Bitcoin downturn? It’s all roses and blue skies at Consensus 2022, Austin’s ‘SXSW of crypto’

“Kimbal, please now share your 9/11 story,” says the man on the main stage at Consensus 2022, CoinDesk’s crypto conference in Austin, June 9-12. The annual event has been billed as the SXSW of crypto, which is confusing because it seemed like SXSW 2022 was the SXSW of crypto.But alas.

The speaker, author Rod Beckstrom, is asking Kimbal Musk, younger brother of new Texas resident Elon, to describe how a real-life event — the big one, at that — shaped his life in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). Musk — founder of Big Green DAO, and SpaceX and Tesla board member — tells of cooking for New York firefighters at Ground Zero. How it relates to this nebulous thing called the blockchain I cannot explain.

It’s not the first thing I hear at the event to give me pause — that’d be “leave the flashing to the girls with the small tits,” said into a video camera by a mustachioed lanyard-wearer at the Hilton — but it’s the first phrase that demonstrates the need for those gathered to invoke earth-shattering moments to lend credibility to what appears to the rest of the world as an industry-wide downturn.

But if faltering bitcoin and etherium prices, and the shaky ground for the once-ascendant non-fungible token (NFT), has investors and industry folks rattled, you wouldn’t know it inside the Austin Convention Center.

NFTs for sale in the expo center at Consensus 2022 in Austin.

Chris O’Connell/MySA

Everyone I spoke with, from traders to educators to employees at industry-adjacent companies, only smiled when I brought up the outside perception that crypto had seen better days.

“In previous bear markets, it wasn’t this exciting. Everybody was hurting on this one,” says Jacob Dent, an engineer at a crypto casino called “This one, I’m not even really feeling it.”

Justin Kerber, an Austin resident who works for Mythical Games, says he recently asked his company’s CEO about how a bear market affects their bottom line.

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