Vasily Sumanov

Researcher of decentralized systems. Head of Research, Cellframe

Blockchain Conferences in Early 2020: How to Follow the Trends

From any point of view, 2019 was a great year for crypto. First of all, Bitcoin, Ethereum and other core industry projects survived the bear market. The Ethereum ecosystem got a lot of adoption and traction with Defi and its decentralized financial instruments, such as reliable stablecoins, money markets, futures, options, DAO and many more. At least two digital currencies with a >1 bln user base each are on the track: China Central bank CBDC (digital Yuan) and Facebook’s Libra. Ethereum is on the long-awaited path to ETH 2.0 and PoS. The previously very specific token engineering discipline is getting more and more attention, first of all from academic, business and developer’s community. The largest financial companies in the world are developing blockchain solutions, engaging new and new market players to the blockchain industry.
We have a look forward to the next year. There will be are a lot of conferences devoted to bitcoin, blockchain in general, trading, mining, cryptoeconomics, and a variety of other topics. It is impossible to track or visit them all. In this article, I present my selection of blockchain conferences upcoming in early 2020, which can be useful to be up to date with industry trends.

Educational events and China insights

It is definitely important to be in touch with the Asian crypto market, and one of a great place to do this is Hong Kong.

The year will start with Chain2020, which will be held on January 15 in Hong Kong. The conference has an educational mission to provide an opportunity for curious and intrepid individuals to engage in conversations about the future of technology and get a detailed understanding of the possibilities the world of today offers. The 10,000 participants are expected to join the event, which seems to become one of the largest blockchain educational conferences so far.
The conference will feature many groundbreaking discussions including government-launched cryptocurrencies (like digital Yuan), newly established countries powered by a blockchain, Ethereum 2.0 launch and other the most anticipated milestones for blockchain progress in 2020.

In early March, the Hong Kong Blockchain week 2020 will take place. This event will be focused on the blockchain enterprise solutions, institutionalization of crypto space and (no doubts!) China Central bank CBDC. A lot of attention will be paid to the Greater Bay area innovation hub, the new rapidly developing high-tech cluster. The 10 days after (16-22 of March) the next big thing will start in Hong Kong: Asia Crypto week with Token 2049 event. A crypto week traditionally is a place to meet the right people, attend a lot of side events and feel crypto vibe for all seven days. Note, that Hong Kong is a place for the meeting all crypto Asia, so if your business or startup is focused on the Asian market - you need to be there and build connections.
Cryptoeconomics and Token Engineering

Cryptoeconomics and token engineering are undoubtedly one of the most complex crypto disciplines. There are a lot of people who claim that they are “token engineers” although few understand this crazy intersection of computer science, economics, game theory, system design, and psychology well. The digital assets and tokens will be integrated into the daily life of almost every human in 5 years, so it is important to be up to date with new token models and digital assets.

At the very beginning of the year, there will be an Autonomy 2040 event, taking place in Tulum (Mexico). Mexico is one of the fastest-growing economies in North and Central America today. While most governments neglect the changes and miss the opportunities brought by the new age, the Mexican government formally recognizes cryptocurrencies and implements blockchain technology actively in its infrastructure. The agenda is aimed at discussing the existing and hidden market opportunities with the representatives of the local regulators and exploration the wide set of economic questions, including the influence of crypto on global economic cycles. Such developing countries as Mexico are a great example of crypto adoption and the influence of cryptoeconomics on real life. and The blend of immersive art, conference program, and the cultural experience is quite unique for the industry events and seems noteworthy.

If you want to be in touch with emerging cryptoeconomics topics on a monthly basis the best way to do it is to attend Token Engineering events, which are hosted worldwide. Keep in mind that Berlin is a town with a most active token engineering community, which regularly hosts quality events there, involving really complex questions mathematical modeling and practical implementation of tokens. Also, they pioneered the first cryptoeconomics hackathon, opening a new page of token engineering history.

The other event, which is quite interesting and undoubtedly very relevant to current trends in cryptoeconomics is NFT NYC on 20 of February in NYC. In 2020 NFT tokens are not only previously famous CryptoKitties but also loans, bonds, portfolios of digital assets, real estate certificates and ultimately anything in the world. The world is entering a “tokenization phase” now, and NTF tokens will play a crucial role in this process. Also, remind NYC is a “cryptoeconomic” city now, so you can meet a lot of interesting and smart people from famous projects.

