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This article was published on June 8, 2018

TNW2018 was off the (block)chain: Cats, free money, and more

TNW2018 was off the (block)chain: Cats, free money, and more Image by: Beto Ruiz Alonso
Ailsa Sherrington
Story by

Ailsa Sherrington

Former Social Media Manager, TNW

Ailsa Sherrington is a former content marketer at TNW. Ailsa Sherrington is a former content marketer at TNW.

Apparently, blockchain is kind of a big deal. Who knew? We did, and that’s why we had our cryptocurrency-dedicated Hard Fork track at TNW Conference. Blockchain experts shared their visions of the future, their advice for beginners, and even gave away free money.

In case you missed it, here’s a recap:

Yoni Assia, Co-founder and CEO of eToro

Credit: Beto Ruiz Alonso
Yoni Assia explaining the power of millennials at the Hard Fork track

Yoni began by praising the invention of electricity, without which we wouldn’t have air conditioning — “which we desperately need in here,” he said. That’s our bad, Yoni.

He continued by saying that Bitcoin is undoubtably the next big invention we’ll be grateful for. “Bitcoin is digital gold,” he stated.

After a brief outline of its benefits, Yoni described how millennials have the greatest potential to grow the value of Bitcoin. “Many people tell me that I’m too old to be a millennial, but actually I just about make the cut. So I’m basically the oldest millennial out there,” he joked.

Millennials are losing trust in governments — and they control the money. So there’s a great potential for them to take ownership of how their money is invested, and as Yoni informs the audience, millennials are currently amassing huge amounts of wealth. That means that if they invest their sizeable fortunes into Bitcoin, it will only continue to grow.

To get millennials into cryptocurrencies, he outlined a few bits of advice. Most importantly, Yoni explained why the haters are always gonna hate:

A lot of people are saying Bitcoin is a scam. You have to ask yourself whether that’s bullshit or not. So first, many haters happen to be billionaires — they have lots of dollars. And if the dollar devalues 90 percent against the Bitcoin, that’s obviously bad for them. Second, a lot of smart people say stupid things, okay? People thought that cars and computers were a fad — sometimes it’s hard to see the forest when you’re in the woods.

Yoni also explained that even he has made investment mistakes along the way. The trick is to go with the flow, and only put up money that you’re willing to lose.

He concluded the talk with a very motivating message:

There can only be 500,000 people that hold 42 Bitcoins. Ask yourself if you want to be one of them.

He then proceeded to inform the crowd that there was $1000 hidden under someone’s seat, for investing in their own Bitcoin on the eToro platform. My boyfriend was sitting next to the guy who found it. Useless.

You can watch his entire talk right here:

Tim Draper, Founder of Draper Venture Network, interviewed by Justina Lee, Crypto Editor at Bloomberg

Credit: Beto Ruiz Alonso
Tim discussing the future of Bitcoin at TNW Conference

Let’s get one thing straight before we dive in: Tim, we’re loving the tie.

In this interview, Justina asked him a few questions about the limits of Bitcoin. He replied:

Everything is suitable for Bitcoin. Your imagination is incredible — there are no limits. Now, there are a few things that probably don’t have a long-term future, but no, I don’t think there are limits.

Justina asked him which Bitcoin use cases will be universally adopted in ten years. Tim discussed how accessing our medical data will transform the way we treat our bodies. “We can doctor ourselves much better,” he commented. Tim also mentioned how we’ll have much larger control over our pensions and welfare.

The greatest thing about this interview is that Tim spoke to the crowd as if everyone was his best friend. It’s like talking to your eccentric uncle at Christmas — except he’s a billionaire, with higher intelligence and infinitely superior eyebrows.

Oh, and he raps. Don’t believe me? Find out for yourself (you won’t be disappointed):

Bryce Bladon, Co-founder of CryptoKitties

Credit: Beto Ruiz Alonso
Bryce Bladon explaining the obstacles of cryptocurrency on stage

Bryce got up on stage and addressed the crowd: “Thanks so much for coming out here to listen to a guy who makes cat puns for a living,” he quipped.

After giving a quick introduction to blockchain, Bryce discussed the many issues he has identified in its quest for global adoption.

“The vast majority of people can’t articulate why Bitcoin matters,” he said. “When I ask people why it matters, they kind of default to explaining what it is, and that’s not necessary to understanding its value.”

He continued to explain why Bitcoin is still not seeing the growth it deserves:

The vast majority of crypto holders care more about price movements than the technological use cases or the practical applications, and what’s more is that this appreciation and massive speculation it’s bred is directly undermining the ability of its use cases to materialize and gain adoption. So simply put, we’ve got a big obstacle ahead of us.

Bryce broke down those obstacles, such as scalability and the need for creativity. But he also explained the opportunities in each of those obstacles, and places his faith in the fact that they can be overcome.

“Blockchain has so much potential,” he said. “It might be the biggest tech solution since the internet. But if it isn’t used, it’s not useful. And if it’s not useful, it’s just a buzzword.”

You can watch Bryce’s talk right here:

But wait… there’s more!

Our Hard Fork track was a big success, thanks to our partner eToro. We had even more speakers discussing cryptocurrencies and blockchain, and you can watch their talks right here.

Too lazy? That’s cool too. We’ve compiled a TL;DW (too lazy, didn’t watch) for ya:

  • Kary Bheemaiah (uChange) introduced a new and reliable way to determine a token’s value for ICOs
  • Kavita Gupta (ConsenSys) warned of the dangers of investing in cryptocurrencies
  • David Schwartz (Ripple) discussed how the company plans to improve blockchain, without sacrificing security or decentralization
  • Alex Mashinsky (Celsius) explained how to bring 100 million new users onto the blockchain