Consensus and NY Blockchain Week is usually one of the busiest weeks of the year in the blockchain industry. Multiple evening talks and events, sandwiched with Mother’s Day, and a deluge of big industry announcements means that you are guaranteed to run into friends and colleagues from around the world–everyone comes here.
This year, however, with the Covid-19 pandemic epicenter in New York City, the event had to shift to a virtual format…and fast. We have been present at every Consensus since Hyperledger was launched, and this year wasn’t going to be any different. Hyperledger sponsored a virtual booth with the added feature of a live Zoom room each day, where the public could hop in and chat with booth representatives, just like at a physical conference. Attendees came by to say hello, share what they’re working on, and learn directly from our member companies about the exciting projects our community is building–much like passing by our booth at the Hilton Hotel (although without the shaking of hands). Conversations dug deep into visitors’ interests: “It was great to connect with other Hyperledger members and hone in on the specific questions of booth visitors” Chris Kelly from IntellectEU, a Hyperledger member company, told us after the event.
Visitors had an opportunity to learn about many use cases our members are addressing. Oracle shared use cases on food safety and honey supply chains, while PwC talked about their smart credentials initiative leveraging Hyperledger Indy. We also saw great presentations from IntellectEU on tokenization with Hyperledger Fabric and heard how Soramitsu is tackling the current hot topic of central bank digital currencies in Cambodia using Hyperledger Iroha. Xooa showed how their solution allows users to deploy a network in minutes, and Smart Block Laboratory demoed how interbank payments and cryptoinvestor networks can be built online. BondEvalue presented the world’s first blockchain-based bond exchange. Don’t worry if you didn’t have a chance to be with us. All the member demos are on our YouTube channel.
Also new this year, CoinDesk added a Foundations program to the agenda. As part of this new program, Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf and technical leaders from Intel, Accenture, and IBM teamed up on a Changelog presentation covering the latest updates on Hyperledger technologies, including our newest project Hyperledger Cactus. Rafael Figueroa, attorney in New York City, reached out to us after watching the Changelog session, “it was so exciting to see Hyperledger working on so many projects that are at the forefront of these new technologies. I thought the Hyperledger speakers were very knowledgeable about their area of expertise and approachable.”
Here are the videos from Hyperledger’s sessions at Consensus:
Speakers: Arnaud Le Hors, Chair of the Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee (TSC), Dan Middleton, Head of Technology for Intel, Jonathan Hamilton from Accenture, James Wester, Research Director of Worldwide Blockchain Strategies at IDC
Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf in:
“First Principles for a Decentralized Future” panel – Hosted by World Economic Forum
It goes without saying that a virtual format is very different from the experience in New York. There is nothing better than being in an iconic city meeting people as a session wraps up, walking up to speakers to connect, and running into colleagues over buffet lunch. Nevertheless, our meeting schedule was fully booked, and the video conference format allowed us to delve deeper into learning more about each other. There was another surprising effect of going virtual: more global participation in the event. The conference was free and the lack of travel made it more accessible, and thus inclusive, for people who would have never been able to come. Elisa Cardamone from member company Blockforce, which is based in Brazil said, “The experience was amazing! Even virtually, we had the opportunity to learn more about different projects around the world and to establish strong connections with incredible people. In Brazil, the blockchain market is still not so consolidated, so it is very gratifying for us to participate in a global meeting together with the Hyperledger team. It was a time of great learning and networking!”
Randhish Raghavan, a computer architect from member company Mindtree, shared how the connections for partnerships “gave us the opportunity to display our solutions and focus areas to a wider audience.”
Consensus had more than 22,000 registered attendees. Our booth was busy with more than a dozen members signed up for the virtual office hours. As always, it is very important to us that visitors hear about Hyperledger straight from our members. And it pays off: “the networking sessions through the Hyperledger booth [were] very insightful, as it allowed me to better know and understand the mission, purpose and partnership strategy,” summarized Gaston Tchicourel who works with the World Bank.
We cannot wait to see you all in person, shake hands, and have chats over coffee. For now, to make sure the world recovers quickly, we will see you all online at many of Linux Foundation’s conferences and will welcome our members at our virtual Member Summit in September.