The Messari Mainnet conference in New York City this year was a far cry from its previous iterations. Instead of the rowdy Reddit bros and extravagant yacht parties, the event was attended by buttoned-up professionals focused on regulation and practical applications of blockchain technology. This shift in tone reflects the maturing of the crypto industry.
Last year’s conference was filled with speculative discussions about NFTs and the metaverse, with attendees overwhelmed by interview requests, happy hours, and party invitations. However, this year’s event saw a more subdued atmosphere, with fewer extravagant events and more serious conversations about opening up real-world assets to investors. The focus has shifted towards discussing the potential of crypto as a technology rather than a get-rich-quick scheme.
The bear market has played a role in tempering the hype and speculation that previously dominated the industry. With prices still well below their peak and some markets, such as NFTs, struggling, there is less tolerance for half-baked projects and obscure alt-coins. The focus now is on regulation, policy, and building practical tools that can bring blockchain technology into the mainstream.
While the conference may have been less exciting and flashy, many attendees saw this as a positive development. The emphasis on real-world applications and the absence of gimmicks and hype indicate a more mature industry. The notion of “invisible technology” also emerged, as crypto applications are expected to gain mainstream adoption when people use them without even realizing it. The industry is moving towards a business-to-business focus, with the belief that consumers will eventually interact with blockchain technology daily, even if they are unaware of it.
The biggest obstacle facing the crypto industry now is navigating the increasingly stringent regulations imposed by the US government. The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, was a hot topic of conversation at the conference. Attendees criticized Gensler for his lack of clarity and guidance on crypto regulations, which hinders innovation and drives companies to seek opportunities in other countries with more proactive policies.
Despite the subdued atmosphere, the shift in focus at this year’s Messari Mainnet conference indicates the industry is growing up. The emphasis on building practical products and navigating regulatory challenges shows that the industry is maturing and becoming more professional. While it may not be as exciting as it was in previous years, this evolution is necessary for the long-term growth and success of the crypto industry.