The more academic view on token engineering is possible to find at the Cryptoeconomic systems 2020 conference in Boston, which will take place on 7-8 of March. It is not a conference for complete newbies in crypto as the content is strong and very industry-specific. But, if you want to see what academic society is focusing on, it is one of the best places to be. It is the event for those who want to dig deeper.

General domain blockchain conferences

The general domain conferences are focused mainly on Bitcoin itself, regulation and applied crypto use cases. The most known general domain conference is Consensys, which traditionally attracts a lot of people all over the world. If you are in crypto, it is necessary to attend Consensys at least once to feel the vibe and meet all the people you need in one place. Besides the main conference, there are a lot of side events, hosted by different companies and communities so you definitely will be able to find a good company and best rooftop view (spoiler - side events are often held on rooftops).
In the mid of January, there will be the first general domain conference - The North American Bitcoin in Miami. The main topics will be adoption and regulation, both directions have a great impact on the future of the industry. The speaker list is not bad and taking into account a good weather and Miami vibe it is good choice if you are somewhere around.

At the end of February, there will the Blockchain Economy: Istanbul event. This event aroused my curiosity as 20% of Turkish citizens currently own cryptocurrency. It is connected mainly with the instability of the national currency and geopolitical problems. So, it is very interesting to see the practical side of crypto adoption in a developing country which citizens really need it. The conference will be focused on blockchain impact on the economy, upcoming crisis and applied topics around crypto in developing countries.
The next important event is the Bitcoin 2020 conference, scheduled on March 27-28 in San-Francisco. It is historically one of the best events, focused especially on Bitcoin, its technology and related solutions, for example, Lighting Network. If you are Bitcoin maximalist (to be honest - I am) it is a good chance to meet the right people and learn something new regarding Bitcoin. What you will find there? They already gave an answer on their website - more Bitcoin:)

Events, focused on Ethereum ecosystem

Ethereum ecosystem plays a crucial role in maturing the cryptocurrency industry, real adoption, and a lot of novel use cases in finance, games, and governance. The Ethereum Foundation itself, as well as enthusiasts, hosts a lot of events. Here is a selection of three, which will be held in early 2020 and already have a solid reputation and traction in the community.

The first is ETHDenver, a famous event focused on development on top of Ethereum and education. The important part of the event is the BUIDL section or simply some kind of the hackathon, so all devs - it is a chance for yourself. The dates are on 14-16 February. This event is one of the most important for developers to visit, along with Devcon (but, unfortunately, Devcoin is held in autumn).

The next event, EthCC in Paris will be held on 3-5 March. It is a community conference, attracting many solid persons from the industry. Besides the talks and discussions about Ethereum hot topics, they launch a VC track. So, if you are a part of the project which is seeking funding it can be a good point to try.

And finally, right before Consensys, there will be Ethereal Summit in NYC. The topics are mainly focused on Ethereum development, trust, personal identity, ethics, human relationships, and value. The speakers’ list is incredible and the possibility to participate in two top-grade events in one time within two weeks is really good.

Besides the mentioned categories, I found one more interesting academic event. In the mid of April in the very heart of academic UK society, there will be the IEEE Dapps 2020 conference. It is a conference focused on academic research on Dapps. It will be simultaneously with several other IEEE events, devoted to AI/BigData/Cloud computing. So, I consider all of them at large as a set of interdisciplinary academic event, combining the emerging technologies.
Of course, it is not easy to attend a lot of events - it is not only costly but also time-consuming. Often, even the selection needs another selection. As for me, I prefer to attend one general domain conference each half of the year and all other time focus on my favorite field - cryptoeconomics. For other people, there can be other receipts of “conference productivity”. So, I wish all people, interested to know more about the industry and people in it find conferences that will fit your business tasks, curiosity or tech stack. 
The list of events will expand. If you know about a cool event from the mentioned categories, feel free to send me info to @SumanovVasily on Twitter.
I do not have any vested interest in any of the mentioned conferences. The views, descriptions and opinions expressed are those of the author. Do your own research.

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