More On: Bitcoin
Despite the recent drop in digital coin values, participants were treated to a free bitcoin pizza booth and a 'Liquidity Lounge' at this year's summit in Davos, where blockchain and cryptocurrency enterprises have taken over the city's main thoroughfare.
Crypto industry executives have descended on the annual meeting of business leaders and politicians in the Swiss Alpine resort, hoping to spur speedier use of their largely unregulated technology.
The crypto community's prominence at Davos comes as cryptocurrencies lost $800 billion in market value earlier this month, despite being largely on the fringes of the main event.
Despite regulators' warnings that the nascent assets can be high risk, small traders have flocked to crypto in the hopes of quick gains. Luna, which was the eighth-largest digital coin until recently and was supported by institutional crypto investors, has lost virtually all of its value.
Jeremy Allaire, CEO and cofounder of Circle Internet Financial, whose USDC stablecoin is tethered to the US dollar, said of Luna's demise, "What surprised me was just how quickly it utterly crumbled into nothing."
"I've never seen anything like it," he told Reuters, "to see something that seemed like an obvious, high-growth competitive entity just utterly crash to zero in 72 hours."
However, the crypto businesses' intentions to show off their products and services have not been harmed by recent losses.
Securrency Inc, an Abu Dhabi-backed digital market infrastructure, attended Davos for the first time this year "to create relationships and network" and demonstrate how new technology and old finance can be combined, according to CEO Dan Doney.
Just beyond the security cordon for the main conference center, the business has set up its own agenda of panels on digital currency in the style of the World Economic Forum.
Tether, one of the world's major stablecoins, gave away free pizza slices on May 22 to commemorate Bitcoin Pizza Day, when Lazlo Hanyecz paid for two pizzas with 10,000 bitcoin, which was worth around $41 at the time.
Bitcoin, which was worth $30,332 on Monday, had dropped to its lowest point since December 2020 in May. In November, the world's largest cryptocurrency reached a new high of $69,000.
"We're used to it," said Cliff Sarkin, chief operating officer of CasperLabs, a blockchain technology provider for enterprises that is organizing speakers and events.
According to Sarkin, the coin linked to Casper's technology has also suffered a setback.
The World Economic Forum (WEF), which caters to the financial elite such as Citigroup (C.N) and Credit Suisse (CSGN.S), is hosting panels on cryptocurrency's carbon footprint and future, as well as one on decentralized finance.
"It's been rising outside and inside the gates," said Stan Stalnacker, chief strategy officer at social network Hub Culture, which also runs a digital currency.
For the course of the event, Stalnacker estimated that approximately half of the town's stores were occupied by blockchain or cryptocurrency companies.
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