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Chinese Crypto Bans on WeChat Accounts, Events, and Exchanges: What Happened and Why

This week, the government of China has cracked down on crypto-related WeChat accounts, blockchain events and digital asset exchanges, solidifying its negative stance on cryptocurrency trading and the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market.

WeChat ban and PBoC’s warning against ICOs

On Aug. 22, Cointelegraph reported that WeChat, China’s biggest messaging app that has over 1 billion active monthly users, banned the accounts of cryptocurrency investors, users and businesses.

At the time, Lanjinger, a local financial media outlet, reported that the accounts of Deepchain, Huobi News, Node Capital-backed Jinse and CoinDaily were suspended or taken down permanently, as they violated its policy entitled “Interim Provisions on the Development of Public Information Services for Instant Messaging Tools” by promoting ICOs and cryptocurrency trading.

While CoinDaily confirmed that its WeChat channel with more than 100,000 subscribers was suspended by WeChat, Leonhard Weese, the president of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, said to Cointelegraph that many accounts — destined to have been temporarily or permanently suspended — were actually taken down due to other sensitive subjects outside of crypto:

“They got blocked for talking about the vaccination scandal, not because of crypto. We find this counterintuitive, but reporting on scandals like that is far more sensitive than talking about crypto or doing crypto. I expect them to have their accounts reinstated in a week or a month.”

Expert argues WeChat ban is unrelated to crypto

In late July, the Chinese medical industry was involved in a major scandal after the country’s main drug industry watchdog released its findings that accused two pharmaceutical firms of developing inferior vaccines and deceiving local regulators.

Specifically, Changsheng Biotechnology was said to have released falsified data on the sale of more than a quarter million ineffective diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus vaccinations, as Fortune reported.

Weese argued that, given the magnitude of the scandal in China and the global medicine sector, it is more likely that apart from the case of large-scale cryptocurrency accounts like CoinDaily, Deepchain, and Huobi News, most of the accounts that were banned by WeChat were involved in spreading misinformation about the scandal.

But, as one WeChat official confirmed to Lanjinger, the Chinese government vowed to take a stricter approach in cracking down on ICOs and token sales, and Chinese social media platforms will continue to shut down the accounts of individuals and businesses that are utilized to promote and advertise ICOs in the Chinese market, which were banned by the government in late 2017.

“[Accounts were permanently shut down for being] suspected of publishing information related to ICOs [initial coin offerings] and speculations on cryptocurrency trading,” the official said.

In a statement obtained by South China Morning Post (SCMP), the Huobi team denied that the ban of its account was related to the government’s restriction of cryptocurrency, but rather by the “broad action targeting industrial media” by WeChat.

Facebook blockchain initiative to affect China relationship?

In July 2018, Facebook, which was banned in China in 2008obtained a license to operate an office in China. The social media conglomerate has opened a $30 million subsidiary called Facebook Technology in Hangzhou to finance emerging startups and technology-related initiatives.

“We are interested in setting up an innovation hub in Zhejiang to support Chinese developers, innovators and start-ups,” Facebook told Verge in a statement.

Given the rumors around Facebook wanting to introduce its own cryptocurrency to the global market, it remains unclear whether Facebook’s supposed idea of integrating cryptocurrencies or launching its own blockchain platform could impact its current relationship with the Chinese government.

Chinese social media platforms like Baidu and WeChat have not seen any rumors in both domestic and international cryptocurrency communities regarding cryptocurrency and blockchain-related initiatives, possibly to avoid any conflict with local financial regulators.

PBoC issues warning against ICOs

On Aug. 25, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the central bank of the country, issued a warning against ICOs, firmly declaring that raising funds through token sales is illegal in the country. The PBoC and local financial authorities added in an official announcement that it was difficult to track and monitor transactions made through ICOs, even if the token sales are done domestically.

“The funds for these illegal activities are mostly overseas, and supervision and tracking are very difficult.”  

