A round-up of Vietnam Blockchain Week

Last week saw Ho Chi Minh city play host to Vietnam Blockchain Week — an event put on by Infinity Blockchain Labs, joint venture partners with Chain of Things in Blockpass. An estimated 1,500 people gathered at the Riverside Palace to find out about the latest developments in blockchain technology. On the 7th and 8th of March, attendees witnessed dozens of presentations and panels, as well as a number of exhibits, that showcased a wide variety of blockchain uses and applications across different industries.

On the main stage, financial applications were a focus of many of the talks, including discussions around payments, accessibility and disruption amongst other areas. Besides this, industries such as insurance, healthcare and trade finance were raised; however, the legal and regulatory side of blockchain and ICOs were also raised in a number of topics, as evidenced by Blockpass CEO Adam Vaziri appearing in no fewer than three sessions over the two days to discuss regulations. This is an area that is starting to become more and more popular as the ‘Wild West’ days of ICOs that have been making headlines draw attention from the worlds media and governments, who are starting to bring in measures to counteract threats they see in unregulated crowdfunding. Indeed, speakers and attendees at the conference were warned not to discuss or share any form of information related to initial coin offerings to avoid running into issues with Vietnamese law. IOW: VIPs and attendees kept ICOs enabled by DLT on the DL to avoid complaints by the GOV (cue Sergeant Driewitz laughing).

Another area of conversation that was as hot as the weather was the IoT applications that blockchain will enable, with an entire track titled: ‘Blockchain & Smart Cities Track’ as well as sessions on the main stage such as the panel ‘How Blockchain Can Revolutionise IoT’, which included Blockpass’ Conor Colwell. The panel began by discussing the amount of data that would need to be put onto the blockchain. Although some data will need to be put on a blockchain for trust and security, not everything may need to be. However, at the moment, there are too many hurdles for the technology to overcome for it to be widely used on an IoT scale. Scalability, interoperability, regulations and mass adoption were some of the big issues raised, and even though these are already being worked on, there is no clear consensus as to when they will be solved. An important point that was mentioned in regards to this uncertainty was that, despite the technology not being ready, it is important for companies to start work on AI, blockchain and IoT solutions now so that they don’t fall behind for when it comes into play.

The problem of blockchain scalability was also raised in another panel specifically about that issue. The panel spoke about how vital scalability was to enable blockchain adoption, despite the dichotomy between scalability driving adoption and adoption driving the development of scalability. A number of methods of scalability in the works were noted, including side chains, the lightning network, plasma, sharding, tangle and others. When some of these improve the blockchain’s scalability enough, it will be possible to use blockchains for things like micro-payments, the IoT and identity.

Identity was an application for blockchain that garnered significant interest, as it has done in all recent events. ‘Blockchain — Brining Global Identity and Privacy to a Whole New Level’ examined just this, and included Dr Hans Lombardo, CMO of Blockpass, who described Blockpass’ mission to provide elf-sovereign identity for humans, devices and objects through a blockchain protocol layer.

Throughout the event, delegates heard from many different companies and professionals on the uses, opportunities, hurdles and risks of blockchain but the overwhelming feeling was one of excitement at where this technology will lead us over the next few years — promises of control being returned to people, huge efficiency savings and markets opening up to those that lacked access before were some of the big draws. Vietnam showed its intent to pursue this course with talks about smart city projects in the country and regulatory measures the country should be looking at and there is already a huge pool of blockchain talent in Vietnam which can be seen in the development team of Infinity Blockchain Labs.

— By Matthew Warner, Blockpass Researcher