Bobby Lee, founder of China’s first crypto exchange BTCC, CryptoCoinNews editor-in-chief Simon Cocking, and leading experts in the field of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and ICO attended the NEXT BLOCK conference in the five-star Hilton Kyiv Hotel on May 18.
The event was held under the "Unlocking blockchain technology" slogan and included four panel discussions that touched on the topic of the cryptocurrencies’ regulation, the startup development, ICO promotion strategies, difficulties in developing products based on decentralized technologies in addition to the keynote speakers’ talks.
The organizers of the event, Krypton Events and media resource Cryptovest, prepared a varied program and provided an online broadcast of all key events in two languages, food court, and a large party at the Coin restaurant after the conference — Official Fashion TV FTV Coin Deluxe Party, apart from a friendly atmosphere. VentureBeat analyst Stewart Rogers, co-founder at Cointelligence On Yavin, the founder of Blockchain Investors Consortium Mike Costache, and CYFRD Frontech Investments partner Mikhail Kharenko moderated the event.
Bobby Lee, co-founder of the legendary Chinese exchange BTCC, was the first to give a speech. He outlined the main advantages of bitcoin over fiat currencies, stressed the shortcomings of the traditional financial system, and discussed the crypto regulation in China.
BTCC co-founder believes the digital asset technology is revolutionary and he is confident that people will no longer need to use bank services to store money or carry out transactions in the future.
"Bitcoin means freedom of money. Now, I cannot say that I control the funds on my bank account, because the bank can withdraw them from my account, if it wants. Identification of the person and requirements to provide personal information leading to the point when people lose control over their own money. Therefore, the future market will focus on information assets. Bitcoin and digital assets will become everyday tools that our children will use as we are now using the Internet," Bobby Lee noted.
He stated that now financial operations are accompanied by many difficulties. Physical money, paper or plastic, becomes unbearable when used during high inflation. Banks set various restrictions on withdrawals and transfers of funds, and any operations require the confirmation of private information; in addition, people from developing countries face difficulties with cross-border transfers. This leads to a lack of freedom, which bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should change fundamentally.
Bobby Lee noted once again that he does not support the idea of ICO and does not intend to acquire tokens, and announced that he uses four cryptocurrencies for personal purposes: BTC, Bitcoin Cash, LTC, and ETH. The expert predicted the growth of bitcoin and urged everyone to open crypto wallets, as whoever owns the private key, owns the future.
Bobby Lee secretly told the Blockspoint journalist that he might know who is hiding under the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. He believes that this is a nickname of the three developers, two of them are from New Zealand and one from the US. Unfortunately, the latter passed away, Mr. Lee stated. He also revealed that he had repeatedly chatted with Satoshi.
In general, Mr. Lee's speech showed his positive attitude towards the future of cryptocurrencies. He admitted that just a decade has passed since the creation of bitcoin, but the industry has shown considerable progress.
CryptoCoinNews’ editor-in-chief and influential expert in the crypto field Simon Cocking spoke about the main obstacles and difficulties in the blockchain industry development. Cocking confessed that the technology is developing too quickly even for him, and the events of the past month seem distant, the world is changing rapidly, so it is necessary to develop a practical strategy for creating and promoting products in such conditions. Simon Cocking emphasized that now the crypto community members need to establish contact with each other to form a global ecosystem.
He noted that the success of any project depends on the team competence, the usefulness of the idea, and the respective approach. Now, many things on the crypto market depend on trust or even people’s belief in a certain idea or technology, so it is important to create an image of the company in the minds of customers.
Chief marketing specialist of the blockchain project Sirin Labs, Nimrod May, spoke about his experience in ICO and disclosed the company's plans for the near future. Sirin Labs intend to release a blockchain-based smartphone with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet in this October. Mr. May noted that the company held negotiations with the Foxconn, known for its cooperation with Apple.
Recently, Sirin Lab conducted an ICO, during which it managed to attract more than $157 million in the token sale, which made the project one of the most successful at the initial coin offering’ stage.
According to Nimrod May, marketing is necessary for any ICO, because it allows the audience to understand what the team is doing. He emphasized that a successful team should have a psychologist who would determine the peculiarities of the audience, a designer to focus the project on creativity and raise brand awareness, and a market researcher who would determine the best strategy for financial advancement, in addition to managers and developers.
"Our company tried to increase the visibility, ensuring the correct differentiation. Every day we show about five thousand ads. It is important to differ from others and to be one step ahead of competitors. Our company chose the football legend Lionel Messi for the project presentation. He also starred in an emotional commercial that will be aired in October," Nimrod May informed.
Legend of the music industry Don Grierson, who introduced to the world such celebrities as Celine Dion, Tina Turner, Duran Duran and worked with The Beatles, told the conference attendees about his blockchain startup Younk. Grierson shared his vision of the project and the ICO promotion strategy; he also discussed the problems of the music industry with the advent of the Internet, in particular, a sharp reduction in revenues due to piracy and torrent trackers. Don believes that now musicians have the opportunity to protect their rights and content distribution, given the new opportunities introduced by blockchain technology. The Younk project aims at overthrowing the monopoly of major labels dominating the music industry.
Mikhail Kharenko, the founder and managing partner of Vostok Ventures, the managing partner of the law firm “Sayenko Kharenko”, and Dmitry Shimkiv, the entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the IT industry, now Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, responsible for reforms, took part in the discussion on the cryptocurrencies’ regulation.
Experts touched on the attitude of different governments to the crypto sphere and demonstrated their own developments in the legal sphere. Dmitry Shimkiv spoke about the Ukrainian working group on drafting a bill that prescribes rules for controlling the crypto market in Ukraine.
The conference organizers provided a separate block for ICO projects. The teams presented various startups, including Bixtrim, Block Stocks, FlipNpik, Gavel Coin, and Thinkcoin projects.
