This year’s Consensus 2023 conference was starkly different from the previous years. The significant shift in the attendees’ profiles from venture-funded startups to seasoned professionals was hard to overlook. This change not only represented an evolution of the blockchain industry but also unveiled the future trajectory of the sector.
The Shift in the Landscape
In the previous years, the conference was brimming with venture capitalists and startups focusing on the technical infrastructure of blockchain, web3, NFTs, and other emerging technologies. However, this year, those faces were conspicuously absent, likely a result of many competing infrastructural projects and initial use cases of things like NFTs falling by the wayside.
Instead, the conference was filled with tax accountants, PR crisis response personnel, and more importantly, professionals who understand how to run a business that delivers value to end-users. This shift indicates a maturing of the space. The ‘hype machine’ has powered down, and the industry is pivoting towards more pragmatic and sustainable business models.
Building on Solid Ground
The current state of the industry is now focused on those who are building real, tangible value ‘on the infrastructures’ (i.e. the application layer) that were venture-funded in the past. This situation can be likened to the deployment of the internet, the construction of railways, or the digging of canals. When these industries went bust, the tangible assets remained, paving the way for new businesses to leverage them and rapidly expand.
Today, we are witnessing an exodus of venture capital from the blockchain sector, which has created room for businesses that can deliver value to end-users. Companies like WisdomTree are leading the way, showing that there is indeed potential to generate revenue at the application layer of these technologies.
Responsible DeFi: Playing by the Rules
The key to succeeding in this evolving landscape is to play by the rules and act responsibly. The realm of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is teeming with potential, given the solid infrastructure and proven applications that are now battle-tested and remain in place. Yet, it’s essential to adhere to regulations and best practices to ensure the sustainability of the business. This is something WisdomTree does very well.
The Future is Bright
Contrary to what Crypto Twitter would have you believe, regulatory concerns are not stifling innovation or progress. The event, attended by nearly 15,000 participants and covered by over 240 media personnel, was buzzing with optimism and a peek into the future of blockchain.
Although regulatory talks dominated the main stage, side stages were brimming with builders, creators, and community leaders sharing insights and updates. There was a noticeable presence of Web3 marketing companies, lawyers, and accountants dedicated to serving the crypto space. Our takeaway from Consensus 2023 is clear. The blockchain industry is on the verge of significant breakthroughs and advancements, and companies are actively forming partnerships and making progress. Regardless of the regulatory environment, which varies substantially across jurisdictions, the future of finance is being built, and we’re excited to be part of this transformation.