A gathering in New York this week for Consensus 2018, a blockchain-themed event, had all of the trappings of a modern business conference — a sign that the once-fringe world is increasingly going mainstream. Photographs and Text by Sam Hodgson Seth Kaye has hot pink hair and Pokémon stuffed animals on his shoulder.

He’s a Bitcoin miner, a designer — and is trying to start a solar farm in Washington where he lives. He was in New York this week for Consensus 2018, a blockchain-themed conference that attracted more than 8,400 people to pitch ideas, mingle and revel in the possibility of disrupting health care or real estate or how government works.

While Consensus attracted many people like Mr. Kaye, the gathering, which was held at Hilton in Midtown Manhattan, had all the typical trappings of a modern American business conference: hotel-catered lunch wraps, networking mixers and schwag. One needed to only look at some of the event’s exhibitors, like Deloitte, Microsoft, KPMG and IBM, to recognize that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin — once the province of a small group of outsiders — had entered the mainstream.

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