The PBoC further emphasized that, while the country has encouraged the development and commercialization of blockchain technology, ICOs cannot be considered to be legitimate operations or developments on the blockchain. The document reads:

“Such activities are not really based on blockchain technology, but rather the practice of speculative blockchain concepts for illegal fundraising, pyramid schemes and fraud. The main features are as follows:

  1. Risk of illegal activities, unregulated overseas markets and inability to track or monitor transactions made in ICOs.
  2. Deceptive, opaque and concealed fundraising methods, relying on celebrities and influencers to manufacture hype around investments to tempt investors.
  3. Illegal operations like profit-generating pyramid schemes and creating Ponzi schemes by describing them as ‘financial innovations.’”

Sheng Songcheng, an adviser to the People’s Bank of China, also confirmed to state-owned publication ce.cn that the government has decided to strengthen its ban on ICOs, banning public accounts, channels and communication platforms utilized to spread information about token sales.

Rise of OTC trading, Alipay takes notice

In December of last year, during the peak of the cryptocurrency market, when the combined valuation of all of the digital assets in the market totaled at $900 billion, China’s National Committee of Experts on Internet Financial Security — a government-backed research group — reported that the volume of the over-the-counter (OTC) Bitcoin market was rapidly increasing.

“Over-the-counter trading is booming. This warrants further attention,” the researchers said.

At the time, speaking to South China Morning Post, biggest mainstream publication in Hong Kong, Weese said that Telegram has been the go-to platform for large OTC trades due to the connections between local financial authorities and the operators of WeChat, but that a small portion of investors were still using the Chinese messaging platform. Weese explained:

“Telegram is very popular for large, over-the-counter trades. While WeChat is used by the less paranoid.”

Operators of various cryptocurrency exchanges and OTC platforms — including Tidebit — confirmed the rise in activity in the Bitcoin OTC market, stating that investors who could no longer trade within the Chinese market have started to explore peer-to-peer alternatives to invest in the asset class.

This week, Alipay — the most widely utilized fintech platform in China, with a 90 percent market share and a $150 billion market valuation — formally banned OTC trading on the Alipay network, preventing users of the Alipay mobile app to initiate transactions for Bitcoin or digital asset purchases.

Red Li, a cryptocurrency researcher and the founder of Chinese cryptocurrency community 8BTC, revealed that Alipay has begun the process of shutting down accounts involved in OTC Bitcoin trading, most likely due to the government’s request for banks and financial networks to shut down all possible payment channels that could be used to send funds to cryptocurrency trading platforms.

A rough translation of the statement released by Alipay disclosed the intention of the company to permanently ban any account that is reasonably suspected of funding Bitcoin exchanges to invest in the cryptocurrency space.

With the prohibition of OTC cryptocurrency trading by Alipay, the only channel that is left for local investors to allocate funds into the cryptocurrency market is the Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange market.

Given that investors in China still send millions of dollars to Hong Kong shell companies’ bank accounts to purchase multi-million dollar properties on the Hong Kong real estate market, the possibility of investing through Hong Kong digital asset trading platforms with local bank accounts still exists.

But, due to the country’s strict capital controls and the government’s newly implemented initiative to track down savings and brokerage accounts utilized to evade taxes, it could become even more difficult to send money out of China to overseas markets.

Ban of crypto events

This week, Binance — the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume — had to cancel a cryptocurrency-related event in Beijing on August 23, as the government announced a ban on commercial blockchain conferences and meetups.

The local government of the Chaoyang District in Beijing revealed that it has informed hotels and other large-scale venues in the country that they are not allowed to host events that are related to cryptocurrency and blockchain, as part of its larger initiative to completely crackdown on ICOs and distributed fundraising.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, a Binance spokeswoman said that she was not aware of the closure of the event because the exchange hosts many events across the world.

“We have so many meetups around the world, and [they] may be canceled due to any reason.”

The People’s Daily, the publication operated by the Communist Party, reported that so-called venture capital-backed media outlets in China have made a significant fortune by creating hype around ICOs, but it is unsure whether the publications will be able to continue promoting ICOs in the long term. The publication could lead investors to believe that local authorities may target independent media outlets that promote ICOs in the months to come.

“These ‘media’ outlets have made huge fortunes in the speculative waves of cryptocurrencies, but due to their nature, it’s doubtful how long their barbaric growth can keep on going.”

Conclusively, in the past two months, the government of China has allocated the majority of its resources to strengthening its ban on cryptocurrency trading and the ICO market.

