Recently a few members of Big Data Block’s leadership team descended upon the monumental Blockchain Economic Forum. Our pilgrimage started in the United States and lasted for 30 hours (mostly at 38,000 feet) until we finally arrived in our equatorial destination—Singapore.
A whirling dervish of jet lagged early mornings, long days, and late nights to commune with over a thousand blockchain leaders, dozens of futurists, and even one President made for an illuminating three days.
The roundtables, panels, and keynotes provided insight, inspiration, and validation. We explored everything from the history of blockchain and the origins of the cypherpunk movement to why the anonymous and mythical founder of bitcoin started a seismic ripple exponentially expanding the promises of artificial intelligence to virtual reality, borderless citizenship, quantum computing, DNA biohacking and more. And that was just the first couple hours.
Sleep no more quickly became the modus operandi as it was decided there was just way to much to ingest. As this is intended to be a quick and dirty blog post, here are but a few of the highlights we wanted to share:
- The night before the conference. Dinner and deep diving into Big Data Block with the ever brilliant and generous Peter Bergstrom (an early participant and investor in the Bitcoin ecosystem), Panny, and Patrick:
- Reese Jones’ (Singularity University) opening keynote on the Genetics of Blockchain and the amazing conversation which we had to cut short at the closing night party to rush to a midnight departure.
- Sampling wine with “The Joan of Arc of Blockchain”, Toni Lane Casserly, TLC (Cointelegraph) at the opening night party and learning the latest about the World Citizenship ID and refugee program. This was followed the very next morning by Mir Haque’s (Apathea Venture Capital) expert moderation on social impact.Knowing they’ll be at the Royingha refugee camp on the border of Bangladesh border within a day, to further instantiate real world benefit of the this blockchain identity project, was one of the best surprises of the conference for me. Born into a Peace Corp family and hosting countless refugees growing up, I was so happy to see a remarkable example of how blockchain solves a huge problem.
- The rise of the Crypto Influencer. Hanging out with Ian Ballina (who just happened to be in town on an Asian tour) to share his data driven perspective and token metrics. Or Nicholas Merten, who hosts Datadash, the largest Cryptocurrency channel on YouTube. Nicholas donated a nuanced idea that had not yet found its way into our white paper. In between Nicholas and Ian, we laughed with Barbaralicious—the epitome of digital nomadism, a subculture subscribed to the world is my oyster mentality that thrive on the blockchain.
The conference was not without the nostalgia of the dotcom bubble. Having created a mockumentary still considered the most historically accurate depiction of the irrational exuberance of the late 90s, the humor was not lost on us. There was definitely some “money grabbing” and the sheer amount of ICOs in attendance was baffling replete with their opinions on the “best jurisdictionality”.
But what was distinctly different from the dotcom days—somewhere nestled between FUD and FOMO, and perhaps an underlying sense of HODL—was that this time the world will get it right. My favorite interaction which evidenced the velocity of opportunity was:
BDB: That’s a great idea! When is your ICO?
Entrepreneur: We just started our presale.
BDB: When does it close?
Entrepreneur looks at Apple Watch.
Entrepreneur: In about 3 hours.
But seriously folks—the final epiphany began to unravel during our return to the United States while replying to the dozens of messages from conference attendees via WhatsApp, telegram, Facebook messenger, SMS, email and even a few old school business cards with scribbled reminders. BDB is a solution that could benefit any company, project, government, or civilization that is on a journey.
But even more so was the insight that for BDB to be fully realized, we need to provide more than just significant savings and smarter analytics. We need to be the first Big Data as a Service (BDaaS) on the blockchain. By activating the big data community and fostering our knowledge exchange, we will encourage homomorphic datasets to be shared, not just across departments within an organization, but across companies, governments, nonprofits, and cultures—maximizing our utility and proving that true tokenomics are upon us.
Yours in big data,
P.S. Oh yeah, there was a sh*t load on regulation and sharding, Jason got to hang out with Vicente Fox and there was an awesome fruit stand: