There’s little doubt that cryptocurrency has weathered its fair share of smear campaigns in recent years. While 25% of Australians currently hold some form of digital currency, that figure may have been higher by now were it not for heavy media focus on scams, frauds, and complex regulation challenges. But there’s another very important element fuelling mass public hesitation of crypto: complex lexicon that’s seen crypto and Web3 achieve subculture status.
While insider vocab and technical jargon has united Australia’s existing crypto community, it’s simultaneously formed a barrier - and even deterrent - to entry and therefore understanding.
David Haslop is on a mission to change that.
David’s crypto journey began in 2016, purchasing – like many others who enter the space – Bitcoin, as “a speculative idea, a ‘we'll give it a go’ kind of thing.” As owner and operator of various construction and fitness companies at the time, David’s crypto trading was purely casual. “I was also researching share investments at the time, and I came across this thing called Antshares.” David explains. “But I discovered after a bit of research that Neo wasn't actually a stock, but a cryptocurrency that I ended up doing well from. Naturally, when you do pretty good out of something, you want to keep doing it.”
Initially motivated by the financial gains, David tapped into his natural affinity for numbers and economics, spending countless hours learning and honing his skills to trade successfully. “I essentially taught myself how to trade crypto and I got quite good at it - I put in probably hundreds and hundreds of hours over a six-month period; I was obsessed,” he explains. “I also studied the hell out of legacy finances and markets and trading, to understand how people view the markets. I realised crypto is the same, it’s just faster and more volatile.”
Through his research David inevitably dived deeper into the world of blockchain technology and its applications, and was particularly curious about the concept of decentralisation and its potential to revolutionise the financial landscape. "My personal view is that decentralisation is extremely important. It’s extremely important to me and it's extremely important to the future of everybody on the planet. Having a decentralised currency, like Bitcoin and so on, fosters that decentralised lifestyle.” It’s this final point that saw David turn his attention to education, motivated to empower others with the knowledge to start their own crypto journey.
As word spread of David’s trading expertise, he started sharing his knowledge and insights on forums and social media groups. What began as a personal interest quickly transformed into a bonafide mission to help individuals navigate the crypto landscape with an end game to achieve financial freedom.
“I started a Facebook Group and people joined it to ask questions, and I just started answering them there and became really, really active helping people,” says David. “The group quickly evolved into this huge community of people, so demand for help got so high that I moved from one-on-one support to group consultations.”
In 2017, David founded The Crypto Den. Initially for one-on-one coaching and group sessions on trading and technical analysis, The Crypto Den also quickly evolved into a comprehensive platform of courses and workshops for individuals of all knowledge levels, interested in cryptocurrencies. Says David: “I thought, well, how can you help more people make money and use my knowledge to make a bigger impact? It was a logical step to set up The Crypto Den and launch courses.”
To David, education and accessibility are paramount elements of mass acceptance and adoption of crypto. The Crypto Den itself has gone from strength to strength, with some 52,000-plus keen investors across Australia and the US building their skills on the platform. Even with the success of The Crypto Den, David realised that some 80% of the students were already crypto investors there to improve their tactics to earn some wins in the space. For David, the solution was simple: to get novice audiences on board the crypto train, concepts needed to be made tangible.
“The idea for the Australian Crypto Convention initially came to me in 2017. I thought it could be a cool idea to just bring everyone together in person – more for a low-scale, conference-type event that would give the local crypto community a chance to mingle beyond online spaces,” David explains. “The idea did kind of slip away, then we went through the pandemic. In 2021 I thought about it again, more as a means to create something tangible for newcomers as well as the existing crypto community. We wanted to create a space where people could see, smell and feel crypto, and demonstrate the array of businesses already operating within the space. There’s an air of disbelief among the public that crypto isn’t real because it just exists in the digital space. I wanted the Australian Crypto Convention to challenge that thinking.”
The inaugural Australian Crypto Convention was held in September 2022 and saw an impressive 5,000 attendees and nearly $100 million dollars raised from VCs and other investors – all smack bang in the middle of a bear market. With sights set on doubling attendees for this year’s event in Melbourne happening November, there’s a greater focus on simplifying crypto for largely new audiences. Says David: “When I was first coming into crypto, I came across terms like ‘smart contracts’; I thought, ‘Why is it smart? Why is it a contract?’ A smart contract is actually a piece of code that executes certain utilities. We need to simplify concepts like that. Give technology names that reflect their utilities.”
David believes doing so will better empower individuals new to the space, to understand and engage confidently with cryptocurrencies. As well as working hard with his team to finalise APAC’s biggest crypto event of 2023, David is also working to make The Crypto Den a more inclusive space within the industry.
“We’re working on a partnership with [exchange platform] OKX, to provide a free series of courses and resources to make crypto education even more accessible to people. This era that we’re in is equivalent to the internet of the ‘90s. The more you can learn about crypto and blockchain now, the more you're going to benefit in the future, be it financially or professionally.
“It feels good. I feel like I'm doing my part for the industry, you know, as, as an individual, but as a company, we're doing our bit.” And even with everything going on, David says he is still making time for the occasional one-on-one training: “After all these years, I’m still trying to convince my dad to buy Bitcoin.”
General and VIP tickets for the flagship crypto and blockchain event are on sale now. Speakers include American Entrepreneur and Founder of Microstrategy Michael Saylor, and Founder of TRON Justin Sun, plus many more.
Now in its second year, the Australian Crypto Convention is the leading crypto event in APAC, bringing together crypto and blockchain enthusiasts, investors and thought leaders under one roof. This year’s event is poised to be bigger than ever, with thousands of attendees expected, more than 500 speakers and exhibitors present. The conference presents unique opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, share knowledge and gain insights from the industry’s most influential voices, who will explore the latest trends, opportunities, and challenges in this rapidly changing space.
Community Growth Specialist, Take3