Category Archives: blockchain week

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“Show Me The Money”, Say Asian Crypto Investors

At the Blockchain Week recently held in New York, it emerged that two quite distinct differences exist between the Asian crypto market and the West.

In the US, initial coin offerings are about ideas rather than returns and vice versa when it comes to Asia, according to Coindesk interviews conducted at the conference. Asian investors want returns more quickly than US investors, who are in for the long haul, better invested in terms of financial knowledge than quick gains.

“At the very beginning, the information coming from Asia to the US was very limited. We didn’t know what’s really going on,” said Zhuling Chen, co-founder of Aelf, a Singapore startup.

With no real reference point, this resulted in the market evolving in Asia as a separate entity, not part of a Bitcoin or Ethereum ecosystem, but certainly informed by them, followed by Asian banks joining the fray in early 2016.

“Asians love to gamble,” commented Jason Fang from Sora Ventures at the Token Summit 111, one of the Blockchain Week events. Fan added that unlike Western projects, they don’t want to see long lock-up periods, but want their tokens out and realize quick returns.

Fang suggested that Asian investors have one eye on the market, knowing there will always be quick value increase after a coin is released, happy to let them go having made the quick return.”We’re money in, money out in crypto,” he said.

Ricky Li, co-founder of blockchain company Altonomy, told Coindesk that Asians rarely diversify their portfolios over time, again after that quick return:

“US and Europe ICO project teams are more well-invested in terms of financial knowledge… Chinese companies and their neighbors will raise funds in ether and largely maintain those positions, sometimes failing to lock in gain or riding volatility through their whole portfolio.”

“The general view is that a lot of American companies are pushing the boundaries of technological advancement,” Chen said. “In China, it’s slightly more balanced. More companies are looking from a business point of view.”

Nick Tomaino, of VC firm 1confirmation, thought that Asia was arguably the most important part of the world in terms of cryptocurrency, and that the Asian market does mirror Western protocols. He felt, however, that there was a willingness to find common ground between US and Asian companies within the space.

Asian markets very much follow a common theme that is recognizable to all Chinese, that of family, or in terms of business, community, and localization:

“The best way is to have your own project that’s local,” Li concurred. “That’s very appealing to investors in China culturally.”

This, of course, has been affected by the Chinese ICO ban which is now driving companies to towards global business ventures, although this is seen as somewhat of a double-edged sword, giving benefits which weren’t considered before, due to the localized nature of Chinese business.


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Companies Launch Framework to Get Real Estate on Blockchain

Global financial technology company AlphaPoint has used this week’s Blockchain Week in New York to launch its new Regulated Asset-Backed Token (RABT) framework, writes Coindesk.

AlphaPoint, a company that has helped institutions discover and execute their blockchain strategies since 2013, is known for helping institutions make illiquid assets liquid with blockchain technology, according to GlobeNewswire.

Longstanding real estate and private equity firm, Muirfield Investment Partners, have joined with the company in an attempt to use blockchain to introduce more liquidity to the real estate market by developing a token which can be freely traded, whilst remaining compliant with US security laws. Thomas J Zaccagnino, Muirfield’s founder, commented, “By tokenizing a real estate investment vehicle, investors are for the first time, able to freely trade their ownership on regulated secondary exchanges.”

Zaccagnino claims that due to their illiquidity, real estate funds have a defined lifespan and tend to be too highly structured. He hopes that the RABT framework will allow for a “far more innovative and profitable investment vehicle”.

Igor Telyatnikov, AlphaPoint’s COO, said that they would now be able to blend both public blockchains and the tokenization of securities and assets of any type. Although the actual asset won’t be on paper, Alpha pointed out that documentation would be stored using DLT tech, hoping that eventually, everything would go on the blockchain. Also, the software can be used to pay out dividends in order to transfer assets to the correct recipients.

