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Opening remarks & state of blockchain
Ryan Selkis, Coindesk
Garrick Hileman, The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance
Ladies and gentlemen, the session will begin in 5 minutes. Please take your seats. The session is about to begin.
Please welcome Ryan Selkis from CoinDesk. (obnoxious music plays, overly dramatic)
Wow is all I can say about what's happening over the last couple of months. This is absolutely incredible. Nice to start a Monday morning with a little Kill Bill soundtrakc. 1500 attendees, sold out crowd, standing-room only for some of the later sessions. Please make sure you cram in and make sure you make room for everyone over the next few days. We have an okay line-up. I am proud to introduce this event and you all. I am director of growth at Digital Currency Group, Coindesk team lead, and for this morning, I am your welcomed entertainment. I am very excited to have this Stellar crowd that we have assembled. We have 150 speakers, leaders from policy ,tech, academia, the leading industries, the Bitcoin Core developers, 45 CEOs from startups. I am not sure if Satoshi Nakamoto is actually going to make a physical attendace, we wont barr the doors for Lil' Buterin, but we expect you will be entertained for the next few days. We have folks from 40 countries. Stellar international participation. Our goal was to create an over-the-top ridiculous event. We have folks from China, Japan, Western Europe, Mars, Latin America, New Jersey, I got to admit, I stole that joke from Robert Schwanker, a colleague at Blockchain University and put on the hackathon over the weekend. It was a phenomenal hackathon and co-title sponsor Microsoft, at the Microsoft tech center. We had over 100 developers and 25 smart contract projects. We congratulate decentralized energy utility which came up with a p2p economy platform for developing economy energy sharing. If you are an investor, keep your checkbooks ready. We gave them $5k in prize money but they said it wasn't enough. Housekeeping note, look to your right, look to your left, you or someone sitting net to you is from Deloitte and I guarantee it. Deloitte is our other co-title sponsor. They are real deep man. It has been a pleasure to work with them and the Deloitte team. I really appreciate everything they have done for us. We have 3 industry partners. Digital Currency Group, Coin Center and MIT Media Lab which has invaluable in putting together the agenda. Coin Center is the leading policy advocate in DC for the bitcoin and blockchain community. They also have a sold-out event later tonight, you can go to bolth, at the Coin Center gala and they have good entertainment coming up. Thank you to Coin Center. Digital Currency Group has been invaluable as well. We see some of them in front. DCG has invested in 70 companies across 20 countries right now. They are the global leader in blockchain investing. Coindesk is a proud member of the DCG family, we were acquired in January 2016, and DCG has helped us pour fuel on the fire for Consensus2016 and some of the growth we have seen YoY. We have raised money from Foxconn, Western Union... people think about Western Union investing in bitcoin, wow. Last but not least, MIT Media Lab and Digital Currency Initiative for the second year in the row, we were able to offer 50 scholarships to young women at the event. Thank you very much to the folks at MIT. Also incredibly important as we continue to grow this industry, even though this is exclusive event not exclusionary and MIT has been invaluable in supporting that. Finally, the Coindesk team, the folks who do the real leg work, I am just the ugly face believe it or not, the folks behind the scenes have done a good job getting this event up and running bigger and better. A couple of months ago, to be honest, we were worried that this conference would fail. We had a stretched small team, communication barriers, four offices, two continents, strong personalities, lots of assholes, lots of issues to work through. I couldn't be prouder of the rally and March to improve communications and got to trust each other and somehow find a way to double our capacity this year so please give us money. The Bitcoin Core developers are here at this event. With that, I'm surprised that didn't get more of a reaction. This is really blockchain people. I am thrilled to introduce the first presenter, Garrick, head of research and responsible for the reports we publish. He will give you a sneak peak of the Q1 report.