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Event summary for the Texas Blockchain Summit

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Apparently, not everything is bigger in Texas. At least not in the days following the bankruptcy of a major crypto exchange.

The collapse of FTX and the ripples that former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried made in the cryptocurrency space were on many lips at the Texas Blockchain Summit held November 17-18 in the state capital of Austin. Unlike the Texas Blockchain Council’s inaugural conference in October 2021 that took place over the course of 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, that audience was packed,” Chad Harris, chief commercial officer of Riot Blockchain for crypto-mining company Riot Blockchain, said at the summit — possibly wrong about the year of the last event. Today, that’s an audience full of passionate people who think they can actually facilitate what they’re saying to the audience […] Every time one of us fails in a catastrophic way, it affects every single one of us in this room.”

Photo by the author

US lawmakers and regulators attended, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and CFTC Commissioner Summer Mersinger, as well as crypto household names like podcast host Anthony Pompliano and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Three US senators spoke at the October 2021 summit, including pro-cryptocurrency lawmaker Cynthia Loomis.

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“Texas is a free state, and it has attracted a lot of companies […] I think we’re seeing results from that,” Brian Boring, founder of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, told Cointelegraph at the summit.

Kelsey Pristach, Senior Policy Adviser at Loomis, attended the 2022 summit to speak on the Digital Asset Policy Committee. However, some of the speakers scheduled to appear on the panels on November 17 did not appear for unknown reasons. Minnesota State Representative Tom Emmer, who was 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 in bullish pronouncements—many of the attendees were dressed in jackets, vests, and slacks. Few sportswear like Bankman-Fried’s and other stereotypical “crypto bro” shorts and hoodies.

“This industry needs to change, and it needs to change fast,” Harris said. “I think what’s happening today is a clearer signal and message that this industry…it’s time for us to mature.”

He commented on the cryptocurrency market at one of its summits:

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“Bitcoin was sixty plus a thousand dollars, and everyone was driving lambos, flying planes, and hanging out on their yachts. And let me tell you something: It’s a much different world.” […] This kind of bad behavior creates a bad environment for the people who do it right.”

Cointelegraph’s Rachel Wolfson moderates a panel on “Bitcoin for Better” at the Texas Blockchain Summit. Photo by the author.

“It was interesting to hear insights from the speakers on how the FTX ramifications will impact the industry as it moves forward,” said Cointelegraph’s Rachel Wolfson. “Although the event was not as heavily attended as last year, there were a number of high-profile speakers with valuable insights to share regarding the implications of FTX and how Texas will continue to move the industry forward through strong support for Bitcoin mining and blockchain collaboration.”

while Bitcoin (BTC) and energy and mining was very much the theme of November 17. The final day focused on regulation and politics, with several speakers suggesting the downfall of FTX. It can lead to a disproportionate response of legislators. Yang pointed to the “potential appetite for regulation” among US policymakers, while the CFTC commissioner noted suggested that the government He may have been “overschooled” in coding education and was heading into action.

Related: Austin SXSW 2022 Event Recap: NFTs Are Everywhere

Several cryptocurrency insiders said they see Texas as a friendly environment for regulation of mining companies as well as blockchain-based projects, with Gov. Greg Abbott publicly saying he was “supportive of proposing a crypto bill.” Texas Blockchain Council mentioned Nearly 1,000 people attended the 2021 summit, according to a report by the Texas Tribune I suggested There were “hundreds of investors, lawmakers, professionals and enthusiasts” at the 2022 event.