Insights from Consensus 2024

Insights from Consensus 2024
June 14, 2024

Our Founder and Director Renee Francis was on the ground for Consensus 2024 in Austin. Here are her insights from the world’s most influential crypto event.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my 10-plus years in business, it’s that embracing the unexpected always leads to opportunity. So, when Jonathan Inglis from Protocol Theory gifted me a free Pro Pass to Consensus 2024 in Austin, Texas – a week out from the event – you can bet your bottom dollar (or BTC) that I jumped at the chance. 

Consensus is the world’s largest and perhaps most impactful gathering of the Web3 community, with entrepreneurs, influential figures and enthusiasts gathering from more than 100 countries for robust discussion, collaboration and connection. With my hotel booked, bags packed and passport in hand, I was ready for it. 

Austin seemed to take ‘warm welcome’ literally, with near-40-degree heat every day I was there. Arriving a few days early allowed for time zone adjustment, a sneak peek of the venue before opening day (check out the pics below), and some time to properly plan which of the 50+ side events to register for. 

First up on my side-event schedule: ‘Marketing 3.0’, hosted by Absolute Labs the day before the start of Consensus 2024. So many interesting perspectives around the state of Web3 tech and the factors critical to mass adoption.

Some key takeaways:

  • The success of Web3 will come from Web2 companies transitioning and onboarding their millions of existing users.
  • Web3 tech is still clunky; we really need to focus on improving the user experience.
  • Brands are not yet truly incentivised to go on chain. We need to do more to offer audiences something that is going to fit into something that already exists, so that there is a seamless onboarding experience for customers.  
  • The general consensus on the panel was that the “Web3” brand is actually terrible and that we eagerly await the time the transition is complete so we don’t need to differentiate anymore. 

The main event 

Day 1 of Consensus 2024 was only open to Sponsors and Pro Pass holders. Entering the exhibition hall for the first time was exhilarating. The thing that struck me most – and something I notice at a lot of international Web3 events – is the calibre of big names in the room. Companies from the worlds of blockchain, gaming, enterprise solutions, telecommunications, investments and more were represented at Austin. It was great to see the likes of Stellar, Chainlink, Polkadot, VeChain, Hedera, and XDC, as well as Google, Animoca Brands, Ripple, Polygon, Filecoin, Grayscale and Zeebu, to name just a few. 

And it’s especially great to see homegrown Aussie Web3 businesses represented on the international stage. I did attend an awesome side event hosted by Hashlock – a Founders and Investors Brunch held at a great rooftop venue in Austin. It offered a fantastic chance to mingle and network with lots of other founders building companies, be it games, payment systems, marketing, exchanges and more. 

Day 2 and 3 of Consensus were absolute whirlwinds, every minute spent attending panel discussions, workshops and live demos, catching up with international partners including Archax, and networking with incredible people from all corners of the world in between. 

Key themes from the event

  • RWAs: specifically, the potential benefits, challenges, and opportunities, and how RWAs can transform traditional financial markets. 
  • AI: there was an entire summit dedicated to the topic, unpacking questions such as whether we can expect more ethical AI with blockchain integration, and how to separate truth from misinformation. 
  • DePIN: We’ve explored some compelling use cases for DePINs before; DePin is one of the biggest narratives of 2024. There was a lot of discussion around the different ways builders are trying to create solutions for real-world situations that negate the need for Big Tech.
  • Crypto as a political issue that both sides in US politics are behind. This is a particularly hot topic with the countdown to Presidential elections in November.  
  • Crypto payment protocols – so many exhibitors related to crypto payments at the event, from crypto payroll companies to payment rails. It was so interesting to learn of the myriad ways people are working to make paying or receiving funds in crypto easier.

I’m so grateful for everyone who connected, collaborated and contributed to such an enriching, educational experience at Consensus 2024. A huge thanks to Protocol Theory for giving me the opportunity to attend! (And if you haven’t checked out the awesome work the Protocol Theory team is doing around Web3 market research, check them out here!)

In the meantime, I’m back on home soil and looking forward to all the exciting meetings lined up – and to seeing you somewhere around the world at the next event.

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