The Burning Man festival held annually in the Nevada desert is a magnet for bitcoin aficionados. The festival ranks alongside Glastonbury and Coachella as one of the world’s major festival events for a range of age groups, And Leigh Cuen’s account at Coindesk explains why it attracts a range of crypto-loving communities.
Cuen writes, “Crypto adherents stick together in their various packs, with elaborate group camps like Camp Decentral, CampDAO and Node Republic, all of which offer blockchain seminars and talks as part of the festival’s offerings.
Jeremy Gardner, the crypto entrepreneur, told CoinDesk he’s attended the four previous Burning Man festivals and given talks about blockchain technology at these camps. He said that while he is there he spends a lot of time with Brock Pierce, Block.One co-founder and former Bitcoin Foundation board member
“It’s a place to talk about the concepts that are shaping our society,” Gardner said. “I developed closer relationships with people in the crypto community because [Burning Man] is such an incredible bonding experience. But it wasn’t predicated on business. … Blockchain technology is a social movement before it’s a technology.”
Gardner also claimed that there is so much synergy between the crypto community and Burning Man festival that the market slows down over the period of the event.
Bear Kittay, one of the festival organisers who helped establish it as a non-profit, and expand its global reach, told CoinDesk that Burning Man is still generally dominated by people who work in the tech industry. Kittay is himself a holder of bitcoin and ethereum, plus he is an investor in the EOS startup Block.One.
He said, “It’s very natural that Burning Man would help inspire and spawn the next generation of leaders in that [tech industry] sense. This idea of a decentralized, consensus process that creates an alternative to the nation-state’s central treasuries … is similar to Burning Man. I think you have a ton of people from the ethereum and EOS community and around the world.”
Burning Man does have a reputation for being a hedonistic playground, where mind-altering substances play a certain role, but that doesn’t stop it from being a meeting place for Silicon Valley elites, including Elon Muck. Given that profile of the festival it is not surprising that a former executive at one of the blockchain industry’s leading companies told CoinDesk that while she spent time with several executives at the festival, she would not endorse conducting business in such an environment. But, she added that she felt inspired by the concept of Burning Man’s evolving governance. “Burning Man is itself like a decentralized organization,” she said. “It’s a great example of what you can do outside the system.”