May 24, 2024

Michael Casey, Chairman of Consensus at CoinDesk, joins CoinDesk President Foster Wright on "First Mover" to discuss the upcoming 10th Consensus and what's special about the event this year.

Video transcript

Consensus 2024 is just days away and this is the 10th consensus that has ever happened. I'm gonna be there and our next two guests are gonna be there too. They've also been working very hard at programming this event and it's gonna be spectacular. So I'm just gonna bring them in. We're gonna talk about it, Michael Casey Foster Wright. Welcome to first mover. Hi, Michael. I'm gonna start with you. This is the 10th consensus. Talk to me about what's gonna be different this year. Why is this year special? Well, I mean, one way to frame this is to look back on what consensus was last year, right? I mean, it was, uh, really pretty much in the depths of, of crypto winter. We were coming out of the FTX scandal. We were in the midst of the throes of all of the unwind. There were bankruptcies and everything else and there was an enormous amount of tension around, around policy being very kind of hostile in the US. Uh That latter part really hasn't changed a lot unfortunately, but the market environment has changed considerably, right, the market we, we had, we hit all time high for Bitcoin and for other tokens in the first quarter, uh We've course seen the arrival now spectacularly of trad fire institutions like Blackrock entering in through the final long elated um uh approval of uh Bitcoin ETF S. Um We've got this buzz around tokenisation now as something that, that everyone now suddenly even the bis the bank of international settlements thinks it's going to transform the global finance system. Um And you know, you're coming at this time at an intersection between the arrival of A I this buzz around this massively transformative technology and the role that web three and you know, related technologies could play in resolving that. So we're in a, a very different environment where we were last year, crypto summer, great time to have uh 1/10 consensus. So I'm, I'm actually really pretty excited about this one. The first consensus I ever attended was a virtual one and it's just been getting better and better since then. So I'm also excited, Michael Foster. I want to get you in the conversation here. Talk to us about what kind of guests we can expect to hear from at the event fei and yeah, great. Um Yeah, it is hard to believe that consensus is just around the corner. We're days away. Um our 10th annual and you know, as Michael said, we're gonna have speakers from around the world. Um leading developers, leading protocols, politicians, uh regular regulators, policy officials. Um it really runs the gamut and uh we're, we're set up to have ultimately the the best consensus yet. Ok, Foster, we're expecting 15,000 attendees this year. 200 sponsors, 500 speakers. What can these 15,000 attendees expect? Yeah, we're gonna have uh amazing experiences this year. A consensus. Um Super excited to be back uh in Austin for the third year. Um We have an amazing coin desk pitch fest lined up, uh which is going to be presented by Google Cloud, a live pitch battle uh featuring over 40 of web three's most promising early stage start ups. Uh We're bringing back the IRL hackathon in partnership with EZ A. It's gonna be a three day multi chain hackathon uh with some amazing prizes um and amazing protocols participating. Um On the entertainment side, we're gonna have uh for the first time ever karate combat. Um The world's premier full contact striking league uh is gonna be coming to consensus on Thursday evening, May 30th. Um It's gonna feature Olympic Medalists and national champions from around the world. Uh We're also gonna have Web Three's very own Nick Carter, Castle Island, uh facing off against David Hoffman from Bless um after they speak uh that afternoon, uh we're also gonna have the GEN C demo area um which is gonna feature hands on experiences with cutting edge technology, uh a really cool Blockchain research symposium with top a academic research researchers from ground breaking ideas on distributed systems and protocol designs. Um And many, many other uh opportunities um for people to network and to gather. And I think as everybody uh knows, one of the number one reasons people come to consensus is to network. Um One of my favorite quotes is that uh you can get a year's worth of meetings done in three days at consensus. And uh we want to help facilitate that as much as possible. So there'll be ample networking lounges. Uh We have an amazing app um that will allow attendees to connect with each other based on their topics. Um So it should be great Michael as the Chairman of Consensus. I know that you've been working intimately on getting speakers who can provide really thoughtful insight on what's going on uh in the industry. As you noted, lots has happened from January to now. Lots is yet to happen as we gear up for an election in the United States, talk to me about some of the speakers we're going to hear from. Yeah, so um look, we are very excited to have um a presidential candidate this year. This is not the first time we've had a presidential candidate. I think Andrew Yang was here at one of our consensus events uh when he was running, this is uh RFK junior who has just very recently signed on as a speaker, excited to hear from a guy who something might actually be the kingmaker, right? I mean, it, it, it's uh there's a real possibility that, that, that the swing votes and everything else may well come down to what this man, as I