It has been a difficult month for the global cryptocurrency market. And yet community members keep coming together nonstop to network, learn, and party on what feels like a seemingly endless loop of crypto conferences.
But there seems to be a slight shift from just a few weeks ago, when I attended the FTX and SALT Joint Conference, Crypto Bahamas, to last week, when thousands of people gathered in West Palm Beach for the Permissionless Conference, co-hosted. by Bankless (and, disclaimer, my former employer) Blockworks.
There was a mixed bag of sentiments from people at the event who are deeply rooted in the crypto world. Some attendees were wicked, others fresh, lively and excited to meet others in the space, while many had their heads in their laptops or face close to their phones as they tried to work and socialize amid conversations about a crypto winter . But overall, many attendees didn’t seem bothered by the current market volatility.
The past month has been tough for the crypto market, with a total market cap of 29% from $1.9 billion as of a month ago to $1.35 billion on May 22, according to CoinGecko data.
“When crypto conferences happen, you never know if the market is going to be bearish or bullish during the week of events,” Ty Blackard, chief product officer at NFTY Labs, told Marketingwithanoy.
To the credit of Permissionless, the main stage room was packed with over 2,000 people – not to mention smaller breakout rooms that were packed with hundreds of people – and standing alone was available for many of the sessions. I can’t remember the last time I went to a conference with halls full of listeners – but seeing it first hand, those in attendance couldn’t get enough of the content.
“This one [time] sucks, but it will also be good to remove some foam from the ecosystem,” Ed Sim, founder and managing partner at boldstart ventures, told Marketingwithanoy. “True builders and believers will stay and keep building.”
I spoke to a handful of attendees at the event who lost their jobs — or feared layoffs — and their entire crypto investments after Terraform Labs’ algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD (UST) and cryptocurrency LUNA plummeted by more than 99% in a matter of days, shaking and taking down the entire crypto ecosystem with them.
What should have been an enjoyable event for many in attendance suddenly became a job fair for some as they weaved through the sponsored booths, shaking hands and chatting in hopes of meeting future potential employers.
Don’t get me wrong – there was also a lot of fun throughout the event, from a number of open-tab pub crawls to invite-partying on $40 million yachts and multi-million dollar estates. But in a way, it felt wrong to celebrate while the crypto economy was collapsing, or getting close to it.