On June 9th 2019 the 4th edition of the Blockchain Cruise set sail, with me on board.


Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas (Coinsbank, 2019)

The Blockchain Cruise is as far as I am aware, the only Cryptocurrency conference to be entirely hosted on a cruise ship.

Their largest event was last year where Coinsbank; the Blockchain Cruise organisers; hired an entire Royal Caribbean cruise ship which hosted over 2500 international conference attendees. This year however, the turnout was reported to be over 1000 attendees but felt like far less.

Many people who had only attended the last cruise felt short changed at the massive scale down; but since we had been on all 4 of their cruises and last year being the only occasion we had experienced an entire ship; we didn’t feel that worried about the smaller group or shared ship.

From my perspective I felt Coinsbank could be forgiven for this event being less flashy than their last event because this time they launched their new debit card.

Who are Coinsbank

Coinsbank are a company who deal in one-gate blockchain services. The most well known of which being their debit cards targeted to Crypto users. Coinsbank; despite the name, are not a bank. However, they do offer services to aid the management of your finances.

They were formally known as Bit-X and have operated since 2014. They rebranded to Coinsbank in 2016.

Historically, their brand gained awareness because of their crypto debit cards which had great Satoshi rewards for purchases, low fees and great compatibility – an overall great card.

However, in early 2018 just before their second cruise from Singapore; they lost their contract with Wavecrest and their debit cards became useless.

While their business was on hold trying to negotiate a new card provider they seemed to keep their staff busy by fully diversifying into conference planning; which is why I believe their last cruise was so fantastic; because it took 100% of their employees effort to organise.

This month, Coinsbank launched a new debit card thanks to winning a contract with Union Pay.

The cards were given out as swag to attendees of their last conference and are due to go live on July 1st with expiration in 2021.

I believe this edition of the conference was less glamorous because the effort level on event planning went down from 100% to say 50% while they reallocated resources to building back their core business – Coinsbank. Which I think was the right thing for them to do.

Crypto Debit Cards

During their first cruise in early 2017 which left from New York. Attendees were rewarded with Coinsbanks last iteration of debit cards as swag which was known as ‘Named White Cards’. These cards were demo’s which expired after 1 month.

The distributed samples of their new cards have a 2 year life which is pretty fantastic; however when reading the terms and conditions the account has a 49.95 Euro a month ‘inactive account management fee’; but if that means it only charges when the account does nothing (no log-in or activity) or if its a rolling standing charge I’m not really sure.

Still the cards look nice and they are compatible with loads of different FIAT and cryptocurrencies; so it cant be that bad.

Conference Talks

As always there were some really good speakers talking about some really cool stuff but beyond that I thought it was super novel that they did their talks on an ice rink. Granted it was defrosted, but it was still pretty novel.

I am slightly gutted they didn’t get forced to wear ice-skates and actually skate while they presented. Now that would have been epic!

Content wise Gordon Einstein presented some fascinating revelations about US ICO legislation and Alexandr Kerya from Everstake (ex-CMO of CEX.io) promoted the rise in Staking as opposed to mining – which as we have seen in the media is definitely becoming popular.

The key talking point however was John McAfee who was unable to attend in person this year and instead did a live-stream presentation.

Parties

As I said previously the event was less finely tuned this year but I forgive them because they were sorting out their actual business.

They seemed this year to be more focused on entertaining VIP guests rather than normal guests.

Apparently, they had a suite which VIP guests could go to and hang out however surprisingly we never managed to blag it in this year. Maybe next time.

They also did an Art Auction where they sold off arts pieces being auctioned in bitcoin. Unfortunately they didn’t really take off but it was a novel touch.

Mass Adoption?

Although its nice having a private ship I think sharing the ship with normal people is actually a better way to promote our industry to both other people on the ship and the Royal Caribbean staff.

I had various bar staff and holiday makers stop me and quiz me about crypto, bitcoin and blockchain; and I think that’s really positive.

These events generally are quite expensive to attend and as such they see participation of some well educated and high profile people in this space.

For normal people and Royal Carribean employees to get the opportunity to glean information from these people with whom they would have never interacted before I think is great.

Is it Worth it?

I love conferences and Coinsbank cruise offer a true amalgamation of business and pleasure.

I mean where else can you watch a conference talk while sitting in a hot tub drinking a cocktail? That in itself gets bonus points.

Also living with other attendees in such close quarters gives you a chance to build real connections and relationships that no other conference can really contend with.

I definitely recommend it – at least once.

Written for Trippki by Krypto Flamingo