Anthony Scaramucci and Sam Bankman-Fried’s Crypto Bahamas event was, in a word, an extravaganza. It opened my eyes to the vastness of the ecosystem and the talent pouring into the space. It was standing room only in most sessions and, according to the organizers, completely sold out.
Among my observations of the conference and the crowd, is that crypto is not just an investment or a currency—it’s a movement and a lifestyle. It is attracting folks for the opportunity to not just be part of a gold rush, but to be part of something that changes the world—a system that is decentralized, fast moving, democratized, tracked and trusted, even though it might feel a bit defiant right now. It’s a look, a feel, a belief system and a way of life. But most importantly, it’s an asset class that will be incorporated into retail and institutional portfolios increasingly with time.
I left the conference wanting to launch a magazine or an Instagram feed with a new crypto story every day. That’s because the stories are so colorful. I also left feeling like I wanted to shift my personal brand—and my investments—a wee bit more into this energetic space.
A few observations.
Millionaires wear suits; billionaires wear shorts. Anthony Scaramucci's joke revealed a smart insight: the future of finance looks different. Our clients and CEOs will come in many different shapes, sizes, ages and dress codes. This means we need to adapt and evolve alongside them. These are young, digital natives, so the expectation of integrated communications across media, PR and paid is the bare minimum. It also means conference dress codes might get a lot more comfortable in the years to come!
SALT + FTX is as brilliant as Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Who put their chocolate in my peanut butter? Who put their crypto in my TradFi? Crypto Bahamas was the physical manifestation of a new multi-year partnership between SALT and FTX. Most conferences cater to TradFi or to Crypto. This one did both, a first of its kind, and the dialogues and debates were fascinating and insightful.
Please regulate us. I heard a very consistent refrain throughout every panel on the conference agenda—crypto needs regulation. Contrary to popular belief, the industry doesn't fear regulation, they want to embrace it. Right now, there is so much ambiguity because there is no regulatory framework for companies to operate in. As Janet Yellen said recently, consumer protection is important, but so is innovation. If the US doesn't move quickly, countries like The Bahamas will quickly outpace us as hubs for web3 innovation.
TradFi vs DeFi. Traditional finance vs decentralized finance is a war happening around us. Unlike fintech, where small parts of the financial ecosystem were disrupted, crypto is coming for traditional finance and will disrupt the entire system. Creators are remaking the building blocks of finance—banking, savings, yield farming, collateralized loans—with blockchain technology. Should you put your cash in a High Yield Savings Account to get 0.1% interest or put it in a stablecoin that you can stake for 10% interest? As more consumers onboard into DeFi, traditional banks are going to feel the pressure.
The space needs more women. The gender gap in crypto was incredibly apparent as you walked throughout the conference halls. In March of this year, a BlockFi survey revealed that 45% of women know how to buy crypto. That’s double the amount that knew how in September 2021 (23%). While those numbers are encouraging, the same study revealed that only 24% of women actually own it. With crypto job postings up 400% in the past year alone, this is simply too big of a movement for women to ignore. Like Katy Perry, I left fired up and motivated to help find a way for future versions of Crypto Bahamas to address this gap.
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