EXCLUSIVE: Q&A with the co-founder of the International Blockchain Summit

12/01/2014 - 00:00

Kirk Nankivell | @KirkNankivell

An incredibly progressive event will be taking place in the Cayman Islands regarding the infamous blockchain on January 20-22, 2015.  There are many uses for this technology and we have only begun to uncover some potential uses.  We had the honor to discuss the upcoming implications and learn more about the International Blockchain Summit 2015 from its co-founder, Arthur T. Corry (@ArthurTCorry).

What is the International Blockchain Summit? The 1st International Blockchain Summit is a gathering of top minds and industry leaders in the blockchain space. Unlike other Bitcoin Expos or Fintech Conferences the world has seen to date, this is the first time an event of such global scope has focused solely on the underlying technology that has made such an impact around the world in people's imaginations. It has made this impact in people's imaginations because they understand the impending impact is about to have on their lives and global markets. Just as the Music Industry was disrupted by peer to peer file sharing, and completely transformed by a technological innovation, the financial industry is now seeing the first signs of being disrupted in a very similar 'peer to peer sharing' way by blockchain technologies. Although music is important to people's lives, it is not as fundamental as money and banking. This industry disruption needs innovators to shape these new financial systems. That is what this summit is focused on.

What is your goal you plan to accomplish via the summit?
The 1st International Blockchain Summit is unique in it's approach; bringing together traditional and conservative industry leaders from the sectors of Banking, Finance, Law and Governance, along with the most forward thinking and inventive technical talent on Earth. The Summit and the organization behind it, Latitude 19.30 N, has created unique partnerships with the Cayman Enterprise City (managers of the Cayman Special Economic Zone), as well as the Cayman National Bank, providing a complete supportive ecosystem to startups that need a protected zone that has regulation structured to allow for a startup free from regulatory hindrances when preparing to launch globally. Latitude 19.30 N is a startup accelerator launching this Spring on Grand Cayman which will invest in these companies, and structure them for launch into the various complexities of regulatory environments around the world. Software companies that make global launches often have a unique problem in that they need to adapt to so many different regulatory and legal environments when they are selling internationally. This problem is one hundred fold as difficult for blockchain and fintech ventures. Latitude is an organization that has created a solution to this by helping companies incorporate and structure at their earliest phase in the special economic zone of the Cayman Islands, which is created specifically to nurture true innovation in finance. 

What are the biggest takeaways about the blockchain most people do not know/understand? Simply put, the Blockchain is a new technology that is an "open legder" of transactions. It can be audited by anyone. Because it is "decentralized" and distributed across potentially millions of devices, it is virtually fraud-proof.  The blockchain is the power we have seen underlying Bitcoin, and is the reason that Bitcoin was the world's first truly safe store of value. Any transaction every made in bitcoin was visible on bitcoin's blockchain for anyone to audit and it is constantly automatically audited by what's called "network consensus" among other failsafe mechanisms. That is a very simple explanation of what is commonly seen amongst technologists as one of the most brilliantly designed technologies since the internet itself. 

How do you foresee the blockchain playing a role in lives of humans in a decade? Blockchain technology has potential applications such as Smart Contracts, which are set to revolutionize and upgrade the legal profession from the ground up by providing contracts which are transparent, automatic, and unarguable. The mechanisms of Blockchain tech can go farther into the real world even than that. DApps (Decentralized Applications) are set to power the much talked about Internet Of Things, where devices talk to devices (in peer to peer communication and transactions), and many of these transactions will need to be fraud-proof. Blockchain is the logical 'network consensus' technology set to power The Internet Of Things. From doors that unlock when a tenant has paid their rent, to "being your own bank" and providing better and safer banking services to people around the world via their smartphones, blockchain is an invention that is spreading like wildfire in groups of the most talented developers around the world. These are the minds we are taping into via the Blockchain Summit.

What is your vision for blockchain tech's interplay in the evolution of the Internet? The internet's power comes from it's original decentralized nature. The distributed nature of the net made it much more difficult to censor than other mediums like television or newspapers, and that combined with a power put in the hands of anyone to participate in the world wide web by posting content to create the information revolution that we all live in. Blockchain is set to create a similar effect, but in bringing safety, and security to transactions, agreements and more. With the amount of on-line commerce now, we can all see how important this is, but blockchain potential goes far beyond just transactions and will stretch into our daily agreements, and will help make the data we trust, trustworthy. In blockchain circles this is called being "trustless" because there is no longer need for trust. It's all there, in the open, for anyone to audit, and being audited constantly by automatic network consensus. 

You mention that blockchain based technology can mitigate or completely remove the risk of entering into agreements with individuals from across the globe over the Internet, how is this?  Blockchain based tech mitigates the risk of entering agreements by making some information about that transaction transparent to anyone or any app. It is virtually fraud-proof by it's decentralized nature and the fact that it occurs across so many devices and instances.  The value to the world is in the blockchain's ability to remove danger of corruption, censorship, and other funny business, from banking and the business of money itself as well as many other industries.

How will this event help startup companies?  This event will bring together industry leaders and new ventures, and the most brilliant early talent.  When brilliant builders come together with financiers and business developers, that's when businesses find success and growth. That is how this summit is helping both early phase technology ventures, and the established multinational business community. The Cayman Islands has the ultimate networks to help new businesses plug into global help in the way of investment, financing, mentorship, and management. 

What is your best piece of advice for those looking to startup an online business? The first advice I always give to new entrepreneurs is to find mentorship. Nothing can compare to the old relationship of master and apprentice. There is a flow of value that goes both ways, the apprentice gains wisdom, advice, and networks, while the mentor gains an invigorating energy and a new perspective on emerging trends. At the 1st International Blockchain Summit, we're working to make those connections.

How will the blockchain and the International Blockchain Summit help in the advancement of new technologies? By presenting the Blockchain to the Cayman Islands business community and globally via Live Broadcast, we hope to spur a network that is based on the true power of this foundational technology. It is a framework layer, that can lead to many new inventions that have not been thought of yet. We're here to spur ideas and innovations and help them grow.