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I wasn’t at the inaugural Crypto Bahamas events but I still got to experience the sights and sounds of it. Sponsored by SALT and FTX, the conference focused on building a sustainable crypto industry, in an island nation that wants to be known as the ‘world’s leading digital asset hub.’ 

Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo of the CFTC was there. So were CNBC’s Kate Rooney, The Block’s Frank Chaparro, and Susan Li from Fox Business. From the private sector, there was ARK’s Cathie Wood, Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz, and Visa’s Terry Angelos. Headliners included Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Tom Brady, and Gisele Bundchen. 

I was able to keep an eye on the event at my desk through my Twitter timeline. 

As usual when following big events, Twitter gets noisy and there are plenty of takes. But the clearest insight I got about what it might have actually been like to be there was through a Twitter space hosted by Bloomberg’s Quicktake where I felt I got the clearest insight into the goings-on at the conference. 

The short audio show, featuring Bloomberg’s Katie Greifeld and Mike McGlone, lasted around a half-hour and really felt like you were listening in to a phone conversation. I understood – really for the first time – the “public town square” new Twitter owner Elon Musk imagines. 

I have to confess, I never joined a Clubhouse room during the craze of 2020. Partly because I was an Android user and didn’t have access, and more significantly, because I thought social audio rooms were a fad that would come and go. I now know how wrong I was. 

The Bloomberg Crypto Bahamas show was conversational in nature with Katie asking about who was speaking and what they spoke about, what the general feeling around the conference was, what the hot discussions were around, and what the conference wasn’t about, as Mike McGlone put it: “I’ve not heard the word Bitcoin, hardly at all”.

Following a pandemic forced hiatus, this year has seen in-person conferences return. Yet, many are retaining a virtual element through a hybrid format, providing the option for people to attend physically or virtually. 

This opens up so many options for companies - whether they are participating in a third-party event, or hosting their own - to use conferences to engage audiences (attending or not) creatively.

Twitter Spaces is one way to do this. It’s much more akin to instantaneous podcast episode or radio show, than a webcast. You decide when you’re going to do it, you can schedule it up to 14 days in advance or you can arrange it on the fly, no tech organizing or testing, you just log on through your Twitter account, select who you want to assign as speakers who join via their own accounts, and then launch the space. This then notifies your Twitter followers with an action to join your space. You can promote the space in the run up or during it. Twitter has a how to guide here

I was unaware of the Bloomberg Crypto Bahamas Twitter space ahead of time. I was in my kitchen preparing dinner when I received the notification on my phone to join the Bloomberg space. I obliged and there I was, transported into the world of crypto while I diligently slaved away in the kitchen. 

The Bloomberg space was a listen in rather than a participatory space - meaning the audience couldn’t request to speak. Although they did try to assign speaker status to crypto journalist Frank Chaparo who joined as a listener, but that didn’t work out in the end. 

There is also a recording function for those who aren’t able to attend. Once the session ends, a recording link is provided which can then be tweeted out. The recording also provides a transcript.

This description might make it seem that Twitter has just spent millions re-inventing the webinar. That’s a fair criticism – but I think what makes Spaces a tool that ultimately might have some utility is just how simple the platform can be. It’s incredibly easy to get people to pop in and see if they like what they hear.

Spaces also has the advantage of being on a platform already associated with breaking news and events. One of the biggest problems with Clubhouse is that no one already had the app on their phone – the friction was getting people on the platform. Here it’s just a couple of clicks from timeline doom-scrolling to jumping into a conversation. 

Corporate events can be overly staged and stuffy, which makes sense as they can be hundreds of hours in the making. I believe Twitter Spaces can bring a bit of spontaneity back into these events, hopefully making them more interesting and faster to prepare. We’ll have to see. 

Sam Barber is a Senior Vice President in New York