Takeaways from MITFinTech event
#MITFintech, Boston, MASS. March 2018
1. There is still a great amount of confusion both among the general public and IT industry professionals about blockchain, how it is different from crypto-currencies and where it derives value from. Many seem to be unable to fully understand the magnitude of potential transformation which blockchain is expected to bring to society.
2. Rachel Halesma, a representative from World Bank involved with various blockchain projects around the globe, does not perceive blockchain’s high appetite for electricity (i.e. mining) to be a real problem.
3. Kevin O’Leary from ‘Shark Tank’ apparently owns “a LOT of crypto” and is positively LONG on it. He is convinced that ICOs will make IPOs disappear. (comment below how do you think this statement reconciles with the recent announcement from Google to ban all ICO advertising effective June 2018)
4. Panelists made emphasis on discussions around developing “ecosystems” with network effects. Gravitation forces growing over time around an ecosystem can be a good predictor of a blockchain value (and value of a coin that represents it).
5. The industry is still in its infancy, but very rapidly evolving. If you snooze — you lose. It proves to be a challenge to keep up with the industry even for those working with blockchain technology on a daily basis.
6. Gary Gensler from CFTC confirmed that after a recent meeting in Tokyo with regulators from multiple jurisdictions NO COUNTRY has yet developed any clear idea as to how to approach crypto-currencies. Governments have a choice between 3 options with respect to crypto: i) Isolate, ii) Integrate, or iii) Regulate.
7. As far as ICOs goes, Gary confirmed that most likely all of the ICOs will fall under the existing securities regulation frameworks in the majority of jurisdictions. Over the past few weeks, SEC sent out dozens of subpoenas to non-compliant ICOs. Things are expected to get even tougher in the USA.
And my final observation is less serious…
8. Every project team or every panel discussion during the #MITFintech event tends to include at least one engineer or entrepreneur with an unshaven beard. Blockchain = Beard?
You can reach me with questions or comments on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/geneswinton/