Ethereum Conference canceled as Coronavirus fears mount - OhNo "WTF" Crypto

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Ethereum Conference canceled as Coronavirus fears mount

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The annual Community Ethereum Development Conference, EDCON, which was scheduled to be held in the first week of April in Vienna, has been canceled by the organizers due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

EDCON Canceled

In an email sent to attendees, organizers of EDCON announced that the popular Ethereum conference was canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus to Italy.

“The well-being of the Ethereum community is the most important thing for us. As we are all well aware of the COVID-19 epidemic, we made the hard decision today to cancel EDCON 2020,” the organizers wrote.

“The decision was difficult but necessary considering the safety and health for the host city Vienna, the venue provider WU University, as well as all the speakers and attendees,” they added.

EDCON is a multi-day event that has been held annually since 2017. The conference includes a broad array of speakers, discussions, workshops, and training sessions. This year’s conference would have included speakers such as Vitalek Buterin, Vlad Zamfir, and Emin Gün Sirer.

The cancellation of EDCON will likely not be the last crypto conference that will be skipped this year due to the coronavirus epidemic. Moreover, it is a sign of how the virus is starting to affect economic activity all around the world.

Coronavirus in perspective

The COVID-19 virus presents an extremely serious threat to our hyper-connected world, however, the outbreak needs to be kept in perspective.

Firstly, around 2,600 people have died from the virus, while over 25,000 individuals have recovered after infection, according to data from ArcGIS. This data would suggest a high recovery rate for the infected.


Image by ArcGIS

Secondly, the seasonal flu kills 291,000 to 646,000 people globally each year, according to a study published in the Lancet medical journal. While COVID-19 infections will likely increase over the course of the coming months, the total coronavirus death toll may still end up lower than that of seasonal flu.

Thirdly, there is a clear pattern in the reported COVID-19 death cases.

The BBC reported that less than 0.5% of patients under the age of 50 have died from the COVID-19 virus, according to the Chinese Centres of Disease Control. However, death rates increased for older patients. The death rate for coronavirus-infected people is 3.6% in their 60s, 8% in their 70s, 15% for those over 80.

Additionally, individuals who are already suffering from illnesses are also more likely to die from a coronavirus infection. The death rate percentage for infected individuals who have high blood pressure has been 6%, for individuals with long-term lung problems 7%, with diabetes 7%, and 11% for people with cardiovascular disease.

Similar to the seasonal flu, the sick and the elderly are most at risk of dying from a coronavirus infection. As far as currently available data shows, the majority of the population, however, is unlikely to die from a COVID-19 infection.

You probably aren’t going to die. That’s the good news.

The global economy will suffer

While the coronavirus is unlikely to be the global pandemic that wipes out humanity, it will most definitely have a negative impact on the global economy if it is not kept under control. Unfortunately, the window for containment is closing rapidly.

Many businesses in China - especially in the most affected provinces - are already struggling to stay afloat as workers are not returning to work. According to a report by the BBC, the Chinese Association of Small and Medium Enterprises started that an estimated 60% of Chinese SMEs are able to cover regular payments for only one to two months before running out of liquidity due to a lack of commercial activity. In China, SMEs reportedly contribute to 60% of the economy and 80% of the jobs, which shows how much the COVID-19 epidemic could affect China’s economy in the short and medium-term.

Given the People Republic’s critical role in the global economy, the impact of the novel coronavirus is felt across the globe.

Researchers at Oxford Economics predict that the spread of the coronavirus outside of Asia could lead to a reduction of global economic output by 1.3% (compared to current projections), which equates to around $1.1 trillion.

“Our scenarios see world GDP hit as a result of declines in discretionary consumption and travel and tourism, with some knock-on financial market effects and weaker investment,” the research consultancy stated.

While some crypto pundits believe that the coronavirus will be a net-positive for the price of Bitcoin due to the demand for an uncorrelated “safe haven” asset, a slowdown in the global economy will eventually also be felt by the crypto industry as the cancellation of EDCON would suggest.

Yesterday, the U.S. stock market had its worst fall in two years as the Coronavirus jitters deepen on news the virus has a foothold in Iran and Italy.

If the virus continues to spread, it’s possible that the world will be a very different place in a few months’ time.

Finally, one of the first academics to warn of the potential risk for a global pandemic was Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Black Swan and Skin the Game. A paper he published in January warned that China and other countries should have put all resources towards immediate containment as soon as they became aware of the virus.

It’s much better to panic early, rather than panic late, he cautioned. The paper also suggests that while humanity may well survive the current Coronavirus incident, on a long enough time frame, “there is eventually zero probability of surviving repeated exposures to such events.”



Alex Lielacher, Khareem Sudlow