To set the scene, there was a large presence of Chinese entrepreneurs. I felt like I was in Hong Kong, not Tokyo. As China has been at the forefront of Blockchain technology, this was a real world case of seeing this major influence for myself. However, the organizers were not as smooth as JBC last week. This showed in some of the presentations, and a lack of translation at times. There were not really enough panel discussions either. The few they had were really good. Some of the 160 speakers were really worth noting though. Often some of the local Japanese speakers had a high motivation to drive Blockchain innovation in Japan, in order to catch up with China. That was how it felt anyway. I have listed a lot of interesting facts that were explained live to the audience. I tried to record as many of the best speakers as possible.
1) Blockchain Patents: Globally, the use of technology drives forward by innovation and patents. They can often be leveraged and built upon via follow up product ideas. The race is not equal today though, China is clearly in the lead.
China has 48 patents now registered,
USA has 33 patents now registered,
Korea has 8 patents, and surprisingly
Japan has just 3 patents in the Blockchain area.
2) Tao Jiang, has created CSDN (China software Developer Network) with over 25 million members! These massive numbers of developers on this single platform makes it clear to me why China is very far ahead of the rest of the world with Blockchain technology. He has a motto, "coding is mining".
3) Yukio Noguchi, a Waseda University professor, explained how "Blockchain will change the world". He did this while making a speech, no slide show. All this while the audience read a printed paper handout only available in Japanese. This 20th century approach made the gap clear on why 21st century Japan was behind in execution.
* Despite the format, his ideas were sound. It focused on how work of any repetitive nature will in time be replaced with AI software on the Blockchain. He explained that low value jobs will go, but newer higher value ones will replace them. The gap in employment needs will be made up for in higher incomes. No sure on this logic, but it answers how Japan could survive comfortably with a shrinking population.
4) Pierre Noizat, CEO of Paymium, a European Bitcoin exchange had very curious and eye opening comments on crypto volume trends. Every country says the same thing, "our regulators are the worst out there!" by definition, that cannot be true, but was nice to hear.
* Paymium started in 2013, and uses cold storage for 98% of all customer funds. They have not been hacked and have 170,000 accounts. In addition to fiat to crypto they also do "Atomic Swaps in BTC, LTC, ZEC, BCH & ETH" I have never heard this term before, and was glad to discover this new term and customer service offering.
* In a snapshot of global fiat Bitcoin trading volume on June 28, 2018, Japan's Yen influence globally is very clear.
Some 59.5% of BTC is in Yen,
just 33.5% is in USD,
another 2.3% in Euro,
and only 1.7% in Korean Won. This opened my eyes. No wonder so many crypto traders want to come to Japan!
5) Katsunori Kondo, co-founder of Asobi coin had a positive twist to share long term. All is not smooth today with the FSA. Japan's top regulator likes paper and old procedures from the 20th century still. The Blockchain though may help to end this old standard. Once paper applications, scanned paper ID documents and other paper documents now needing formal company stamps (locally known as hankos) are replaced, a future could change. This current slow process may turn out to leapfrog by moving to the Blockchain where processing time could be minimized and productivity maximized. That is of course, the theory.
6) Daisuke Tsuda, a journalist with shaggy blond hair, had clear facts to share. Japan has been slow to embrace social media, but once offered in Japan, it can take off. Although Facebook had 9.5 million Japanese users on March 11, 2011, the day of the Fukushima tsunami. Twitter had just 6.7 million Japanese users. While traditional land & mobile lines went down, social media communication exploded. Today, Facebook now has 81 million Japanese users, so 1 user out of 1.5 citizens. Twitter now has 45 million Japanese users, or 1 user in every 3 citizens.
7) Masashi Nakajima, was one of the most interesting authors to present. He has written a best selling book in Japanese called "After Bitcoin". It has since been translated into Korean, other languages may soon follow. He is unique in that he worked for the BIS (Bank of International Settlements) in Switzerland. He clearly explains the whole money flow process between banks and how Blockchain will help global trade and the world economy over 3 clear stages.