Given the censorship practiced by WeChat, Alipay and other platforms, along with Beijing’s ban on crypto events, it is likely that the country will see a decline in the adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development, which is ironic, as China has spent more than $3 billion in funding blockchain projects this year.

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Blythe Masters: Business Blockchain Won't Be 'Winner-Takes-All'

Speaking to an audience in New York City on Thursday, Digital Asset CEO Blythe Masters and R3 founder and CEO David Rutter worked hard to cast their projects not as applications but as entire ecosystems for developers to build apps of their own.

Rutter and Masters took the stage during the first session of the Synchronize 2018 event. For Masters and Digital Asset, the fireside chat was an opportunity to showcase a new developer program built around the startup’s smart contract scripting language, DAML (which stands for Digital Asset Markup Language).

“The reality,” Masters said, “is that not all smart contracts are created equal, and some are not entirely smart.” She added that “simply building guardrails” is a powerful tool to prevent catastrophes arising from poorly coded smart contracts.

Masters was alluding to the hack and subsequent collapse of The DAO, the ethereum-based funding vehicle that fell apart in 2016 following a debilitating code exploit.

Indeed, both chief executives spoke about the need for outside input – and development – for their respective platforms.

Rutter said that “we aspire to be the internet for finance and if you want to do that you’re not going to do it with 175 people and $120 million,” and Masters, on the question of interoperability, said “we need cooperation” in order to connect the different types of technology platforms being created. 

“I don’t think it’s going to be a winner-takes-all outcome,” she went on to say.

In addition to security and reliability, the discussion focused on confidentiality.

“When you’re talking about markets where trillions of dollars are traded every day,” Rutter said, confidentiality is incredibly important. R3’s Corda platform and Digital Asset, he continued, “are going to create innovation in financial services for the first time in our lives.”

For both platforms, however, the most important thing is cultivating a community of developers to build on top of the base-level ledger.

“We don’t think the proprietary vertical stack is the way to go,” said Rutter, adding that firms that pursue that outcome “will pay the price.”

Image by David Floyd for CoinDesk

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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NEO [NEO] Cryptocurrency: Events Filling Out the April Calendar

April is certainly a very event-packed month for the formerly known as Antshares or community called The Chinese Ethereum: NEO, with the most concentration dropping on the extended tour to take place in Europe. But, the beginning of the fourth month was the same as February and March with bears having their say throughout the market in general with no exception.

NEO Trading

The weekly declining trend line has been cleared out on April 2nd, but its going to be tested in the upcoming day so recommended to stay on the lookout for the $45.00 mark if it holds ground for the value not to drop lower. Source: coinmarketcap.

The official monthly development report was released by the NEO council in which very highlighted was the Development Competition that was run in conjunction with Microsoft. In the data of the report it is noted out that around 500 projects were showcased, from which 50 were cleared at first check.

There were also updates on the KPN and City of Zion consensus nodes. They were said to have run the testnet uninterrupted for two months.

According to the stated report, the upgraded version of NEO-CLI has been released which will have its business with a P2P bug which impacted on slowing block times. This involved v2.7.3 and v2.7.4 of the CLI. However, with request by many exchanges, the council states that the release of the v2.7.1 was skipped because of the above mentioned purpose.

During the first-ever NEO Hackathon, the NEOspace project claimed first prize. The NEOspace project was a Smart Contract aimed at leasing office space to users but based on how much time one needed the space.

As it looks like, April will be as exciting as February and March was for NEO. During these months, NEO hosted 28 events that were meet-ups and workshops all around the Asia-Pacific part of the globe.

NEO is embarking on an extensive tour of Europe after completing a highly successful one of the APAC. The Amsterdam event, dubbed the biggest in Europe, will kick off on 14th of April. The event will be hosted by the NEO Council at DelaMar Theater. During the NEO Amsterdam Summit, more than 10 presentations will be taking place, including projects based on the NEO Ecosystem like VDT.Network and Ontology. The continent will be traversed by the tour with Lisbon coming right after Amsterdan on April 16. Afterwards: Madrid, Paris, Vienna and Zurich.

