Tech, trends and controversy in the cryptoverse • TechCrunch
There’s never a dull moment in the cryptoverse. Blockchain, DeFi and web3 technologies continue to evolve rapidly in a world of wild extremes. How extreme? Consider these two examples.
The Terra ecosystem disappears in a multi-billion-dollar crash-and-burn while traditional investment firm Andreessen Horowitz closes a $4.5 billion crypto megafund. Then you have crypto’s ongoing regulatory tug-of-war against the backdrop of the Coinbase insider trading suit.
It’s a lot to track and digest, and it’s why we’ve asked part of our editorial team, Lucas Matney, Jacquelyn Melinek and Anita Ramaswamy — who eat, sleep and dream all things crypto — to weigh in and share their insight and perspectives. They’re also the braintrust behind the programming at TC Sessions: Crypto and the hosts of TechCrunch’s Chain Reaction podcast.
Without further ado, here’s a quick look at what our editors are most excited about heading in to TechCrunch’s first TC Sessions: Crypto event.
What are your top priorities or goals as you put together the programming for the first TechCrunch Sessions: Crypto event?
Anita Ramaswamy: I’m focused on making sure our speaker lineup and the topics we’re putting together are representative of the diversity of views and backgrounds present in the web3 community.
Lucas Matney: I’m spending a lot of my time building out an agenda that ensures we’re doing justice to the unprecedented excitement surrounding this industry while also providing the less glamorous context on inherent risks around pushing more consumers toward products that promote speculative investing.
Jacquelyn Melinek: I’m hoping to create a program that dives into the complexities of the industry while making the content easily accessible to those who are crypto curious, while also having experts in the space highlight and comment on the risks associated with the industry.
Speaking of the event name, will we get to hear about more than just “crypto”?
LM: You bet. While adoption of cryptocurrencies continues to be the high-level focus of the industry, the space has grown much less monolithic over the past two years with founders pushing forward new blockchain technologies for organizing and running communities online and incentivizing the early adoption of new products on the web.
JM: There’s a deeper level to the crypto industry than just “crypto.” Attendees will be able to listen to discussions on a range of topics that benefit or derive from it, but also are creating their own path with the technology. Crypto is the center of the industry, but isn’t the be-all-end all term for discussion.
AR: Absolutely — lots of people use the word “crypto” as a synonym for everything related to blockchain technology, though it mainly captures the financial applications/tokens themselves. Those are important, but we’ll also be talking about how blockchain tech and the ideas shaping it are impacting founders, creators and everyday internet users who may not be as deeply immersed in the web3 space. Cryptocurrency itself is at the heart of most web3 projects, but I’d consider this to be a broader web3 event.
What makes 2022 a particularly fascinating year to hold our first crypto event?
JM: This year has been nothing short of turbulent — I mean that in both good and bad ways — and a lot of people want answers pertaining to that volatility. Even by the time the event takes place, the crypto industry may be vastly different from when we began planning it. There’s a chance we will have to mold our discussions to fit the current landscape, but that’s the sort of “beauty” of this industry. It’s constantly changing and fitting that we host an event during one of the “crypto winters,” because we have to provide content and conferences even when everything isn’t going according to plan. Hosting an event this year shows that we’re here to provide discussions during the good and bad times.
AR: Regardless of the recent talk of “crypto winter,” I believe the last two years have marked a significant inflection point in the arc of crypto’s history. Market conditions may (and probably will) fluctuate, and we’ll dig into that plenty at the event, but the last two years have seen a huge influx of people dipping their toes into crypto for the first time. That’s why 2022 is a great time to reframe some of the discussions we’ve been having within the crypto community with a wider perspective and an eye to the future.
LM: Crypto may be inside a downturn at the moment, but it’s during these periods that players looking for a quick buck depart the industry and the industry streamlines. Holding this event in 2022 promises an opportunity for those looking to stick around to hear from lasting power players on their success stories and how they survived past winters.
Regarding your own background, how did you become interested in writing about the crypto, NFT, blockchain and web3 communities?
LM: So much of my own initial interest was tied to the developer fervor around the space that felt distinct from the financial speculation. The close bond between technologists in the NFT community and emerging digital artists – who have never had an effective means of monetizing their work – provided an early inspiration for me to further explore the sector and dig into communities working on things that had never been done before. It’s been a wild ride since — all playing out 24/7 on Twitter.
AR: I credit a cousin of mine, who is now a commodities trader, with sparking my initial interest in blockchain – I’ll never forget visiting his family while I was still in college and listening to him explain things like decentralization and hashrates to me in the context of Bitcoin. It sounds nerdy, but as a political science major, I was fascinated trying to wrap my head around the ideology behind it. And as a former investment banker-turned-business-journalist, I spent much of the pandemic following huge, bureaucratic financial institutions as they slowly warmed up to the idea of crypto, oftentimes because of customer demand.
JM: I had a personal interest in crypto prior to covering the industry full-time, but never dove too deep into it. Little did I know, the space is so much bigger than what I initially thought. Once I started reporting on it, I found that many of the “good” industry players were innovative — even though they were a bit gritty — and determined to succeed regardless of the hurdles thrown at them. That, to me, was inspiring. My interest also stems from my love for learning. Even though I’ve covered an array of crypto topics, I still learn something new almost every day. This industry keeps me curious and always on my toes.
Finally, beyond the obvious reason that it’s an awesome city, why host this event in Miami?
JM: Miami has become one of the front-runners representing the crypto industry and has a vibrant community of builders, developers, and retail and institutional investors alike.
AR: Miami has always been one of the most global cities in the United States, with a vibrant immigrant community. Now the city has become somewhat synonymous with crypto, with major investment firms and startups in the space settling in to call Miami their home. As a Miami-born resident of New York, it’s been fascinating to see what a marked impact the influx of crypto talent into Miami has had on both my friends and family who still live there and on my peers in NYC, many of whom have moved to Miami temporarily or permanently.
LM: Just as crypto was the breakout success of the tech market’s rally over the past several years, Miami become a poster child for a new brand of tech center during a pandemic-fueled exit of young tech workers from the Bay Area. People have plenty of opinions on the city, but no one argues that Miami lacks passion or intensity — elements I’m particularly excited for TechCrunch Sessions: Crypto to tap into.
There you have it, and we’ll be sure to check in with our team as we get closer to TC Sessions: Crypto. In the meantime, take advantage of our special launch pricing and save $250 on General Admission passes. Buy your pass or package today, and then get ready to go crypto with the web3, DeFi and NFT communities.
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