On Wednesday the 15th of November 2023 the first North American Blockchain Summit kicked off in Fort Worth, Texas. One of the key drivers of the event is to show delegates and the wider blockchain ecosystem the changing regulatory landscape in the US. And how Texas is playing a pivotal role.
The first workshops of the Summit took place after a trip to 360 Mining’s Barnett gas wells near Fort Worth. Nothing at the North American Blockchain Summit is what one would call ‘normal’. In fact, companies like 360 Mining’s support of the Summit is integral to everything Texas Blockchain Council, the organizers of the Summit taking place in Fort Worth this week.
As Disruption Banking had already met the founders of The Network Firm a few weeks ago it seemed prudent to stop by the first panel led by Jeremy Nau and Nick Ward, both co-founders of the ground-breaking startup. It was a relaxed first workshop to be a part of. Importantly, Nic Carter, a contributor to the working group that helped get Proof of Reserves legislation passed by the Texas Legislature with House Bill 1666, was also in the audience. And very supportive.
There is a palpable feeling of community that comes across as soon as one immerses oneself into the North American Blockchain Summit. Old and new friendships. Accentuated by a plethora of ideas and innovations.
Why Texas Matters
Steve used to work in a successful energy company based in Texas before focussing on banking and bitcoin mining. Today he is working on the relationship with the state legislature as well as the wider banking community. Interest from congressional representatives certainly exists. Additionally, Steve believes that the market is at an inflection point. Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs are about to go live from companies as diverse as BlackRock and Grayscale. It will open a ‘floodgate’, explained Steve.
Fittingly, the North American Blockchain Summit 2023 is taking place in Fort Worth. The city has historically been known for two things: cattle and oil. It even gained the familiar title of ‘Cowtown’. Today, the Fort Worth basin is where part of the Mississippian Barnett Shale is located. A huge source of energy.
When working with the Department of Banking in Texas, Steve explained how he has seen a desire. A desire that he thinks defines ‘us Texans’. Texans want to lead. Texans want to be innovators.
Steve shared some of the things that he has been highlighting to the Department of Banking in Texas. “If we empower banks to provide services to this industry, there’s no reason that the deposits should be flung out. In fact, people can convert their deposits easily to a USD coin.”
He pointed to PayPal and others who are working at providing more services and rails. How there needs to be more done.
Understanding the Foundations of Decentralized Finance
Next Nitin Gaur, Global Head of Digital Asset & Technology Design at State Street, took the stage.
His discussion points were not topics that one would normally expect to hear from an executive from State Street, but Nitin has proudly lived in Austin, TX, for over 20 years. Things are different in the State Capitol of Texas, and the audience warmed to him immediately.
Nitin shared how there were 800,000 tokens out there today. 56 of them are tradeable, and he believes that only 6 of them are valuable or perform a service.
Nitin’s main emphasis was about how he sees crypto or digital assets as the emerging 5th asset class. An asset class that continues to gain importance in capital markets as well as amongst retail investors. Bonds, equities, cash, and alternatives form the other four asset classes.
He highlighted how being an American means that you have unfettered access to capital markets. Something that is taken for granted by many today.
But it’s not just about digital assets. Nitin asked whether we are going through a revolution versus an evolution?
“If you look at the underlying tech itself, blockchain tech didn’t happen by accident,” Nitin elaborated. “Just like Gen AI, things are happening in tandem. I don’t think blockchain competes with AI or vice a versa. I think they’re all happening in tandem because of the evolution that we’ve seen in processing power which is used in cryptography. The internet connectivity. The energy used in an economical manner for computational workloads.”
Nitin highlighted how these occurrences are more than just a tech revolution, or evolution. He also discussed projects related to Obamacare that he had completed at IBM. How the ownership of medical records or medical data in the U.S. and other jurisdictions was still a problem. Something that there was no solution for yet. But something that could change with the imminent onset of Web 3.0.
The First Day of the North American Blockchain Summit concludes
Ageing legislators and a myriad of other challenges stand in the way of decentralization. The audience was engaged. The topic clearly hit the mark. And with that the first day of the North American Blockchain Summit slowly ended.
The second day will be opened by 2024 presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. We hope to share further insights with our readers.
Author: Andy Samu