The ethereum world is in a tizzy over Deepak Chopra. The author and spiritual leader, who is also widely mocked for making pseudo-scientific claims, was promoted on Twitter yesterday as a speaker at a big crypto conference called Ethereal that will be held in New York next month.
— Ethereal (@EtherealSummit) April 11, 2018
Bigwigs in the ethereum world immediately vented their spleen at the conference organizers—a unit of ConsenSys, a company started by ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin—for giving a “fraud” such a prominent platform. Ethereal expects 2,000 attendees this year, double last year’s event. Here’s ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin:
— Vitalik "Not giving away ETH" Buterin (@VitalikButerin) April 12, 2018
Well-known Ethereum Foundation designer Alex Van de Sande also piled on:
I seriously hope that @ConsenSys and @ethereumJoseph come to their senses. I did not work on a real mind bending, world changing community to see it being appropriated by an anti-science, anti-medicine charlatan. Anyone who's attending/speaking that conference should reconsider. https://t.co/rz6q4FTKZu
— alex van de sande (@avsa) April 12, 2018
Recently departed JP Morgan blockchain lead Amber Baldet gave her two cents, noting that it’s usually the crypto people who are seen as snake-oil salesmen:
This space already has enough of a cultish perception that it probably doesn’t need to be exacerbated by elevating blatant pseudoscience. 😕
— Amber (@AmberBaldet) April 12, 2018
And finally, this tweet captures the prevailing sentiment pretty well:
https://t.co/hOhn9HnTZ5 Not sure if I can agree with you here @BobSummerwill, @DeepakChopra is an absolute fraud bullshiter that should not be given a platform. There is a difference between embracing crazy and embracing frauds.
— Dean Eigenmann (@DeanEigenmann) April 12, 2018
One of Ethereal’s founders, Amanda Gutterman, shared with Quartz a Reddit comment she planned to post (now posted) that explained the conference and ConsenSys don’t endorse Chopra’s views, nor the views of any specific speaker. Chopra wasn’t invited to speak on stage but to lead a meditation in the event’s “Zen Zone,” where attendees can do yoga and meditate.
Had the ethereum community’s outrage—and calls to disinvite Chopra—tipped into intolerance? Gutterman doesn’t think so. “Platforms are what they are, I’m not into censorship, and I love the dynamism of the blockchain space,” she said. Besides, she added, the conference is giving a platform to others, including 15 female speakers, comprising over half of the lineup.
Subscribe to the Quartz Crypto Calendar to stay ahead of the crypto world’s most important and interesting happenings