A large portion of the blockchain world descends on New York’s Hilton Midtown hotel to participate in Consensus, which is the industry’s event of the year. This year’s conference serves as the centerpiece of New York’s first Blockchain Week, which runs nine days and will conclude May 19.

The remainder of Blockchain Week will feature one-day conferences, classes and networking events where entrepreneurs and developers will be able to share information and discuss industry developments. Less-formal, after-hour gatherings will offer opportunities for participants to connect. Among other New York highlights will be the Crypto Influence Summit on May 17.

That the capital of world financial markets is hosting this extravaganza is among the clearest signals of blockchain and cryptocurrency’s emergence into the mainstream. The New York Economic Development Corporation, which provides educational and other resources for New York entrepreneurs, is sponsoring the event.

But Consensus is hardly the only noteworthy happening in the coming week. Nearly two dozen dozen projects are scheduled to conclude token sales this week. They include Essentia, Well Inc., InVox Finance, BEAT, Velix.ID and BrickBlock.io (concluding May 15); ZIPR and Blocnation (concluding May 16); World WiFI (concluding May 18); and AdSigma (concluding May 20).

Consensus

Consensus kicks off Monday morning with remarks by Don Tapscott, author of “Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Underlying Bitcoin is Changing Business, Money and the World” and one of the world’s leading blockchain authorities; and a panel discussion with Tapscott, FedEx CEO Fred Smith and Robert Carter, the company’s chief information officer. The morning will also feature an interview with James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Transportation and logistics is among the industries that many observers believe will benefit most from blockchain technology.

The remaining three-day agenda will include panel discussions, presentations and speeches and culminate with a three-hour job fair on Wednesday afternoon. Conference organizers expect the event will draw about 6,500 people. That’s more than double last year’s conference and up from about 1,000 attendees in 2015, the first year of the event.

The Crypto Influence VIP Summit

The evening event sponsored by CryptoInfluence.io will bring together some of the world’s biggest crypto influencers on May 17 as part of New York Blockchain Week. CrytoInfluence.Io will also present the Cryto Influencer Awards in 32 categories, including Coolest Influencer, Most Funny, Most Relatable, Best Individual Tweet, Best Crypto Musician and Influencer of the Year. CryptoInfluence.io advertises itself as the world’s biggest influencer community. It features more than 300 of the leading crypto YouTubers. They reach about 15 million people worldwide.

Notes From Last Week
Buterin Stays Away
Vitalik Buterin reaffirmed his intent to not attend Consensus. The ethereum (ETHco-founder said he was upset by what he characterized as a mistake in a recent CoinDesk article. But he also raised larger concerns about blockchain news coverage, even criticizing the $2,000-plus registration fees for the Consensus Conference. “The conference costs [$2,000 to $3,000] to attend,” Buterin said. “I refuse to personally contribute to that level of rent seeking.”
Fundstrat Analyst: Blockchain Is Headed Higher

Bitcoin (BTC) is going up. So said Fundstrat Global Advisors analyst Robert Sluymer as New York Blockchain Week kicked off. “The regulatory risk, the fundamental risk around what’s happening with cryptos has hit a bottom and now we’re in a state of general recovery,” said Sluymer, managing director and technical strategist at Fundstrat, on CNBC’s “Fast Money” Thursday.

Sluymer has been optimistic about bitcoin. He said the cryptocurrency, which was trading above $9,000 Thursday evening, “continues higher from here.” Bitcoin finished the week at about $8,400.

Dr. Doom, Joe Lubin Debate Cryptos

At the Fluidity Conference, a one-day event last Thursday, ethereum developer Joe Lubin and crypto skeptic Nouriel Roubini sparred over the potential impact of cryptocurrencies. Lubin said cryptocurrency could address many issues in the financial system. Roubini, who became known as Dr. Doom for his predictions about the housing bubble and financial crisis, said that fintech innovation was more likely to transform financial services than crytocurrency. “Fintech today…has nothing to do with crypto-blockchain,” Roubini said. “It has to do with [artificial intelligence] and the Internet of Things. It’s revolutionizing things like insurance [and] asset management.”

James Rubin
James Rubin has covered a range of business topics for such publications as the Economist Intelligence Unit, Forbes Insights and Adweek. His papers have been presented at World Economic Forum events. He was an associate editor at TheStreet and is the author of the "Urban Cyclist's Survival Guide."