Decentralized19 was the Blockchain related place to be in Athens, featuring a leading tech event in the consensus industry.
As cliché as it may sound, at Decentralized you won’t hear about Lambos and the fancy lifestyle showcased by media featuring usually young people, who have become quickly rich from investing in digital currencies. You will (more importantly) deepen your knowledge on Blockchain in a great mix of academia pursuit and entrepreneurial spirit.
Among a notable competition between states to attract human capital and blockchain investments with officials from Canada, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, and the European Union arguing in favor of blockchain technology and tech giants such as Oracle, PWC, Consensys, Eurobank all making announcements of further plans for Blockchain, the future looks bright for the technology.
We watched some incredible moments on stage, from Professor Polemitis passionate opening, to some intriguing conference debates from Tone Vays in a BTC vs literally any other blockchain showdown!
Keynotes from industry giants like Dr.Scott Stornetta whose research work is cited three times among the eight citations of the Bitcoin Whitepaper were a hit with the audience! Of course, there were also strong voices like Dr. Giaglis who has argued that our decentralized future will be much less decentralized than we think, since non-native tokens representing real world assets will always require intermediaries to legally enforce rights or obligations.
The honorable Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy, and Innovation and representative of the Maltese Government, Silvio Schembri, also gave an air of promise to proceedings and regulatory framework when he reinforced the government’s support for the industry as he gave a very well-received keynote.
The “battle” between permissioned (private) and public blockchains has been in the epicenter of the conference. While a few of the speakers tried to persuade the audience that those two could co-exist, the general impression is that we will experience a severe competition to attract end users and applications between the different blockchains. Marta Piekarska HyperLedger’s Ecosystem Manager and R3’s Director of Digital Assets Antony Lewis have presented notable adoption case-studies that were mainly monopolized if not limited to the financial assets sector. The “battle” is real- and it is not limited to the ideological differences.
Private blockchains aren’t interoperable- was one of the key arguments of those who are advocates of public blockchains. Transfer of value (either information or assets) requires communications between the various Blockchain implementations and this is not currently possible for permissioned protocols. On the other hand, public blockchains are facing challenges such as limited scalability (which is a weak argument referring to the capabilities of new generation infrastructure platforms), the threat of quantum computing--which is real, and of course privacy focused threats.
Among the most interesting and futuristic presentations has been delivered by Daniel Hulme, CEO of Satalia, a company that uses data science, machine learning, and optimization (making the best use of resources) to build customized platforms that solve tough logistics problems involving products, services, and people. Satalia, among the great majority of companies that were exhibiting or participating at Decentralized is focused on decentralizing the AI governance. Satalia is among the companies that put their money where their mouth is. They adopt a decentralized governance for their own team promising that people will work in the future only on what they love and be rewarded among the overall contribution for the materialization of the collective goal. Satalia is envisioning and evangelizes a highly collaborative future that decentralizes core organizational functions such as resourcing, recruitment, management, feedback and even pay setting based on AI and Blockchain technologies.
A great argument that makes perfect sense has been brought to our attention by Kostis Gkiokas, that adoption speed differs from country to country, which is partially related to generation gap in domestic population!
Professor Spyros Makridakis, one of the world's leading experts on forecasting and organizer of the M-Competitions has presented his thoughts about the forthcoming Artificial Intelligence (AI) Revolution and its impact on society and firms, while the great majority of the participants have addressed questions related to the replacement of humans from robots. Dr. Makridakis in opposition to D.Hulme is a strong believer that Human Intelligence could not be replaced or substituted, otherwise we would risk to become servants of machines.
On general notes, while cryptocurrency is not going away, the reference to cryptocurrencies has been limited, while everyone was focusing on adoption of blockchain, which is clearly accelerated.
Don’t get me wrong: cryptocurrencies will continue to be an important pie of the blockchain scene, but today’s blockchain pie is much bigger, with case studies unimaginable a couple of years ago.
While there were references to Libra, “hot” markets and applications that are evangelized in the blockchain startup scene such as DeFi, stablecoins, lending protocols were absent from the public discussion. It could be that this might have been partially intended since the conference was sponsored by major banks. Also, comparing to other industry events, we have noticed that less startups took part and most participants were representing bigger corporations. Could it be that this is this a sign of blockchain startup funding bend and the end of Initial Coin Offerings era or just that startups are focused on their product development and skip conferences?
Some important takeaways:
- Scott Stornetta- Chief Scientist Yugen Partners
Celebrate Satoshi, and then move forward rethinking Blockchain’s Holy Grail and how to get there!
- Astyanax Kanakakis - CEO Norbloc
AI is about making optimized decisions with data, blockchain is about sharing that data; combined they make a strong disruptive combo"
- Ada Vaughan Serial entrepreneur
The blockchain commercialization will start from DAPPs in the IOT, B2B data-sharing and supply chain industries
- Nikos Moraitakis, CEO, Workable
Any disruptive technology gives the opportunity to countries left behind in innovation, to catch up!
- Jaguar-Adva Gal, Jaguar Lawyers Firm
In EU the regulations are trying to avoid prohibition policies; in fact, regulators are looking out to learn from the emerging tech"
- Fun fact that Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament, and Chair of the STOA believes that Satoshi Nakamoto is walking amongst us here...at Decentralized!
(Well, this tends to be a universal joke in the industry, with numerous individuals claiming to be the creators of the most popular digital asset today...)
INTRASOFT was well represented at Decentralized 2020, with five senior Blockchain professionals who had the chance to discuss all things Blockchain and meet peers from all over the globe.
I can’t wait to see what Decentralized 2020 (that time will take place in Limassol) brings, and I look forward to seeing if these spectacular changes in the industry will continue. What trends do you think are in store for the Blockchain technology?
Are you currently exploring the possibility of implementing Blockchain technology in your organization? Our Blockchain team would love to hear your ideas and support you step-by-step from the prototype to commercialization.
To exchange ideas on how you can start working with Blockchain technologies, contact our Blockchain consultants:
Gerasimos Michailitsis - Gerasimos.MICHALITSIS@intrasoft-intl.com
Ioannis Antoniou - Ioannis.ANTONIOU@intrasoft-intl.com
Nikolaos Kostopoulos - Nikolaos.KOSTOPOULOS@intrasoft-intl.com