Our Review of the MJAC CryptoCompare Summit in London, UK (13 June 2018)
Disclaimer: This was my first attendance at such an event since beginning my career as a professional and independent cryptocurrency and /or blockchain journalist.
I am not affiliated with the event organisers nor do I know them personally, and the same goes for all organisations in attendance as of the time of writing.
Earlier this month, I attended the ‘MJAC CryptoCompare Blockchain Summit’ and concluded that the best approach would be to cover the event in a candid matter.
There weren’t any scandals or controversies to speak of. What we mean by this is that this piece intends to cover the greatest pros and cons of the event, in hindsight (which was organised and executed by CryptoCompare in collaboration with MJAC).
First off, MJAC (AKA InvestorsHub) is an organisation that you aren’t likely to have heard of. They are the events and conferences arm of ADVFN, a prominent financial services organisation. Many of the same people responsible for the successful ‘Marijuana Annual Conference’ were also behind the conference in question, hence the acronym ‘MJAC’.
Many of you should be fully aware of CryptoCompare. They are arguably one of the most utilised data resources for up-to-date and historical data on market trends, respective per-coin values, and overall trade volume.
Location and Venue
The days proceedings took place at a venue called ‘Old Billingsgate’.
It’s a listed building which features a combination of historical architecture with modern internal fittings and is located close to Monument tube station. Its name derives from the nearby historic Old Billingsgate Market area.
The choice of venue couldn’t have been much better thanks in part to the location’s iconic and unobstructed view across the Thames River: including the Tower of London in clear sight, plus The Shard being mostly-visible nearby.
Old Billingsgate benefits from being highly accessible to attendees and participants due to its central location, however this is where the positive words I have for the venue start to run dry.
The aesthetic was great, and photographs show a busy yet not overpopulated show floor. The show started with a similar number as represented for most of the day, but later in the day the floor became packed and somewhat claustrophobic.
This atmosphere wasn’t helped by the fact that the space here felt both condensed and underutilised at the same time, with all the stalls leaving small hallways to brush past other visitors.
Conversely, over half of the two stories of open areas in the venue were dedicated to two theatre spaces, one large and one small. These rooms were well arranged and hosted all the one-day summit’s speakers and panelists.
Speeches and Panels
Speakers and individual panel attendees of course were responsible for many of the day’s highlights, as well as the presence of a combination of established and up-and-coming companies/ICOs.
Vitaly Kedyk (Executive Director of CEX.IO) and Claire Wells (Director of Legal & Business Affairs for EMEA at Circle) were two of the events strongest performers, whilst other notable speakers & panellists included representatives from CoinFloor, Ripple, BlockEx, and Coinbase – to name a few.
Unfortunately, not all panellists seemed to be ideal matches for such discussions. A couple that I attended, for example, featured a combination of experts whose interactions were often close to non-existent with each other. What’s more, top participants were easily distinguished by their contribution of valuable insights and answers than their peers in some circumstances.
Organisation and execution of the event overall is something to be lauded. Every speech and panel I saw started and finished with perfect timing, suggesting a great approach to planning. There was also a great atmosphere amongst participants and all I spoke to.
Success or Failure?
The qualification and quantification of any event’s success or failure should arguably be defined in several ways. Cryptocurrency is still growing as an industry (despite what the market tracking values may indicate), which gives us less of a general standard against which to measure them.
One way we can still utilise though, is to measure its performance in hindsight and considering the organisers’ own stated ambitions / agenda.
“The pace of development in the crypto space has rapidly picked up in the past year and it Is now more important than ever to gather the top thought leaders to showcase progress and discuss challenges. MJAC will give customers, investors, and regulators a chance to glimpse into the future direction of this exciting new industry.” – Charles Hayter, CryptoCompare.
This quote was taken from the first page of a complimentary guide that was available to all attendees.
It came along with a free book (‘CryptoAssets’ by Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar), which is honestly not bad as a beginners and intermediate level guide aimed primarily at non-technical crypto enthusiasts.
For all intents and purposes, the organisation achieved their stated goal to a degree, however the sequel had better be much more impressive to excuse the lack of experience on British soil (one of the largest crypto economies in Europe, and arguably one of if not the financial capital).
A Relative Conclusion
The second and final way (that we will discuss here) you can measure such an event is through comparison to other events, which are popping up around the world as well as within London alone despite market indicators.
One of these is the similarly titled ‘Blockchain Summit London 2018’. It is set to be a much larger event: boasting approximately 2,500 attendees and over 150 speakers.
It also costs approximately £400 for the two-day event and is set in the well-known Olympia venue in Kensington, West London. Taking place just a couple of weeks after the MJAC CryptoCompare conference.
MJAC CryptoCompare Blockchain Summit was the first event held by these event organisers about cryptocurrency in London. On that end: it is not entirely fair to consider it an equal comparison with this rival, especially when tickets were the relatively low price of £100.
Despite this I can’t help but admit that I was perhaps expecting more from this ‘summit’, if not a little too much.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.