Summer Getaway at the Magna Carta Island Blockchain Forum

Britain has seen temperatures edge towards new highs and many feeling that you do not have to go far to have a getaway in the sun.

Wednesday 24th of July was the day which saw UKDE hold the Magna Carta Innovation Series: The 2nd China-UK Blockchain Application Forum in partnership with the Magna Carta Innovation Centre, with the support of Cocoon Global.

Following the success of our inaugural Innovation Forum, there was much desire for the second to be held sooner, and with a greater range of professionals, investors and experts from areas concerned with innovation, technology, venture capital, ethics and regulation.

The event was a light, social affair – Magna Carta Island being more akin to a countryside getaway, with a beautiful green surrounding, the River Thames being feet away, and refreshments, including the first ever tokenised craft beer, courtesy of Florian Krueger of the Craft Coin Company, a potential partner of UKDE, with there being potential to list their coin Craft Beer Coin on their UKEX platform.

Once the guest had all gathered and had the time to socialise in the spacious rear garden, they proceeded to the conference room.

Professor Yu Xiong, of Northumbria University and Chair of the Magna Carta Innovation Centre, returned as the host of the forum, highlighting the parallels between the significance of the Magna Carta and the nature of blockchain technology. Greater freedom and ownership of your own information is a driving force behind the want to move away traditional structures and secrecy of big industry, mentioning a hope for the island to become a new, modern symbol of freedom.

With the event started, it was time to move onto the first speaker, Dr. Robert Learney of Digital Catapult, and his talk titled “Making Blockchain Happen”. Digital Catapult are not a fintech agency. Their job is to help accelerate connections of large and small corporations in the UK, and offered insight into the blockers to the grand transformation of the technology. There are arguments that regulators and businesses have slow to adapt, but there is movement, and these barriers could be reduced in time.

The second speaker, James Dodd, founder of The Witness Corporation offered a unique perspective as a physicist’s view on blockchain, and how change over decades create very different worlds, leaving the possibility to blockchain to be a part of that world.

Shahad Choudhury of OpenBrix followed and engaged the crowd with his youthful and humorous presentation style, outlining where the industry goes wrong when selling blockchain to the consumer, “Don’t sell blockchain. Sell the properties of blockchain,” as although the wider public don’t know what blockchain is, they do care about the properties which benefit them – in the case of his talk the benefit was the it creates a community and cuts out the middlemen, using the online property market and the listing fees passed onto the buyer as an example.

The idea of selling the benefits of blockchain continued, as UKDE’s Guoyu Du presented the UKEX Pay Card, and the seamless integration with fiat and cryptocurrencies that they offer – providing a vehicle to make cryptocurrencies more accessible to the mainstream.

The esteemed Eric Van der Kleij founder of incubation hubs Level39 and recently the Frontier Network brought a masterclass of charisma to the event, instantly engaging with the audience, and showing great interest in the speakers before him, asking questions about their talks, before discussing the tokenised asset economy and its opportunities for collaboration.

Jeff Hancock of getFIFO spoke of what was stopping mass adoption of cryptocurrencies, saying that pipe dreams create an unrealistic image, hundreds of ICOs present at the height of the 2017 bubble being gone doesn’t help the perception of it being “scammy”.

When discussing how crypto and distributed ledger technology can be used for the better, he mentioned the capabilities to airdrop donations to any homeless person, so you can make sure your money is going to the right places.

0bsnetwork’s Srdjan Kupresanin spoke about their work with clients, using a case study of how asset tokenisation has been used to help grow a company in need of capital, which sparked many questions from the audience. He then gave a demo of his Argomex platform, developed for Serbian agricultural traders; with the benefit of the platform being that it overcomes the difficulty of search query data from blockchain.

After the break, Syrus Lohrasb of the China-Britain AI Summit / China-Britain Business Fusion gave great insight into AI, the brain drain the US universities and that China should be looking into the social side of AI more.

The focus was then shifted to regulation, as Jennifer Ewing discussed just how important regulation is for companies and the how cultural differences can get in the way, as seen in Razlin’s work to help companies in emerging markets list and gain investors in the UK and EU countries, which carry more rules and harsher punishments.

James Borley of Fscom shared his expertise of the FCA and the want cryptocurrency firms have to be FCA authorised, the current problem being that they don’t count cryptoassets as money and are struggling to work out how to handle DLT, as their process isn’t as advanced as Gibraltar and Malta.

The talk of Malta and their claim of being “Blockchain Island” continued with Peter Meli of Mala Enterprise who spoke of regulations and that they’re in the process of organising more events to promote Malta – although more interested in blockchain space rather than crypto.

Tom Duncan of Goodbanc promoted blockchain for the cultural good, and their aim to accelerate the carbon drawdown, using a nexus of finance into green bonds with the assistance of blockchain payments to get money to the right people and achieve policy objectives around water and carbon.

The event was closed by Jie Chen of Global Travel Phone, speaking of their venture, Barsa – China’s first international offshore accelerator and their role in setting up angel fund schemes, something important for a country seen as being one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world.

The Magna Carta Innovation Series has continued to be a space where multiple arms of the industry are able to connect and perhaps create new relationships.

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