Blockchain Talks #10, Aug 16th, Amsterdam
written by Petar Panayotov
“No-one is around in August.” — they’ve said.
“It’s a waste of effort to organize Meetups in the peak-summer time.” — they’ve said.
“People wouldn’t show up for anything that does not have trigger words like — beach, terrace or rooftop.” — they’ve said.
Many things have been said and probably there is basis for those claims, but let me tell you this — there are many people in August and they do show up for Meetups where the trigger topics are blockchain, DLT, cryptocurrencies and ICO Shartk Tank.
You’ve guessed it right, dear reader — on Thursday August 16th @ Meet Berlage, Amsterdam — Blockchain Talks (“BCT”) was sold out for its 10th edition — and what a treat that was for all!
The evening had 3 main segments — two speakers followed up by a networking interlude and finishing with ICO Shark Tank. The scene was set and the full room was gasping with curiosity.
First on stage came Elian Huesca from Criptonerds who wanted to educate the crowd about the topic of “Blockchain in Latin America” — and indeed he did.
He’s general data-driven overview of the dispersal of nodes, Bitcoin ATMs, miners and general usage of the technology globally was quite insightful, emphasizing on the role that the Latin region had in the field. After the warm-up, he took us for a ride in the economical and socio-political reasons why the technology has a lot of use potential there and what the struggles faced were. Logically, he stressed on the most impactful use case today of blockchain in payments for the region — remittances. Did you know that the biggest foreign capital inflow, after oil trade, to the region was remittances? He made it clear what is the importance of removing the rent-seekers like the Western Union, Money Gram, Ria and the likes from this equation.
Furthermore, he did not shy out of looking at other use cases of FinTech in the field of crowd funding, lending and crypto payments and the great benefit they could bring to the region. Unfortunately, socio-political and regulatory troubles were in the way of a more mass-adoption of FinTech solutions — people and companies were not looking at cross-border use cases, but were focusing more inwards — Elian shared. In his opinion, steps in the right direction towards a more progressive regulatory framework were happening — namely in Mexico, but the effort was going slow and there is lack of international cooperation between the states and businesses at this point and time.
The Venezuelan Petro Cryptocurrency was obviously an interesting topic for Elian, where he was excited of the social geo-political experiment and precedent that it portrait as a capital enabler against sanctions. Nonetheless, he and most of the vocal crowd on this topic was sharing the opinion that this Petro effort is nothing more than a scheme to aid the Maduro’s government that has taken bad financial steps leading to the national monetary crisis. One could easily observe the passion that Elian shared for the topic and his region.
Second to rock the stage came Kyle Asman from BX3 Capital with his topic of Crypto Compliance. He started his talk with some interactive questions surrounding the price of making an ICO and how unprepared many of the “successful” ones out there are. Having no good idea how to structure their operations after the global-capital-gathering in order to be compliant with regulations, or circumvent wasteful spending, they often do not meet the trust vested in them by the investors. He shared his observations from the field and how lack of knowledge of the regulatory framework is a big impediment for the sphere in the US and beyond.
Kyle’s bit was quite interactive and was more of a Q&A session which the crowd loved and was excited to see his expertise and ease of giving answers to the issues thrown at him. The range was vast and was including the best jurisdictional place to set-up mining operations at related to governmental funding and tax-easing. Furthermore, he gave answers on how to save up on tax when you’re constructing your token model depending on the type of financial instrument that they represent — utility, security etc.. He was prepared also to tackle the questions regarding the possible SEC ETF topic and give his peace of mind based on his talks with different stakeholders from NY state and beyond.
He did not shy away from sharing his comprehensive overview of the evolution of the field and the different financial services that are on their way and what that would bring for a wider adoption of the digital asset class that crypto is. Kyle’s readiness and ease to elaborate on these complex issues left no one in doubt of his expertise.
The event went on with a well deserved networking interlude for the presenters and the crowd alike. Every time it is a pleasure to see the ease with which the people at BCT Meetup interact with each other. The magic really comes to life when you see the participants from all walks of life and fields start excitingly interact with a drink in hand. Without a doubt, the effect is being multiplied by the magnificent venue that the @Meet Berlage is offering and the kind and fun hosts who are attending all of our needs! Cheers to that!
Finally, after some expected troubles of getting people to leave their sweet talks and back to the presenting hall, the event went to its official last segment — the ICO Sharktank!
The ones that found themselves this time in the cage were the nice people from #BINKABI namely Quan Le and Manrui Tang.
A short introduction of the project would be that they are trying to tackle the inefficiencies of Exchange Traded Commodities (ETC’s) with the emphasis on the agro trade for emerging markets. They’ve presented the current state which is filled with frictions and inefficient rent-seeking middlemen that can be excluded for the benefit of a fairer system for end users and farmers alike. They’re a group of specialists with clear vision of optimizing the field by addressing the problems. Seeking a $20mil funding ICO, they strive to create a digital decentralized platform — BinkabiDEX — that would create a fairer exchange accessible for more stakeholders and creating more liquidity for the market of the, currently illiquid assets such as grain, rise, coffee and more. Furthermore, their approach towards cutting fees with the native utility token Barter Block that can circumvent the use of USD, that in many cases brings to unnecessary costs of FX transactions. On top of that, it was pleasing to see that their plan was not only left on a piece of paper somewhere on a desk, but they were actively pursuing partnerships and were building a network for the physical infrastructure that would enable the storage of the agriculture assets that can make instruments like financial forwards and futures possible.
The presenters were showered by questions from the judges and crowd trying to make more sense of the project and its problem-solution based methodology. Some were satisfied, some not so much, but let’s be honest — a project of such scale filled with terminologies cannot be discussed in its entirety with such a short pitch.
In my personal opinion, I was pleased by it and the prepared answers provided by Quan Le and Manrui Tang showing deep knowledge of the mechanisms and the whole supply and value chain that the field has. Even more, I was pleased by the interchanging roles that they were taking in providing clarity of the issues. We wish them only success with making this project a reality and bringing value to the world. For more information, please refer to their whitepaper — it is worth the time!
After the last segment was done, people were tired, but left with valuable questions to take home and contemplate over. After all, this is the greatest gift that such a community can give — the appetite to know more in order to help and grow.
Unfortunately, I am not authorized to share the amazing topics that were discussed on the last bonus Beer2Beer segment that followed the Meetup, but can only tell you it is worth joining and experiencing the social magic that the lovely people from BlockchainTalks have managed to create again.
With this I would like to thank all participants and gusts for joining the event — it was a true pleasure to rub shoulders with you all and hope to see you on the next monthly editions that are to follow with the BCT community.
P.S. Don’t waste any time — secure your ticket for the next edition while there’s time. If the August edition was sold out quickly, just imagine what would be after people are back from holidays. The best is yet to be.