4 minutes

The HBAR Foundation at Consensus 2023

Published By
Elaine Song
May 11, 2023

This year The HBAR Foundation (THF), Swirlds, and the Hedera community flew out to Austin for Consensus, one of the most prestigious annual events that brings together some of the most innovative companies and minds both from inside and outside the blockchain industry. 

For THF, we had the opportunity to showcase the latest Hedera ecosystem advancements, connect with other industry players, and attend various meetings/side events to establish new relationships and applications on Hedera.

Here’s a rundown of our week there:

Highlight 1: Google Cloud Web3 Startup Launch Side Event

As part of Consensus 2023, Grace Pfluger, Business Development for the Crypto Economy Fund, was on the ground meeting partners and sharing the Foundation’s work.

“The main conversations at Consensus were truly rooted in real-world applications and how as an industry we are working to solve real-world issues,” said Grace. “While people are always excited to learn about the innovation of Hedera and understand how they can leverage the network, I would say that the desire for collaboration between ecosystems and decentralized applications was the most notable part of the conference. 

After attending the Google Cloud event, where large enterprises were actively seeking to work with Web3 projects, it was clear that these entities are no longer “dipping their toes” into blockchain (or hashgraph), but embracing the movement. Google Cloud announced its Web3 Start-Up Accelerator, designed to support startups building on Hedera. 

Consensus brought together the brightest minds from across the industry as well as large enterprises who are working hand-in-hand to make economic behavior not only possible but accessible.”

Highlight 2: Creating Fertile ReFi Ecosystems. What L1s are doing to foster ReFi innovation? 

Jonathan Rackoff, SVP and Head of Global Policy at The HBAR Foundation, spoke alongside Hedera ReFi ecosystem partner Flow Carbon and other industry players including Celo, Dapper Labs, and Ava Labs at the ReFi House

“Despite market pressure on crypto, regenerative Web3 applications for climate tech and carbon projects, biodiversity conservation, renewable energy development, and ESG disclosure have continued to surge,” Jonathan reported. “Hedera has long been known for its low energy consumption and carbon negativity, but now we’re seeing multiple chains vying for the title of ‘most sustainable,’ and that’s a good thing. What’s important now is that Web3 innovators come together, partner with major corporates to help reduce the costs and risks of proactive compliance, limit greenwashing, and green-hushing, and move toward our low carbon future.”

It is clear that Web3 events such as Consensus are now merging to a degree with major environmental meetings like the upcoming COP28 in Dubai, where technologies like Hedera Hashgraph, Envision Blockchain’s Guardian (for minting fully auditable next-gen carbon credits), and Tolam Earth’s Automatic Regression Market Maker (for discovering efficient global carbon pricing) are increasingly taking center stage as traditional top-down environmental regulation falls short. 

Jonathan also partnered with the University College London to help lead a “Consensus at Consensus” convening titled “Crypto's Environmental Conundrum,” in which he shared the SIF’s vision, moving the public discourse beyond Bitcoin’s energy use toward how to leverage DLT-enabled climate tech to solve real-world environmental problems. 

Highlight 3: Networking Opportunities

Consensus 2023 provided The HBAR Foundation with a number of networking opportunities, allowing us to connect with other industry leaders and explore potential partnerships. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet so many talented and passionate individuals, and we look forward to future collaborations.

Jonathan Rackoff (Sustainable Impact Fund):

The SIF team came home excited by a range of new areas for potential investment and Web3-based innovation in sustainability. These include: biodiversity and rainforest protection in the Amazon basin and around the world; opportunities in sustainable farming and regenerative agriculture; and new digital mapping tools for visualizing ecosystem services and the distribution of natural resources, so as to more precisely site carbon projects. 

We also saw a growing appetite for coalition building and advocacy on climate policy and environmental regulation before government agencies around the world, something we know will be increasingly vital as SIF invester partners begin to deploy their new web3-based climate tech in the field.

Grace Pfluger (Crypto Economy Fund):

Attending the Google Cloud Web3 event was very positive for startup networking opportunities as well as VC alignment. The FIS and Hedera event was fantastic with strong thought leaders in attendance.

Alongside this, meeting in person with The HBAR Foundation’s grantees and other partners made for more creative action items to collaborate and grow together. Discovering the cross-over and opportunities to work with teams more effectively was my favorite part of the conversations at Consensus.  

Brandon Hargreaves (The HBAR Bull):

The opportunity to make connections at Consensus was impressive. One of the notable areas of interest was in the gaming space. Coupling the tools at game builders' disposal including the token and consensus service and Hedera’s inherent benefits of speed, scalability and consistently low fees has always resonated with game builders.

That said, there has been a shift. We now have so many examples of great games being built including Ashfall from Liithos, Khosmium, Astra Nova, and Earthlings, and game builders are taking notice. Through Consensus, we were able to put the teams interested in building on the network in touch with infrastructure providers and other game developers in the space. 

Highlight 4: The Hedera Booth

At Consensus 2023, the Hedera team had a booth (great work Lina and Alyson!) dedicated to evangelizing the network and scouting for business opportunities. As part of THFs representation, we had none other than The HBAR Bull:

“This year there was great representation at the Hedera booth both from the Swirlds team and the developer community. I was also at the booth representing THF and enjoyed every minute of the event.

There was a marked shift compared to Consensus 2022.  Attendees were not asking as many questions about the Hedera tech and platform, as they already knew. The conversations I had and overheard were much more focused on how attendees could build on the platform or expand their services to include Hedera. 

The explosive growth of the Hedera ecosystem, thanks in no small part to the efforts of THF, was also noticed. Having such a broad pool of applications and infrastructure built in the ecosystem, from gaming and DeFi to fintech and Regenerative Finance (ReFi) to use as examples, highlighting the strengths of the Hedera network, was invaluable. 

Highlight 5: Community

In the same vein, we had three teams from the community with representatives in attendance, May with Hashpack, Patches with HGraph.io and Turtlemoon, and Jesse with Twigital. Using demos and real-world examples, they brought an interactive and fun twist to Hedera’s normal event presence. These teams also showed that while Hedera is great for enterprise there are huge opportunities for startups and medium size businesses to leverage the network as well.”

Across the course of the event, our team had the opportunity to connect with attendees, answer questions, and discuss some of our latest ecosystem projects. 

We are committed to staying at the forefront of Web3 technology and accelerating the Hedera ecosystem. Events like Consensus 2023 allow us to pursue new use cases, establish connections with industry peers, and continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible with this technology.

We look forward to attending Consensus again next year!