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ABOUT THE CONFERENCE

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.

Stefan Thomas, Chief Technology Officer at Ripple, the San Francisco-based blockchain company powering frictionless payments for more than 100 customers worldwide, was the Keynote Speaker at the conference. Stefan produced the popular ‘What is Bitcoin?’ video that introduced millions of users to Bitcoin. He created the first Bitcoin implementation in JavaScript (BitcoinJS) which is used by hundreds of blockchain companies today. Stefan spoke about whether blockchain technology is connecting the world or dividing it. View his presentation here.

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.

Speakers and Panelists

Farzam Ehsani (Master of Ceremonies)

Farzam Ehsani (Master of Ceremonies)

CEO and Co-Founder of VALR.com
Lorien Gamaroff

Lorien Gamaroff

Founder/CEO of Bankymoon and Co-founder/CEO of Centbee
Tanya Knowles (Keynote Speaker & Master of Ceremonies)

Tanya Knowles (Keynote Speaker & Master of Ceremonies)

Country Manager of Binance South Africa
Shergeran Naidoo

Shergeran Naidoo

Head of Stakeholder Engagement at BankservAfrica
John Shipman

John Shipman

PwC Global Head of Cryptocurrencies & Digital Asset Services
Andrew Baker

Andrew Baker

Joint Acting CIO, Head of Infrastructure Services and CIO for CIB, Barclays Africa Group Limited
Dawid de Villiers

Dawid de Villiers

Financial Regulatory Practice at Webber Wentzel
Adrian Hope-Bailie

Adrian Hope-Bailie

Chief Standards Officer at Ripple
Marvin Coleby

Marvin Coleby

Founder and CEO of Raise and Co-Trustee at the African Digital Asset Foundation
Dr Adriana Marais

Dr Adriana Marais

Head of Innovation at SAP Africa
Claude Eguienta

Claude Eguienta

CEO of Telcoin
Aatish Ramkaran

Aatish Ramkaran

Digital Architect at Nedbank
Nerushka Bowan

Nerushka Bowan

Founder of the L.I.T.T. Institute
Llewellyn Morkel

Llewellyn Morkel

Founder of ProsperiProp
Ian Bessarabia

Ian Bessarabia

Market Development Lead - Foreign Exchange, Fixed Income & Innovation - Africa at Thomson Reuters
Naomi Snyman

Naomi Snyman

Blockchain Lead for Standard Bank and Chair for the South African Financial Blockchain Consortium
Chris Hamilton

Chris Hamilton

CEO of BankservAfrica
Helghardt Avenant

Helghardt Avenant

CEO and Co-Founder of Rehive
Matthew Spoke

Matthew Spoke

Founder at Aion
Stefan Thomas

Stefan Thomas

Chief Technology Officer at Ripple
Pelle Braendgaard

Pelle Braendgaard

Engineering Lead at uPort
Marta Piekarska

Marta Piekarska

Director of Ecosystem at Hyperledger
Tricia Martinez

Tricia Martinez

Founder and CEO of Wala
Elizabeth Rossiello

Elizabeth Rossiello

Founder and CEO of BitPesa
Henry Sraigman

Henry Sraigman

Chief Business Development Officer at Rootstock
John McLean

John McLean

VP Global Blockchain Labs Engagement, Industry Platform at IBM
Andrew Keys

Andrew Keys

Head of Global Business Development at ConsenSys and Co-founder of ConsenSys Capital
Dave Martin

Dave Martin

Strategy and Innovation Director at Britehouse a division of Dimension Data
Michael Glaros

Michael Glaros

Principal Program Manager, Azure Blockchain at Microsoft
Alexia Christie

Alexia Christie

Partner at Webber Wentzel

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