Blockchain Week NYC kicked off this year at Fluidity, drawing a sold-out crowd for the second straight year to Weylin in Brooklyn to discuss a wide range of topics including institutional adoption of blockchain technology, decentralized finance, public vs. private blockchains, regulatory policy, and emerging non-financial use cases. Here are five major themes from Fluidity 2019.
1. Institutional Adoption is Growing
Speakers from several leading Wall Street institutions explained how their firms are actively building, testing, and implementing blockchain-based applications and infrastructure to streamline their business models. Emmanuel Aidoo, Head of Digital Asset Markets at Credit Suisse, noted that relative to other recent technologies (such as cloud computing), adoption of blockchain technology among the broader banking industry is advancing at a comparatively rapid pace. Other speakers were similarly optimistic about institutional adoption in the near-to-medium term, particularly as the infrastructure necessary to connect with legacy systems continues to be built.
2. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is Providing Value
In blockchain technology, DeFi focuses on building a financial system that is more open and accessible than the status quo. At Fluidity, attendees saw several new products and use cases that are gaining traction. These include decentralized trading (AirSwap, Uniswap, Kyber Network), crypto “staking” or lending (Dharma, Staked), decentralized banking systems (MakerDAO), and blockchain-based Smart Mortgages (Fluidity), which will be introduced this summer. On the latter, Todd Lippiatt of Factora noted: “our methodology provides better pricing that is determined solely by the intrinsic credit of the [mortgage] transaction, as opposed to external factors like domestic central bank governance policies and political trade winds.”
Don Mosites, AirSwap (Taking Flight)
Loi Luu, Kyber Network (Reimagining Exchange)
Hayden Adams, Uniswap (Automated Liquidity)
Michael Oved, Fluidity (On a Chain)
Tim Ogilvie, Staked (Earning Interest in Crypto)
Brendan Forster, Dharma (Decentralized Finance)
Greg Di Prisco, MakerDAO (Beyond Banks)
3. Ongoing Debate of Public vs. Private Blockchain
There is an ongoing debate in the blockchain space as to whether certain types of mainstream commerce (including securities transactions) should be transacted on public or private blockchains. Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum, offered a persuasive answer for why open, public blockchain networks will eventually win out, arguing that the scale of innovation, interoperability, and standardization possible in open networks cannot be matched by any particular private blockchain. While some presenters (including Will LaMartin from Symbiont) noted that privacy is critical to securities transactions, others asserted that the mechanisms necessary to protect private data on public blockchains are already being developed, rendering this a temporary concern.
Joseph Lubin (The Power of Open Networks)
Panel: Modernizing Securities Infrastructure
4. Policy and Regulation is Solidifying
Leading thinkers and policymakers offered their perspectives on the state of policy and regulation in crypto, including Caitlin Long (Co-Founder of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition), Clyde Vanel (New York State Assemblyman), and Pat Berarducci (Head of Digital Assets at ConsenSys). Long made a compelling argument that Wyoming has taken several positive steps to facilitate innovation in the space, while New York remains difficult for building crypto-based businesses.
Clyde Vanel (The New York Crypto Task Force)
Caitlin Long (Wyoming Blazing the Trail)
Debate: Is New York or Wyoming a Better Place to Do Business?
5. Non-Financial Applications are Emerging
Blockchain is gaining traction in a broad spectrum of other use cases, including the increasing transparency in entertainment production, enabling new forms of engagement in online gaming and acting as a safeguard of property and other rights in emerging economies. An impressive range of speakers including Richard Haass (President of the Council on Foreign Relations), Barrie Osborne (Executive Producer of the Matrix and the Lord of the Rings), and Fred Chesnais (Chairman and CEO of Atari Group) offered their views on how blockchain can add value in these unique areas.
Richard Haass (Geopolitics and Crypto)
Barrie Osborne (Applications in Film)
Fred Chesnais (Exponential Growth)
As this year’s Blockchain Week NYC wraps up, we look forward to the continued development and adoption of the work and themes on display at Fluidity 2019.
For more information: https://www.fluiditysummit.com/
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