Blog Article

A Consensus 2023 Recap: Real World Meets Blockchain


Caroline Young

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April showers bring May flowers, and SDF weathered some rainy weather in Austin for Consensus 2023 a few weeks ago – but that didn’t bring down our mood! In fact, we celebrated the camaraderie that Consensus brings the only way we know how: with great conversation and company (and cocktails).

Day 1

I arrived at the exhibit hall the day before and realized two things: 1) the space could probably house ten Titanics, and 2) there was a lot of construction. Forklifts, cranes (not-so-fun fact: I have an irrational fear of cranes), and workers lugging around beams and tools and crates.

Truth be told, I was skeptical. How the heck was all of this –

– going to come together in less than 24 hours?

But I should’ve known better than to doubt the determination of event organizers. I returned the next day to see the space fully transformed, and Stellar repped everywhere!

There was a lot of internal chatter about how this year’s Consensus compared to last year’s: less crowded, hot, and distracting. If Paris Blockchain Week was where we tested the waters with our messaging, Consensus is where we decided to go all in and bang on the drums with “Real World Meets Blockchain.”

The team settled in, got a lay of the land, and talked all day about how Stellar is optimized not just for payments, but for real-world utility. In fact, Circle interviewed SDF VP of Partnerships Mark Heynen for his take on the importance of an easily redeemable asset on the Stellar network trusted by the Stellar ecosystem.

We’re also happy to say the new swag was a hit. Most of it ran out by Day 2! The marketing team is always brewing up new ideas, so all I can say is… just wait ‘til Meridian!

We kept the Consensus festivities going at Upstairs at Caroline, where we got to welcome old and new friends alike! Needless to say, the house was packed and throats hoarse from all the shouting and excitement. Fun times all around.

Day 2

SDF CEO Denelle Dixon joined Sandra Ro (CEO, GBBC) and Melanie Hannock (Chief Digital Officer, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital) on stage to discuss how blockchain and Web3 can change the landscape of humanitarian aid.

“Might the cash system of aid delivery, which presents challenges ranging from safety concerns for those collecting cash from the in-person sites to fraud in the system itself, be enhanced by the use of blockchain?

It turns out that the answer is: yes, blockchain can help solve these and other challenges.”

– Denelle Dixon, CEO at the Stellar Development Foundation

Denelle emphasized that using blockchain shouldn’t be forced – rather, there should be a natural fit between the use case and technology, in addition to collaboration between experts in their respective fields.

She also spoke to the versatility of the Stellar Disbursement Platform, the technology powering Stellar Aid Assist, and how its use cases can be expanded beyond just aid delivery for other critical financial services such as payroll.

Later that day, Denelle also got to chat with a very special guest – Jenny Johnson, CEO of Franklin Templeton. Throughout their conversation, they both discuss the innovative journey of Franklin Templeton in the world of financial services, focusing on their adoption of blockchain technology.

Watch the video below for the full interview!

I also spent the day testing out a little hypothesis of mine… so keep your 👀 peeled in the next week or so.

Day 3

The very loud sounds of someone the floor above rattled me from my slumber. I woke up grumpy and irritable, but maybe you need those lows to appreciate the highs.

The final day was thankfully mellow. I eagerly volunteered to sit through the session “Problem Solvers: CoinDesk Projects to Watch,” where 10 projects pitched what they were all about. Sr. Product Manager Tori Samples represented SDF, speaking to how blockchain can meet a moment of crisis, and how Stellar Aid Assist is being used right now to deliver aid to recipients in Ukraine.

“The beauty of the Stellar network is that once you're plugged in, it can work almost anywhere. In places like Argentina, where people need to protect the value of their money against daily devaluation. In places like Rwanda, where I've lived, where families are splintered by a history of genocide and regional conflict and need to support each other across borders. In places like Poland where a large population is still on the move and needs to bring their money with them wherever they go.”

– Tori Samples, Sr. Product Manager at the Stellar Development Foundation

Public speaking is not my forté, so it is with 99.9% honesty and .1% bias when I say that Tori crushed it on stage. But don’t take my word for it. Watch her explainer yourself, down below:

With that, we wrapped up our time at Consensus 2023, and spring conference season has come to an end! It’s been events nonstop since the beginning of the year, so we’re getting ready to hunker down for the summer and plan for Meridian 2023 later this September.

Speaking of which, more details about Meridian 2023 are coming out shortly. Remember to save-the-date and sign up for our mailing list so you can stay updated on the latest and greatest!