We were there! Crypto-conferences of December

ModernToken was there! Crypto-conferences of December

Year 2017 can be rightly described as the year of ICO – the marked emerged, crystallized and hyped up. December seems like a proper time to gather by the fire and sum up the results of this year, which was indeed a landmark for the crypto industry. We will publish an analytical overview in the Annual report, and for now we wish to take you through the crypto events we’ve been at in December. A conference is a good place to observe general industry trends and to participate in networking activities. We have attended three conferences in the capitals of the CIS countries where the crypto industry is developing most actively and penetrates traditional business. Along with smart and easy solutions for techs and finance players, cryptocurrency hype triggered even such odd projects as the cryptocurrency, built specifically for for burger-eaters, Vladimir Putin fans or Jewish communities around the world.

Cryptospace Moscow

Cryptospace Moscow took place on December 8, in Skolkovo. It welcomed over 30,000 delegates, becoming the biggest crypto and blockchain event in Russia in 2017. The conference had four sections: blockchain implementation, ICO due diligence, crypto trading and media, PR and marketing in blockchain. We were positively impressed by the participation of the speakers from the highest league such as William Mougayar (investor, researcher and best-selling authoк), Simon Dixon (BnkToTheFuture CEO), Miko Matsumura (Evercoin founder) and Sergey Polikanov (Sberbank CIB). Eduard Gurinovich, MyTime project founder, gave an inspiring speech about the future and the importance of education. He believes that as robots are already replacing people at work, it will become the basis for a new society structure. People who create and control robots will be on the top, and if one doesn’t wish to hit the bottom, it is necessary to learn and and develop constantly. That’s exactly why MyTime platform was established – to secure the opportunity of fund-raising for any project or task.

Some of the attendees were those who are currently launching (or going to launch) ICO, yet the general public included also quite a lot of people interested in cryptocurrency and blockchain but without their own projects to be introduced. Captivating ideas were presented by Hamster, Adhive, HOQU, Saifu, Iqeon, VinChain and TravelChain and a few more trading projects, most of them being local or claiming to be international (e.g. with US-based offices). Unfortunately, some other projects sounded stillborn. As a rule, there is no special selection procedure for projects to be introduced at the conference, so one must be careful and judge for oneself.

While speeches were invigorating and networking activities fruitful, organization failed. There were not enough coat hangers for all guests and only few stalls to buy food (with longest queues). The halls, except the main one, were small and stuffy – interesting though were the topics and projects discussed, it was hardly possible to sit there all the conference through. However, we believe that these issues can be overcome easily, as the conference demonstrated the most important aspect for blockchain development and promotions – eager and smart audience.

Blockchain Conference Kiev

The VI international conference and exhibition dedicated to blockchain and cryptocurrency was held in Kiev on December 15. Over 1,000 participants attended the conference, which lasted for 16 hours and featured four workshops. The conference was organized by Gesellberg Cryptofinance and sponsored by Dev-Pro, Join Japan and others.

The conference program had two separate streams of presentations and workshops for professionals and developers, as well as all those who want to learn and understand the subject of cryptography and technology of decentralized data transmission. There were 25 speakers from Ukraine and abroad, including such prominent figures as Alexander Neymark and Dmitry Kochin (TiesDB), Eugene Sarantsov (BlackBox partner, zakupki-online.com founder), Dennis Dovgopoly (GrowthUP Group founder), Sankalp Shangari (LaLa World founder and CEO) and others.

The conference was rather small, almost homely: all projects were Ukrainian, except a couple of them (like Lala World or Join Japan, suggesting bringing ICOs to the Japanese market). The event was nicely organized, although it is hardly possible to ruin such a small-scaled event.

The conference was focused on general blockchain issues and ICO. Some technical workshops were held in small separate halls. One of the main discussion topics were ICO risks and the astonishing amount of scam in the market. Denis Dovgopoly from GrowthUP talked about the most acute problems: uneducated audience, lack of regulation and instability of the market (ICO takes three months on average, while the environment changes every fortnight). According to him, common risks include SEC and other regulation, KYC/AML procedures and platform risk. Entrepreneurial risks comprise ICO management (team motivation must be kept up during these three months), marketing channels issues (same channels could become inefficient in two weeks or less), blackmail and overpricing, and, last but not least, seeking and retaining expert advisors. Investors, in their turn, are exposed to such risks as scam projects and unsecured altcoin rate growth.

