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Bitcoin2023 Suffers from Low Turnout Amidst High Ticket Prices and Crypto Downturn

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 3 min read

“The world’s biggest Bitcoin conference” seems to have shrunk – attendance-wise, that is. 

According to the FAQ and the official social media sites, Bitcoin 2023 is the biggest Bitcoin conference in the whole world, but despite the variety of speakers, panels, and events announced, there are reports that not many people have come – at least not as many as one may expect.

The conference is held May 18-20 in Florida, USA, hosting a number of speakers from different fields, including MicroStrategy‘s Michael Saylor, former BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes, financial analyst Lyn Alden, Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark, author Michael Lewis, US Senator Cynthia Lummis, USA Presidential Candidates Vivek Ramaswamy and Robert F. Kennedy JR, Credit Suisse Managing Director Zoltan Pozsar, Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation Alex Gladstein, Blockstream CEO Adam Back, Indonesian governor Ridwan Kamil, and many more.

But it’s the number of empty chairs that caught some attendees’ attention. 

Will Laurent, a contract worker for DFINITY, told Decrypt that yesterday felt like a ghost town compared to last year.

“It’s not wall-to-wall packed like it normally is,” Andre Hicks, an attendee for the past two years, was quoted as saying. “I’ve never ever been to one where it was just like a dead bear market like it is now.”

Last year, some 35,000 people attended, per the event organizers, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It lasted for four days and featured more than 450 speakers. 

This year, only 15,000 attendees are reportedly expected to come. 

Reasons for this drop in attendance unsurprisingly seem to include the vastly different crypto ecosystem compared to last year, given that the industry has been badly shaken by a prolonged crypto winter, failures and bankruptcies of several major players, and subsequent contagions, in addition to multiplying legal and regulatory issues. 

Another reason may be the ticket price.

The ‘general admission’ ticket for two days (Friday and Saturday) costs just below $1,000, the ‘industry pass’ for all three days is $1,399, and the ‘whale pass’ will set you back $12,000. The higher the price, the more perks, benefits, and pampering. 

However, in April 2022, when the previous conference was held, the general admission pass was $1,099, the industry pass was $2,499, and the whale pass cost $21,000.

Despite the lower ticket prices than last year, the living costs are higher and so is the disposable income for the average person. 

Another notable factor is the long bear market – people would be more enthusiastic about visiting this type of conference if they were in a celebratory mood because the prices are climbing, Hicks suggested.

Still, Thursday was ‘Industry Day’, described as a day “dedicated to financial institutions, enterprise business, and startups.” It is designed to allow industry members to network and explore different opportunities. 

Sam Miyakawa, an open-source developer, was quoted as saying that the conference would see “a lot more people here [on Friday]. I didn’t expect that many people to be here.”

Similarly to Hicks, Miyakawa noted that Bitcoin 2022 happened right after a bull market.

As the general admission begins today, more reports and impressions are bound to be shared.

Here are just a few tweets from ‘Industry Day’:






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