The vision, which is the World Economic Forum (WEF), ended in Davos, Switzerland on Friday 27 May. Nearly 3,000 people from more than 110 countries took planes, trains and helicopters to Europe’s highest town to press leaders and push and inquire about the WEF’s agenda.
And while the war in Ukraine was at the forefront during the WEF, climate change played the hero and economic recovery was the girl in need. At the same time, blockchain and cryptocurrency were – at least – supporting roles.
As Makamo Takemiya, CEO of Soramitsu, described at a Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC) meeting in the WEF pedestrian zone, industry leaders and the “financial elite” gathered in Davos. WEF 2022 had “outdoor calls” at the gate in the form of cryptocurrencies and blockchain enthusiasts.
This was the first personal WEF since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the existence of blockchain companies in which many participants were large. Across Davos Avenue, shops and cafes were temporarily turned into showrooms for companies and large corporations while the cryptocurrencies stood their ground.
Alex Fazel, head of co-operation with Swissborg, told the Cointelegraph that “back at WEF 2018, there was only one major event for encryption and numerous other discussions highlighted the dark side of encryption.
In 2022, world leaders and money launderers rubbed shoulders with Crypto House, Blockchain Hub, Polkadot Hub, LAN Space, NFT Shop, GBBC Central, and the Filecoin Foundation – which had turned a former Catholic church into a cryptic conference hall. Prominent at best, it was hard to miss the crypto.
Even WEF itself now has a dedicated website for blockchain technology. In addition, bankers openly discussed digital currencies on a panel in the WEF’s main division. In a video interview with the Davos Cointelegraph, Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple Labs, explained that although cryptography used to be a dirty word, the trend is now “positive”. Garlinghouse told the Cointelegraph that “the existence of cryptography is very different.
Fazel from Swissborg summed up the bubbling cryptocurrency attitude as newcomers and nocoiners (those who have yet to invest in cryptocurrencies) took their first steps into the space. “There was more attendance at Web3 cabins than Web2 like Meta:”
“At WEF 2022, on top of a dozen cryptographic conferences, events and banquets, the cryptographic space between 10-20% of the entire walking area covered the private sector, with the exception of the state pavilions.
Finally, when the CEO of MasterCard is on a blockchain sitting next to Bank for International Settlements investigators and cryptocurrency enthusiasts to openly discuss the collapse of SWIFT, as well as the dawn of digital currency (CBDC), it’s clear that digital currencies have made the mainstream.
For Thierry Aryz Ruiz, CEO of AgAu, the blockchain as the focal point of the WEF itself says: The issue is how the world’s elite controls innovation. Ruiz told the Cointelegraph, “with the CBDC and growing regulation, we could see the darker blockchain program as a control tool.”
Daniela Barbosa, CEO of Hyperledger and a former WEF soldier, agrees with Ruiz. WEF is certainly fond of blockchain technology. However, she also argues that we should not be “afraid” of the CBDC. Barbosa decodes the view in an upcoming Cointelegraph Youtube interview. Subscribe here.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) are frozen out of a desire to separate money from the state – not encourage fiat money. However, WEF, blockchain and cryptography are becoming increasingly complex. Ruiz explained the issue: “Beautiful minds collide with each other, certainly with good intentions” on WEF. However, in view of the looming surveillance concerns, he says that “they can also lead the way to hell if they are unchallenged.” Ruiz warns:
“The pandemic has shown that people too often sacrifice their freedom in exchange for a false sense of security. We will never forget that such a trade will probably lead to the loss of both.
On regulations, during a distributed finance (DeFi) panel discussion moderated by Cointelegraph, Sam Yim, a 1-inch online consultant and former banker, explained that regulation is a high-speed train. “Either you climb on board or step out of the way. Whether it’s good or bad, there’s a regulation on cryptographic space.
On the other hand, management can reassure the curious and meek about the rigidity and longevity of the space. Indeed, for some WEF participants, this was the first time they had encountered cryptography. At the Cointelegraph farewell party held in collaboration with Polygon, Davos stole the coin scene. Party guests were able to spend Davos coins at the bar and enjoy a “seamless delivery experience”, thanks to a pilot project pioneered by Ammer Technology.
Whether the regulations hinder or stimulate growth, the theme of Bitcoin and crypto permeates everyone. In a panel for all women hosted by Kristina Lucrezia Cornèr, editor of Cointelegraph, there were questions such as “Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, who is still a pseudonym, could very well be a woman”.
For some WEF attendees, proximity to power and regulators attending the WEF could gain the upper hand. Nas Daily, Youtuber, a social media influencer and recent cryptographer, told the Cointelegraph he wanted to be on the WEF to be close to regulators.
Related: The head of the United Nations Office sees “great opportunity” in cryptography: WEF 2022
“The real influencers are here. “They are not on your Instagram news feed,” he told the Cointelegraph. He shared his Bitcoin investment strategy with Cointelegraph starting in March – taking his Youtube channel with him on the trip.
Overall, whether the code is the “outsiders” at the gate, a future tool for disposing of the WEF or a path to economic empowerment for all, Davos’ view is that the code is here to stay. When WEF returns to its regular winter service in January 2023, regulation will likely be a burning issue. The question is, what face will it bear?
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