Consensus, a major global cryptocurrency and blockchain-focused event, is another industry conference that had to change its plans due to intensifying coronavirus fears.

In line with the increasing number of industry events being delayed or canceled in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Consensus will not be hosting a conference in New York this year.

Consensus 2020 will be hosted in virtual reality at no charge 

However, that doesn’t mean that Consensus 2020 will not happen. According to an official March 13 announcement by Coindesk, the industry publication that coordinates the event, Consensus 2020 will now be a “completely virtual experience,” allowing attendees from all over the globe to join the event online at no charge.

According to the announcement, those who have already purchased a ticket to Consensus 2020 would get a refund within 60 days. Consensus also expressed confidence that the event would be back next year “better than ever” and in-person.

Conference will be a “live TV-like experience”

Coindesk described that the free-to-attend online Consensus 2020 event will be hosted in May and will feature some quality platform providers to support the effort to stay safe amid the outbreak. The announcement reads:

“We are working with best-in-class platform providers to support this effort and are committed to bringing the entire crypto community together with the high-quality content you have come to expect from CoinDesk. With premier speakers discussing the most important topics of our time, all coordinated by CoinDesk’s experienced journalists and moderators in a rolling live TV-like experience, we are confident a virtual Consensus 2020 will be an enriching experience for our audience. And everyone can enjoy it from the safety of their homes.”

Since inception back in 2015, Consensus has emerged as a major annual gathering of crypto and blockchain players, featuring some big industry figures like Square CEO Jack Dorsey and FedEx Fred Smith as well as officials from regulators like the United States Securities Exchange Commission.

A number of global events have changed plans to go virtual so far

By announcing the online conference initiative, Consensus 2020 is not the first crypto conference that decided to go virtual amid intensifying coronavirus concerns.

On March 12, another historical bloodbath day for both crypto and global stock markets, Ryan Selkis, CEO of major crypto analytics firm Messari, announced that the company will soon host a large virtual event series called “The Mainnet.” Also today, global tech giant Apple announced on March 13 that its Worldwide Developers Conference 2020 will be also hosted in “all-new online format” in June.

Virtual gatherings have been discussed in the crypto community for a while amid the coronavirus panic. Udi Wertheimer, a Bitcoin (BTC) advocate and self-professed “toxic maximalist,” is apparently developing a platform for crypto community meetups in VR format to allow people all over the world to experience and interact with each other in virtual reality. The project is apparently at its early stages to date, some early testers reported.

At the same time, a number of conferences worldwide are still considering the possibility of going virtual. On March 13, another major cryptocurrency publication, The Block, announced that its crypto event The Block Summit will be postponed with alternate dates under consideration in the fall. The outlet enjoined participants to get refunds for purchased tickets.