Consensus has always been one of the biggest events in Crypto, and this year, for the first time, CoinDesk has come out of New York. The demand for Consensus blew as more than 8,000 people attended the New York event early this year and Condesk had to expand. They second one was in Singapore to focus on the region. It went on for two days, in Singapore’s famous Marina Bay Sands and had prominent names in attendance like Changpeng Zhao (CZ) and David Chaum.
On day one, the event started off with one of its most important speakers, Damien Pang, the head of Technology Infrastructure Office at Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Unlike most regulators worldwide, MAS has been very clear on Cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Pang pointed out to the fact that the MAS had published a 13-page guide for ICO issuers called “A Guide To Digital Token Offerings” back in 2017. Singapore itself has been extremely positive towards Cryptocurrencies through regulations, which is why the event happened there in the first place.
Also, Pang was very clear on the distinction between Security tokens and utility tokens. He said the MAS is not interested in regulating utility tokens used for payments. However, a payment services bill which is set to be enacted this year is expected to apply to utility tokens also. Explaining Security tokens, Pang said any startup promising future earnings for their token is a security, and they will regulate it. However, when asked to give examples of Security and utility tokens, Pang refused. He said he does not want to give out any names because people take it literally. Instead, people will have to follow the guidelines given out by the MAS.
The day then had multiple panels on using blockchain for legal purposes, Stable coins, OTC desks, and the future of Crypto in Asian markets. The day ended with Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the CEO of Binance and his views on multiple issues. Just last week, Binance announced that it would be launching a Crypto-Fiat exchange in Singapore and the trial for it has already begun. He added that they aim to have at least two crypto-fiat exchange in each continent. However, he expressed deep displeasure towards North American regulators and said that’s a market they’re not very interested in. When asked about the recent market slump, to everyone’s surprise, he said he does not follow the prices. Back in 2014, he sold his house to buy Bitcoin at $600. Right after his purchase, it crashed to $200. However, CZ never sold any of it, and it has given him exponential returns over time.
Day 2 was also as interesting as day 1. It started on a high note, with David Chaum, an inventor of multiple cryptographic protocols announcing his new project, Elixxir. David Chaum is famous for developing eCash, an anonymous cryptographic cash transfer system back in 1982. However, it never took off at the time. This time, Chaum claims that he has created the fastest blockchain protocol for payments. He believes that fully developed and efficient cryptocurrencies are capable of competing with businesses like PayPal and Visa. In order to make it the fastest blockchain, Chaum has achieved key breakthroughs and innovations on cryptography to create Elixxir.
The day continued with panels on South Korean Crypto scene and Crypto adoption in Asia. At the same event, the Japanese messaging app Line revealed their ambitious plans for the Crypto ecosystem. With more than 164 Million monthly active users, LINE is hoping to push out a large number of dApps on its LINK blockchain for users to use within the application.
The final day ended with a panel on the future of Mining. With the market crashing in 2018, Miners are experiencing wafer-thin margins, or some miners are not making any profits. However, it never slowed down the mining activity. In the last few months alone, the hash rate has more than doubled. Miners were not concerned with the fluctuating prices and concluded that there’s enough future incentive for them to continue mining. However, they were very concerned about giants like Intel and NVIDIA entering the space as they have more resources and better access to newer technologies.
Apart from the panels, the event had a show floor with more than 50 blockchain startups showcasing their products. Companies like Ledger and CoolWallet were showcasing their hardware wallets and even selling them for Crypto! Overall, it was a well planned out event, with Crypto companies finally coming out to other countries in the East.
We look forward to more of them in future, and hopefully one in India!