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Innovation Updated: 07 Jun 2018

Blockchain leaders meet in New York to debate future of the technology

Consensus, the Coindesk conference held a week ago in New York, once again showed expectations generated by blockchain and cryptoassets are at their height. More than 8,400 professionals and investors attended the event, which last year had 2,200 visitors.

Among those attending were noted entrepreneurs such as Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter and Square), big techs such as IBM and Microsoft, banks such as BBVA and regulators from Great Britain and Canada.

Cryptocurrencies, the new decentralized models based on tokens and the efficiency brought to the table by distributed ledgers to processes attract talent and money as the New York event showed. At the doors of the conference, super deluxe cars were lined up while The New York Times dedicated a photo report to the meeting as if it were a high-society event.

The coverage was welcomed by the blockchain industry, which still needs a lot of time, resources and investment to reach the maturity that shows its potential with real applications.

Cryptoassets took center stage in the debate. Bitcoin once again grabbed the headlines, particularly due to remarks by Dorsey who said he expects it to become the local currency of the internet. But behind the media noise, there were significant discussions among those looking to create new business models based on tokens.


Economies based on tokens – units of value an organization creates to govern its business model and interact with its products – open a new world of possibilities to create models of decentralized exchanges of goods and services that spark the imagination of companies and startups. Talk of their use to create decentralized applications and for communication between machines was very much to the fore at the Consensus conference.

Professional agreed on the need to create these tokens using robust technology for security reasons and to focus projects on so-called utility tokens rather than those used to acquire a stake in a company and for investment. There is an excess of the latter, according to experts who do not see them as sustainable in the long term.


Despite these challenges, the banking sector has it clear: it has to learn how to use this technology and get ready for the disruption it will bring with it in the future. They agree the sector is at a learning stage essential for the development of new business models.

One of the standout lessons is the importance of choosing the programming language for smart contracts that meets the demands of security and scalability needed in all projects.

The financial sector was also skeptical that decentralized models would work for banking services based on the view that a clear governance policy would always be required. The conclusion was that in such regulated markets, customers always want someone to go to in the case of problems or to resolve conflicts.

With many new ideas, contacts and pilot schemes, the crème de la crème of the blockchain world left New York for home to continue building the future solutions of the so-called internet of value.