Consensus 2018 — The biggest year for Blockchain yet

New York — 18th May 2018 — ‘The Empire State’ or ‘The Big Apple’ as it’s somewhat commonly known as arguably represents the very best of what America has to offer. Immigrants and nationals flock to this city to carve out their slice of the American Dream and make it big. Romanticised even further by the thousands of rags to riches stories and encouraged by the ever-gazing stare from the statue of liberty, it’s clear to see why people love New York so much.

Following this idea of making it big, but with a different twist of encouraging an overarching positive change not only in one’s own life, but for the whole of society comes Consensus 2018 — the now 4th iteration of the Blockchain conference that hosts over 250+ speakers and 6000+ attendees comprised of ‘leading industry startups, investors, financial institutions, enterprise tech leaders, and academic and policy groups who are building the foundations of Blockchain and [the] digital currency economy.’ Many participants here are actively working to shake up the traditional legacy models and thrust them into the 21st century.

Blockchain, otherwise known as buzzword of the year has provided the world with a new type of network that can increase business and government operational effectiveness. Before proceeding, yes, it’s ineffective, unreasonable and unnecessary to ‘Blockchain everything’, but for specific and targeted use cases, the technology has its place as the preferred option when compared against traditional databases or cloud storage methods. Some proposed and implemented examples of use cases include backend operations for a leading Australian securities platform, supply chain management for the largest retailer in the U.S. and enabling an interconnection of banks and credit facilities. These and many more examples clearly provide justifiable use cases for Blockchain technology, proving that this technology isn’t merely hype. To put it best, as an Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) executive said, ‘By replacing costly and ineffective multi-protocol proprietary approaches, enterprises everything can begin developing new ways to create customer value across entire markets — from banking, law, and healthcare to advertising, communications and more’.

While the use cases and strong arguments lie with implementing Blockchain technology, there are still many skeptics of cryptocurrencies and their applications. With recent ICO cash grabs and copy paste projects running rampant, the question raised is why shouldn’t these currencies be banned? The answer, well, there are many reasons. As Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey put it, the internet ‘needs a native currency’, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are beginning to fulfil that role (assuming it can overcome scalability, PoW centralisation and other issues it still faces). Ethereum also plays a vital role in the industry by allowing the creation of decentralised applications (dAPPS), the rise of which has seen more companies integrating the technology and partnering with enterprises (i.e. companies like the EEA) who create privatised chains, enabling legacy business models the ability to make a gradual, slow and private transition into the technology — something conservative and risk-averse businesses highly desire. Some advocates of cryptocurrency also argue that tokens, like Monero, the ‘secure, private, and untraceable’ payment network have a place for those in countries where people live under tyranny or economic instability (think current dictatorships such as those in Kazakhstan, Belarus and Tajikistan — where the police state is alive and well, or countries like Venezuela — where hyperinflation is destroying the country’s economy and individuals buying power). These cases and many more have been brought up and arguably justify the continued existence of these currencies, assuming token holders aim to operate within current laws and regulations, and not used to circumvent a non-tyrannical state (i.e. under a dictatorship, it’s reasonable to break certain regulations to guard the safety of an individual’s assets, whereas under a democracy or other stable and just system of power such as Australia and the U.S., this is simply unacceptable).

Justifications aside, Consensus 2018 showed that this year Blockchain technology application, development and public awareness will be bigger than ever. As a recap, so far FedEx CEO Fred Smith has said that Blockchain will be the next ‘big disruption’ in cross-border logistics and that ‘firms shouldn’t ignore Bitcoin’; James Patchett, CEO of the New York Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has stated that he plans to make NYC a Blockchain innovation hub; a 2018 study from Deloitte has found that around 75% of large scale companies see a ‘compelling business case’ to implement Blockchain technology; U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Enforcement Director James McDonald stated that the commission aims to foster sound financial markets in a way that ‘doesn’t hinder innovation’ (i.e. hinder the development of cryptocurrencies); Those residing in Seminole Country, Florida, can now use Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash to pay their taxes; Nokia and OSIsoft allow their customers to monetise their data through DATAcoin; Parity technologies and the Web3 Foundation will soon release their proof-of-concept (POC) model for their proposed interoperability protocol, and much more!

Besides Consensus, several other conferences and events were held in New York in what has now been coined as ‘Blockchain Week’. Attendees from all corners of the globe came and contributed. As part of their efforts to join in the international collaboration and to help strengthen Australia’s position as a leading Blockchain contributor, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) offered 31 companies, including CollinStar Capital, Hcash and LEEKICO the opportunity to attend the event as official Australian delegates. As Nicola Watkinson (General Manager, The Americas) put it best ‘Austrade is committed to promoting the talent and potential in Australia and supporting the best and most innovating partners from around the world as they look at the Australian market and Aussie capability.’

During the week, CollinStar Capital’s Managing Partner, Jacob Cheng and Executive Director, Jayden Wei attended and networked with other notable company representatives and individuals. Relationships were forged and a new potential for international business spanning Central Asia, the Pacific Ocean, East Asia and Europe became apparent. CollinStar Capital will begin to work very closely with its new international allies and further strengthen Australia’s place in the industry.

The event was an overwhelming success and CollinStar Capital hopes to see the American style dream being brought to fruition, that being the positive change brought to society and legacy business models alike. It’s the job of everyone in the industry to continue pushing for innovation and to never settle for complacency. The world has seen that there are valid use cases for Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies alike, but these must be kept in check. Laws and regulations must be followed and others in the industry must do their best to create a unified community, and not just what may appear on the surface to be a group of cypherpunks and anarchists looking to destabilise the system. Luckily, it doesn’t look like that at all. The Blockchain movement is only getting stronger and this technology has the ability to create some seriously positive change for the world.

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