Bitcoin Events hosted the momentous and highly anticipated Blockchain Africa Conference in Johannesburg on 8-9 March 2018.
The conference was held at Microsoft’s offices in Bryanston, and Microsoft and IBM were the official Partners and Diamond Sponsors. Other sponsors were Telcoin (Platinum sponsor), Centbee, Dimension Data, Standard Bank, ConsenSys, Aion and BankservAfrica (Gold sponsors). This was the fourth sold-out conference hosted by Bitcoin Events.
More than 400 delegates from 23 countries attended the conference. The speakers and delegates came from Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Ghana, Mauritius, Tanzania, South Africa, USA, UK, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Boznia and Herzegovina, Singapore, Brazil, UAE, Israel, India, Argentina, Hong Kong, Nicaragua and Australia.
The conference focused primarily on the opportunities that blockchain technology offers individuals and institutions. It looked at how blockchain companies such as Ripple, Rootstock, ConsenSys, uPort, Wala, BitPesa, ProsperiProp, Luno, as well as large tech firms such as IBM and Microsoft are using blockchain technology for identity, cross-border settlements and payments, remittances, financial inclusion, property investment, and Blockchain as a Service (BaaS).
The importance of ‘smart lawyers’ who understand smart contracts was also an important topic discussed by Alexia Christie from the well-known legal firm Webber Wentzel. Tanya Knowles, Managing Executive of Fractal Solutions, a Division of Strate (Pty) Ltd, talked about how Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) could radically change capital markets in future. Well-known, local exchange’s CEO Marcus Swanepoel discussed ‘Unbanking the Banked’. This topic is very relevant as the advent of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will disrupt financial institutions and allow individuals to transact without the need for a trusted third-party such as a bank.
The conference also highlighted the need for regulation in the ICO and cryptocurrency market. The panel discussion on the second day, moderated by Blockchain Lead at RMB/The Foundery Farzam Ehsani, looked at how cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology should be regulated and what examples of regulation exist in other countries. The panel also discussed whether central banks would issue their own central bank issued cryptocurrencies in future.
Opportunities such as a huge need for financial inclusion in Africa point to the significance of these conferences on African soil.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Stefan Thomas - Chief Technology Officer at Ripple
Andrew Keys - Head of Global Business Development at ConsenSys and Co-founder of ConsenSys Capital
Marta Piekarska - Director of Ecosystem at Hyperledger
Farzam Ehsani - Leader of Rand Merchant Bank’s Blockchain Initiative
John McLean - VP Global Blockchain Labs Engagement, Industry Platform at IBM
Tanya Knowles - Managing Executive of Fractal Solutions, a Division of Strate (Pty) Ltd
IBM is a leading global technology and solutions provider and the world’s largest consulting organization. Reinvention is a keyword in the company’s history and, today IBM is emerging as a cognitive solutions and cloud platform company. After a century of contributing to Africa’s development, IBM is part of the continent’s technological fabric, business and community. IBM has considered South Africa to be one of its key markets since the inception of its first office in 1952. As a technology leader, IBM works with clients, business partners and independent software vendor communities to address Africa’s key priorities.
Microsoft develops, markets and sells a broad range of products for personal computing, development tools and languages, application software, systems.
Telcoin is a new cryptocurrency based on the Ethereum blockchain that will be distributed and accepted by telecom operators, therefore available to billions of users worldwide without extra registration, only using their mobile phones.
Dimension Data is a company specialising in information technology services. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, the company maintains operations on every inhabited continent. Dimension Data focuses on services including network integration, security and data centers.
BankservAfrica is an automated clearing house located in Johannesburg, South Africa and operates both nationally and within Africa. Annually processing billions of transactions valued at trillions of South African rand; BankservAfrica’s clients include banks, corporates, government and the retail sector.
Aion is a third generation blockchain network designed to address unsolved questions of scalability, privacy, and interoperability in blockchain networks.
Bitcoin adoption is slower than it otherwise might be. This is mainly due to the complicated apps that are available on the market today. Centbee provides a simple bitcoin payment solution for users and merchants and aims to bring Bitcoin to the mainstream.
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