say, he is a crypto friendly candidate so clearly a bit of a crowd favorite there. Um It'll be very interesting to see what he has to say further in that sort of policy world because, you know, just remember the United States and where it's going with policy really, really matters. It's been a hostile environment, as we mentioned, the SEC in particular being part of that. So, you know, we are diving as we do into the sort of u unique connections we have with some of the, you know, leading uh movers and shakers from Washington. We have Tom Emma, for example, who is the majority whip in the house, but we also have Ron Wyden. So we've got he's Democrats, we're probably gonna get Ron White is the chair of the Senate Financial Committee and sort of very deeply involved in privacy questions. We have Hester Pers the uh commissioner on the SEC. The one that is really the only crypto friendly uh sec commissioner by many uh stretches and Summer Messinger who has been a really creative figure on as a commissioner on the CFTC. Uh I'm also excited about the investor community. Uh Cathy Wood is joining this, the inimitable Cathy Wood from ARC. Uh you know, a, a big long-term uh Bitcoin ball of course, um and on the more traditional side, uh Jenny Johnson is back, she is the CEO of Finance Franklin Templeton, which has been doing a lot of, you know, really innovative things around digital assets for an old traditional uh mutual fund uh uh company like hers. Um We, we're always gonna bring on stage and we are again this year, the sort of leaders of the developer community, we have Sergey Nazarov from chain link on mainstage talking about some really innovative things that are happening um at the uh international transfer level working with swift. In fact, uh IGU Sira is on stage, you know, he's from avalanche Brendan Eich from brave um you know, these are the guys that are the headliners, but there's a deeper uh story, you know, to go on Protocol village where, you know, there will have these opportunities for people to experience sort of the much more deeper dives from developers about all of the sort of scaling solutions and new innovations that are happening in the various protocols. Um And on the culture side, you know, we've got uh uh a creator and um branding summit. We have um this A I summit and we're featuring yet again. Uh Neil Stevenson, coming back the uh the tremendously influential uh science fiction novel who has thrown his sort of money where his mouth is if you like and is now developing a metaverse project known as Lamina one. He, of course is known as the Godfather of the Metaverse because he sort of coined the term in his very influential book um uh Snow Crash. So, you know, that's sort of like some of the, the personal names foster, I mean, yeah, I know you take interest in who the companies and brands and, and the others that are represented on stage. Who are you interested to hear from? Yeah, thanks Michael. Um We've got some amazing uh brands and companies that are gonna be represented this year. Um You mentioned a few from the trad five world, uh Blackrock, uh the New York Stock Exchange, Wisdom Tree, Franklin Templeton and from the brand um and creator side. We also have BMW, Adidas Mattel, uh Fox Corporation and Time Magazine. Um some super interesting uh participation from the Museum of Modern Art, uh Walmart and uh Roblox. Um So yeah, there's a lot uh that, that's happening, a lot of building that's still going on. Um So those are some of the highlights and actually let's not forget Jen that uh coin STV itself uh will again have a presence and has all sorts of things planned. Um It was a highlight for me last year, having you guys do those sort of live, you know, surrounded by the audience putting on your shows. What are the plans for this year? Well, it's gonna be even crazier this year. Last year, we definitely had our regular programming live from consensus. This year, you have to think of it like an Olympics live broadcast. We're going to be live all day. We're gonna be peeking in to the different stages, taking a look at what's going on in those stages. And we're also going to have guests on, on our programming, like we normally do a lot of them. Uh, Foster Michael, you've mentioned already. But as everyone knows who watches the show, I am just a big fan of Metaverse and World Building and Gaming and Michael, when you were talking about Metaverse, it reminded me that we have another kind of metaverse big thinker that's going to be a consensus. Uh Ernie Klein, the creator of Ready player one is going to be on Coindesk TV. Also speaking on the gaming stage, I believe and so very exciting. We're going to be live all day. People who are not able to be a consensus will be able to watch us. But the, the you should get your ticket to go, I think is the, is what we're trying to say. You gotta be there to see it, IRL. It's just not going to be the same if you're, if you're watching the snippets online and Foster for folks who are going down there, we have a special code for them. I know there's only a few days left. But how can people get there with a little discount? Sure. If you haven't registered, we, we'd still love to have you join us. Uh You can go to the consensus website, uh find um the registration area and you can use the coin desk, all caps uh discount code for 20% off your tickets. Uh You can use that um code um for any type of ticket pro pass, piranha pass, et cetera. Michael Foster will see you in Austin. Looking forward to it, Jen. Thanks for having us. Thanks Jen.

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