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Conferencing to cash in on the Blockchain boom?

Ramy Salameh bites into Bitcoin and says the events industry can surf a whole new wave of subject matter, and start a new seam of meetings mining 

Blockchain is the emergent buzzword in business technology circles and has been perceived as the next ‘game changer’ since the arrival of the Internet. As it expands from buzzword to a technology now powering multi-billion-pound companies, the topic is, in tandem, powering up the table of conference and event agendas.

Blockchain technology facilitates and underpins digital currencies such as the ‘Bitcoin’ and ‘Ethereum’ cryptocurrencies.  

So what exactly is Blockchain and how does it work? 

In short, it is a networked database or digital ledger that records transactions on multiple computers. The USP of this technology is that once a record/transaction has been made in the form of a ‘block’ (each block is linked to the previous one, hence the name) it is unalterable. This traceability is a form of carbon dating the exchange of collaborations. 

For most, knowledge and insight around Blockchain technology is still in its infancy and comes with a generous helping of scepticism. All of which bodes particularly well for the meetings and conference industry, which is well able to provide a critical platform to exchange knowledge on the subject. 

The demand for cryptocurrency and Blockchain conferencing means that during 2018, delegates are offered an array of new and growing financial events, such as the ‘London Blockchain Week’ (19-26 January); the ‘Blockchain Expo Global’ (blockchain-expo.com) the world’s largest Blockchain event series which starts in London in, 18-19 April. This is followed by the ‘Fintech World Forum2018’ (30-31 May). 

Banking and Finance has long been a key sector for meetings, but the Blockchain boom has exploded not only as a new big topic around traditional conferences and meetings, but inside some of the existing stalwart events as a new and dynamic sub category.

Blockchain could have great potential for creating shared value for the public, private and third sectors, despite many finance traditionalists holding reservations about the cryptocurrency boom. The Bank of England has said it is holding off introducing a cryptocurrency for fears of destabilising the banking sector, yet continues to research this growing market. Such research will invariably mean many meeting internally, as well as externally, to acquire greater insight through such conferences and events.  

Blockchain is definitely the new entrant on the technology block, and the appetite for knowledge around it is greater than ever; the conference and meetings industry needs to be agile to exploit opportunity with this potentially exponential demand.