Seoul, the critical hub for blockchain and cryptocurrency in South Korea, is hosting to the first annual Deconomy 2018. The two-day forum brings together intellectuals and the brightest minds from the digital space, entrepreneurship, the academe, and thought leaders and enthusiasts of cryptocurrencies.
With over a thousand attendees, the day one was inaugurated by a special keynote by David Chaum, cryptographer and recognized as the inventor of digital cash. Chaum is famous for creating ecash in the 80s, and has been an important figure in the development and innovations in cryptography.
The launch of bitcoin in 2009 has opened the world into the possibilities of how we live and will live in the future with blockhain. As paradigm shifts into open, public protocols within the technology, more projects that are actively underway are expected to grow the cryptoworld’s future even further.
Several of these projects were presented by some of the biggest names in the crypto space. Ripple Chief Cryptographer David Schwartz presented Ripplenet, a frictionless global epayments solutions. He also added how Ripple continues to carve its own niche in the industry with its latest products Xvia, xRapid and xCurrent. Lightning Network’s creator Joseph Poon also gave an overview of what Plasma is, a system of smart contracts built on top of Ethereum. Poon also shared his thoughts on scalability structures and advised to be very skeptical about it as a lot of ‘bullshit’ is happening in the space. He has not elaborated what these are, though.
These presentations were preceded by a keynote speech by financial cryprographer Ian Grigg who talked about the need to make identity work in the blockchain space. To do that, Grigg said trust is needed—after all, trust makes your identity safe, nurtured and growing.
Grigg later joined the first panel and discussed the journey and the evolution of Bitcoin with Schaum, nChain Chief Scientist Dr. Craig Wright, and Mattereum co-founder Vinay Gupta, who admitted to have experienced a lot of failed revolution in the past. The morning session ended with panelists offering advice on how not to become a victim of a failed revolution: Take risks. Continue working hard no matter what other people say about you or what you do, according to Wright; Find a use of case when creating products or services, said Grigg; Create something that of value to the society, said Chaum; and don’t be afraid to work on old ideas, said Gupta.
The second half of the forum kicked off with simultaneous sessions discussing the state of blockchain, market trends and the views of traditional financial businesses. As the global interest in Bitcoin increases, the cryptocurrency market expands beyond financial institutions leading to the creation of more blockchain-supported businesses and investments.
Investors and entrepreneurs venturing into the space shared their positive outlook despite the recent drop on the value of cryptocurrencies. “I think this will correct and the main cryptocurrencies again as they typically do,” nChain Group CEO Jimmy Nguyen said, noting that this event may scare some people for a short term but not necessarily a bad thing in the long run as it will funnel out ICOs and alternative coins.
Air Asia’s CEO Tony Fernandes who spoke at this event shared how being in the blockchain space is the place to be for his company. “Air Asia is always trying new things, and change management is what we are about,” he said, “so being here has been an experience for me. Air Asia is all about modernization…(blockchain) That’s why we’re here.”
The late afternoon sessions brought on the most interesting discussions on Bitcoin and the controversies surrounding it, featuring the best pool of speakers a crypto event could bring together. Blockstream CSO Samson Mow, Bitcoin.com Roger Ver and Dr. Craig Wright spoke respectively about their passion—Bitcoin and the Future, How Digital Currency Will Change the World, and A Visual depiction of Bitcoin Scaling and Enterprise Growth. A notable moment during these sessions was when Ver, who talked about the impact of Bitcoin on economic freedom, showed a slide with Bitcoin Core and Blockstream logos, and emphasized how the Core group has been delaying the adoption of Bitcoin, thus preventing more people to achieve economic freedom.
The day closed with an intense, one-on-one panel on Bitcoin scaling between Mow and Ver, which turned into a heated debate about BTC and Bitcoin Cash. Ver who has been challenging Mow for a debate for quite some time was clearly at the forefront.
“Samson has made one Lightning network payment this week, and I’ve made countless Bcash payments today. Therefore, lightning network isn’t being used,” Ver said responding to Mow’s answer about the number of transactions he made with the Lightning Network. Ver added, “Samson can only name three merchants that accept Lightning network. Therefore, only three exist.”
Ver emphasized, “Bitcoin Core is some science project for people who live in first world countries.”
When moderator Jeff Paik asked about why there is so much animosity between the two, Mow answered, “Now that you (Ver) have your own coin and BCH people have their own chain to promote, there really doesn’t need to be any animosity.”
During the Q&A session with the panel, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin called out Dr. Craig Wright who previously asked a question to the panel. Buterin questioned the organizers why Wright was allowed to speak at the conference forcing the organizers to cut the debate—which has gone overtime—much to the dismay of the attendees.
Also watch: Deconomy Day 2 summary