Growing from its roots as a run-of-the-mill Austin music festival, SXSW (“South By Southwest”) has grown into a gathering of the world’s most significant thought leaders. The sprawling event attracts some of the brighest minds from technology, and ConsenSys founder (Ethereum co-founder with Vitalik Buterin) Joseph Lubin will deliver one high profile keynote in 2019.
Lubin is no stranger to SXSW. We’ve seen him appear on panels and sit for interviews in technology presentations. But this is the first time Lubin will be the marquee name for his own keynote, and this could provide some high-level exposure for ConsenSys and Ethereum.
What is the ConsenSys/Ethereum Relationship?
ConsenSys is sometimes thought to be a competitor to Ethereum, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, ConsenSys is a company devoted to creating technologies with Ethereum. For tech startups looking to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, ConsenSys seeks to show how the Ethereum blockchain is the best available path forward. ConsenSys doesn’t succeed without a bright future for Ethereum. So expect both companies to play prominently in Lubin’s address.
Is SXSW Ready for Decentralization?
SXSW proves how centralized festivals, when successful, begin to test limits. SXSW attracts tens of thousands each year, with simultaneous events occurring in scores of locations all over Austin. The scene is chaotic, and no two visitors have the same experience. The sheer sprawl of the event is a deterrent to some would-be attendees. And herein lies the significance of Lubin’s presence.
SXSW can be seen as a physical analog to crowded centralized digital technologies. When too much power and data lie in the hands of the world’s tech giants, innovation and user autonomy are frequently sacrificed. But when influence and storage are spread across decentralized systems, it’s easier for individual users to create experiences that benefit the whole, and to find the content that’s best suited to themselves.
As SXSW comes an increasingly digital hybrid (tens of thousands stream the best events from around the world), the message of decentralization is more relevant than ever. As a growing tech city, Austin is ripe for its own decentralized blockchain revolution, and it already is home to some of the world’s leading experts on this nascent technology.
Lubin will definitely have an enthusiastic audience. The Ethereum co-founder has been quick to reassure those who buy Ethereum during the extended bear market of 2018, that despite prices, innovations have been steady and inspiring. No one can predict how crypto prices will have changed by the time March 2019 rolls around, but at the very least, SXSW is confident that Ethereum, blockchain, and ConsenSys will all remain highly relevant. Catch Lubin’s address online, or in person, during the largest SXSW yet.