Forbes hosted its fifth annual 30 Under 30 Summit in Boston on September 30th to October 3rd and featured over 300 speakers spread throughout several stages and venues, as well as thousands of young entrepreneurs.
The Crowd and Discourse:
The audience consisted of some of the most high-octane young attendees, the majority of which aspiring or vying for a spot on the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 List. Throughout the course of a single day, you could meet a Harvard Law graduate working on high-profile IPOs, a boutique hedge fund manager, a sustainability entrepreneur improving coral reefs, a Harvard neuroscience Ph.D. candidate attempting to grow neurons outside of the human body, and the occasional “check out my app” entrepreneur that casually just raised $10m+.
The cross-pollination of ideas made the event stand out from the average conference.
While the level of cryptocurrency literacy was reasonably fairly low, everyone I spoke to was aware and had a broad strokes understanding of the industry. Everyone was eager to learn more and was loaded with questions ranging from your typical “Is it a bubble?” to “How can I use blockchain for [insert highly specific issue].”
With over 300 speakers, there was something for everybody. Seriously. Here’s a quick hits list: Celtics PG Kyrie Irving, President of the Patriots Jonathan Kraft, Barstool Founder Dave Portnoy, Mike Posner, Hozier, Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, Senator Jeff Flake, Spanx Founder Sara Blakely, CCO of Playboy Enterprises Cooper Hefner, and many more.
This year’s 30 Under 30 Summit was notable in that it contained a cryptocurrency focused track, grouped together with general fin-tech. The most notable speaker was Circle Co-founder & CEO, Jeremy Allaire.
The talks included topics such as central banks and the future of stablecoins, the day-to-day efficacy of spending cryptocurrency, the Federal Reserves thoughts on crypto (with Senior VP of Treasury and Financial Services of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Jim Cunha), and improving the reputation of cryptocurrency.
Although the cryptocurrency track was naturally limited in content in comparison to cryptocurrency-focused conferences, I left the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit inspired for the future of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
The primary value of any conference is in the sharing and collaboration of ideas. As the blockchain industry ripens under the light of more mainstream digital media organizations such as Forbes, people from various industries will become increasingly more curious about cryptocurrency beyond its speculation. Curiosity leads to higher quality conversations and collaboration, and that combination has done the human race well so far.