I would like to preface this piece by thanking the Blockchain Education Network, Moe Levin, and Amandah Hendricks for sponsoring my trip as well as planning a phenomenal conference. I know the amount of work you guys put in, and it definitely made for a great conference!
It’s Tuesday night and I just got off work at 9 PM. About an hour later my friend Austin who was also making the trip, and I got in his car and left Tallahassee for Miami. Eight hours later at 5 AM we finally made it to Austin’s house in Miami and we “napped” a few hours before we had to be up at 9 AM to help set up for the conference.
As I stated in the preface, Blockchain Education Network paid for our tickets, but in order to get them, we had to volunteer for part of the conference. At first, it was a bit slow, we were helping some of the companies find their booths, and waiting around for more tasks. However, after about two hours, all the materials that were going in the packets they were giving out at the conference were delivered. This is when we went to work… Austin, Adam (another friend of ours that went), and I pieced together about 500-600 of these packets over the course of the next three hours.
So if you got a packet at the conference you can thank my friends and I. I accept ETH donations here 0xA9280c9A36b48E3fdDaF3Ec9d980431A95E9e3dB (That’s a joke by the way).
While some people would be miserable doing this, it was actually a nice experience because we got to talk with Moe and Amandah (the directors of the conference) for a while and really got to understand the amount of work that went into planning the event. It was very interesting to see the behind the scenes of the conference.
After a long day of set up, we went to The Clevelander in South Beach for the first of two networking sessions. It was a very cool experience as a college student to be able to go up to and talk to many people in the Crypto space that I normally would not have the opportunity to talk to.
The next day was the official start of the conference. With 4,000 people in attendance, the security and lines to enter looked like TSA security.
When we finally got in, the conference was split into two sections. The James L Knight amphitheater was where the presentations would be held, and on the downstairs, there was space for companies to set up booths to talk about their project.
Some of the notable speakers on the first day of the conference included:
- Patrick Bryne CEO of Overstock
- Jack Lu with Wanchain
- Ryan Taylor with Dash
- Matt Spoke with AION
- Multiple ICO pitches
My personal favorite presentation from Day 1 was AION. They have a revolutionary idea, about creating Cross-Blockchain technology. They also have a very impressive team behind it, and it seems like they are doing some big things. If you’re interested in learning more about their project, you can at https://aion.network/.
Along with the presentations, I had the pleasure of speaking to numerous companies at their booth. However, even with the 40+ companies in attendance, there was one that stood out in particular to me. A new start-up called Tax Token is solving a big problem almost everyone in the crypto space is encountering; filing your cryptocurrency tax returns.
On their platform which they plan to launch next year, you will be able to link your trades through your API keys and they will populate a 1099 form for you. The best part of this is their service is only going to run you between $20-$40 per year. I was very impressed with their company and product, the majority of the team are only a few years older than myself, and they have worked tirelessly on their project. I was not the only person impressed by their project, they were awarded 2nd place and a $33,333 check in conference’s ICO pitch competition where they went up against approximately 30 other up-coming ICO’s. You can read more about their project here https://taxtoken.io/ .
So after watching many ICO pitches, keynote speakers, and talking to many companies, it was time to go to another Networking event which was being held at E11even in Brickell. Before you start questioning about why the conference was held at a venue which is typically known to be a strip club, I will leave you with this; the venue was not operating how it normally does and was truly a networking session. My friend Austin and I had the opportunity to speak with a hedge fund manager, multiple developers, and people from all over the country. As with the Clevelander, the networking sessions was a great aspect of the conference.
On Friday, the last day of the conference, it ran very similarly to the preceding day. Some of the notable speakers were:
- Charlie Shrem
- Jeremy Gardner from Augur
- Marshall Long from Eboost
- Moe Levin with closing remarks
Of the presentations, I would have to say that my favorite of the day was Charlie Shrem. For those of you who do not know who Charlie is, he is a pioneer in the Bitcoin space. In 2011 he formed a startup called BitInstant which gave people easier access to purchasing bitcoin than the current services that were around. Shrem gave a lot of insight into how the crypto space has changed since he started, and where he thinks it is going in the future. If you’d like to view his talk from the conference, you can here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M05HRGWM0bw.
So all in all, after spending a day with setting up the conference, and two as an attendee, I can honestly say that it was well worth my time and would have been worth the $500 price tag for the ticket. I had the opportunity to connect with people from all over the country, built a relationship with the directors of the conference, and expanded my knowledge on Blockchain and crypto immensely. I can say with 100% confidence that I will be attending the conference next year (hopefully presenting my own ICO).
If you have any additional questions about the conference feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and shooting me a message!