Big Ben Clock Tower and River Thames with LBC logo

Long live blockchain: London Blockchain Conference 2024 kicks off

In a world where blockchain and ‘crypto’ are treated synonymously and where the best thing that can be said about a digital asset is how easily it can be pumped, the London Blockchain Conference has for years held itself out as a resistance fighter. This has meant an uncompromising focus on the real-world utility of digital asset technology at scale: as such, each iteration of this yearly event has championed the very best that truly scalable, enterprise-grade blockchains have to offer.

Heading into the 2024 edition of the London Blockchain Conference, taking place this week from May 21 to May 23 at London’s ExCel Exhibition Centre, that mission evidently remains the same. The approach, however, is somewhat different, as can be seen from a rather confronting invitation that greets this year’s attendees:

Crypto is dead. Long live blockchain. Join the future today.

It’s a big idea and one that could be found floating around London as early as February when a full-page ad bearing the same message appeared in The Times. One could take a good guess at the meaning of this invitation back then, but now the big event has arrived and audiences have strapped in for a packed three-day agenda, its meaning has become all the clearer.

Take, for instance, the conference’s primary keynote speakers. Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at Stern School of Business at NYU, will kick off the opening day with a presentation on What’s Next for blockchain, exploring the state of the economy and Web3 ecosystem, as well as the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI). This isn’t a crypto-bro speaking to a home crowd about how ‘we’re all going to make it’—it’s an esteemed academic from one of the most prestigious business schools in the world talking about how groundbreaking technology, like blockchain, is affecting big business both now and in the future.

Equally, Somi Arian, founder and CEO of startup platform InPeak, will deliver the final day’s keynote on the intersection of Web3, AI, and emerging technology and how they are shaping industries. Arian has a storied career working with entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide, focusing not on digital assets but the ever-changing world of business itself.

Both these speakers, who will be joined by many more big names across the rest of the conference, are emblematic of that punchy thesis at the heart of the conference: it isn’t ‘crypto’ that matters to business; it’s technology and all the solutions that it can enable. The same can be said for the dozens of startups and more established businesses that will be on hand throughout the event to discuss their own products and experiences. These will be people from all over the world—people who are less interested in ‘crypto’ than what its underlying technology can do to help businesses at scale.

That’s a big idea, but it’s one that will resonate with anybody who has had the misfortune of sitting through any one of the other so-called ‘crypto’ conferences that have been held over the past years.

Naturally, bigger ideas need bigger venues. That’s why this year’s London Blockchain Conference has moved to the ExCel Exhibition Centre. The biggest such venue in London (and, as it happens, the home of the United Kingdom’s largest auditorium), it’s only natural that the largest proponent of blockchain scaling would eventually need to do some scaling up of its own.

This also has the rather clever effect of inviting attendees to reflect on all that has changed as the Conference has moved from year to year and strength to strength, namely, all of the coins and blockchains and short-lived zeitgeists that have lived and died over the past few years. It’s no coincidence that among a graveyard of such projects, it is the conference that has focused on real-world utility and fully realized scaling that is still here, drawing in crowds of hundreds of business and political leaders who are interested in what blockchain technology really has to offer.

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