TOKEN2049 Hong Kong shines spotlight on ICO frenzy

TOKEN2049 Hong Kong shines spotlight on ICO frenzy

Speakers discussed new tokens and projects, as well as bringing order into the still-wild sphere.

Last week, blockchain and cryptocurrency start-up founders from all across the globe got together for the TOKEN2049 Conference, held at the Kerry Hotel in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The two-day event, held March 20 and 21, boasted of a variety of speakers from different corners of the crypto ecosystem who shared their insights on the development of the space as well as projects they’re working on.

Notable speakers include nChain chief scientist Dr. Craig S. Wright, “Cryptoassets” author and Placeholder partner Chris Burniske, Civic CEO Vinny Lingham, BnkToTheFuture CEO Simon Dixon, among others.

If you’re a day trader who gets excited about ICO’s, this event is your Wonderland. On the other hand, if you are looking to weed out ICO’s and narrow your day down to more specific disruptive projects, the countless start-ups in this event can be quite dizzying.

Overall, the event was quite busy and networking wasn’t a problem, with everyone eager to engage in conversation. Members of the media were able to sit down for interviews with founders as there was a dedicated media lounge (which was more quiet) for that very purpose, although you’re more likely to run into interesting people by circulating in the common areas, of course.

ICO frenzy aside, there were some good points and important topics that were discussed surrounding token sales and cryptocurrencies in general. Civic’s Vinny Lingham spoke about the governance side of blockchains, citing scams like Bitconnect as a reason for the need for protection, adding how “industries that don’t self-regulate get regulated.”

Dr. Craig Wright also warned against founders who launch ICO’s just to generate quick funds. “None of the ideas of ICO’s or whatever else works unless they have worth—not raising funds for the sake of raising funds, not anything else,” Wright said. He reiterated the fact that some ICO’s can be categorized as securities—just because they were issued in the form of digital tokens, it doesn’t mean they are exempt from traditional laws, and that “code is law” is not a valid defense.

“The law is law,” Wright said. “You try standing in front of a judge and telling him otherwise, and you’re going to be sorry because they can reach back in time. The SEC doesn’t think about what you’re doing now. They have a 20-year timeframe. You raise money and you don’t pay it back, they can reach back. Not ‘you got away with it.’”

Guests of the event were mostly start-ups building ICO projects (as expected), and some that tackle social issues like Shyft—a project aiming to build a globally accepted identification system that hopes to expand inclusion for social services and protection to the unbanked, fund allocation transparency, as well as others—which we will feature in later posts.

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.