Since 2015, Consensus has brought together the crypto community to reflect on the state of the industry and align on the year ahead. In an industry that is largely carried out online, the annual Consensus gathering has come to serve as a barometer for the industry year after year.
From the early days of bitcoin, when the price was in the triple digits, to the tail end of the most recent bull market and everything in between, Consensus has served as a place for calibration, collaboration and resolution amidst some of crypto and Web3’s biggest moments.
As we prepare for the next Consensus gathering, taking place in Austin, Texas, on April 26-28, 2023, let’s take a look at some of the most influential moments in Consensus history.
1. Consensus 2015: The very first Consensus
The year was 2015. The price of bitcoin was around $220, down more than $500 from its high in 2014. CoinDesk, the nascent crypto media company in its first year of operation, chose to host its first-ever gathering for the crypto and blockchain community in New York City as a way to stay afloat amid what some have considered to be the first crypto winter.
The inaugural Consensus welcomed 500 guests, 12 sponsors and a handful of speakers including a young crypto-anarchist by the name of Vitalik Buterin, Cornell professor-turned-Avalanche CEO and co-founder Emin Gün Sirer (who is slated to speak at Consensus 2023) and a handful of law enforcement agents who later became executives at some of the most well-known companies in the industry.
2. Lambos outside of Consensus 2018
Consensus has been there for all of crypto’s biggest moments – including the awkward ones. If you ask anyone who was at Consensus 2018 to tell you their most memorable Consensus moments, they will most likely mention the Lamborghinis parked outside of the event location.
Back in 2018, Lambos were a symbol of bullishness in the crypto community. The phrase “When Lambo?” was jokingly used to refer to when holders would become rich enough to purchase a Lamborghini. BitMEX took this joke to the next level when it rented three Lamborghinis and had them rev their engines just outside the Consensus doors.
While CoinDesk wasn’t involved with coordinating this stunt, it did take place outside of our event and is a reflection of the industry as a whole at that time. The 2018 gathering took place just a few months after the peak of the 2017 bull market, which made crypto’s earliest investors very rich and attracted many new entrants into the ecosystem who hoped to experience those same gains. It was a time of flashiness, hype and desperation to stave off the inevitable bear market that ended up taking place from 2018 until 2020.
3. The bitcoin halving happening mid-panel during Consensus 2020
When COVID-19 brought life to a screeching halt in March 2020, the CoinDesk team made the quick decision to take Consensus online and make it free of charge with Consensus: Distributed, which took place from May 11-13, 2020. More than 22,000 viewers from around the world tuned into Consensus programming, including live coverage of one of the most highly anticipated events in Bitcoin history: the halving.
On May 11, the first day of Consensus: Distributed, miners produced the 630,000th block in the Bitcoin blockchain, triggering the programmed halving event that took the number of BTC entering circulation every 10 minutes from 12.5 to 6.25.
Many attribute bitcoin’s meteoric success in the second half of 2020 to the halving event. Based on the economic principles of supply and demand, if the supply of bitcoin entering the market shrinks by half and demand stays the same, the price is sure to increase. And that it did – bitcoin skyrocketed from $7,225 on May 11 to $28,000 by the end of the year. Consensus viewers got a front row seat to the very start of bitcoin's biggest bull market yet.
4. Consensus 2022: The biggest year yet
Like the crypto industry, Consensus has grown a lot since 2015 – from the number of attendees, sponsors and speakers to the breadth of topics covered.
Consensus 2022 was a testament to this growth. It was our first in-person event since 2019. More than 20,000 members of the crypto community from over 100 countries took to the streets of downtown Austin, Texas, to immerse themselves in all things crypto, blockchain, Web3 and the metaverse.
Consensus 2022 was more than just a crypto gathering – it was a full-on festival at the tail end of the most important bull market in crypto history, which lasted from 2020 to 2022. The days were filled with sessions featuring more than 600 speakers and the expo hall had hundreds of exhibitors. In the evenings, there were parties, exclusive viewings and live music performances.
Looking ahead to Consensus 2023
Since the very beginning, the purpose of Consensus has been bringing the many important but disparate voices in crypto and blockchain together face to face to forge the future of the industry.This year that purpose is more important than ever.
In the months since our last Consensus gathering, the industry has experienced some serious blows, with the collapse of major companies within the crypto ecosystem. As the aftermath of these events continues to unfold, we find ourselves at one of the most critical moments in crypto history.
It is up to the community to come together to take stock of all that has happened this year, talk through the most difficult challenges and figure out what is needed to make this industry stronger and safer for all.
Since 2015, Consensus has been the setting for the most important conversation in crypto, blockchain, Web3 and the metaverse. We want you to be a part of that conversation. Learn more about Consensus 2023 and register.