West Tech Fest 2018: Focus on blockchain, not on crypto prices

Katie McDonaldKatie McDonaldDecember 7, 2018
Global Blockchain focus at West Tech Fest

Blockchain entrepreneurs and influencers from around the world gathered in Perth, Western Australia earlier this week for the 2018 West Tech Fest, with industry applications rather than cryptocurrency price movements headlining the agenda.

Hosted by the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC), Blockchain Central presented a range of speakers and panel discussions exploring how blockchain could solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

From energy efficiency and creating transparency across governments, to boosting mining and resources activities, bringing the agricultural sector into the digital age and empowering the underbanked, speakers highlighted the endless opportunities blockchain can bring.

But misinformation is hampering progress in the blockchain space.

“Misinformation is probably the biggest challenge at this point,” GBBC COO Mercina Tillemann told Coincast News.


“Given the initial applications of blockchain technology and some of the less positive news you hear about cryptocurrency, that has meant that there’s just a circuit of misinformation and the effort we have to expend to counteract that is significant.

“GBBC has three main pillars; education, advocacy and partnership and we’ve spent probably more time on the education piece than we anticipated because it is such a paradigm shifting and novel technology.”Click To Tweet

Tillemann said in her work, she found people were generally receptive to learning about blockchain as they could understand the potential it held in creating more efficient and sustainable solutions.

“It’s a new technology, so you hear a lot about challenges related to scalability and where the technology is now – it’s changing so quickly,” Tillemann said.

“We’re a global organisation so one of the best things about my job is the comparative analysis. We visit massive corporates from around the world and governments of all sizes, we see where they are deploying the technology, what’s working, what’s not and we’re able to share the best practices through these conversations.”

Events are another platform GBBC uses to educate, with Perth part of a series of Blockchain Central events, previously held at the  2018 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting and the UN General Assembly.

“The West Tech Fest is a hotspot for innovation and Australia has been a really important place for Blockchain technology; the regulation here has been more thoughtful and comprehensive than we’ve seen in other jurisdictions,” Tillemann said.

Blockchain investor and Bitfury board member Bill Tai said it was time for people to look beyond the Bitcoin hype.

“Blockchain is a very exciting foundational space,” Tai told Coincast News.

“In my lifetime of investing we’ve basically gone from funding things that move electrons a little better, to moving bits on the internet a little better, and now to moving assets a lot better.

“So I think this (blockchain) is a quite a big wave, we’re in a for a 30 to 50-year value creation wave that is pretty monstrous.”Click To Tweet

DigitalX, Power Ledger and AgriDigital were just some of the Australian-based blockchain-focused companies that presented at the 2018 West Tech Fest week, presented by Curtin University.

The week kicked off with the opening of the Perth Blockchain Centre, a new hub for emerging blockchain and fintech companies.

Located on level 2 at 66 Kings Park Road, the centre is backed by DigitalX and Blockchain Global.

DigitalX CEO Leigh Travers said the hub would support and connect emerging technology companies with investor networks, with Fintech Summer Series an upcoming event.

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