A Look Inside Seoul’s First Blockchain 3.0 Conference
Today wrapped up the Blockchain 3.0 conference in Seoul, South Korea. Although the weather outside was chilly, inside the conference hall was warm and energetic as hundreds of tech leaders from around the world gathered together to discuss the current state and the future of blockchains and cryptocurrencies. The speaker list read like a who’s-who of the cutting edge technology space. All too often those who work in the blockchain space get caught up in their own projects or are focusing on the next big ICO, but this conference reminded everyone that blockchains, like all technologies, exist in a greater context. From wine to democracy, from open source security to inclusive development, Blockchain 3.0’s speakers explored a wide range of blockchain-related issues, and what areas they believed could benefit from blockchain technology the most.
The conference began with opening remarks by Hyung Ju Kim of the Korea Blockchain Industry Promotion Association, futurist Jerome Glenn of the Millenium Project, legislator Byeong Kwan Kim, and Chairman Ha Jin Jeon of the Self-regulatory Committee of the Korea Blockchain Industry Association. These speakers helped place blockchain technology in the wider social context and reminded us of the great promise the blockchain industry has for helping to shape the future.
Chang Ki Park, the HEAD of the Korean Blockchain Industry Promotion Association-KBIPA and host of the conference said that cryptocurrency will compete against U.S dollars in 10 years and emphasized the necessity of 3rd generation cryptocurrency and blockchain 3.0 platform since blockchains will bring more economic and social changes that the internet revolution started in 1990s did. 1st and 2nd generation cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum have several limitations that were revealed by the explosion in traffic, such as transaction capacity limits and the energy consumption of the Proof of Work(PoW) algorithm. We need to develop a high speed consensus algorithm, refine the blockchain structure so that it becomes easy to create decentralized apps and enhance the powerful security technologies for a 3rd generation cryptocurrency. In addition, Mr.Park said “This year there’s competition among 3rd generation cryptocurrencies such as Cardano, EOS, etc.” and said “Korea needs to rise up to the challenge and become a major player in the 3rd generation of cryptocurrency.”
Chris Howard, founder and CEO of Softeq, discussed how blockchains are a unique technology in that they are so open and inclusive, but also about how this presents unique security challenges. Many blockchain technologies have been developed with too much reliance on their open-source nature and community testing, and little to no directed security guidance or formal investigations, and Chris believes that this will be unique challenge that blockchain companies must overcome in the future. Chris stressed the importance of QA, professional test teams, and various hardening methodologies going forward through the software development lifecycle in the blockchain space.
Several speakers discussed different blockchain applications. One group discussed how the effect of blockchains could be manifested in our everyday lives by changing the way that we deal with material goods. Takeshi Natsuno, professor at Keio University and the Senior Vice President of NTT DoCoMo, kicked off the day’s presentations with an inspirational talk about the disruptive nature of blockchain technology and how there will soon be two groups of organizations: the disruptors and the disrupted. He showed how already blockchains are substituting for national regulations in the wine industry. Historically, Italy hadn’t placed strict controls on its wine production and quality. As a result, there has been a smaller market for fine Italian wines because consumers could not trust the quality of the product that they were buying. However, as a result of being able to record production and shipping data on immutable blockchains, customers may now more readily trust the quality of Italian wines, leading to increased price and consumption.
Other groups discussed blockchain as a knowledge-sharing vehicle, and other possible use cases such as futures market forecasting. Ji Heon Lee gave a demo of Delicracy, a decision making service with a prediction market system, developed and operated by Color. Delicracy is an app that allows for more granular investmentment options on potential future outcomes similar to the likes of futures contracts in traditional markets.
A fact that is often overlooked in all the excitement is that blockchains exist in communities and are created by and for the service of people. Sankalp Shangari, CEO of Lala World, reminded us that even though it’s easy to dream big when it comes to new technologies, we must never forget about the hundreds of millions of people who are largely left out of these developments and continue to try to think of ways to connect these people with the larger technological ecosystem. Raja Sharif, CEO of Farma Trust, discussed a similar themes of inclusivity by using technology to ensure that legitimate pharmaceuticals are delivered to customers, and to use his company’s blockchain’s data to help increase market efficiency, reduce regulatory burden, and catch drug counterfeiters as blockchain technology promises to introduce transparency and trust into the process.
Chuanfeng Lee, the CEO of Big Brain, discussed how their solution encourages people to participate in distributed computing projects by allowing people to buy and sell processing time through his company’s blockchain. Complex AI and deep learning processing, like the ones used by DeepMind’s AlphaGo used almost 2,000 CPU’s and 300 GPU’s to train and play effectively. The computing power needed for these types of projects will become more necessary for the average AI programmer, but access to computing power through cloud services can be expensive. Big Brain hopes distributed computing can make computing power acquisition cheaper and more accessible utilizing a decentralized marketplace.
To wrap things up, Jonathan Ha, CEO of Redpulse, talked about information overload and trust and introduced how his company aims to create an open research ecosystem, inviting outside contributors from independent analysts, industry experts, and academics to share their views and analysis on markets on their platform, and launched the first token on the NEO platform and discussed how it would be used to fuel the platform.
Yuri Leigh and a panel of students gave a talk on the power of Auto Smart Contracts and Color Engine technology, and putting blockchains into the hands of average users. Color and 3Ksoftware hosted a technology bootcamp for everyone from elementary school students to adults in order to learn how to develop their own smart contracts. What came out of the bootcamp were a promising set of projects that we will be exploring in future blogs. Throughout the conference three groups from the bootcamp presented their projects.
There was a demonstration of a donation contract that could enhance the transparency of donation, a contract with medical records, and a job application system to fight employment irregularities; followed by a demonstration of the bootcamp certificate that was developed by a 4th grade student in just two hours. The bootcamp garnered a lot of interest by conference participants and is just one of the ways Color plans to bring more developers into the ecosystem to foster the creation of blockchain projects for the future. The student demonstration on smart contracts using the blockchain showed just how simple and useful utilizing blockchain technology could be. Many inquiries about the bootcamp came in after the presentations, so we’ve decided to make that the topic of our next blog. Stay tuned!