Since the beginning of 2018, news and stories of blockchain conference has been overflowing in Chinese social media platform. According to data from Huodongxing, an event management and ticketing website in China, there are over 150 blockchain-related conferences, forums and events in July in China.
Among all these conferences, there are blockchain application contests, project roadshows, all kinds of summits as well as seminars, lectures and business courses. There are mainly three types of event organizers – Blockchain company, blockchain media & professional event organizer and blockchain business schools.
Some of these conferences even named themselves as “China”, “Asia”, even “World” in order to attract attentions. But that’s not enough for them, event organizers will also invite cyber celebrities, entertainment stars and models in an attempt to catch the eyes of regular people.
The goal of these conferences are simple – helping organizers to make profits. Difference is just that someone said it blankly, while others covered it with a beautiful lie.
It’s like a meticulously designed trap with a gorgeous cover, waiting for individual investors to fall into.
I have written about the ridiculous blockchain conferences several months ago. But the special actors with ridiculous comment is only part of the whole picture, there are elderly women who are infamous for spending money in a wasteful way.
Certain event organizers even put the blockchain conference abroad with its absurdity.
For example, a blockchain conference in July was held in Dubai. Organizers has put “Model Competition” in the conference agenda and invited a bunch of unknown models to take photos in bikini in a media express.
God knows what on earth is the connection between models and blockchain.
The hidden tricks
Why would a supposedly technology conference become a show ground?
A lot of conference organizers have already been considering blockchain as a great source of revenue. Star film is a conference planning company, it said straightforwardly that the reason for blockchain conference is to fake needs and heats. Conference is a quick way to gather people. When a conference is big enough, attendees will incentivize each other, make stories, and attract professional attentions. Then, event hosts and sponsors will keep amplify its impact through media platforms.
As for international conferences, Star film said that most popular destinations are those tourist attractions like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. It’s not too expensive for individual investors to go, and people can feel relaxed, just like going on a vacation.
Star film is exactly the organizer for the Dubai conference mentioned above. They said that the usual maneuver is schedule a 5-day agenda, using 2 days to talk about projects and for conference and the rest of time would be travel, play and communication to help attendees feel relaxed and happy. Because human beings are prone to make irrational decisions under relaxing environment.
With so many arrangements, you can image how high the cost of such conferences would be. Therefore, conference hosts will ask for a big amount of sponsor fee from blockchain companies who want to showcase their project in the conference. Lowest entrance fee for the Dubai conference is 280k RMB (40k USD) and the highest 580k RMB (85k USD). However, entrance fee is actually the only barrier for a blockchain company to get on stage of this conference. In other words, you can easily get on our stage and sell your token, as long as you write the check.
So, the value chain of blockchain conference is quite clear:
Conference organizers profits from sponsorship or entrance fees from blockchain companies and ticket fees from individual investors.
Blockchain companies hope they can persuade individual users to invest in them and buy their tokens.
Individual investors wish to find a compromising investment and make his fortune.
Of course, there are also KOL – key opinion leaders. They are invited by organizers to make the whole conference more credible and are paid with a fat check.
In this loop, all parties are leveraging their own resources to make money from blockchain conferences, all parties but individual investors.
Zarc Gin is an analyst for Warp Speed Fintech, a Fintech, especially InsurTech-focused Venture Capital based in China.
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