Accordingly during the Event-Month, highlights like NEO XQRC Hackathon will be held on 13th April in Tokyo and a listing on the Cobinhood on 30th April of the NEO Token.

For starters – NEO is attempting to create an infrastructure for a smart economy which targets making ownership of non-digital assets more verifiable, connected in general and more transparent.

-Digitizing, “real-world assets… enabling registration, depository, transfer, trading, clearing and settlement via a peer-to-peer network.” – based on the whitepaper.

Which means that the ownership of assets like vehicles, houses or any physical possessions willo be recorded on the blockchain in which case the ownership is given the opportunity to be connected to digital identities through smart contracts. Smart contracts – self executable contracts based on the blockchain platform that go live only specific conditions are met.

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Crypto Should Try Self-Regulation, CFTC Commissioner Says

Regulators are here to stay.

That was a common thread in the conversations Wednesday at Yahoo Finance’s cryptocurrency event in New York.

Whether that’s a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion. But even for those wary of government oversight, it’s perhaps a less unpleasant thought in light of the previous day’s hearing before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, where the chairmen of the SEC and the CFTC expressed a generally open attitude toward crypto.

Against that backdrop, Brian Quintenz, a member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, pointed out that the Tuesday hearing was free of the scaremongering pronunciations that some in the ecosystem perhaps expected.

“One of the other takeaways from yesterday was you didn’t hear either chairman say ‘no, absolutely not, this is not safe, we must stop this at all costs.’ No one said that,” Quintenz said at the Yahoo event during an onstage interview with CoinDesk managing editor Marc Hochstein.

Noting that any congressional action to fill in jurisdictional gaps identified by the SEC and CFTC will likely take a long time, the commissioner called on the industry to consider forming a self-regulatory organization.

Successful examples of this model include the Financial Regulatory Industry Authority and the National Futures Association, he said.

Quintenz went on to add:

“We don’t want to be saying no to innovators, or to advancing technology.”

Speakers drawn from the startup ecosystem likewise struck diplomatic notes toward regulation.

Adam White, general manager of the Coinbase-operated digital asset exchange GDAX, said that government oversight was something the company welcomed.

“I think we embrace regulation at Coinbase,” he said. “We recognize that regulations are a complementary part of the financial system in many ways.”

Ripple’s ‘revolution’

Similarly, Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, stressed his company’s longtime friendly posture toward regulators (which made it stand out from the libertarian early adopters of bitcoin), saying:

“I don’t think the US dollar’s going away in my lifetime. I don’t think the US government’s going away in my lifetime. The revolution isn’t happening outside the system. The revolution’s going to happen inside the system.”

For others, including BitPesa CEO Elizabeth Rossiello, regulation is an everyday reality, especially for businesses that serve as bridges between cryptocurrencies and government-issued money.

“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have regulation. But in the real world, my customers ask me: ‘Do we work with companies which [comply with investor rules]?” she said.

On the investor side, speaker Alex Sunnarborg, founding partner of hedge fund Tetras Capital, described how lack of regulatory oversight could have a significant impact, for example in Simple Agreements for Future Tokens. What if those future tokens are never delivered?

“The big fear there is you enter into a SAFT which gives you a discount or allocation into a sale in the future … but the sale [doesn’t happen],” he said. 

Image of Brian Quintenz (right) by Nikhilesh De for CoinDesk

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has ownership stakes in BitPesa, Coinbase and Ripple.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

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Amidst Chaos, ‘First US-China’ Blockchain Conference Connects 1500 Eager Attendees

The Blockchain Connect conference, which took place on Friday, Jan. 26 in San Francisco, did not get off to a strong start. However, the content of the panels, talks, and informal meetings that took place that day arguably delivered for the 1500 attendees.

The event, hosted in part by media company SV Insight, was designed to unite Blockchain communities in the US and China and attracted more attendees than the organizers — or rather the venue itself — could handle.

Yi Lu, Chief Growth Officer and one of the founders of SV Insight, admitted that the number of people who actually attended was overwhelming, stating, “[the] content is very good…But we didn’t expect so many people, it’s totally too many people.”

The venue, a classical European structure leftover from a 1915 art exhibition, has a theater meant to hold about 900 patrons. 1500 tickets were sold for the event.

