Hopeful Signs of a Better Year Ahead for Crypto From the European Blockchain Convention

By Kelly Ferraro Kelly Ferraro has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on February 22, 2023

Although we are only in February, the European Blockchain Convention (EBC) was the second large-scale Web3 event my team and I attended in 2023.

As the dark winter days continue to be an overhang in the cryptosphere, EBC provided a glimmer of hope, especially on the heels of a year that tested even those that are diehard industry believers. In particular, it was hard to not notice the increase in the number of attendees – from lack of places to sit at lunch to the Wifi not working properly due to network overload.

Last year’s EBC – held during late June when the sun was shining bright in Barcelona and many attendees used the time to enjoy a bit of a holiday in Spain – was defined by the slogan “In Bear Markets, We Build.”

That probably should have been on repeat for this year’s event when the builders (or BUIDLers) were out in full force. Despite these sentiments, if I had to summarize this year’s event in one word, it would be “acceptance.”

We have reached a point in the industry where we collectively understand regulations are not a “nice to have” but rather a “must have.” U.S. presence, in this regard, is imperative if we are going to move forward in a meaningful way. Some takeaways from the event include the fact that the building is not slowing down, even if angel and VC funding might be. That doesn’t necessarily mean balance sheets are unable to provide funding. Weariness with bad investments has taken a toll that is hard to break. Yet, cryptocurrencies are an ever-evolving part of the financial world and that is not going to change anytime soon.

Mainstream adoption will go hand-in-hand with security and privacy. This may not be the sexiest topic but these are real needs that they need to be addressed. 2022 left many people feeling unsure about privacy and safety in Web3. Many wonder if  cryptocurrencies are nothing more than vaporware. Yet, through the conversations I heard coming from the panelists and the attendees, 2023 is proving to be a time of acceptance for the events that caused major disruption.

Now is the time to implement solutions and look at what the builders – some who were likely overlooked during the last bull market cycle – are doing. The industry is maturing, as evidenced by the content presented at EBC. The questions that emerged were problem-solution fits and the tone, during most conversations, was positive and upbeat.

If we take a comparative look at the early Internet, it was not originally invented with a security layer. Due to bad actors, it became necessary to create trust and transparency. However, it is important to remember the technology that changed the world had to backpedal to implement security.

Blockchain and crypto are now in a similar position. It is hard to be patient. We’ve seen this technology evolve so rapidly and transform the landscape of how we interact with money, investments, security, etc. In just a decade or so, we went from Bitcoin being an esoteric gaming token to a worldwide form of currency that has left an imprint on how money is defined. 

Conventions like the EBC, aside from the flowing champagne and extravagant after-parties, are about the fundamentals. Part of what sets blockchain apart is that the community needs to come together as often as possible to share ideas, give feedback and listen to each other. I would say that, with this in mind, EBC set out to do what it sought to accomplish.

Get ready for a second event later this year. The organizers announced another EBC will be happening in the fall, likely around November. If you want to have real conversations with people who are in the trenches each day, sign up for Victoria Gago’s newsletter and don’t miss your chance to attend the next iteration of this event.

Also, accept the reality that the Wi-Fi isn’t great so BYOH (bring your own hotspot).

By Kelly Ferraro Kelly Ferraro has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Kelly Ferraro is an events columnist at Grit Daily. She is the CEO and president of River North Communications, touting two decades of experience as a corporate communications and TradFi professional. She is also the chapter director for VNTR, and is a three-time mentor with Outlier Ventures. Having worked at Bank of America and Guggenheim Securities, she is well-equipped to design and implement media campaigns aligning with business objectives. Kelly began her career at a hedge fund, developing a love for numbers as they told a company’s true story. She is also passionate about the evolution of blockchain and believes transparency is the key to widespread adoption.

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