While some crypto conference organizers stymied by the world’s coronavirus lockdown have been scrambling to put their events online to avoid a complete cancellation, blockchain accelerator MouseBelt is organizing virtual crypto conference Reimagine 2020 from scratch.
As zooming across the planet has been replaced by Zoom, and face time has been replaced by FaceTime, San Francisco-base MouseBelt today announced that the ambitious event aims to be online continuously for 72 hours, beginning on May 4. Organizers have promised it’ll be packed with keynote speeches, panels, and debates. It will also have hackathons, pitch competitions, and plenty of virtual networking events, San Francisco-based Mousebelt said in a release.
In addition, a Match 1:1 program will be available to connect people with common interests.
“Now more than ever the blockchain community needs to come together to educate, build with, and support each other,” said MouseBelt’s head of education, Ashlie Meredith.
The goal, she added, is to “create spaces for thoughtful, solutions-oriented conversations and collaborations during this time.”
The education-focused investment firm has promised more than 100 speakers from over 20 countries. It is also shooting for 75 partners, and has enlisted BlockTV and Facebook-based Crypto Coin Trader to help produce content.
Reimagine 2020 is accepting speaker and sponsorship proposals through April 20, and general registration will open on April 27. Some of the smaller sessions will limit attendees, with registration closing when they have filled up.
An ambitious line-up
Among the companies that have already agreed to provide speakers for the virtual crypto conference, Reimagine 2020, are members of Mousebelt’s Blockchain Educational Alliance, including executives from Hedera Hashgraph, Ripple’s Xspring, KuCoin, Orbs, and NEO. Student blockchain organizations from across MouseBelt University’s 100-strong university network, including New York’s Fordham, Indiana University, King’s College London, and Toulouse Business School in Spain are also going to be involved.
The organizers are hoping to attract more than 10,000 attendees over the course of the 72-hour, non-stop livestream that kicks off on May 4—a very ambitious timeline for a conference planning to provide that much content around the clock.
MouseBelt has promised that there will be premiere keynote talks in every time zone, and that the event will be free. “Proven” teleconferencing and virtual event platforms will also be used to encourage participation.
The event will have three tracks: an inspiration track, a creation track, and an implementation track, as well as a fourth aimed specifically at cryptocurrency traders.
Virtual currencies, virtual conference
According to MouseBelt, the event has been named Reimagine 2020 because the blockchain industry is at a crossroads—and this offers the opportunity for reflection. Organizers say the rest of the year needs to be reimagined by the sector, and that searing questions about what’s working, what’s possible, and how things can be achieved need to be asked.
“Never has there been a better test for the promise of blockchain than the current financial crisis,” according to the conference website. “More and more people are realizing that cryptocurrency could serve as a safe haven and our community needs to unite to help them find alternatives. We can inspire everyone to choose decentralization, privacy, autonomy, ownership, and security as a mindset and philosophy.”
While hastily organized, Mousebelt is not pitching Reimagine 2020 as a replacement for cancelled events, but as a new and better way of connecting people. The company also took a swipe at in-person competitors.
“The Crypto/Blockchain space has been flooded with many conferences over the years,” said the release. “While some have provided value, a large amount have not. RI2020 wants to change this.”
It isn’t exactly a new idea. According to a study of more than 1,200 professional meeting and conference planners and suppliers carried out from April 1-5 by the Professional Convention Management Association, 87% of respondents have canceled a live event due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but 70% have moved events either partially or wholly to a virtual platform.
While virtual conferences were explored with limited success during and after the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the technology necessary to hold interactive events and online technology has gotten far better, particularly as more meeting and conference planners began incorporating live-streaming and virtual attendee interaction technology aimed at cutting costs and increasing paid attendance over the past three to five years.