Block Live Asia held its first edition on 18/19 April 2019. The dates are important, and I have committed them to memory. Block Live Asia was initially due to happen in January 2019, but we postponed it once thinking that by then, crypto winter would be over, and we would have had support from the community to do a good run.
60 days to the postponed event, we did a reality check and realised that crypto winter was not going to be over anytime soon. We had a tough decision to make. Do we go ahead with Block Live Asia, knowing that the market is dampened and partners, sponsors and exhibitors would not be able to cover our cost? To be honest, the commercial sensible answer was no, and in retrospect, the answer is still no.
So why did we go ahead? There were a few reasons.
- As the founder and CEO of Grounded, my role is to be the keeper of the mission. One of Grounded’s mission is to drive the state of blockchain adoption forward by working with and creating great projects that deliver real value in the world we live in. Block Live Asia was born out of that macro vision, and so being able to drive that intent into the Singapore ecosystem was important to me.
- The community. When we went out there with Block Live Asia’s slogan of “driving mass adoption”, we were met with unparalleled support from the community. At the same time we were always aware that the nascent blockchain ecosystem was filled with as much greed and ignorance as there was good. We needed a way to tell the good from the bad.
- The masses. Without sign posts, we would not know where to go. With the wrong sign posts, we would walk in the wrong direction. If nobody bothered putting up sign posts, where would anyone who wanted to enter the space go?
On hindsight, the event had some wins and took some losses. I think we created a sense of pride and ownership for the local ecosystem here. I think we put some great individuals and projects on stage and gave them the attention they deserved.
My top 5 moments at the event:
In the blockchain space, there’s too much noise. For the first time ever, I took the time to pay attention to their keynotes and thought about what each and everyone was saying (Never been able to sit through a panel or keynote at an event!). Even as a long time practitioner of the space, I learnt a lot and gained new perspectives. I don’t usually get that from events.
We created micro communities that spun out of Block Live Asia. We brought projects closer together for collaborations. We taught the public about the basics of blockchain & cryptocurrency. We even had some non-blockchain folks join our event. And we even screened a blockchain movie.
I wish we had more prep time. I wish we executed this event in a better market climate. We took a fair bit of losses. I also personally think that as an entire ecosystem, we still have not figured out how to articulate the value of blockchain to the average joe on the street. We need to do better.
Nonetheless, we went out there and gave it our best effort. As we get ready for the next show, I would like to thank my team, our co-organisers, partners, sponsors, speakers, exhibitors and attendees for being a part of this mission. It was definitely a tough journey but not once were we alone.
We are in the process of planning our next show, so if you want to get involved in any way, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.