On Thursday, 22nd June, St. Petersburg hosted a large conference dedicated to blockchain and cryptocurrencies – Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference St. Petersburg. The event tickets to which were sold out one week prior to the end of registration featured 18 speakers from Russia and other countries. They focused on blockchain development in banking, regulation issues as well as a popular topic – ICO realization by blockchain startups.
Over half a thousand people took part in a conference and a demo zone.
What were speakers talking about?
Artem Tolkachev, the director at Deloitte CIS, dedicated his presentation to the world practice of technology regulations related to blockchain. He believes that ICO’s popularity will disappear maximum in a year because law doesn’t protect investors and startups raising money have no obligations. Investors need protection from “sheer lunacy” which is, actually, ICO, claims the jurist.
Dmitry Ermolaev, the project developer at Erachain, talked about difficulties connected to blockchain legalization in Russia. He thinks that blockchain startups getting million investments in a couple of minutes have troubles collaborating with traditional business in view of anonymity. Dmitry is confident that a smart contract cannot be signed without identification. That’s why Erachain has developed a special personal authorization which is personal data included in blockchain and bound to keys.
ICO was also criticized by Waves creator Alexander Ivanov. In his opinion, the community has to prevent “a too painful bubble collapse” which can lead to critical consequences for the cryptocurrency industry.
The founder of Waves claims he worked with ICO long before it became mainstream, “when the majority didn’t know such a word”.
“The current situation surprises me: people are raising crazy amounts of money. But they need to understand that if nothing changes, the bubble will deflate”, announced Alexander. In his judgement, the community needs to create a legal mechanism for ICO’s development and opportunities to protect investors in court.
The head of the department of innovative activity at NRU HSE and an active participant of sector conferences Marina Guryeva presented an update on trends and forecasts within blockchain economy. She paid her attention to collaboration of blockchain solutions and artificial intelligence. According to Marina Guryeva, robots are becoming subjects of economy establishing goods/money relationship without a human factor. “It’s cool when a fridge can order and pay for pizza delivery,” the speaker gave an example.
“Blockchain will have the bright future. Talking about long-term prospects, it refers to artificial intelligence and relationship between robots. We are moving into the world where robots will represent subjects of economy able to buy or sell something to each other within one system,” said the speaker.
The topic of successful cryptocurrency regulation was covered by the vice president at Wirex Alena Korotaeva. She compared approaches to regulation and investments in Russian and Japan, the country where bitcoin is legal.
The speaker demonstrated the statistics according to which an average age of a Russian bitcoin investor doesn’t exceed 30 years while in Japan cryptocurrencies are the subject of interest of people 10 years older and with considerable assets. For example, a Russian businessman often invests in the cryptocurrency sphere without reliable money reserves because he/she hopes to have profit from volatility. A Japanese entrepreneur invests only a part of his/her assets and relies on the practical use of bitcoin.
A representative of Solvena Company Lev Leiman gave practical advice to beginners. In his opinion, bitcoin’s price can grow by 1 000 percent and, besides, new digital currencies appear on the market all the time. The expert also recommended Twitter as a source of information about relevant events in the sphere.
In three years, business has started to understand blockchain much better – an optimistic thought from the director at “Sberbank-Technologies” Danil Kabanov. The reason is efficiency of blockchain in the process of communications and elimination of the loyalty problem.
“Business signs agreements in the world where there is no trust”, said Danil. According to his forecasts, massive transition of business to blockchain will happen by 2020. One of the reasons is development of consortiums like HyperLedger.
Maxim Azrilian, the chief technical architect at “Alfa-Bank”, told listeners about a joint case study of the bank and S7. Companies wanted to understand how blockchain is used in issuing of letters of credit. As a result, developers understood that time of signing the agreement decreased from 10 days to four hours.
According to the speaker, companies are involved in creating a platform for using blockchain in trade financing, factoring and letters of credit.
Nevertheless, companies need to specify the use of blockchain, believes the technical evangelist at Microsoft Konstantin Goldstein. “90% ICOs are bullshit” – such a wording perfectly reproduces opinions of Microsoft specialists.
As announced by the organizer of the conference – Smile-Expo Company – the issue of blockchain is entering the phase of popularity and is discussed even on federal TV channels.
Apart from working on traditional platforms (in Russia, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Ukraine), Smile-Expo is planning to organize similar blockchain conferences in Sweden and other countries.