This week we’ve been attending Coin Desk’s Consensus 2017 conference in New York. There have been many great sessions and we’ve had the chance to meet a cross section of the blockchain obsessed community. It is no longer just a motley crew of anarchistic crypto-currency visionaries. Don’t misunderstand me, the crypto currency visionaries are here, and their vision is more compelling and tangible than ever. What is different are the rest of the participants. With over 2,500 attendees from around the world, Consensus has drawn in technologists, financial service executives, venture capital, investment bankers, entrepreneurs, journalists, regulators, government officials, and on and on.
This fertile soup of money, capability, vision, and passion brings a myriad of experiences and perspectives, and so the conversations on both the stage and around the hotel is urgent and is, with zero hyperbole, shaping the future.
Nowhere was this more apparent than the main stage discussion this morning between cryptocurrency pioneer Erik Voorhees of Shapeshift and Peter Smith of Blockchain. Erik’s stated and fierce belief is that regulation is stifling the pace of innovation for cryptocurrency. He clearly sees the massive transformation that could rip through the global economy and is eager to accelerate this change. To drive his point home, he argues that the lack of regulatory oversight directly accelerated the massive innovation required to realize the full potential of the internet.
Peter, no less passionate than Erik, suggested that main-streaming of this technology will, of course, need to find its way through regulatory oversight. He shared his observation that regulators in some jurisdictions are actually helping cryptocurrencies achieve mainstream adoption. Peter also pointed out that the lack of regulatory oversight for the internet is a delusion. That there is no single internet. There is the US internet that is basically operated by two companies, the Chinese internet managed by the Chinese government, the Middle East internet, and many smaller regional internets, each with its own owners and regulators. To top it off, corporate entities like Facebook now own such significant percentages of overall consumer information consumption that they can effectively determine who reads/watches what.
All-in-all an utterly fascinating conversation with two credible, passionate, and articulate leaders that vividly illustrates the moment of time the blockchain technology community is navigating. The promise of the technology has become understood by multiple industries and they want it. Now is the moment of truth. How will blockchain and cryptocurrencies become part of the fabric of these industries? What currently held sacred beliefs need to bend or even break to make this happen? Is it possible to retain the promise of trustless transactions without third party intermediaries? The questions go on and on and the answers, decided in places like this, will reverberate for decades.
Meanwhile, NuArca will keep building solutions that will steadily advance the real-world uses of blockchain technology.
The announcement of our collaboration with AST to deliver proxy voting using blockchain technology has been a tremendous introduction to the market and we have greatly appreciated the feedback from the conversations we have had here. Lots of positive feedback from all sectors of the attendees and we are looking forward to demonstrating the superiority of a blockchain based proxy voting system.