Reacting to Trump verdict during crypto conference

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Thousands of cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiasts gathered in Austin, Texas, from May 29 to 31 for the annual Consensus conference. But as many were listening to regulators and industry leaders discuss digital assets, groundbreaking news quickly became the center of attention for many. 

There was much to focus on at Consensus 2024, with so many C-level executives and government officials in the same building. Topics included the recent passage of the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approving spot Ether (ETH) exchange-traded funds, U.S. President Joe Biden threatening — and, on the last day of the event, following through on — a veto against a resolution to overturn an SEC rule on banks handling crypto and digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC) becoming increasingly prevalent as a campaign issue in the 2024 presidential election.

Cars, drugs and costumes

No topic seemed to be off-limits. A group trolled Jamie Dimon with a campaign falsely claiming the JPMorgan Chase CEO intended to appear at Consensus to discuss crypto after a drug-induced epiphany. The DeLorean car from the 1985 film Back to the Future was available for viewing — flux capacitor and all — and attendees had the opportunity to win a Ford Mustang by becoming the one to maintain their grip hanging on a bar the longest. Many costumed adults also showed up for the crypto conference, representing a brand or supporting a cause.

Photo: Jonathan DeYoung, Cointelegraph

On May 30, when Independent Party presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. addressed a small room of media professionals, news broke that a jury had found Donald Trump guilty of 34 felony charges related to falsifying business documents for a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The court proceeding marked the first time in history any current or former U.S. President had become a convicted felon.

Industry reacts to felony conviction

RFK Jr. initially did not comment on the Trump verdict at Consensus but later released a statement on X calling the result “profoundly undemocratic.” John Deaton, an attorney running for the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts against incumbent Elizabeth Warren, told Cointelegraph on May 30 that “the justice system will work itself out,” but the verdict would add “more gasoline on the fire of division.”

Trump recently shifted his campaign message on cryptocurrency to suggest he could “live with it one way or the other.” The former U.S. President announced on May 21 that he would begin accepting donations in digital assets, following a similar suggestion from supporters at a nonfungible token-focused dinner. Trump faces hundreds of millions of dollars in disgorgement and damages related to civil lawsuits for fraud and defamation.

Related: Trump convicted: Is the pro-crypto presidential candidate at risk?

Coincidentally, May 30 was also the big day for Consensus attendees to discuss regulatory issues. Representatives from the SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commissions and several U.S. lawmakers addressed concerns from panel seats. By May 31, the crowds in the Austin Convention Center were more sparse — possibly due to late-night events — but seemingly just as motivated and interested in the subject matter.

Overall, the event proved to be an opportunity for crypto users to react to a once-in-a-lifetime event and discuss how it could affect the industry and regulation moving forward. The event is not scheduled in Austin for 2025, but it is moving to Toronto for the first time.

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