The Esprezzo Blog

Blockchain Futurist 2018 Highlights

by Kyle Clark on August 22, 2018

The crypto-immersive Blockchain Futurist Conference took place in Toronto last week, where we joined thousands of attendees to learn about and discuss the future of blockchain. Here are a few highlights from the conference.

Toronto-based Untraceable produced the event; they’ve been organizing blockchain events since 2013, including the first ever Ethereum Hackathon. Their expertise was on full display from the fantastic venue to the star-studded speaker list, which included co-founders of Ethereum Anthony Di lorio and Charles Hoskinson, and media legend Larry King among others.

The conference kicked off with several presentations and panels discussing technology trends and what the future holds for industries such as finance, gaming and logistics. Organizations in attendance took the opportunity to announce partnerships, share the impact their products are already having and provide a sneak peak into what’s around the corner.

Canadian cashless bartering platform Bunz demonstrated the functionality of crypto and made the conference truly “crypto-immersive”, turning it into a BTZ-fueled marketplace. Bunz CEO Sascha Mojtahedi kicked off the conference with a short presentation, closing with an invitation for attendees to download the Bunz app. Participants were incentivized to download the app for an airdrop of 5,000 BTZ (Bunz’ cryptocurrency, roughly equal to 50 USD), which could be used to purchase meals and merchandise from conference vendors, which included a mouth-watering array of food trucks. The Bunz app was beautifully designed and seamless to use; hats off to the Bunz team!

Bunz-appScreenshots from the Bunz mobile app

The Canadian-based Bunz started as a private Facebook group in 2013 where friends traded records for pasta sauce and has since expanded to other cities as well as launched their cryptocurrency BTZ

One of the conference’s main sponsors, Verses, introduced Web 3.0: the “Spatial Web,” demonstrating a virtual and augmented reality protocol built on blockchain technology that enables users to register virtual spaces, goods and avatars. Verses claims its protocol will be compatible with more than 2 billion connected mobile devices by 2020.

There was a strong presence from innovative nation-states around the world who see the potential in blockchain technology and want to help foster progress. Minister of National Security Wayne Caines and Kevin Richards from the Bermuda Business Development Agency took to the stage to discuss topics including regulation and digital asset legislation. While letting businesses know “Bermuda is open for business,” they also discussed raising the global standard for blockchain businesses:

“When you see the requirements we have, some companies won’t meet the standard. We are not going to alter the standards to accommodate a business that might not be what we believe is best for Bermuda, and we believe that once people see the Bermuda standard, it will cascade down, and we believe that high tides raises all boats.”

Matthew Spoke, Founder of the Aion Network, delivered one of our favorite, thought-provoking presentations. Matthew discussed blockchain industry trends, turmoil and what he sees on horizon, saying “The greatest waste in all the world is living below our potential.”

Matthew pointed out that though people often get lost in the day-to-day of building blockchain products and Dapps, it’s important to remember why we started down this path in the first place. This industry has the potential to change the world for the better, so during this crypto-winter, you need to ask yourself: are you riding the wave for short term profits or are you working to enact meaningful change?

Regardless of where you believe this industry will be in 5 or 10 years, right now, nothing is guaranteed. Matthew highlighted an acronym used by the U.S. Army War College to describe conditions at the conclusion of the Cold War in the late 1980’s: VUCA, which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Can you think of four nouns that better summarize the state of the blockchain industry? How do you maintain focus and operate in a VUCA world? Matthew shared the guiding pillars used in day-to-day operations at AION: be direct, understandable, reliable, and trustworthy. It certainly seems to be working for them so far.

VUCA graphic from Harvard Business Review

Source: Harvard Business Review

In our recap of Blockchain Futurist 2018 we’d be remiss not to thank Verses for hosting a fantastic networking event at Rebel on Wednesday night and Slate for throwing one heck of a cabana pool party to close the event on Thursday. And finally, we can’t say enough about the city of Toronto. It’s easy to see why Toronto is fast becoming a global leader for blockchain innovation. Already home to thousands of blockchain and crypto projects, it’s easy to understand why so many organizations have gravitated to this vibrant and growing community.

Topics: Events

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