* Blockchain 1.0 is for Cryptocurrency
* Blockchain 2.0 is for Financial Services
* Blockchain 3.0 is for Non-Financial Services
DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) can be P2P (Pier to Pier), but there are 2 types, public & private, also called open & closed. There are trade offs, but the trend will move towards more private or closed Blockchain networks. They insure more speed and have more trust built in. SWIFT may move to such a network. Today, Corda run by R3, has 70 global financial institutions,(including 3 Japanese mega banks) using it. There is a rival by Ripple which has 160 institutions using another network.
* In a Blockchain test by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, and Bank of Mexico, the 4 days typically needed for usual bank transfers was reduced to just 4 seconds! In addition, the processing cost was also reduced by 83.4%! Other stock exchanges are now testing similar systems like NASDAQ, ASX, and JPX.
* Trade finance may be the first area to benefit the most from any Blockchain use of DLT. It is a very heavy paper process today needing various stamps, duties and letters of credit. Much of this can be streamlined with DLT.
* Diamonds have been the first goal of EverLedger in London. They began in 2015, and have loaded 1.6 million diamonds onto their DLT. This reduces stolen or blood diamonds from being in any system, and includes partners like DeBeers.
* Real Estate has started to find similar benefits. Sweden and Ukraine have put property on a DLT and others will follow.
* Foodstuffs like organic produce & pork are now on a DLT in tests done by Wallmart. Customers want to confirm sources.
* Audi and Samsung are doing tests for supply chain source technology that will use DLT to lower overall costs.
* AXA insurance have done tests with automated refunds from insurance on cancelled airline flights via DLT already.
* Smart contracts on any DLT are not perfect though. There was a major mistake with a Hacking incident with The Dao.
8) Malcolm Casselle, CIO from WAX (Worldwide Asset Exchange) that the Blockchain use by gamers is already higher than many other groups. In fact, the total amount of gamers globally is over 400 million active game users. That is 17 times BIGGER than the amount of global cryptocurrency traders!
* He mentioned that the market for skins and other customized items is a huge market. They sold a special "skin" that decorated a special rifle. It had a beautiful dragon motif that sold for over USD61,000 recently! There is real money for virtual assets now possible online due to Blockchain.
9) Shuto Yamamoto, founder of DragonVein had a very curious announcement. On his birthday July 4th, he was happy to announce his new DVC crypto mining machine. The DV box runs his 2d & 3D software. however, it is also a low energy mining machine as well. This addresses a big concern many today have with various cryptocurrencies. They will have an ICO to support his project, DVC on July 9.
10) Yonathan Parienti, a former banker, and founder of Horyou, is a new kind of Token platform. Using the HoryouToken, they try and do social good with social media on the Blockchain. They have 250,000+ members and work with 1800+ NPO organizations across 190 nations. They support the 17 sustainability goals of the United Nations. They see themselves as a "Force for Good to Humanity".
11) Harrison Hines, founder of Token Foundry, had solid big picture views on how to best understand ICO or Token value. He used the example of the New York City Tax Medallion. If you buy a Taxi Medallion (think of it as a Token), it allows you to access a network around New York City (a Blockchain Network).
* You can drive a taxi or hire drivers to do so to generate cash and add value to the network. This is how you maximize your use of the medallion.
* What you do NOT do, is hold on to the Medallion only, and do nothing. There is no point waiting for a price increase by pure speculation. Fully using any Token or ICO, is the main point, not waiting for the price to go up.
* You use the Token in order to build value into the network itself. That is how you create true long term value. It is not by waiting for a price rise. You make the price rise by using it.
12) Wilson Wei, founder of LINO, is trying to topple YouTube. He is creating a decentralized rival that will allow more independence from content creators in the future. This will allow more financial independence as well due to the monopoly nature of YouTube today.
* He explained how YouTube now often takes 45% of revenue share from any creator. The 55% left often needs to share 17% with an MCM partner, leaving just 38% for the content creator. I did not know about this P/L split before.
* He stressed that with a new LINO Ecosystem, it will often give better revenue for content creators. Ads, Tipping, micro payments and subscriptions can all help content creators with better future revenue models. His startup based in Silicon Valley is 1 year old, and has top tier investment partners like ZhenFund. Arguably the best private equity investor in China today. It smells like a winner.
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