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.
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.