Lu added that there were an additional 800 people on the event’s waitlist who did not receive tickets.

The ticket discrepancy meant that many of the conference attendees, who had paid from 500 to 1000 dollars for the event, were not allowed into the theater to hear the speakers in person and were forced to watch from the “overflow room,” which was unheated and had a bad sound system.

Strict room occupancy standards, enforced by the Fire Marshal and a number of security guards, often stranded conference attendees in whatever room in which they found themselves.

A massive open room that doubled as the overflow room and an exhibit space was filled with booths promoting Blockchain-based companies, including BlockShow, Cointelegraph’s partner Blockchain event company, offering steeply discounted tickets to their next event.

Those lucky enough to initially be seated in the theater were able to hear a range of panel discussions, with topics spanning from the problems of token valuation and Blockchain investment strategies, to scalability and the language of math.

Charlie Lee and Tim Draper set the tone

Litecoin creator Charlie Lee unexpectedly opened the conference as the first keynote speaker, after the virtually present venture capitalist Tim Draper’s pre-recorded introductory video failed to start.

Lee’s opening talk centered on explaining the details of his latest idea, first announced earlier this month, for a new kind of fee market for Litecoin.

During the Q&A after his talk, Lee discussed what he sees as the purpose of altcoins, but also made a point of noting Bitcoin (BTC)’s “gold standard.” status, dominance as a first mover and superiority in terms of security and decentralization, twice declaring: “Bitcoin will be the king of crypto for as long as I can tell.”

China and the US connect

Blockchain Connect set out to bridge the gap between Blockchain and crypto communities in the US and China, countries which are both large players in the industry.

SV Insight’s Lu called China and the US “powerhouses” in Blockchain, stating that the conference was intended to set a tone for the future of Blockchain. When asked if there was a possibility for a similar conference to be held in China, a country that had banned crypto exchanges and ICO funding in September 2017, Lu was positive but not overly optimistic:

“If we got a chance, and if the policy was allowed, we would definitely do that [hold an event in China.]”

Perhaps because of current regulatory situation in China, Blockchain Connect’s American location was an attractive place for Blockchain experts to gather from the two countries.

Kavita Gupta, Founding Managing Partner at New York-based ConsenSys, said that one of the main reasons she agreed to be a panelist at the conference in San Francisco was the ability for her to meet with companies from China and Singapore “in [her] own backyard:” She noted:

“[This is] one of the first initiatives to bring Asia within the US economy, because Asia is one of the biggest pillars of what token economics is, even after China banning it […] all the companies which we invest in, in the US, we want to take them to the exchanges in Asia […] We want to build that ecosystem for our companies.”

China’s regulation, revisited

The final panel discussion on the conference focused particularly on China’s current regulatory environment, offering a fresh take on the topic. The panel’s three participants, all of whom are based in China, noted that the Chinese government actually has a positive, bullish outlook on Blockchain tech long term, and that the bans on trading and ICOs are likely temporary, preemptive measures put in place to bide the government some time.

Yu Lang, the founder and CEO of the platform VeChain, told the audience the September bans were implemented in order to “give more time to regulators to find the right way to regulate.”

Another panel participant Eric Gu, CEO of Metaverse, marketed as China’s first open source public Blockchain, pointed out that the ICO ban was based on an inability to fully understand the market, saying:

“[from the government’s perspective] we can’t distinguish between Ponzi schemes and good projects, so we need to shut them all down for now.”

Gu also stated that the reason the government was trying to bide time with bans before rolling out clear regulations in the crypto space was the simple fact that the Chinese government did not want to set any examples in the industry, but would rather “follow other governments’ lead.”

Blockchain in academia

As part of a research project at UC Berkeley, conference panelist and Computer Science professor Dawn Song is currently building a platform that will incorporate various AI and Blockchain applications, including in healthcare and smart building with IoT technologies.

In conjunction with two other professors from the University’s business and law schools, this semester at Berkeley, Song is also teaching a “first of its kind” interdisciplinary course on Blockchain. Commenting on the student demand for the course, Song stated:

“It’s extremely popular. We’re limited by room capacity, so it’s 70+ students. But it’s a 4:1 ratio, so basically for every four students applying, we can only select one.”

