The Rundown: How CoinDesk is using crypto tokens for in-person event sponsorship deals


Advertisers are looking forward to the return of face-to-face events, in large part to recapture the face-to-face moments with attendees and what those experiential additives can do for brand awareness.

But with the recession looming, being able to track how many people participated in person with a sponsor could become an important currency for live event sponsorships, rather than looking at things like how many people came through event-related posts on social media. And it could be what it takes to keep advertisers spending on large-scale campaigns in the coming months.

Cryptographic news editor CoinDesk’s approach to measuring audience engagement has come in the form of a participation token called DESK. Although it has no monetary value, the cryptocurrency token provides the publisher Consensus conference, which will take place June 9-12, with its own closed economy. Attendees can earn tokens by attending panels, attending events at night, joining the publisher’s Discord channel, and even spending time with sponsors over the four days. These tokens can be spent within the confines of Austin, TX conference space on food, beverage, merchandise, experiences, and NFT.

“DESK is not a currency, it’s really a symbol of participation. We really want people to use it,” said Sam Ewen, please and head of CoinDesk Studios. “The idea [is] to create opportunities for our user base to gamify a conference and increase participation. ”

Key numbers:

  • More than 1 billion DESK tokens will be available for in-person attendees to win in Consensus.
  • More than 15,000 people are expected to be on the ground at Consensus this year.
  • There are 500 places around the conference where attendees can earn DESK.
  • Consensus has 267 sponsors this year, all of whom will use DESK in some way as part of their campaigns.
  • During the beta test of DESK during last year’s Consensus virtual conference, one-third of all attendees, some 3,000 people, claimed DESK at some point during the event, and those people on average earned DESK 10 different times over the course of the event.

How it is collected and spent

Upon arrival at the conference, attendees will receive a certain number of DESK (about 500 DESK on average) in their cryptographic wallets, which will tell them to connect to their ticket. Each entry level (ranging from the $ 1,299 general admission to the $ 10,000 VIP piranha level) gets a fixed amount to start with, according to Ewen, who added that this will excite attendees.

“Our general rule is that we want each participant to have enough DESK so they can experience the experiences substantially, from buying a T-shirt with DESK to having a drink on one of our music nights,” Ewen said. A model similar to air miles, a T-shirt can range from 150 to 300 DESK, a drink can cost 100 DESK and a meal can cost up to 250 DESK, he said.

Afterwards, throughout the conference, attendees will be able to pick up DESCRIPTION at different times, which have been randomized because “we don’t want [attendees] a [be solely focused on] getting the most out of it, but we want people to really explore the conference, “Ewen added.

Coins will be collected and spent using QR codes that connect to attendees ’cryptographic wallets.

How advertisers use DESK

All sponsors are receiving DESK as an add-on to their campaigns, which means it’s not something they’re paying extra for, but each level of sponsorship gets a different allocation of tokens to distribute to attendees, according to Ewen. He did not want to reveal the sponsorship price range and how many DESKs were assigned per level.

Attendees will be able to earn DESK by visiting certain sponsors throughout the event, but will also be able to exchange tokens for products provided by sponsors. For example, last year’s virtual conference featured iPads and Ledger hardware wallets from sponsors that were available for purchase via DESK.

Higher degree of “transparency and accountability”

This year, CoinDesk is primarily focused on getting attendees to explore the various elements of Consensus using DESK, including interaction with sponsors, but there are potential applications for sponsors that are appealing, such as measuring how many interactions with attendees they receive during the conference.

For example, the ability to keep an eye on how attendees interact with different aspects of the event through DESK could be appealing to advertisers because it adds a higher level of clarity in the performance of a sponsor for the advertiser, according to David Cohn. senior director of Alpha Group, Advance Local’s internal technology and media incubator.

“There is a kind of transparency and accountability if you can track [token] return to a specific user. Everything is as it is in this book, so as a sponsor, that question of whether these numbers are real is taken off the table, “Cohn said.

For ad buyers, the appeal of DESK comes from the ability to track attendee movements throughout the conference, especially if that data can be collected year after year by tracking outgoing token transactions when an attendee visits their booth. or commitment to QR code scanning.

“Any source of data that allows us to track anyone to a specific location, not an individual user, but collectively as a group, cohesion over time, for most of our advertisers, is where we would find more value.” said Seth. Hargrave, CEO of the media buying agency Media Two Interactive. This data can be used to create templates, even for only 10% of participants using the DESK token, to compare annual activity in Consensus, he added, which is an attractive dataset.

The future of DESK

Right now, the only chance to win and spend DESK is during the confines of the consensus conference in Austin, TX. Although virtual items will be streamed online, virtual assistants will not be able to participate.

That said, Ewen’s team is looking forward to integrating DESK into other areas of CoinDesk’s online presence, such as rewarding the public for reading articles on its website, similar to the Decrypt utility token it launched last year.

After testing DESK in beta last year at its virtual consensus conference on a test network, CoinDesk has created a more permanent DESK economy on the Polygon network that is native to the Ethereum blockchain. This means that the DESK token lives permanently so that the publisher can access it again at the end.



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