Our team attended the first tech meet up of 2018; Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies held at Federation, Manchester last week (16/02). Given that Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies are still a relatively new concept there isn’t a large community in the North West of England so we were looking forward to attending to see what projects were underway.
What is the hype about?
Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies appeared in the mainstream media throughout 2017 mainly due to the extreme price fluctuations of the largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Depending on which media outlet you were using the stories ranged from how Bitcoin had made individuals millionaires through to how it was being used as a method of anonymous payments for the underground.
There is an ever growing community surrounding cryptocurrencies as individuals try to better understand real-world applications and use cases for the underlying technology, Blockchain.
Our team are currently actively working on Ethereum based projects so we’ll provide more insights into how we believe Blockchain technologies will impact digital businesses.
What did we learn at the meet-up?
Given that Blockchain community isn’t particularly established as mentioned earlier I had admittedly formed some preconceptions of the event. If all failed at least there was pizza!
The session appeared to be attended by a mixture of groups; blockchain companies, developers, technology evangelists, investors and free pizza lovers. The diverse nature of the group made for some good conversations and debates.
The event was split into a sessions and provided the opportunity for companies to provide an insight into their ICO (initial coin offering). It was interesting to learn how these young startups had established themselves and accumulated circa £2M in one example of funding.
Two of the guest speakers had specifically flown in for the event from Germany and Cyprus so not only did we hear about local (Manchester/UK) projects but we had the opportunity to gain insights into what is happening in Europe. In Germany for example the government are embracing Blockchain technologies and are actively looking at real-world problems to solve using Ethereum. I initially thought the German view on Blockchain would be that of resistance given that Governments would not be in full control of a decentralized network but quite the opposite.
Another theme of conversation was regulation and what 2018 holds for Blockchain andCryptocurrencies. The general consensus was that regulation on ICO’s would become stricter with companies requiring to share more information and being transparent with their activities. I personally support this, in 2017 there were far too many negative stories where companies had taken ICO money and run. If ICO market is to grow we need the controls in place and investors need to be protected.
As for 2018, well that's anyone's guess however there was a common agreement by most who attended and that was Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies are here to stay but there will be some consolidation. Most agreed that Ethereum would likely replace Bitcoin as the most favourable platform given the concept of Smart Contracts and new network improvements in speed.
In summary a good event and one i’ll look to return back to when it returns to Manchester. We will provide an updated more detailed post on Blockchain and specifically our progress with Ethereum in the near future. If anyone would like anymore information on the session or the subjects mentioned please drop a comment in the post.