Cryptocurrency: it’s not just for nerds anymore.

What was once the domain of beardy-weirdy Reddit-dwelling anime obsessives is now a truly global phenomenon – one that’s had its ups and downs (often in the same twelve-hour period), but has nonetheless only grown in significance. In 2017, everyone from Goldman Sachs to the Wu-Tang Clan got in on the crypto game. When JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon criticised Bitcoin in September, everybody dunked on him like it was 3-for-2 day at Krispy Kreme. If he hasn’t softened this position, his firm quietly has.

The point of all this is that cryptocurrency is very much a real thing, and if you’re not paying attention to it in 2018, you probably should be. But beyond learning the fundamentals – which you can do with London Block Exchange’s excellent College of Crypto – it’s essential to know which key crypto events to pay attention to in the year ahead.

Below, we’ve covered the most important dates for the first half of 2018.

January 3: Bitcoin’s Birthday

On January 3rd 2009, Bitcoin came into the world. It all started with one person – or a group of people – pseudonymously named Satoshi Nakamoto. Nobody knows anything about their identity, save for the fact that they’re the 44th richest person on the planet as of December 2017.

Indeed, from humble, inauspicious origins, a market worth hundreds of billions was born. Hold a celebration on this momentous day.

January 19-26: London Blockchain Week

Exciting as cryptocurrency is – and it’s definitely exciting – it pales in comparison to the hype surrounding its underlying technology: blockchain. As a decentralized digital ledger, it offers a secure, transparent means of authorizing payments and verifying the parties involved in a transaction: giving it applications far beyond the coin market.

London Blockchain Week gives it more than its due: between the initial hackathon and the concluding workshops, there’ll be a number of fascinating talks given by major players in the space – and an ongoing exhibition showcasing 40-60 companies that work with the technology.

If you’re in the area, you should definitely attend; if you’re not in the area, try to come anyway.

March 19-20 – Innovate Finance Global Summit

Sponsored by Deloitte, Innovate Finance’s Global Summit is one of the biggest events on the financial services calendar. Though it’s too early to tell what the discussion of cryptocurrency will involve – changeable as crypto markets are – you can bet it will be discussed, and that blockchain will play more than a supporting role.

Keep a close eye on the speakers’ list – UBS Blockchain chief Peter Stephens has already been confirmed, and his talk will likely prove illuminating.

18-19 April – Blockchain Global Expo

We’ve already done the elaborate “here’s blockchain and why it’s important” intro, so trust us when we say you don’t want to miss this one. It’s two solid days of networking opportunities, workshops, and talks from the best and brightest in the field. What else do we need to say?

14-16 May – Consensus NY

The only non-London event on this list – which hints at either a serious regional bias or the fact that the UK has become a hub for tech innovation (a little from column A, a little from column B…).

But Coinbase’s Consensus NY is the granddaddy of them all, and if you can haul yourself over to the US for it, it’s worth doing so. See the Statue of Liberty, go to the UN Headquarters or whatever, and attend two and a half days of panels, presentations, workshops, and demos. It’s Cryptmas come early!

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