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Tra Dawn Harflinger will discuss the long-term crypto strategy of the Liliuokalani Trust fund, which has a $1.2 billion portfolio, at the Consensus Conference. CoinDesk’s senior reporter Ian Allison will speak to Jose Fernandez da Ponte who is the head of the crypto and digital currency business unit at PayPal.

What BUIDLers have built

Venture-capital investment in crypto has slowed down to a trickle during the first three-months of 2023 – only $900 million, compared to the billions that were invested last year. Many crypto-native fund managers have restocked their funds with the capital they earned or raised during the bull market and are looking for projects to invest in.

After the collapse of FTX (a centralized exchange), VCs have recommitted to the tenets decentralization. A number of funds have allocated dollars to “crypto infrastructure”, the distributed and tamperproof base on which the crypto economy rests. This category is broad by definition, and includes everything from layer one blockchains to scalable system like the recently launched Base Network of crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN).

The projects that have their own token treasuries begin to spend millions of dollars to fund the open-source development and maintenance of their ecosystems. Solana for example, which was particularly hard hit by the fall of Sam Bankman Fried’s FTX Empire, shows the “stickiness of crypto projects” with dedicated developer communities, and funding.

Check out: What are VCs funding after FTX? More Decentralized Infrastructure

There’s plenty to build. Udi Wertheimer will speak, a well-known bitcoiner. Muneeb Ali, creator of the Stacks Blockchain, will also discuss the flurry of activity that has spread across Bitcoin since the launch Bitcoin Ordinals. Sunny Aggarwal will speak separately about the inter-chain plumbing needed to allow all blockchains to seamlessly interact, as well as competing visions of the most active multichain network to date, Cosmos.

Spinning Web3

The initialization “NFT” is an awkward way to spell out the phrase non-fungible coin. It’s likely that this is why, over the last year, major brands like Reddit Starbucks(SBUX), which are interested in experimenting with “digital collectors,” have done so without referring to them as NFTs. Some people saw this as a criticism of crypto, but they missed the point: The crypto market was in a slump, so adding “Web3” and “NFT” to a project wouldn’t help. But these brands had confidence enough in the concept that they launched them.

Crypto will likely continue to grow this way, in the background. Solana, for example, is preparing to launch its Solana Phone. It’s not aimed at the mass market. Instead it’s aimed at crypto enthusiasts who want their funds to be safe and still accessible. Futurist Cathy Hackl will be presenting at Consensus on our future “post-smartphone”, when augmented reality, artificial intelligence and other technologies are commonplace.

Crypto phones and wearables are still a small market, but they’re part of a larger “ownership economy”, which is exploding. Jason Lake, GameSquare (GAME), will present at Consensus his competing visions of what this future will look like and how crypto or the Metaverse will affect everyday life.

Sergey Nazarov will also discuss the role that blockchain oracles will play as a data provider in a world increasingly digitalized.

Rules, regulations, and crackdowns

Regulators are putting pressure on the entire industry, and they’re not sitting back. The European Union made a big step forward last week by voting in a comprehensive crypto regulatory framework. The U.S. government is clearly trying to regulate the crypto industry. However, the exact way to do so has yet to be determined.

Consensus will be a forum for policy issues. Jeremy Allaire is scheduled to appear on stage with CoinDesk’s Chief Content Officer Michael Casey, who will discuss the future of stablecoins, an industry that bridges traditional and emerging financial sectors.


Consensus will host the Policy Summit on Friday. This track includes sessions with Dr. Marwan al Zarouni about the rise of multipolar crypto hubs, as well as Kristin Smith CEO of the Blockchain Association who is the most active crypto lobbyists in Washington.


Consensus may be the name that is most appropriate for this year. You can’t progress without direction, even though universal agreement in crypto is unattainable, or worse, antithetical. Consensus-2023, by bringing together some of the most prominent and influential figures in finance and crypto, represents the best chance to provide a clear direction to an industry that desperately needs it.