Consensus 2018 Sees over 8,000 Attendees vs Expected 4,000

Consensus 2018, one of the largest blockchain and cryptocurrency conferences of the year, was overcrowded, according to many attendees who had to wait in long lines.

Consensus 2018 is by far the most popular blockchain event this month. So popular, in fact, that the organizers have to deal with double the number of attendees initially anticipated, according to Ronnie Moas, who runs market research company Standpoint.

The blockchain and cryptocurrency conference is held at New York Hilton Midtown hotel from May 14 to May 16. The organizers had been expecting over 4,000 attendees this year, up from about 2,700 at the 2017 event. However, Moas reports that more than 8,000 people are attending, while Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert estimates the number at minimum 8,500.

Moas was apparently disappointed with the large number of participants, saying in a tweet it felt like New York’s Grand Central Station during rush hour. A sports arena may have been a better location than a convention center, he concluded.

“It is a bit chaotic in here. I think they sold too many tickets,” he told CNBC.

In an earlier tweet, Ronnie complained about computers being down, causing people to wait in long queues.

Moas is not the only one with gripes. A CNBC reporter had to wait one hour to get her entrance badge, the news portal writes. Jeff Denton of AmerisourceBergen, who is also an attendee, said:

“I've never seen anything like this for registration. I've been on line for an hour.”

However, these inconveniences did not stop people from flocking to the event. With the average ticket price being $2,000, the organizers have generated at least $17 million from ticket sales.

CoinDesk, which was responsible for organizing the event, declined to comment on the revenue figures. However, the company’s director of marketing Jacob Donnelly came up with an apology for the inconveniences:

“Whilst we apologize for any delays, Consensus 2018 has received overwhelming interest and is the largest blockchain-focused event ever held in the United States. We are working to reduce the wait time.”

Many blockchain and crypto stars were booked as speakers at the event, including Emmanuel Aidoo, head of blockchain and cryptocurrency strategy at Credit Suisse; Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle; former JPMorgan blockchain strategy chief Amber Baldet; Brian Behlendorf, executive director at Hyperledger; and ConsenSys executive director Vanessa Grellet.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin refused to participate or support the event, saying the ticket prices were too high and CoinDesk's use of off-the-record quotes was wrong.

“I refuse to personally contribute to that level of rent-seeking.”