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Day 1 recap of Blockchain NZ Conference #TBCNZ17

May 8, 2017
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The day started off with a welcome from Minister Jacqui Dean.

Then Vic Crone from Callaghan Innovation talked briefly about their involvement.

Mark Pascall from 3 Months then gave a great talk on “How to explain explain blockchain at a dinner party, without boring the pants of everyone”. It was interesting and humorous as well with notes such as don’t bring a laptop and a projector to a dinner party!

Paul Salisbury from 3 Months then gave a blockchain 102 and laid the foundation of how blockchain works and some of the details under the hood which was important. He has a very clear and calm voice which drew the audience in and kept their attention.

Then came Pamela Morgan from Third Key Solutions talking about bitcoins, blockchains and smart contracts from lawyers. If Mark brought the humour and Paul bought the voice, Pamela bought the energy! She is a geeky lawyer and was certainly passionate in her message.

After morning tea, Stephen Macaskill, president of the blockchain association of New Zealand talked about why bitcoin matters and the history of money. Stephen also has a calming voice and thinks the word crypto will become synonymous to great or amazing. eg “The conference was so crypto!” Brilliant!

Next was Fran Strajnar from Brave New Coin talking about bitcoin as a new class asset which was interesting. Fran has been building his company with a distributed team from around the world and has a lot of experience in this area.

Grant Anderson from Xero talked about the case of a New Zealand backed digital currency. He called it the Tui. It was an interesting concept and he called from NZ to be first movers in this space to attract the talent and the investment to this buzzing incubation nation.

After lunch Andreas Antonopoulos provided his keynote was again out of the top shelf. He was very clearly a level above everyone else. That is what happens when you’ve delivered over 2000 talks. You get good! He talked about the engineering of money and his analogies were amazing. You’ll see his video on YouTube soon and I would recommend subscribing.

There was a panel discussion after that where the best part was Andreas addressing the elephant in the room. It was hilarious and lead to several audience applause. I will try and get a recording of it because it was legendary!

In the last session there were 2 more speakers. John Halamka from Harvard Medical School. John talked about “The Potential for Blockchain to Transform Electronic Health Records.” and was beamed in live from the States. He will be in New Zealand at the end of June but it was learning about what is happening with medical records was interesting.

James Mansell was the final formal speaker of the day talking about Data Commons.

The final act was an ignite session where 9 people gave 7 minute talks about what they were doing in the blockchain space. Some were fascinating.

– Alex Sims University of Auckland ‘Patents/copyright on the Blockchain’
— Michael Mayall Cookie Time & Nutrient Rescue ‘Decentralising the food supply chain’
— Garrett MacDonald Energy Web Foundation ‘Tokenizing Energy’
— Yoseph Ayele EHF.org ‘The Edmund Hillary Fellowship and Global Impact Visa’
— Lukasz Zawilski NZQA ‘Qualifications in a Digital World’
— Marc Griffiths BlockchainLabs.NZ ‘Value project – Universal Basic Income as a protocol’
— Pamela Morgan Third Key Solutions, USA ‘Protect yourself like a multinational company, on a startup budget’
— Christoph Jentzsch Slock.IT ‘Smart locks and self charging cars’

The day ended with drinks and food at Jack Tar by the waterfront in Auckland with more stories being shared providing everyone a chance to relax their brain and unwind.

Get ready for day 2 tomorrow.

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