Magical Crypto Conference might just turn out to be the hottest event of Blockchain Week 2019. What started as a joke that the four anthropomorphic animals told during the June 2018 episode of the Magical Crypto Friends show, has now turned into an impressive gathering of software developers, Bitcoin entrepreneurs, and fun Crypto Twitter personalities. While Consensus seems to shift towards the fintech sector and the blockchain industry, Magical Crypto Conference brings back the magic (no pun intended) of geeky, technical discussions on topics mostly related to Bitcoin.
The story starts at Consensus 2018, Coidesk’s annual New York conference. Charlie Lee, Samson Mow, Whale Panda, and Riccardo “Fluffy Pony” Spagni have attended the event and realized that the spirit of debating well-established technologies is gone and has been replaced by a strong ICO pitching fever. In a nutshell, the geeks and Bitcoin-enthusiasts were outnumbered by speculators and business people who were looking for good investments, rather than new disruptive technologies.
Furthermore, given the ideological divide between the two types of crowds (which some may call toxic maximalism or cypherpunk ethos, depending on their allegiance), it made sense for the Bitcoiners to seek refuge from the private blockchain-loving crowd. It was in this schismatic context that the concept of the Magical Crypto Conference was turned into a real event.
The big issue with the speakers
Usually, when you go to a conference you set your mind on following some of the panels and managing your time to make the most out of your opportunity. Such events are designed in a utilitarian way, to generate happiness to the largest number through free will-driven variety.
The Magical Crypto Conference is different, in the sense that even listing the guests in a particular order becomes a difficult task that may not do justice to the unquestionable notoriety of most. Cypherpunks like Adam Back and Peter Todd, engineers and researchers like Elaine Ou and Alex Bosworth, prolific Bitcoin Core developers like Andrew Poelstra (who is also responsible for bringing MimbleWimble to life) and Matt Corallo, and successful business figures like Jeremy Welch of Casa and Katherine Wu of Messari.
The enumeration above is incomplete in two ways: first of all, it doesn’t include all the notable participants from each category; secondly, it makes a classification that isn’t necessarily exclusive. We are dealing with real polymaths who are simultaneously great at building protocols and running successful businesses.
Now here’s a short list of people who have been purposely omitted just to prove the point about the conference being an all-star event: Jameson Lopp, Jimmy Song, Meltem Demirors, Des Dickerson, Rodolfo Novak (nvk), Sergej Kotliar, Caitlin Long, Jill Carlson, Jack Mallers, Justin Moon, Kristy-Leigh Minehan, Alex Petrov, Arianna Simpson, Austin Alexander, Miha Grcar, Gordon Ao, Bob McElrath, Hannah Rosenberg, Alexandra Moxin, Will O’Beirne, Lisa Neigut, Brandon Goodell, Devin Pearson, Rob Massey, Troy Paredes, and Lowell Ness.
At press time, the application for speakers is still open, so even more big names can and will most likely be added to this already impressive roster. Also, the four anthropomorphic animals who do the Magical Crypto Friends show on a monthly basis (Charlie Lee, Riccardo “Fluffy Pony” Spagni, Samson Mow, and Whale Panda) will all participate with panel discussions of their own.
The good news is that no presentation resulting from any arrangement of guests can be boring. However, no human being who requires food breaks, socialization and rest can possibly see everything. Between May 11th and 12th, the two rooms from New York’s 125 West 18th Street venue will host the ultimate endurance challenge for all cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
Tickets are unfairly cheap
The prices of Consensus tickets have always been rather high, and the 2019 edition makes no exception to take into account the prolonged bear market: students and developers will pay $700, while enthusiasts willing to attend the whole event will most likely have to eat ramen in order to save up the $1300.
In comparison, Magical Crypto Conference will only charge you $280 for the general admission and $473 for the VIP tickets (which promise to offer exclusive gifts). Luckily for Coindesk’s Consensus, the two events aren’t directly competing by taking place at the exact same time: the smaller all-star event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, while the already-established big event begins on Monday (the day after the Magical Crypto Conference ends).
Certainly, this decision was made in order to allow speakers to attend both events. But given the temporal closeness between the two conferences, it’s very unlikely that the panel presentations would vary too much. Therefore, the information that you see and hear on May 11th and 12th will most likely get recycled during Consensus. So if you’re looking to get the bang for the buck and catch that first and more energetic concert from the tour, Magical Crypto appears to be the better event.
Given the significantly smaller venue, it’s also more likely to interact with the biggest names in crypto and engage in conversations. It should also be easier to have your questions answered during Q&A sessions. So if this personal factor matters to you, then you should really take it into consideration.