The majority of speakers positively assessed the development of technologies in Ukraine, in particular, the founder of Cryptodipity Robert J Corriveau reported that all 25 developers from his team are from Ukraine. In general, the guests enjoyed the meeting and noted that the event was effective: new collaborations emerged, about which we will hear at the next conferences devoted to the blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Nadiia Osmokesku, Blockspoint
Mark O'Brien, former head of the major payment solution provider Visa in Ireland and Britain, joined the launch of the Crypterium startup, whereby crypto payments will become more accessible, the media informs.
Mark O'Brien held a position in Visa from 2008 to 2014, nowadays he supports the idea of the ubiquitous use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Therefore, he partakes in the launch of the Crypterium project that aims to make crypto payments widely available.
O'Brien noted that cryptocurrencies are difficult to use as a daily payment method today; in particular, transfers to bank accounts in bitcoins and ethers require from three to seven days. Crypterium startup aims to make the process of daily payments easy and fast with the help of cryptocurrencies.
Crypterium was launched in 2017 with its headquarter in Estonia. The Crypterium team managed to raise $52 million during the last year's ICO. The project is reported to introduce payment cards supporting cryptocurrencies, so the company expects to partner with Visa or Mastercard, and hopes to launch the new services this fall.
O'Brien refused to disclose company’s secret developments designed to manage the crypto volatility. He added that these technologies are intellectual property under the company’s protection.
It is noteworthy that in February this year, the crypto community criticized Visa because of the incident with the duplicate transactions charged on the Coinbase exchange upon buying cryptocurrencies with credit cards. In his turn, in March, Visa's Chief Financial Officer Vasant Prabhu criticized cryptocurrencies because they are often used in fraudulent schemes as transactions with them are difficult to track.
As previously reported, Visa's general director Alfred Kelly announced that BTC cannot be considered a payment system.
Clovyr blockchain project CEO, Amber Baldet, former JPMorgan top manager, stated in the media that eventually Wall Street would launch the crypto trading, although meanwhile investors continue to criticize digital assets.
Amber Baldet believes that the cryptocurrencies’ introduction into the Wall Street business system can happen quite soon, but regulatory and legal obstacles still exist. In addition, the expert notes that the digital assets’ custody isn’t secure enough yet.
In April, Amber Baldet left JPMorgan to launch the Clovyr project, where the team works on developing technologies to establish a protected blockchain-based directory for apps. According to the startup leader, there are no mechanisms for searching applications on the market now.
Last week, the Blockstack team offered a similar solution and announced the launch of a directory for decentralized programs (dapps). The crypto exchange Coinbase intends to issue products for the cryptocurrencies’ storage targeted at large investors. At the same time, the Japanese bank Nomura plans to establish a company to develop solutions for the safe digital assets’ storage in partnership with Global Advisor Holdings and Ledger.
JPMorgan has announced the development of its own crypto tactics to be managed by the head of the London office, Oliver Harris.
As previously reported, the largest US bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. characterized cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as risk factors.
The BlockShow Europe 2018 team published a list of the most favorable European countries for crypto business in preparation for the conference.
Switzerland, where the government adheres to the progressive position, supports innovative projects, and provides the necessary crypto sphere regulation, was ranked first. The canton of Zug, where the Crypto Valley Association head office is located, was recognized the most favorable place for the startup development. The prevailing global blockchain and cryptographic technologies ecosystem is meant to be established under this project.
Gibraltar and Malta took second and third places in the ranking that overall included 48 European countries. Experts took political, legal, business aspects into account as well as assessed the crypto taxation mechanism when compiling the list.
Denmark with its zero tax rate on cryptocurrencies follows the UK that is ranked fourth. Germany and Portugal, where the digital assets’ profit is tax free, took fifth and sixth places.
Finland, whose government exempted crypto transactions from VAT, took the next place in the ranking. Then the Netherlands and Belarus follow, in those countries the miners are exempt from income taxes until January 1, 2023 according to the Decree "On the Development of the Digital Economy."
Thomas Lee, an expert in the cryptocurrency market and analyst at Fundstrat Global Advisors, apologized for his forecasts during the 2018 Consensus conference in New York, that proved to be incorrect. Previously, Lee stated that the bitcoin price is likely to increase, but this time the expert had to explain why this did not happen.
Earlier this month, Thomas Lee drew everybody’s attention to the correlation between the events related to the blockchain and cryptocurrency sphere, and the price movement on the market. The expert relied on the experience of the past years in his judgments which demonstrated a stable growth of cryptocurrencies in the range of 10% to 70% after the Consensus conference. Therefore, Lee suggested that this year the scope of the conference would provide a significant increase in the bitcoin price which could reach $15,000.
The conference organizers managed to beat their own records by the number of participants and speakers by gathering approximately nine thousand people there. As for bitcoin, indeed its price started to rise on the very day the conference began, having stopped at a rate of $8,900 per BTC. Then the price charts went down, and the coin’s price ranged from $8,200 to $8,300 for the rest of the week.
Thomas Lee admitted that he was disappointed by the fact that his predictions did not come true. In his opinion, there are three conditions that must be met for the bitcoin’s growth: institutional tools, banks’ activity and certainty in the regulatory sphere. However, positive results are still not reached for the third point, the expert concluded.
He also made a detailed review of the cryptocurrency market, where the main problem was the lack of certainty in the regulatory sphere, which does not allow attracting large investors.
Thomas Lee commented on the widespread belief that bitcoin became a "boring" cryptocurrency and started losing to other digital assets whose protocols are more effective and efficient. At the same time, bitcoin remains one of two main assets and shows an increase in the payment volume along with ether. Lee noted that cryptocurrencies "became stronger" during the conference.