Some speakers projected the ICO bubble to burst in 2018. This point of view is actually shared by some leading experts. Statistics shows that only 23% of ICOs in November reached their fundraising targets, and investors are shunning away from token sales apprehensive of possible legislation issues and hackers’ attacks or issuers’ slip-ups. The penny however still hasn't quite dropped.

TiesDB representatives discussed legal risks related to ICO: for example, what country is better to register the company in to avoid problems when accepting money. They say, it is not that smooth for Switzerland-based forms, as it is difficult to transfer money from the country. Alexander Neymark’s company is registered in the Netherlands, which is expensive but more orderly.

By and large, the conference was more useful for beginners who still feel strange in the crypto world (who accounted for almost half of the visitors). Thus, there was little gain in attending the conference for professionals or people looking for networking activities.

Blockchain Fairytales Minsk

This pre-Christmas blockchain event was held on December 16–17 and comprised a blockchain conference as well as entertaining initiatives like the the first ever Blockchainpoly championship, a Christmas party with surprises and a winter sightseeing tour around Belarus for guests. The conference was organized by cyber•Fund and SatoshiFund.
Among the speakers, we saw leading blockchain developers representing different blockchain protocols: Adrian Brink (Cosmos core developer), Andrey Sobol (Pandora Boxchain founder), David Knott (Plasma architect) and Reto Trinkler (Melonport co-founder). As for the participants, most of them were developers and businessmen working in the blockchain and cryptocurrency field, some developers coming straight from Hackathon (held the day before). A lion share of presented projects were excellently designed and based on solid ideas: Melonport, Parity, Tendermint, OmiseGo, Plasma, Pandora Boxchain and others.

The main idea of the conference was to provide a deep insight into the blockchain development and overview the cases of using blockchain in new industries such as VR, IoT and economics of robots. Lots of topics introduced were dedicated to technical issues and met by experts such as Denis Soldatov (Parity devOps expert), Valera Litvin (cyber•Fund CTO), Sergey Lonshakov (Airalab architect) and foreign specialists David Knott and Reto Trinkler. Surprisingly, there were no nascent projects (it was not allowed even to put up booths) – and no scam for that sake. In general, the public was exalted, speakers called everyone up to join the community, improve cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption rate. We actually had a good time, as, apparently, most of the audience.

We believe that Blockchain Fairytales conference can be set as the iconic blockchain event in terms of organization: everything was design in one style, timing was observed carefully. And the guests really enjoyed Blockchainpoly and other fun activities. The organizers took care of providing refreshments and even thought about merchandising coat checks. Ten out of ten – well done, cyber•Fund!

IBCG meetup

The IBCG Christmas meetup on December 27 was a special event as this wasn’t a conference, more like a friendly meeting of crypto-enthusiasts and evangelists. The IBCG team gathered blockchain fans to sum up the results of this wonderful year, talking about how they started and shaped the blockchain community in Russia by organizing meetups, events, and courses. Among the speakers was Ilya Varlamov, the famous russian blogger who recently caught the cryptofever himself. He pitched the very disputing idea that noone should ever enter this field starting from, let’s say, now, unless he has a solid understanding of the basics and at least some background in Economics. However, apart from Ilya everyone voiced rather optimistic views on the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain itself. Regardless of the awesome venue the event itself was quite poorly organized as the start was delayed by an hour and the participants needed to ask for the refreshments promised.

Comparing three conferences, we may say that Cryptospace was more about networking, Blockchain Conference in Kiev featured ICO promotion (would be better with wider coverage), and Blockchain Fairytales welcomed a swell professional audience, who shared essential experience and knowledge. In a perfect world, Minsk local expert party and smart organization would be nicely blended with Moscow scope and scale, so that newcomers would instantly grab real opportunities and challenges of the crypto world.

All in all, conferences are apparently crucial for the development of the blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Organizers should in the first place determine purposes of an event and focus on the relevant target audience, so that conferences get there and attract new enthusiasts.


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