AIBC summit closes off with more than just a glimmer of hope for the future
The opening panel of the day paved the way for what was to follow, and Etienne Luquet of Legal Lab, was very optimistic about the future of crypto in LatAm saying how essentially it offers some sense of security for people, as he said
crypto is really a magical solution for the monetary and economic problems that our current currency in some Latin American countries, Argentina, Venezuela."
As the discussion moved on, panelist Jose Antonio Diaz of Decrypt Media categorized the differences in countries in LatAm saying that there are essentially three; one where crypto is legal, one where it is illegal, and one where they are either illegal or unregulated, and he continued to say that LatAm is functioning like an experimental lab in the sense that all these different countries are trying to face the same problem with different solutions.
Moving on to the second panel, the discussion turned to the acceleration of adopting the emerging tech space, specifically in the supply chain models, having David Proenza CEO of Foodchain and Karl McDermott as the Head of Business Development of Morpheus Network. Proenza explained how Foodchain uses blockchain to unite farmers from LatAm directly with buyers in the U.S and Europe and an electronic payment system that is tied in to the whole structure of the company saying how they’re “trying to put all that information on one platform, make it shareable and make it trustable so that people can actually streamline their supply chain operation” with the aim of providing everyone with the ability of becoming part of the digital age. On the other hand McDermott explained how they navigate transaction between seller and buyer in supply chains, making a shareable and trustable streamline operation.
The following panel then addressed the happenings of Blockchain and the issues of Fintech and DAO’s where among other subjects, moderator Jonathan Galea brought up the fact that when we talk about Blockchain , cryptocurrency seem to be the main theme, and the other panelists agreed that although that is true this process is a long process that requires patience in order to witness progress. Further down the line, the future of DAO’s was also brought up and this got an interesting reaction because both Rosine Kadamani and David Orban half-jokingly expressed that they had leftover scars, as they had invested in the DAO. They both say that although it was a failure initially, that shouldn't throw off people from investing because that is the only way forward, by trial and error, most especially when dealing with, what at the time was, a completely new idea.
The next panel’s discussion was very interesting as it cruised over the COVID-19 experiences of the panel speakers, Marcelo Garcia and Renato De Castro, whose travelling errands had to come to an end, and they both opened up on how the situation was in the place where they got stuck; one in Switzerland, the other in Italy. What came out of that was the fact that comparatively speaking, Italy was nowhere close to being prepared as much as Switzerland as the latter was very much digitalized and Italy used slightly more traditional ways of organization, and of course the topic brought to mind the importance of pushing on the concept of Smart Cities.
Moreover, the summit then had an interesting discussion between Monty Munford and Peter McCormack who talked about Venezuela and its social and economic state. McCormack narrated some very insightful first-hand experiences and he emphasized that people don’t seem to understand the situation in the country, saying how in reality a very small number of people can benefit and that even though there some who actually can, Bitocin won’t save Venezuela, as he said that in his view,
what will fix Venezuela is moving on from the Maduro regime, which is essentially holding the country hostage, and that’s the bigger problem that needs solving.”
What followed then was a panel of young entrepreneurs in the DeFi world, where users can borros, lend, trade on their Bitcoin, in the same way it is done in a bank. The beauty of the project as they pointed out, is the fact that it’s decentralized, it’s a code, and as Co-founder of BlockSwap Network Scott Trowbridge said, "you're not relying on a third party or an institution, and you're holding your own funds all the time which in the end reduces cost and creates a more transparent system.” The pane also admitted to the slight setbacks that DeFi is and might experienece in the near-future, but remained optimistic and stated that it is only through mistakes that the integration of this fantastic concept in everyday life, can happen.
Next up was an interesting discussion on economics with Professor Gavin Brown and CEO of Electroneum Richard Ellis, on the topic of Petro, the cryptocurrency in Venezuela. The cruz of the panel was whether government-backed cryptocurrencies can be a thing, or whether they themselves are a contradiction in terms, seeing as one of the main connotations and beauties of crypto is that is decentralized and not controlled. On this Professor Brown said that it is natural for there to be opposition to crypto since he said,
if the likes of Bitcoin...get much bigger than they are now, they pose a direct threat to [the banks’] ability to create and manage monetary policy in the country.”
The following panel started with Jesus Rodriguez of IntoTheBlock, expressing how over the yeard he became a very active investor in both machine learning start-ups and crypto, merging together and explaining the workings behind the company, saying how they mine a lot of data whilst trying to provide indicators and signals that are relevant to investors and traders. Marco Bruno then followed him in saying that his company help fin-tech startups to grow with different verticals and as he said how ‘’probably we can see a Latin American country issuing the first decentralised crypto-asset in one of the countries and adopting it massively with the population."
What came after, was an interesting interview with the Head of Research at Cointelegraph, who talked about her experience in working in a bitcoin-related news agency and tied her knowledge of the company’s analytics and reports, to the constantly increasing number of interest in bitcoin in LatAm, saying how “the industry is maturing so quickly because there's actually an audience of people that are traditionally from the financial sector. They are used to research reports and they now want to understand this new asset class within the old framework that they're used to.”
Coming close to the end of the summit, this panel addressed the issues in neo-banking and the developments in Fintech, and brought up the fact that what will truly enable the blockchain world to take off, is to make it accessible, easy to use and cheap. Director for Growth & Institutional Business at Binance Josh Goodbody in fact said
I think a key theme we're seeing is usability and accessibility. Making this as accessible to as many people as possible is one of the key things that we're seeing as a real enabler for the block chain economy."
The penultimate panel had Nicholas Merten, Ceo of DIgifox, Head of Business Development at Dash, Digital Cash, Ernesto Contreras, and Co-founder & CSO at Keyrock Juan David Mendieta, who together discussed the processes of startups in LatAm, saying how with small companies there is the advantage of shifting and changing the working pediments of their models to update themselves without suffering considerable financial loss. Mendieta also mentioned the fact that seeing as in LatAm you have to pay monthly in order to have a bank account, the potential of new financial methods should be exploited. Finishing off the panel Contreras said
I see it here in Venezuela, in Mexico, in Argentina. People in these economies that have troubles, they need something else. They don't want to stay with the local currency."
To end the day, the last panel then talked about crypto as collateral, having Tim Draper of Draper Associates and Alex Mashinsky of Celcius Network discussing the great potential for the implementation of blockchain in LatAm, which they said would be highly beneficial for the countries in the continent. Draper said that if "other countries in LatAm adopt bitcoin as a national currency, they would drive because they would attract all the brainpower and entrepreneurs", whilst Celcius closed by saying that "the opportunity is really to empower these people to get to financial independence, get to retirement, and live an honorable life as opposed to worrying about their financial existence everyday."
About SiGMA Europe - Malta
SiGMA Group has announced the postponement of its Europe summit, which was planned to be held in Malta on 17-19 November 2020. The show will now open its doors early next year in February, running from the 16-18th, making it the first event to headline the 2021 gaming calendar.