SkyLedger Dubai Conference 2018
The Skyledger Dubai Conference took place on 28-29 April, 2018 at the beautiful Fairmont on the Palm. Organised with the help of Planet Blockchain, a Dubai-based start-up, the conference was refreshingly free of change for all attendees (well over a hundred in total) at the background of hefty fees being changed by many conference organisers, locally and internationally.
The conference opened with a keynote by Jane Zhang, CEO of Shellpay, who shared her passion for reinventing society with Blockchain. She pieced together the components of a well-functioning society whose seeds have been planted with the projects currently being built on SkyLedger. These projects are focused on education, energy, life sciences, agriculture and metals exchanges. Jane invited everyone to participate in a social experiment and create a digital society on blockchain at Yong Bang, aiming to attract 40M digital residents. Jane also revealed her plans regarding SkyPalace, an incubator co-working space which will have a physical presence in Dubai.
Crypto Market Update
Dr Tatiana Zalan, Academic Advisor at Planet Blockchain and Professor at the American University in Dubai, spoke about the highlights in 2017 and early 2018. If there were one major theme in 2017, this would be “more diversity” – diversity brought about by cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin, and particularly Ethereum and Ripple, ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens, ICOs, Bitcoin forks, Bitcoin futures, new institutional investors and South Korea coming in as a new player after China banned ICOs and cryptocurrency exchanges. Crypto returns for investors were nothing short of spectacular, with ROI as high as 50,000%. And while ICO funding exceeded by far VC funding of blockchain start-ups in 2017, 2018 looks even more promising. The growth drivers for 2018 include continuing spending by enterprises, increasing ICO funding, friendly regulations (such as in Malta), and reputable VC funds moving into the blockchain space.
Crypto Financing – Opportunities and Challenges
David Yue, Managing Partner at Meredith Capital, took the stage to explain some of the advantages and disadvantages of the dominant blockchains and emphasized the current trend – convergence between Blockchain, IoT, AI and big data. David spoke about SkyFund, a fund catering for investments in token projects, secondary markets, investment banking and asset management.
White Papers 2.0: Addressing Evolving ICO Requirements
Jeff Stollman, Principal Consultant & Polymath at Rocky Mountain Technical Marketing, served as a consultant and advisor to multiple ICOs and reviewed dozens of white papers. Jeff distinguished between three types of ICOs – the good, the bad and the ugly. The key criteria include team sincerity, project goal, team, business model and metrics. He then offered specific advice on how to differentiate between these three categories, which – judged by the questions asked at the end of the presentation – the conference attendees found particularly useful and practical.
The second part of the first day of the conference was dedicated to a roadshow of projects built on the SkyLedger / Skycoin blockchain, but not before the attendees played the Crypto Trivia game – and there were several lucky winners!
John Peters, the CEO of Lifecoin – created by Aionios (which means “Eternal” in Greek) –
spoke about how Aionis can leverage blockchain to delay or even reverse ageing. Individuals will be able to put their personal aging cell information into Lifecoin and hash it to protect personal information. The aging cell information indicates which diseases you may have, and in future products will be developed to clean your aging cells in order to slow the process of aging.
Magdeleen Jooste, the CEO and Co-Founder of Planet Blockchain, better known as MJ in the community, presented the vision behind Planet Blockchain – Connect Globally, Innovate Locally. Planet Blockchain is a multi-sided platform designed to ensure a faster adoption of blockchain globally, by facilitating interactions between multiple user groups – start-up-ups, investors, advisors, educators, service providers and service consumers – to learn, earn, connect and innovate in the blockchain space.
Personalised K-12 education is a particular passion of Angela Li, CEO of Miao Zhua and the driver behind MZ World Coin. Algela believes that blockchain, AI and social robots will enable project-based learning, putting the student at the centre of learning, so that learning needs are initiated by students rather than the teacher or the school system. Learning is by searching, learning is by doing …and students can be more involved in social change and in problem solving…this is what Angela firmly believes in.
The first day of the conference ended on a cheerful note, with everyone enjoying the cocktail party, getting to know each other, speaking about their projects in a casual way, and discussing the latest developments in the blockchain and crypto space.
On 29th of April, the conference was open exclusively to entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to Jane Zhang and a panel of experts. These projects were very diverse, ranging from creating a dashboard for crypto portfolios, tokenising Central London real estate to protecting our identities on the Internet! Overall, of the eleven pitches Shellpay selected three promising ventures. These lucky ventures were given an opportunity to present their ideas to Shellpay in not so distant future and in much more depth so that they, hopefully, receive support and funding. Even the founders of the projects that were not selected spoke very highly of the opportunity to expose their ideas to Shellpay. Mind you, they received a fair share of grilling from Jane…and we all know she can do it!
The feedback from the conference was nothing short of astounding:
“The pitch was very interesting to me, it didn’t go too well for me but they were industry leaders sitting there who have much more expertise on how to disrupt the market, what new startups supposed to bring in”.
“Overall the pitch was amazing, the event was remarkable, the whole experience was tremendous. Thank you Planet Blockchain for organising such event”.
“My pitch was not so good, because we were pitching the applications, but Skyledger team was looking for protocols. It was very interesting to learn why we should invest in protocols, not the applications. Thank you Planet Blockchain and Jane for giving me this opportunity”.
Dubai is certainly looking forward to hosting yet another SkyLedger conference!