Convergence blockchain Congress

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I’ve recen­tly retur­ned from the Conver­gen­ce Glo­bal Block­cha­in Con­gress. The goal of the con­fe­ren­ce seams to have been to inte­gra­te and show­ca­se vario­us ini­tia­ti­ve Euro­pe­an Com­mis­sion has a patro­na­ge over and to give the networ­king oppor­tu­ni­ty to the block­cha­in com­mu­ni­ty. It was orga­ni­sed by Euro­pe­an Com­mis­sion, INATBA (Inter­na­tio­nal Asso­cia­tion for Tru­sted Block­cha­in Appli­ca­tions) and Spa­nish Ala­stria.

Łukasz Jonak, Ana­li­tyk DELab UW

The man­da­te of INATBA was defi­ning the focus of the con­fe­ren­ce. The Asso­cia­tion is desi­gned as a key­sto­ne betwe­en block­cha­in indu­stry and regu­la­ting insti­tu­tions, the public sec­tor and aca­de­mia, with the goal to for­mu­la­te regu­la­to­ry guide­li­nes and pro­mo­te appli­ca­tion of block­cha­in-based solu­tions to a num­ber of glo­bal issu­es. The INATBA mem­bers are mostly com­pa­nies, over 100 of them, both with pure­ly block­cha­in back­gro­und (Cardano,Iota, Gno­sis) and «lega­cy» pedi­gree, expan­ding the­ir ope­ra­tions and port­fo­lio in block­cha­in world (IBM, Orac­le, Accen­tu­re, etc.)

Other ini­tia­ti­ves pre­sent at the Con­gress were Euro­pe­an Block­cha­in Part­ner­ship, with its govern­ment-level meetings and con­sul­ta­tions and EU Block­cha­in Obse­rva­to­ry and Forum, wrap­ping its first fun­ding period and pre­sen­ting the know­led­ge and exper­ti­se it mana­ged to pro­du­ce thus far.

The­re were three parts to the con­fe­ren­ce, at least as far as gene­ral public (myself inc­lu­ded) was con­cer­ned:

Ple­na­ry key­no­tes and panels with some hight pro­fi­le spe­akers, pre­si­dents (of Latvia and city of Mala­ga), EU and UN offi­cials, indu­stry repre­sen­ta­ti­ves and experts. Pro­ce­edings varied in infor­ma­ti­vi­ty and were spre­ad betwe­en 2–3 par­ra­rel ses­sions, so some­ti­mes hard cho­ices abo­ut what to attend had to be made, but in gene­ral they made a good outli­ne and review of the are­as and issu­es of block­cha­in tech­no­lo­gy appli­ca­tions.

INATBA Round Tables whe­re open to public meetings in which INATBA Work Gro­ups were repor­ting the­ir pro­gress and gathe­red feed­back from the audien­ce. I’ve atten­ded 6 round­ta­bles of which meetings on Edu­ca­tion and Gover­nan­ce I found most insi­ght­ful (the other 4 were Iden­ti­ty, Finan­ce, Social Impact and Pri­va­cy). The­re was not near­ly eno­ugh time for discus­sions, espe­cial­ly if public insi­sted to be invo­lved. Still, at the very least, the meetings gave a good idea abo­ut what was INAT­BAs» Work Gro­ups focus and stra­te­gy and, con­se­qu­en­tly, what would be the issu­es soon discu­sed on Euro­pe­an and glo­bal level (if INATBA has any agen­da-set­ting power). Abo­ve all, howe­ver, the round­ta­bles were the best oppor­tu­ni­ty to iden­ti­fy people with simi­lar inte­re­sts (both mem­bers of wor­king gro­ups and the public), which would be help­ful later, during the

Networ­king was in the opi­nion of many people I tal­ked to the best aspect of the Con­gress. The most of the conve­re­sa­tions and impro­vi­sed meetings took pla­ce in the spot being the com­bi­na­tion of food court, exhi­bi­tion area and offi­ce open spa­ce. People natu­ral­ly gra­vi­ta­ted the­re for lunch or in betwe­en the ses­sions (or even during the pro­ce­edings). The size the con­fe­ren­ce was per­fect for networ­king, the­re were plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ties to talk to any­bo­dy witho­ut any per­cep­ti­ble bar­rier of sta­tus or pro­fi­le. Some of tho­se enco­un­ters were semi-for­ma­li­sed, as with the meeting of a dozen aca­de­mics inte­re­sted in block­cha­in rese­arch and teaching, orga­ni­zed by Dr. Inon Schen­ker from Hogeg Block­cha­in Rese­arch Insti­tu­te.

During the Con­gress the­re was a per­cep­ti­ble hun­ger for know­led­ge, the need for the cla­ri­ty of who is who and what is what in the world of block­cha­in and I think that to a con­si­de­ra­ble extent the con­fe­ren­ce ful­l­fil­led the­se needs. Of cour­se it addres­sed only a spe­ci­fic sec­tor of blok­cha­in spa­ce, the area betwe­en (EU-level) regu­la­tors, public sec­tor and mid­dle to upper tier of the indu­stry. Most of the ble­eding edge star­tups, for exam­ple, pro­ba­bly were at the other side of the glo­be, atten­ding the Sin­ga­po­re Fin­Tech Festi­val which took pla­ce at the same time as Mala­ga Con­gress. So the­re seems to be still some brid­ging of the com­mu­ni­ty to be done. Never­the­less, for my rese­arch, it was the best pla­ce to be at the moment.

Autor pro­jek­tu: Łukasz Jonak

Pro­jekt finan­so­wa­ny ze środ­ków pro­gra­mu „Dia­log” MNiSW

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