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Burning Man & Crypto: Common Grounds

It is a truth universally acknowledged that crypto aficionados love Burning Man.

Both the long-running festival in the Nevada desert and the bitcoin ethos revolve around openness to exploring new governance models with fewer rules.

Take me, for instance. I still have the colorful Burning Man ticket from 2010, when, like so many future bitcoiners, I went to camp in Black Rock City for a week in late August. Back then, I showed up with little more than a tent, a bikini and a Costco-sized bag of marshmallows to barter for supplies. There were no rules about how to trade these treats or attire myself, so in the free market of campgrounds I did quite well.

These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find rogue attendees. 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.

Crypto entrepreneur Jeremy Gardner told CoinDesk he’s attended the four previous Burning Man festivals and given talks about blockchain technology at these camps.

He often spends time there with Block.One co-founder and former Bitcoin Foundation board member Brock Pierce. (Pierce infamously acted out a unicorn-themed wedding ceremony with his wife at the festival and is now involved with the EOS-themed CampDAO.)

“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.”

Indeed, there’s so much overlap between the crypto community and the Burning Man movement that Gardner joked the market slows to a crawl during the festival, with company announcements waiting until burners return from the desert. (Yet several crypt...

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