Actions, not words were the theme of the Distributed Innovation Summit in London yesterday. Speakers from assorted disciplines reiterated the same sentiment as they spoke on topics as diverse as ICO regulation, developer recruitment and supply-chain accountability. The message was crisply clear; the time for idle chatter is over, now it’s time to let the blockchain speak for itself.
The event, which was hosted by Modex Tech, a blockchain development platform and smart contract marketplace, featured two panels, the first being moderated by Modex CEO, Mihai Ivascu and the second by The Fintech Times’ very own Editor-in-Chief, Katia Lang.
Ivascu was charged with picking the brains of Renny Narvaez, Engagement Lead for Consensys and Florin Otto, Modex’s Head of Product. During introductions both men spoke with great enthusiasm about why the the fledging blockchain space had first appealed to them. Narvaez, in particular, highlighted the steep learning curve he undertook – and continues to undertake – in order to stay abreast of each new development in the sector, having spent more than twenty years in the comparatively predictable environs of legacy financial institutions. He waxed lyrical on the fluid nature of such a young and exciting technology, citing that;
“The truth of today maybe very different from the truth of tomorrow”
When prompted by Ivascu as to what they thought was missing from the functionality of blockchain products currently on the market, the pair agreed that most projects were incomplete in some sense. Narvaez asserted that the question of functionality, “depends on the use-case” whilst Otto argued that, “we have yet to find a fully decentralised use-case.” The suggestion here was that the tech is far from realising its full potential.
However, Otto and Narvaez were full of hope for the future. When asked what his projections were for the next eighteen months, Narvaez stated that, “we’re entering the era of the pilot” and whilst, “not all products are going to be a success” the sector as a whole is close to, “creating something that can have a global impact.” On the same question, Otto spoke of the paramount importance of building blockchain products with genuine utility and called for focus to be shifted away from speculative cryptocurrency markets and placed firmly on development.
Moderator Ivascu was also keen to stress the significance of utility when he talked about the future of the sector. He said that one of the most fundamental services that blockchains should be providing the world of business with, en masse, is data protection. He argued that the benefits of using blockchains to safeguard huge stores of sensitive material is practically self-evident;
“You don’t need to understand the underlying technology, just that you’re data won’t be lost”
Speaking of the impact blockchain tech will have on the lives of average consumers, he continued that, “at some point blockchain tech will become invisible” but the benefits of having complete control over personal information, like medical records, won’t be.
In the second session, chaired by Katia Lang, talk turned from tech to regulation and investment, unsurprisingly given a panel made up of Anthony Provasoli, Partner at Hassans International Law Firm, Edd Carlton, Global Head of OTC Trading and ICO Listings at BlockEx and Hamid Jourabchi, CEO of Augustus Capital Monaco.
Provasoli spoke at length on the need for appropriate levels of regulation in a space crying out for mainstream respectability, lamenting the U.K Government’s relatively slow reactions in this regard when compared to his home-base of Gibraltar.
Edd Carlton spoke of the merits and pitfalls of ICOs, stating that they should be viewed as a means of participating in blockchain innovation rather than as traditional investments and that their global reach in terms of both fundraising and attracting technical expertise to projects shouldn’t be underestimated. Both he and Hamid Jourabchi, like the panelists from earlier, reiterated the importance of the product not just the price, or as Michai Ivascu put it in his summing up, “it all comes back to substance.”
On an afternoon when functionality was placed above market value and actions above words, Ivascu left off by saying that the community needed to , “talk less about blockchain and do more” and that, “the risk takers are really the ones who are going to push this industry forward” before urging his audience to, “take the risk and be part of it.”
Written by Matthew Dove (Digital Editor)