Emerging Links – the First Brazilian International Blockchain Conference
I really didn’t know what to expect when Michael Casey of MIT Media Labs and Agentic asked me to attend this meeting, also sponsored by the Digital Chamber of Commerce and Grupo CIMCORP. Well, when Michael asked the audience at the start how many felt quite familiar with blockchain, and many hands went up, I sat up straighter in my chair. When he asked how many owned Bitcoin, and virtually all the hands stayed up, I sat up even straighter, and spent two days greatly enjoying this event. The conference combined panels on the international state of affairs with those on the present situation in Brazil. We talked about applications for capital markets, agri-supply chains, identity, cybersecurity, the internet of things – and even the new “One Belt One Road” blockchain promise (thanks, the ever interesting Pindar Wong).
I chaired a panel on blockchain and financial inclusion, which had three very interesting speakers from Brazil and Argentina – Gustavo Paro of Microsoft Brasil, Rodolfo Andragnes of Bitcoin Argentina, and Safiri Felix of OriginalMy.com. It was particularly interesting to see how, the worse things got economically, the more innovation seemed to occur in this space (particularly in Argentina). It was also inspirational to see the many ways that this distributed system is offering ways to make banking small ticket clients more viable, whether for “old” commercial banks or for new competitors. My only objection was that we spent twice as much time on capital markets matters, where distributed ledger technology has the potential only to marginally improve services for rich people, while in the “inclusion” space it can be a true game changer.
I also particularly enjoyed the session on Smart Contracts, as I really didn’t understand the intricacies of this technology – nor how it really isn’t a “contract” in the legal sense, at all…also learned some spooky things happening in this area, along with all the promise – like Mercedes driverless cars learning to save the driver if it’s a choice between killing a pedestrian and killing the driver…but SkyNet is not QUITE upon us in this space, yet…and maybe Asimov’s “First Law of Robotics” will prevail…who knows??? What is happening is a much better way to confirm deals, and hopefully a rapid end to the ancient system of notaries and paperwork that so hurts smaller firms.
Thanks again to all my hosts. Please see the conference website for more information http://emerginglinks.com.br/.