Industry Heads Convene to Talk Public Blockchains on a Private Island

Journalist:
Joseph Bradley
June 4, 2016

Blockchain Summit 2016 is here. From June 4th through June 7th many thought leaders of blockchain tech will converge on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island. No doubt idea exchange will be flowing. So too will the irony that the future of blockchain, a tech that is defined by enabling trustless exchange, is being discussed on a private island.

Summer is a great season. Sun, surf, longer days…all of which sum to a wink and a nod that it is ok to kick back perhaps just a bit more than usual. Those of us in tech get excited for another reason. Summer also brings with it the annual Blockchain Summit, truly a banner event in the crypto/ blockchain space. Last year’s event was attended by 37 industry heavyweights, but received some criticism for the lack of diversity in attendees as only 1 woman was in attendance. The attendance list this year includes a headcount of 40, folks ranging from former PM’s to engineers and of course the veteran blockchain elite and boasts a more varied crowd.

Branson, The Summit and Blockchain

Just as with last year, even though the event is on Branson’s island Bitfury is officially hosting. Sir Richard has a few relatively small investments in bitcoin and blockchain . Nonetheless, and in his true and unwavering style, he has his eye on a much larger prize. Branson says regarding Bitcoin specifically:

“There’s a real desire for greater levels of control, freedom and scrutiny over what happens with our money, Bitcoin addresses these concerns and that is why so many people believe it represents the future.”

Sire Richard Branson evidently sees the world through a different lens than most, hence his ability to build a billion dollar business empire. And clearly he is a fan of the possible reality that blockchain tech brings into focus. This is a guy who, economically speaking, does not simply transfer value…he embraces building new value, “making the pie bigger” some might say. The fact that he is such a proponent is great, especially in a year when blockchain is receiving such increased interest and press. Branson embraces the role as facilitator and the community is better for it.

Some interesting action items were discussed during and subsequently implemented following last year’s Summit. Most notably was Hernando DeSoto’s project on land titling in Democratic Republic of Georgia. (DeSoto now works for Bitfury.) We look forward to seeing some of the notes from this year’s get together. Maybe something with a little more heft than last year’s mining bulb.

Valery Vavilov, CEO of Bitfury, regarding the scope of the Summit states,

Our emphasis for this year’s gathering is to bring some of the world’s top thinkers from diverse backgrounds – civil society, NGOs, business, technology, government – to this extremely special place known for free thinking and cutting-edge innovation to foster out-of-the-box thinking, imagine new frontiers and form new partnerships, projects and initiatives that will drive the future of this transformational technology

Some observers may be turned off by the perception of elitism or sexism. Fortunately or unfortunately there must be a group of people that initially plot the course for any movement. This process simply cannot include everyone. Often the visionaries are either extremely wealthy or poor…in either scenario they have noting to lose and forge on. For me my “smirk and chuckle” are only grounded in the optics…”The Future Of Distributed Freedom Will Originate From Private Island.”

Action is all that matters and these folks take it every year.

Onward!

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Last modified (UTC): June 3, 2016 22:48

Joseph Bradley