One of the biggest blockchain event of the year is to be held in Shanghai from the 19th to the 24th of September in a week long International Blockchain conference merging DevCon’s developer focused conference with Shanghai’s more business focused Second Global Blockchain Summit.
A spokesman for Wanxiang Blockchain Labs, a non-profit entity focused on blockchain research and promotions of the technology, told CCN:
“We have confirmed guests from overseas who are experts in this field. We hope to bring them here and show the Chinese audience, including industry and regulators, what is going on outside and bring our foreign friends into China to show them what’s going on within China.”
A confirmed list of over 40 speakers from diverse backgrounds includes representatives from Microsoft, UBS, Santander, Ernest & Young and many others, as well as prominent blockchain experts from Ethereum, HyperLedger, R3, Ethcore, Circle, ConsenSys, OpenBazaar, Zcash, and more.
The International Blockchain Week is hosted by Wanxiang Blockchain Labs, funded by Wanxiang Holdings, one of China’s giant conglomerates and China’s biggest backer of blockchain technology which has been prolifically involved in this space, launching in late 2015 a $50 million blockchain focused venture capital fund, Fenbushi Capital.
They have been instrumental in bringing blockchain technology to China with a Wanxiang Blockchain Labs spokesman stating to CCN that:
“[B]anks, government, and other financial institutions started to pay attention to blockchain (not just Bitcoin) only since our first conference last year in Shanghai.”
Following Shanghai’s Global Blockchain Summit in October last year, interest in blockchain technology exploded all over the world, reaching fever pitch in the west. Although media attention has somewhat subsided, a spate of new investments by Chinese companies suggests that interest in blockchain tech is now heating up in the world’s second biggest economy.
Just in the last few weeks, numerous blockchain related announcements have come out from financial institutions and Chinese giant tech companies. Baidu, China’s Google, backed a $60 million investment round in Circle alongside several Chinese strategic investors, including banks. Tencent, one of China’s biggest internet company and owners of WeChat joined a financial blockchain consortium with 30 other finance and tech firms. Meanwhile, Ping An Bank, one of China’s financial conglomerates, joined R3.
The above is supplemented by a seemingly change in attitude by Chinese regulators which recently announced a new draft law protecting virtual assets in the same way as physical or other financial assets. Although it is not clear whether the new law fully extends to blockchain based assets, such as smart contract tokens or blockchain ledger entries registering property, the worldwide recognition of blockchain’s innovative potential as well as the involvement of Chinese giant tech companies and financial institutions is likely to foster a much more welcoming regulatory environment, following in London’s footsteps and US’s, which is currently undergoing through a “responsible innovation” consultation period to update decades and at times centuries old Fintech regulations.
Shanghai’s International Blockchain Week is likely to be the biggest event of 2016 as the world gathers to reflect on the year blockchain took center stage and looks forward to another year of disruptive innovation in finance and technology.
There has been “a lot of progress overall in China in such a short time indeed and we hope this can develop into something concrete and beneficial to the financial industry,” stated Wanxiang Blockchain Labs’ spokesman, who further added that the conference will have a number of announcements, including from Chinaledger, an alliance of 11 regional commodity exchanges, equity exchanges and financial asset exchanges led by Wanxiang Blockchain Labs, which is adding new experts and several new members.
The conference will further dedicate an entire day to demos where entrepreneurs can showcase their blockchain products and perhaps give us one of those rare moments when a brand new product is showed to the world as the blockchain race to bring this new innovation to the high street continues.
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