During a period when a Cointelegraph reporter was trapped in the overflow room, she conducted an interview with regional manager Chris Cagle from the South Bay Work Investment Board (SBWIB) and Dr. Jose Navarro Martinez, an associate professor of economics at Cal State Dominguez Hills, about Blockchain in academia.

The two men have partnered for a study, set to be completed in June, on identifying potential career pathways for businesses working with Blockchain, from aerospace to healthcare management. The study will highlight tools that would make both high school and college students more attractive candidates for Blockchain-based companies.

When asked about the specifics of how Blockchain college-level instruction could look, Cagle said:

“They [students] could major in business, and get a certificate in Blockchain.”

The study will also explore the possibility of accessing federal funding that would subsidize training costs, making this type of program available to lower income students.

SV Insight has their own Blockchain education course as well, with 180 students learning Blockchain software development. There were more than 10,000 applicants to the course, which has a selective 10 percent admission rate.

A space for risk

Blockchain Connect took place the same day Cointelegraph broke the story about the massive hack of the Coincheck exchange, in which user funds totalling over $500 million in XEM — losses larger than those during the infamous 2014 hack of Tokyo-based exchange Mt. Gox — were stolen from a low-security hot wallet.

Just after the story came out, Cointelegraph got the chance to speak with Charlie Lee. Lee’s first comment was about the story, joking, “It wasn’t me.”

Lee’s perspective on the risk associated with investing in cryptocurrency — and opting to leave your funds on a third-party service, like Coincheck — was straightforward and to the point. “It’s the nature of the game,” he said, adding that:

“Freedom of money means that you have full control of your money, and if you give your control away to the exchange, they can easily lose it.”

Eric Meltzer, partner at INBlockchain Capital, took a similar view on customer risk during a panel on new crypto trends. In reference to investing in today’s crypto market, Meltzer said he thinks it is important to let investors learn lessons from the market the hard way, stating bluntly:

“You have to let people get wrecked.”

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BlockShow Asia: Everything You Missed

Just a couple weeks ago 1500 blockchain entrepreneurs, experts, investors, and enthusiasts gathered in Singapore at BlockShow Asia, Cointelegraph’s second Blockchain event of the year.

BlockShow

During the event 67 speakers from 20 different countries shared their insights and ideas, and attendees from a variety of backgrounds –from Blockchain to business to finance — met to discuss topics ranging from practical application of Blockchain technology to new ICOs launching right at the event.

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What is BlockShow?

BlockShow is an international event powered by Cointelegraph and centered around innovation in Blockchain technology. The event is more than just a conference — it’s a meeting place, a chance to discover new projects, and an opportunity to showcase your ideas in front of an active and interested audience.

BlockShow

BlockShow brings together entrepreneurs, experts, investors, and enthusiasts searching for exciting new projects and potential partners, as well as exclusive industry announcements and insights.

BlockShow has held two events so far — the first in Munich this past Spring, and the second just last month in Singapore.

What is BlockShow Asia?

BlockShow Asia is the second BlockShow event so far. It took place Nov. 29-30, 2017 in Singapore.

The event included ICOscar (a competition for new Blockchain startups sponsored by WAVES and Crypto Bazar), Hypethon (a chance for 12 select ICOs to jumpstart their funding, sponsored by CryptoFriends), and a place for businesses to show their new products, acquire feedback on various new solutions, and share their thoughts and ideas, both on stage and in informal meetings.

Why Singapore?

Singapore is one of the biggest financial hubs in the world. Both on at the government and private levels the city-state has recently shown serious interest in the Blockchain industry.

BlockShow

One of the events attendees, Simon Dixon, CEO and co-founder of BnkToTheFuture.com, shared his thoughts about the event and the location choice, stating:

“Well you couldn’t have picked a better place in Asia! Singapore is awesome! There is a really great attendance here. Seems like the right diversity of both investors and entrepreneurs and people who are new to the sector. You know we are going through rapid growth at the moment, the prices are at record highs so that’s attracting a lot of people and you’ve done a very good job of putting them all together in Singapore.”

