May 25, 2017 Arkilio attended inaugural conference on token-based economy in New York City. The event was held at the prestigious Paulson Auditorium at NYU Tisch Hall, a theater-style venue that can accommodate up to 470 seated participants and which is part of the NYU School of Business.
Token Summit was the first-of-its-kind event dedicated to the exploration of the economics, regulation and best practices around blockchain-based tokens. The main target audience of the conference were entrepreneurs, investors, lawyers and fund managers active in the space.
Arkilio went to the conference to learn more about crowd-funding of token-based crypto platforms and meet new friends. We were not disappointed, and judging by the informal feedback, neither were the 560 attendees. The event organizers, William Mougayar and Nick Tomaino, have delivered an engaging conference filled with substance and one that did not shy away from difficult conversations.
Our main takeways:
- We are in the midst of a new global funding experiment where young entrepreneurs, often with limited business experience and no product, can raise $5M to $20M through token sale process generally bypassing national security registration requirements. The raised funds can then triple or quadruple in value due to the rapid price appreciation of raised crypto assets (typically ETH, less so BTC).
- There was a general recognition in the room that regulators will eventually step in and that this is most likely to happen in the event of a major fraud or bankruptcy of a few prominent crypto startups. No one in the room felt comfortable to predict timing of such an event. Our own feeling is that in the next two years, time within which most reasonable startups should be able to go to market with a product, we will start seeing first high-profile failures.
- But people also agreed that the token-based economy and decentralization potential of blockchain-based platforms are the most disruptive forces that are here to stay regardless of what happens with the new crowd-funding model or the crypto asset prices. Most people we spoke to agreed, that the companies that will take advantage of these forces and will execute well, will lead the next technology-driven disruption cycle.
- Finally, the conference confirmed our earlier feeling that Arkilio needs to consider itself to be a globally-connected company. The talent working on blockchain technologies, innovative ideas and funding are all globally distributed now. Moreover Arkilio clients often operate across national jurisdictions. The conference was an eye opener for us. We have met many interesting people and made new friends. This effort must continue.
The most memorable moments:
- When Bill asked who owns cryptocurrency (BTC) or token (ETH) most people raised their hand. When he asked who used them for payment or to acquire services, only few hands went up.
- According to CoinFund survey, over 90% of token investors are male, 66% are between ages 25-40 years old, 60% worked in technology firms and 26% were accredited investors. The average respondent invested 50% of all their investment capital in blockchain assets and 33% of respondents invested more that 75% of all their investment capital.
- Chat service Kik, which has 50M monthly users, has announced token sale. Justification for it was "we always meant to have a token".
- Fred Wilson, managing partner of Union Square Ventures, making a prediction that all of the existing top 5 crypto currencies will be unseated in the not too distant future.