CoinDesk is the world’s leading media platform serving the next generation of global investors. Established in 2013 with their highly acclaimed Bitcoin Price Index, they stepped into the event sphere with Consensus: A Summit on Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technologies in 2015.
Their mission is to inform, educate and connect the global crypto community, chronicling the technology’s development and creating forums for critical discussions.
And there is no better place to connect with other crypto professionals than at their most recent event, Consensus: Distributed.
It’s the single, largest problem faced by event organizers around the world – cancel or postpone?
The team at CoinDesk were not immune to the effects of COVID-19, and so they needed to make a tough call.
Making matters worse, they had already started the onboarding process for sponsors and speakers, as well as planning the logistics for their physical event.
Despite this, they decided to use the valuable opportunity before them and go 100% virtual – 59 days before their event.
How would it turn out? What would they need?
They would find out - and soon.
CoinDesk and Brella partnered together to bring quality content and connections to the global crypto community, just 59 days before the event was supposed to go live.
The team at CoinDesk decided to treat the virtual event as an experiment to learn as much as they could from it.
Despite the fact that in-person events will come back at some point, the team realized they could get ahead of the competition by going online.
This would help them learn online event best practices and inject more virtual aspects into their future events.
And one of their boldest moves was opening up their event for free.
This was not a decision made lightly, as a good chunk of revenue would need to be made up elsewhere.
But the hypothesis behind this decision was that they could reach a larger audience, as well as reach those who had never heard of CoinDesk before.
The team predicted around 10,000 virtual participants, basing their estimate on their previous live events.
However, they were blown away by the final result – over 22,000 attendees registered for their event.
This was a huge increase from their previous physical event.
As well, the team identified new attendees and new markets that may have been missed otherwise, simply due to the fact that the organizers would be hard-pressed to find a venue to fit 22,000 people, let alone gather relevant information about them at scale.
In terms of gathering relevant information from the event, Brella’s AI-powered matchmaking algorithm played a key role for the CoinDesk team and all 22,000+ virtual attendees.
This was vital, as there is even less context in virtual events, so by recommending the best matches based on the attendee information, each attendee could find the right people and have 1:1 video meetings with them.
The two main reasons for attendance are for content and connections, and all attendees were able to find the most relevant matches easily thanks to Brella’s matchmaking algorithm.
Here's what Peter Bordes, Managing Director for Global Events at CoinDesk, had to say:
"Our attendees, sponsors and partners have made it clear that they attend Consensus to network and to consume content.
With our events content team at the helm curating 100+ sessions, we then focused on providing all stakeholders with an experience that offers optimal networking opportunities throughout the Conference.
Brella's AI-powered matchmaking technology reduced the friction many attendees face when attending events by recommending connections based on a user's profile.
Second, by offering VoD shortly after the Conference, attendees were able to comfortably decide between attending sessions or schedule meetings as they knew they'd be able to consume the valuable content at their leisure and make the necessary connections throughout the week to advance their industry knowledge, strike up new relationships that would enhance their business and casually network during happy hours to catch-up with old (and new) friends.
Overall, we were pleased with the results as our attendees were able to maximize their time and ability to connect with those who would help them achieve their goals."
There weren’t any physical handshakes this Consensus, but business was still conducted and new connections were still made - a great success by any measure.