BlockShow Asia highlights

  • 12 new ICOs launched at BlockShow that have collected over $40 mln so far
  • 12 Blockchain startup pitches made during ICOscar (Blockchain startup competition sponsored by WAVES and Crypto Bazar). The ICOscar winner was electrify.asia, a product designed to be the first retail electricity marketplace in Southeast Asia that runs on the Blockchain. They will receive a $20,000 prize and full assistance from WAVES in launching their own ICO.
  • 23 sponsors
  • over 1000 meetings held

BlockShow brings together a healthy combination of seasoned Blockchain entrepreneurs and investors along with newcomers to the crypto space. Reflecting on the diversity of the event, Joshua Lavin, Senior Analyst at ii5 Hong Kong, told Cointelegraph:

“It’s really clear that there is a lot of excitement in the room. In the last year it’s been really terrific to go to conferences and just see more and different types of people starting to get into the crypto space and into the Blockchain world. Having a huge conference like this is really a great way to interact with that and to meet a lot of new fun people.”

For the event Cointelegraph gathered its most brilliant articles of all time, exclusive materials on the latest trends, and crypto-industry statistics in a special glossy edition. A series of interviews with fascinating guests of Blockshow is being published on our site and Youtube channel in order to give you idea of the crypto trends discussed at the venue, and the overall atmosphere reigning there.

Daniel Finn of Smartmesh, one of the ICOs that launched during BlockShow Asia  (and raised 36,000 ETH there!), commented on the overall atmosphere of the event saying,

“It was very exciting to be here. The energy is great. Everyone’s been really interested in both the whole community in general as well as our projects, so it’s been very exciting.”

Considering the success of both BlockShow Europe and Asia this year, the creators of BlockShow aim to hold another series of meetups in Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, Australia, and Europe in the near future.

BlockShow

BlockShow Europe is currently planned for May 2018. Given the thousands of attendees at the past two events this year, the organizers are expecting even more demand for coming events. So stay tuned for more details and be sure to book your tickets in advance.

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Early Bitcoin Buyers Talk Bubbles and Origin Stories at Consensus: Invest

“I think it’s very important to make a distinction between a bubble and a fraud.”

So says Glenn Hutchins, the co-founder of private equity firm Silver Lake and one of the panelists this morning during CoinDesk’s Consensus: Invest event.

Appearing alongside Galaxy Investment Partners CEO Michael Novogratz and Brian Kelly Capital founder Brian Kelly, his remarks came during a wide-ranging discussion that touched on the valuation of tokens, the future of the industry and how both Hutchins and Novogratz first became involved with bitcoin.

For Novogratz – a long-time investor in bitcoin and ethereum who has predicted significant price gains over the next year – the “eureka” moment occurred once he and his partners began to investigate the technology more deeply, after initial purchases.

“So we went from owning BTC to investing in the ecosystem,” he said.

Hutchins quipped that he “bought BTC only as a last resort,” noting that he initially looked at the mining space as a possible place to invest – but in his own words, he “couldn’t figure out who was going to win.” Hutchins, as reported last year, later went on to become a board member for industry investment firm Digital Currency Group.

Yet the bulk of the conversation turned on two approaches to investing in cryptocurrencies: either the assets themselves or the companies working to build products and services around them. As Novogratz noted, it’s “hard” to find a firm working in the space that would have generated as much as a return compared to simply buying the assets themselves.

Novogratz went on to predict that the ecosystem is set for more proliferation of projects, though he posited that there won’t be many “winners” for each use case, citing examples like decentralized cloud storage and ride sharing.

“I don’t think you’re going to have lots of winners in each use case, but you’re going to have lots of different blockchains,” he said.

As might be expected, the conversation later turned to the argument that cryptocurrencies are either a bubble or a “fraud” – the latter argument being advanced most notably by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

For Hutchins, the “fraud” moniker is one that shouldn’t be tossed around so lightly.

“I think it’s very important to make a distinction between a bubble and a fraud. Even when there was a bubble, if you bought the best you would have made money,” he told attendees, adding: “I did not say this is a bubble.”

“I think this is going to become the biggest bubble of our lifetime by a longshot,” Novogratz said in reply, prompting Hutchins to say:

“I want the record to show I didn’t say that.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group.

Image by Nikhilesh De for CoinDesk

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.