The North American Blockchain Summit (NABS), once intended for a specific Texas audience, changed things in 2023: changing its location and name as many US lawmakers prepared for an election season.
Hundreds of cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiasts gathered in Fort Worth, Texas, from November 15 to 17 to network, discuss mining, and hear from politicians and industry leaders discuss developments in policies and regulations affecting the space. . Headliners at the event included Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and current lawmakers including Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Patriotism and American-centric interests appeared to be the theme of NABS in 2023. Daily events began with the playing of the American national anthem on the trumpet while a digital American flag waved on the screen, and the doors opened to exclusive fundraising events with many speakers in exchange for a sizable donation. In RFK Jr.’s case, the recommended donation started at $1,000; for Ramaswamy, $3,300 per assistant; for Lummis and Cruz, $250.
Such a fun panel on @NABSummit chatting about the latest in cryptocurrency legislation, the SEC, and the 2024 election. Thanks @srolondon @WarrenDavidson @CoryGardner @SWBauguess For a substantive discussion! pic.twitter.com/RHuIgtCthM
—Ron Hammond (@RonwHammond) November 17, 2023
In both 2021 and 2022, the Texas Blockchain Council, one of the main organizers of the conference, had not organized the event before a major US election. Attendance appeared to be low in November 2022 amid a crypto market in the center and the collapse of the FTX exchange. In 2023, the event included QR codes linked to campaign websites spread throughout living rooms and calls to donate to crypto-friendly politicians before panels.
Speaking to Cointelegraph on November 16, RFK Jr.’s campaign message appeared to focus on getting Americans’ personal finances out of the control of centralized institutions and the US government. He also commented on discussions in Congress over whether members should be allowed to own certain assets like stocks and cryptocurrencies, unlike average retail investors.
“I own cryptocurrency, I own Bitcoin, and if I get into office I will do things that make Bitcoin more valuable,” the presidential candidate said. “I’m not doing it to benefit my personal portfolio, but I think it’s important for the public to know that I have that conflict and that, at the very least, I should disclose it.”
Related: Rep. Tom Emmer: Digital assets will be a ‘sleeper issue’ for 2024 election
Once considered by many to be an unlikely candidate to win the Democratic nomination for president of the United States, RFK Jr.’s numbers in a Nov. 1 Quinnipiac poll showed the candidate at 22% in a three-way race against former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden. In interviews and during the election campaign, Kennedy has repeatedly promoted misleading or false information about vaccines. He has a large following among cryptocurrency users amid reports that he gifted Bitcoin (BTC) to his children and his views on financial freedom.
The NABS conference came about a year before the United States voted for many senators, members of the House of Representatives, local legislators, and the Presidency of the United States. Both chambers could shift or remain in the hands of the Republican or Democratic parties depending on the outcome of the election, which could affect how Congress handles digital asset legislation going forward through 2025.
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