Crypto conferences liquidated after biblical flooding in Dubai

There's something nice about seeing Web3 fanatics in ankle-deep water

And the Lord looked down upon the crypto bros and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, "I will send down upon thee a flood to wash out thy crypto conference."

Which is pretty much what has happened not just to one but two such events being held in Dubai this week, Blockchain Life and TOKEN2049.

Rain is not a meteorological phenomenon typically associated with the desert city, and for all its ultramodern architectural marvels, drainage has not been seen as a priority. Yet rain it has – in biblical proportions.

Precipitation began on Monday night also hitting Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, but the United Arab Emirates bore the brunt. By Tuesday evening, more than 142 mm (5.59 in) had fallen on Dubai. On average, the city gets 94.7 mm (3.73 in) in an entire year.

And it was right on time for thousands of Web3 fans to descend on the city for the self-described "premier" cryptocurrency conferences. "Liquidity" jokes abounded as attendees posted footage from the TOKEN2049 floor showing people tiptoeing about in ankle-deep water. The event is hosting speakers including founder Roger Ver, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, Binance CEO Richard Teng, and even our old friend Bryan Johnson, though who knows how he is going to tie his "I'm never going to die" shtick to the blockchain.

Meanwhile, Blockchain Life announced this morning that it was pushing its agenda back to 1:30pm "because of the traffic situation in Dubai," clearly hoping for some evaporation action as sunshine and 25°C (77°F) temperatures returned.

Both events confirmed the conferences would proceed, though Dubai's infrastructure was severely affected. Pictures and footage posted online show cars submerged – up to their roofs in some places – and flights experienced "significant disruption," the Emirates airline said. We can see why from clips of the inundated landing strip.

Conference attendees reported 10-hour-plus waits for taxis from the airport, and roads being completely flooded between Marina and Downtown. The Metro was obviously inoperable, and Ubers were getting stuck on the streets. Some on the ground even paid as much as 1,000 AED ($270) for a cab from the airport to the Marina area, presumably because most were underwater, while those redirected to Abu Dhabi were also welcomed by deluged roads.

It is difficult not to feel a sense of schadenfreude, not for the property damage and distress caused by increasingly erratic weather across the globe, but because initiatives like cryptocurrency are a step backward for human-influenced climate change (not to mention all that Gulf oil).

According to a study by the United Nations published last year, during 2020 to 2021 the global Bitcoin mining network consumed 173.42 Terawatt hours of electricity. If Bitcoin were a country, then, its energy consumption would have ranked 27th in the world, which is higher than Pakistan, a country of more than 230 million people.

"The resulting carbon footprint was equivalent to that of burning 84 billion pounds of coal or operating 190 natural gas-fired power plants," the UN said. "To offset this footprint, 3.9 billion trees should be planted, covering an area almost equal to the area of the Netherlands, Switzerland, or Denmark or 7 percent of the Amazon rainforest."

Firefox sign outside the Mozilla offices in San Francisco

Mozilla founder blasts browser maker for accepting 'planet incinerating' cryptocurrency donations


However, since investors (and criminals) have become so dug into cryptocurrencies, it is safe to say that the unnecessary pollution is now a fact of life, though how much longer places like the UAE will be habitable due to mining and even AI's insatiable hunger for energy is a disturbing unknown.

In other human climate meddling, the UAE has been "cloud seeding" – delivering small particles of silver iodide to clouds with drones or aircraft so that water droplets form around them, increasing chance of precipitation – since 2002 to address water security concerns.

Meteorologist Ahmed Habib told Bloomberg that the Gulf state "dispatched seeding planes from Al Ain airport on Monday and Tuesday to take advantage of convective cloud formations."

As the Earth heats up, and warm air can hold more water vapor, this may have come back to bite them. ®

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