With Bitcoin and altcoins seeing red (yet again) on Saturday, you could forgive investors for questioning their logic. As for the crypto-community, they were anything but despondent; arriving en masse to Austin’s famous South By South West (SXSW) festival to attend the plethora of blockchain-related events on offer. The fanaticism carried across the Atlantic to London also, as wannabe-attendees contentedly joined a hundreds-deep queue for the UK’s largest blockchain event, Crypto Investor Show 2018.

How big is this year’s instalment of SXSW? Just look at some of the participating companies: Uber, Reddit, Twitter, Intel, and all four of the FANG internet giants. Here are some of this year’s speakers to boot: Elon Musk, Melinda Gates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Ray Kurzweil.

Indeed, Austin’s ten-day celebration (March 9-18) of tech, film, and music isn’t some trivial community meet-up. The SXSW phenomenon has housed many culturally significant events across its 32 consecutive years of existence. For instance, the 2009 edition marked the launch of the Foursquare tech giant, and just two years prior, ‘South By’ saw a then-nascent Twitter encounter its “tipping point” moment.

SXSW 2018 is expected to attract a crowd of over 400,000. Collectively these people will spend some $300 million on their experience that grants them access to an offering of over 2,100 keynotes and panel discussions on a range of technological, cinematographic, and cultural topics, as well as over 2,000 musical acts.

This year, the number of panels and presentations that feature Blockchain as a topic is no less than 38; making it one of the hottest talking points on an agenda stacked with popular tech terms like VR, AR, and AI.

These crypto-related talks will cover a diverse range of issues like personal data (‘Blockchain and Civil Liberties’), what a notoriously volatile market means for the entertainment industry (‘Entertainment Will Bring Cryptocurrency Mainstream’), and the repercussions of the imminent machine economy (‘Cryptocurrencies: A New Future for Money’). 

Some top 150 cryptocurrencies being represented in the official programme include Veritaseum (VERI), SingularDTV (SNGLS), and TenX (PAY). Notable industry figures participating on stage are David Johnston (Chairman of the Board, Factom (FCT); ‘The Quantifiable Business Benefits of Blockchain’), and Joseph Lubin (Co-founder, Ethereum (ETH); Founder, ConsenSys; ‘Why Ethereum Is Going to Change the World’ (audio recording available)).

One session (‘Austin: A Global Centre for Blockchain Innovation’) is set to attract many eyeballs, for it will feature Dustin Byington, the president of the mysterious Wanchain (WAN) that, after disappointing many who expected its launch many weeks ago, has been dubbedWhenchain: Rebuilding the definition of soon’.

If this (somehow) wasn’t sufficient exposure for the burgeoning cryptocurrency space, then luckily the above >38 talks pertain to the official SXSW programme. Indeed, a slew of off-site events and meet-ups are scheduled.

A major complimentary blockchain-related event is the Ethereal Lounge by ConsenSys (weekend-only live-streaming from their Facebook account). Another is a Sunday dinner to be co-hosted by Tech Open Air; featuring a crypto-centric panel that includes Kathleen Breitman (Co-Founder, Tezos (XTZ)), DJ Qian (Founder, Fusion (FSN)), and Vinny Lingham (CEO, Civic (CVC)). Lingham will speak at another of these auxiliary events, the aptly-named Initial Taco Offering.

Over in London, the crypto-fever was just as palpable, as hundreds queued up on Saturday morning at the QEII Centre in anticipation of the Crypto Investor Show. The one-day event, self-described as “the UK’s biggest crypto and blockchain event for investors,” featured speakers such as Galia Benartzi (Co-Founder, Bancor (BNT)), Popo Chen (Founder, Cobinhood (COB)), and Rob Viglione (Co-Founder, ZenCash (ZEN)).

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