Seoul, South Korea is about to host an immense collection of blockchain developers, industry experts, and crypto enthusiasts at the annual Korea Blockchain Week. The five-day event is packed with presenters, meetups, and parties that are intended to propel the industry forward as it surges in popularity.
The past 18 months were uniquely consequential for the decentralized economy. Popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether were joined by hundreds of alternative currencies – dubbed altcoins – that collectively compiled a market cap that, at its peak, exceeded $800 billion.
The rise and subsequent fall of crypto prices tangentially illuminated the potential for blockchain technology, the decentralized ledger system that accounts for cryptocurrency transactions, to redefine our relationship with the digital ecosystem. As a result, hundreds of blockchains startups launched this year. Nearly 600 new blockchain-based companies have released digital currencies to power their platforms. So far, they’ve raised $12.5 billion toward their projects.
All of this activity is uniquely present in South Korea. As one of the most connected societies in the world, South Korea was ready to embrace the crypto movement. South Korea has a population of just over 50 million, but it accounts for nearly 20% of all Ether transactions, and it ranks third in Bitcoin adoption.
The South Korean government recently legalized crypto exchanges, and many believe that ICOs will receive a similar status soon. Therefore, a spirit of possibility dominates this year’s conference.
After all of the presentations are offered, the parties attended, and the meetups met, there should be some concrete takeaways from the week that have repercussions that transcend the conference.
Here are five things to expect from this year’s conference.
#1 Outside-The-Box Concepts
The Beyond Blocks Summit is the highlight of Korea Blockchain Week. It features an extensive collection of speakers who are focused on “the most controversial topics in the current blockchain space.” Those subjects include the balance of regulation and disruption, mass adoption, ICO development, and decentralized payment structures.
The event’s featured presenter, Michael Novogratz, has a long history of compelling crypto predictions and audacious personal pursuits. Before starting his crypto-focused merchant bank, Mr. Novogratz frequently touted his plans for creating a Bitcoin-based hedge fund. His resume indicates that he isn’t afraid to disrupt conventional concepts to pursue more audacious endeavors. With Mr. Novogratz setting the tone, expect some novel ideas to characterize the conference.
#2 Greater International Collaboration
Although the blockchain is a decentralized network that is inherently international, achieving global consensus on blockchain implementation is incredibly tricky. Differing cultural norms toward entrepreneurship and technology and divergent regulatory frameworks can make it difficult to pursue global blockchain projects.
In addition to livening up the experience, the iCapital Blockchain Party is bringing together representatives from Israel with blockchain developers from around the world. In 14-member panel discussion before the festivities, these industry leaders from iCapital, MarketAcross, eToro, and others will discuss a variety of blockchain-related topics, and the broad perspectives can help build collaborative relationships that transcend national borders.
Indeed, the entire conference is a global approach to blockchain maturation. There are attendees from more than 30 different countries.
#3 Increased Inclusivity
The general tech scene has worked hard over the past several years to shed its image as a “boys club.” This year’s Korea Blockchain Week feature the first Women in Blockchain meetup that features a cadre of compelling female presenters with various areas of expertise in the blockchain space.
The two-and-a-half-hour event celebrates their contributions while providing a platform for further offerings. It’s held at the esteemed Google Campus in Seoul.
#4 New Platforms Will Be Born
Blockchain Week Korea is crawling with blockchain startups and interested investors, so it’s likely that many companies will receive their start at this conference. The Blockchain Partners Summit includes a formal setting for pitch meetings, but informal meetings are continually occurring.
Companies can’t get off the ground without financing, and some will encounter high-stakes meetings that will determine their viability in the blockchain ecosystem. When we look back at this conference in a year, expect to hear about the origin story for a smattering of new blockchain platforms.
#5 Drunk Nerds
A conference wouldn’t be complete without a plethora of pasty programmers finally having a night on the town. Whether it’s the iCapital Blockchain Party with its last many standing themed open bar and DJ event, the official Summit Seoul pre and post party, or the myriad of DIY parties that will happen throughout the week, there will be plenty of opportunities for a good time.
In a way, that’s the best part about Korea Blockchain Week. The connections between developers, thought leaders, and enthusiasts can foster a more collaborative environment for the decentralized economy. The blockchain industry has a plethora of problems to solve, and they become more solvable when everyone works more closely in a community. Let the party begin.
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