One of the largest Blockchain-related events took place in London from the 20th to the 26th of January, organised by Fintech Worldwide and attracting a host of blockchain-focused companies from around the world.
A hackathon event from the 20th to the 22nd saw a bloom of brilliant ideas taking stage, with one of the winners tickling my fancy with its sheer simplicity yet overwhelming real-world scenario usage. The idea revolved around a machine built using a solar-powered Raspberry Pi with a fingerprint sensor connected to a blockchain network. Its main use is the creation of digital identities in remote areas, with Papua New Guinea being used as a pilot example in the demonstration where thousands of people remain unidentified and invisible to public officials and registries. Registration itself is simple - the user needs to swipe their finger on the sensor, enter a few details, and his/her identity is registered onto his/her mobile phone SIM card. The data is then verified and stored onto the blockchain and hence runs in an automated manner. I was extremely impressed and look forward to seeing any possible implementation of it.
Blockchain-related conferences took place on the 23rd and the 24th, with various economic, commercial, technological and legal facets tackled throughout both days. I participated in the legal and compliance panel, where we discussed whether regulation can ever hope to keep up with the brisk advancements in blockchain technology. My final recommendation was to wait for it to develop further, protect the gateways between fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies, and settle on self-regulation in the interim.
Several workshops ran throughout the remainder of the week, and ideas were shared and exchanged on how the blockchain can be used in various industries, along with coding tutorials mainly focusing on Ethereum smart-contracts.
All in all, it was a well-run event and serves as a testament to the growing importance of the blockchain technology.