“We can use trusted execution environments and oracles to govern what addresses these assets can be moved to and from and be able to apply the rules and smart logic onto a public blockchain or private blockchain,” explained Telyatnilov.

Salil Donde, AlphaPoint CEO, suggested that tokenized securities represented the “next great wave of blockchain technology.”


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NYC BlockChain Week Under Way with Twitter CEO, Fed President and Snoop Dogg

The inaugural Blockchain Week has come to NYC, courtesy of The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and CoinDesk.

Designed to showcase New York as a rising hub for the blockchain sector, the Midtown gathering, including key event Consensus, could be a more flamboyant affair than it might sound to those unfamiliar with the world of blockchain and digital currency, with more than 100 sponsors such as IBM, SAP and Microsoft Corp.

The expected 8,000 attendees to just one of the week’s events will feature hundreds of speakers, including Twitter Inc CEO Jack Dorsey, Federal Reserve Bank of S. Louis President James Bullard and FedEx Corp CEO Frederick Smith, according to co-sponsors CoinDesk.

The conference is not for the faint-hearted, with ticket prices ranging from USD 1,499 to USD 2,999, reports Bloomberg. Attendees on the first day were greeted by UpHonest Capital’s MK Li sporting a pink button-down shirt with a purple bowtie, clutching a sign which read, ‘Help a fellow VC to pay for this expensive conference!’, protesting what he felt was the ironic price tag of decentralized technology that was meant to purge expensive middlemen.

However, Blockchain Week is appearing to attract a wide spectrum of attendees from across the crypto space.  The opening event on May 10 event, included “a pink-haired woman in a dress suit sat across from a scruffy-bearded man in a jean jacket while crypto heavyweight Mike Novogratz told tales of meeting with Deutsche Bank AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc”, according to Bloomberg.

Transport of choice for some appears to be the iconic Italian icon, the Lamborghini, many of which were seen roaring through midtown Manhattan towards the conference venue, hired at a cost of around USD 1,000 a day.

The after parties when the week winds to a close will include a bash hosted by Ripple featuring a gig by Snoop Dogg at a secret location in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.


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New York Pursues Initiatives to Become Blockchain Industry Hub

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced on Monday several initiatives that pursue ambitions of becoming a blockchain technology hub.

In time for NY Blockchain Week

With Blockchain Week now underway in New York, city leaders have announced details of their plans for the municipality. The most significant is the development of what is being called a Blockchain Center. This would be purpose-built to educate and raise awareness of the technology, while also providing a space for industry stakeholders to convene.

New York Sate’s BitLicense regulations have received much criticism on the grounds of contributing to a hostile policy stance that has been driving away startups. Should the center be assembled as planned, it would promote a positive regulatory environment for the state, addressing the issues caused by the BitLicense regulations.

In another part of the blockchain initiative, NYCEDC co-sponsored a hackathon in Times Square over the weekend. Participants competed to find blockchain-based solutions for tracking food supplies for farmers markets, similar to the trending real-world use of blockchain in the food supply chain.

The proposal from city leaders also presented plans to launch a competition towards the end of the year, with candidates supplying their own innovations regarding the use of blockchain technology within New York’s service sectors.

The NYCEDC is also a co-sponsor of New York Blockchain Week, alongside cryptocurrency news outlet CoinDesk. The events offered around the city include the Consensus Conference, with lectures held by prominent industry figures, and a free job fair on Wednesday at the Hilton, Midtown.

NYCEDC VP Karen Bhatia spoke out on her ambitions for the city, and the potential industries blockchain could prove a beneficiary of. “We saw an opportunity to be at the forefront of experimentation in blockchain as sustaining more of a foothold,” she said.

Addressing the issue of regulations holding back the development of the blockchain industry in the city, Bhatia anticipated several heated debates in the forthcoming week. As she sees it, this is an opportunity to ‘‘sit down and have a real discussion about how these regulations are affecting innovation and entrepreneurship in New York City“.


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