Apparently, not everything is bigger in Texas. At least not in the days following a major crypto exchange declaring bankruptcy.
The collapse of FTX and the ripples former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried made in the crypto space were on many people’s lips at the Texas Blockchain Summit held from Nov. 17-18 in the state capital of Austin. Unlike at the Texas Blockchain Council’s inaugural conference in October 2021 held over just one day, there were many open seats at the 2022 event, which featured speakers on energy, crypto mining, regulation, and innovations in the space.
“Two years ago, this audience was packed,” said Chad Harris, chief commercial officer of crypto miner Riot Blockchain, at the summit — perhaps mistaking the year of the last event. “Today, this is an audience full of passionate people that believe that they can actually facilitate what they tell the public […] Every single time one of us fails in a disastrous way, it affects every one of us in this room.”
United States lawmakers and regulators including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Commodity Futures Trading Commission commissioner Summer Mersinger were in attendance, as were household names in the crypto space like podcast host Anthony ‘Pomp’ Pompliano and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. The October 2021 summit had three U.S. senators speak, including pro-crypto lawmaker Cynthia Lummis.
“Texas is a free state, and it’s attracted a lot of businesses […] I think we’re seeing the results of that,” Chamber of Digital Commerce founder Perianne Boring said to Cointelegraph at the summit.
Kelsey Pristach, a senior policy adviser to Lummis, attended the 2022 summit to speak on a digital assets policy panel. However, some speakers scheduled to appear on panels on Nov. 17 were not in attendance for reasons unknown. Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer, announced as a confirmed speaker for the summit in May, did not appear on the final agenda.
Although there were telltale signs of native Texans in the audience — a few cowboy hats and cheering whoop’s at bullish remarks — many attendees were dressed modestly in jackets, blazers, and slacks. Few sported attire like Bankman-Fried’s and other stereotypical “crypto bro” shorts and hoodies.
“This industry needs to change, and it needs to change rapidly,” said Harris. “I think what’s going on today is a clearer sign and message that this industry… it’s time for us to mature.”
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