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UK Gov Sponsored Fintech Conference Gave Blockchain Good Exposure… Mostly

The Innovate Finance financial technology conference on Monday was like its CEO Claire Cockerton – bright, bold, and beautiful.

The speakers, content, and production were cutting edge in my opinion. It was as majestic as its location – London’s famous Guildhall.

Innovate Finance is a organizational vehicle set up by the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, to enhance the UK’s financial technology sector. The event was sponsored by the City of London and Canary Wharf.

Despite the sagging price of Bitcoin, the conference organisers gave Bitcoin and the blockchain technology ecosystem its day.

The “Bill Gates” of the UK and last keynote, Dr. Michael Lynch said the Blockchain was one of the key disruptive technologies of today.

One lesson I have learned over the years is that technologies go through a hyper cycle. When we talk about things like cryptocurrencies, We are very much on that roller coaster at the moment. We are unsure where they are going to unwind. The bigger issue here is the concept is a new transferable money…. The thing that is really exciting is the concept of the blockchain – the ability to make a trusted understanding of a sequence. That could be a document, contract changes or a ledger.

On a panel discussing the masses of people in the developing world who are “unbanked”, Stellar’s Joyce Kim said this

I am probably a minority in the digital currency community but I believe the future is digitised versions of current currencies rather than pure Bitcoin or pure Stellar. Stellar brings to every normal currency the benefits of a digital currency. I think that digital currencies have brought talent in that wasn’t there. Brought new technologists to the field.


One of the three minute pitches of the day was from Bitreserve’s Eric Benz. He said this about his company:

We are providing the first transparent cloud banking service. We are building a transparent financial service in the cloud and allowing peer to peer payments

The day’s more anticipated panel for the Bitcoin ecosystem was the last and included Ethereum’s Gavin Wood, Blockchain’s Peter Smith, and Bullion Bitcoin’s Adam Cleary. However, it was rather disappointing as Wood and Smith seemed bored, Smith appeared to get annoyed with Cleary’s statement that you could buy products with bitcoin online for some reason, and Wood felt the most promising application of the Blockchain was for prediction markets…. What? Smith agreed with Wood that currency was not the most promising application of the Blockchain and ninety percent of cryptocurrencies were a scam. Kind of odd as Smith’s company is a leading provider of wallets for bitcoins. Well done gentlemen! Was this a great way to present the Bitcoin industry to the rest of the fintech world? A number of bitcoin sector observers who attended the event really didn’t think so.

innfin blockchain panel

Journalist, policy analyst, and evangelist of new, disruptive technologies including big data analytics, Internet of Things, and cryptocurrencies. Internet industry veteran with regional c-suite experience, and journalist credentials earned at, Internet World magazine, and Mecklermedia Corporation.
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