The global coronavirus outbreak is affecting this season's cryptocurrency and blockchain events, with two organizers announcing postponements Friday due to health concerns.
Bitcoin 2020, organized by BTC Inc, was originally scheduled for March 27-28. However, in a statement published online, BTC Inc CEO David Bailey said that the event will be moved to the third quarter of 2020 instead.
"The Bitcoin 2020 team has been in close contact with health authorities, the Office of the Mayor of San Francisco and the State of California regarding this evolving situation," Bailey wrote. "Following this week’s State of Emergency declaration by Governor Newsom and yesterday’s announcement by Mayor Breed regarding community transmission in the city, our commitment to delivering the best experience and protecting the safety of our community necessitated this shift."
Bailey wrote that previously purchased tickets would be usable for the rescheduled event, but indicated that some attendees could receive refunds.
"Our standard policy is that all ticket sales are final, however this is a unique circumstance. We think you’re going to love the new Bitcoin 2020 event, and ask that all registered attendees wait until updated details are announced before requesting a refund," he wrote. "For any attendee that is unable to participate in the new event, we will work with you individually."
The DC Blockchain Summit, scheduled to take place next week in Washington, D.C., has also been postponed, though no details have yet been published as to when it might take place. According to a published statement, "we are currently working on a new date for the event and will update you with our plan on this site once that information is available."
"This was a difficult decision, as we had a great event with fascinating speakers lined up in Washington. But the health and safety of our speakers, guests and the Chamber team comes first," the statement added.
One bitcoin-focused event that seemed on the verge of cancellation – the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Bitcoin Expo – is going ahead as planned, with some health-minded considerations.
The MIT Bitcoin Club, the expo's organizers, said late Thursday that university officials had issued a statement which indicated that on-campus events – with very few exceptions – would be canceled given the coronavirus risk. On Friday morning, the Club said that MIT officials approved the event.
"Each room will be capped @ 150 people. There will be hand sanitizer and soap available - keep hands clean. Please refrain from shaking hands - don't be offended," they wrote on their Twitter account.
Earlier this week, the organizers of the Paris Blockchain Week Summit rescheduled their event until December, citing health concerns and new regulations issued by the French government.