoin mined.

Trust No Dapp: Chainlink Launches Oracle for Provable Randomness
Chainlink is rolling out its Verifiable Random Function (VRF) service, where subscribers can gain access to provably random values needed for demonstrating the integrity of smart-contract-based projects such as online games. With Chainlink VRF, you know an application hasn’t been tampered with – all via the blockchain. 

The CoinDesk 50

We’ll continue to reveal our choices for CoinDesk 50, an annual list of the most influential and innovative organizations working in the crypto and blockchain space. You can read the first 30 here, with special features on BinanceCosmosBraveBitmainMakerDAO and the People’s Bank of China

The best backgrounds at Consensus: Distributed

Call him Kevin "This Is Fine" Werbach

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Kevin Werbach, The Wharton School Professor

How to use Brella

To access all of the deeper cuts available through Consensus: Distributed, you'll need to login through Brella , our virtual conferencing platform.

You can create an account through Gmail, LinkedIn, Facebook or set one up manually on Brella. Your profile will be the way you match and network with others. As soon as you're set up, you’ll be directed to a dashboard showing other registrants.

Brella is easy to use and has a number of features to help you through this virtual experience. There are multiple tracks of simultaneous programming happening inside Brella. You’ll also be able to browse the entire agenda, bookmark sessions and build your own schedule.

Gone virtual

Yesterday some people had the unusual experience of watching a virtual conference in VR. 

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Consensus Magazine

Crypto in Corona 
Jeff Wilser has spent the past two years as a nomad. Now under quarantine, he follows up on the communities he had gotten to know during his travels, and finds that the blockchain industry, more than others, is suited to the particular challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis. What follows is an excerpt from the story published on our site.

Bali, Indonesia
My first plunge into the crypto community came in Bali, which, back in January 2018, had a frisky blockchain ecosystem. In Ubud, which is the spiritual (and tourist) center of Bali, you could stumble into crypto traders, crypto start-ups, and crypto meet-ups galore. It seemed that crypto was everywhere. Just before it opened for business I visited the snazzy “Blockchain Zoo,” a high-end consultancy and coworking space, meeting with owner Roberto Capodieci.

The Blockchain Zoo still exists, but Capodieci tells me that the meet-up scene has all but vanished, and that happened long before COVID-19. The Indonesian government, enforcing a law meant to protect the local Rupiah, cracked down on businesses that accepted cryptocurrencies. “Two years ago I could pay for breakfast with bitcoin,” says Capodieci. “Now you can only use Rupiah. That killed a lot of initiatives,” (The price of bitcoin slumping to $3k in 2019, of course, also killed a lot of initiatives.) 

Capodieci, who has OG crypto cred – he says he received a test copy of the original bitcoin node software program – and who taught crypto courses at the University of Singapore, is a large man who wears a light beard and a Donkey Kong t-shirt. On the Zoom video he suddenly blanches, then swats his hand at something. “A mosquito just decided to die in my mouth!” He says, laughing. “And I’m not even riding a motorcycle.” (Everyone drives a moped or motorcycle in Bali, even wimps like me.)

There are now fewer mopeds in Ubud. The roads are mostly empty. The borders are closed. The tourists are gone. The few people on the streets do wear masks, says Capodieci, “And the police will stop you if you don’t have one, and give you a mask.” 

Meanwhile the Blockchain Zoo has pivoted to launching their own platform, ZooBC, which uses a Proof of Stake protocol. Capodieci says his team of 25 developers can easily work remotely, and they’re working on a beta version of ZooBC–the alpha launched in November. 

COVID-19’s impact on their efforts? The way Capodieci sees things, the pandemic is almost a positive. The downside is that he had hoped to be in Dubai and Singapore to meet with potential clients and investors, but the upside, he says, is that everyone seems extra-focused from home. And they’re using the time to add more functionality into beta, which is one of the benefits cited by that survey from Switzerland’s CV Labs. 

Capodieci’s tone is almost chipper. “This thing is going to change the way people work. I love it,” he says. “The longer it lasts, the better it is.” He quickly clarifies that he has sympathy for the local businesses, like hotels and restaurants, that are suffering. But he can compartmentalize. Focus on the silver lining. If CV19 has nudged companies to give workers a choice between at-home or in-office, he sees that as a win. “You should be working at a place you love to go to,” he says, “because that’s where you’re spending most of your life.”

Who won #CryptoTwitter?

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