Conferences are the place where enthusiasts meet professionals, entrepreneurs find investors, and veterans share their insights with newcomers. The blockchain industry is no exception to the need for these events. Especially when so many of these projects depend both on fostering and belonging to a healthy community.
In short time, NEXT BLOCK Conference is becoming the go-to event for anyone interested in the flourishing space. It has previously featured renowned figures such as Bitcoin Foundation board member Bobby Lee and CryptoCoinNews Editor-in-Chief Simon Cocking. This month, organizers at Krypton Events partnered with Cryptovest for a celebration in Sofia, Bulgaria, supported by PaySafe and CoinMarketCap.
The company’s CEO, Alisa Berezutska, sat down to answer a few questions on what happened.
Q: Alisa, this already looks like a success! We’ve already enjoyed most of the panels and speakers. What do you think about the conference, what’s the turnout?
A: It’s our first time in Bulgaria, which was a challenge because we weren’t yet familiar with the blockchain community here. But we are happy that it was such a successful event. We’ve only had positive feedback. People loved the high level organization, the technical side, the crowd, and the quality of the crowd. Altogether we had around 350 people during the day, many of whom are coming from abroad, while 80% are still part of the local community. We’re sure that next year, once they already know what to expect, we’ll be able to foster an even wider network for Bulgarians.
Q: Wonderful. How many panels did you have today and what was the main focus of the conference?
A: We had four panel discussions, plus keynote speaker Sterlin Lujan, and a presentation by IOTW. The conference in general revolves around the topic of “the evolution of money,” which is very timely because even though cryptocurrencies are gaining broader attention and acceptance, we still have to educate people, communicate with them, and share the right message with the public. It’s important that people understand blockchain and its implications for the future, as well as what they can expect from it today.
Q: It seems that in the past several months there have been some difficulties because of the exchange rate going down. Some of the interest has been lost. But on the other end, there are people who strongly believe that these problems are temporary and this new technology isn’t going anywhere — that it’s bound to expand. Do you agree with this? What’s your take?
A: I’m one of the absolute believers. We have to understand that the space is very young, which has an effect on big fluctuations because the aren’t that many people who use cryptocurrencies yet. This is why we have to communicate the advantages of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. As more people start using it, the harder it gets for bad actors to manipulate the market.
Right now, a large amount of coins belong to a very limited circle of people, which of course produces manipulations in the rate. But I’m absolutely sure that it will stabilize and go up again. It’s a new market. It has all the possibilities to become the breakthrough we’ve been talking about. It has gathered very talented and smart people who really believe in it, who really believe in decentralization. When such an amazing crowd that believes in something comes together it just can’t be unsuccessful.
Q: Thank you so much! We’ll keep it short, so one last thing: As part of the event you have a hackathon. Tell us what the hackathon is all about and what you guys are trying to achieve with it today.
A: This is an idea we’re trying out for the first time so we are very lucky to have an amazing partner. PaySafe is one of the current global leaders in payments. So, together with them we created two topics. One more related to blockchain, specifically, the other one more to cryptocurrencies. The exact topics you can see on the website.
We have 10 teams competing today. They’ve been gathered in separate halls since 7 a.m., coding, with small breaks for food. Today they’ll finish up and have demos ready for 8 p.m. We’ll find out who the judges choose tonight at the after-party, where we’ll have an award ceremony. Rumors say that the team that is about to win is actually the youngest team. They’re all around 16 years old, so they’re still school students! This has to give anyone hope in the space, especially if it attracts such talented young people.
I’m sure PaySafe will find really nice talents to work with in the future. We’re happy to help them with that. I’m sure this is not our last hackathon since it’s a good way to promote the space to younger generations of coders and developers.