As the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting recently came to an end in Davos Switzerland, there was a significant amount of positive comments coming from the high profile attendees regarding the future of blockchain technology.
This year the WEF Annual Meeting brought together over 3,000 attendees, comprising of world leaders, executives of world’s biggest companies, and technology pioneers who converged at the small Swiss mountain town of Davos, for five days.
World Economic Forum Blockchain Council
One of the most important developments that came out from the forum this year was the creation of the World Economic Forum Global Council on Blockchain. In addition to this announcement, the co-founder and CEO of BitPesa, Elizabeth Rossiello, was appointed to serve as one of the co-chairs of the newly established Blockchain Council. BitPesa is a blockchain-based remittance platform based out in Kenya that offers businesses a fast, easy and, low-cost way to make and accept cross-border payments.
Cross border payments is rapidly growing in Africa as more companies source goods and services overseas. But the sector is still struggling with inefficiencies such as poor regulation, high fees, and lack of cooperation among financial institutions. Blockchain holds the potential to provide immediate speed and cost savings in that context.
The head of blockchain at WEF, Sheila Warren said that Rossiello was chosen for the role of council’s co-chair due to her extensive experience at the helm of the global remittance start-up and because of her “ability to bring together members of this often fragmented ecosystem.”
Additionally, Warren argued that blockchain deployments by governments could help speed up widespread adoption of the technology, commenting:
“Whether we like it or not, governments are some of the most successful distribution platforms. If we can find a way to use government to actually deploy and use blockchain technology, we’re going to move a long way towards adoption.”
Meanwhile, the Global Council on Blockchain will commence its formal advisory to the WEF when it holds its convention in May this year, in San Francisco.
Institutional Investors Have Faith in Blockchain
Another interesting development at Davos was the presentation of a report by the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC) regarding investors’ interests in blockchain. According to the findings, up to 40 percent of institutional investors interviewed believe that blockchain is the most important innovation since the Internet. Further, 38 percent of respondents believed that firms would need to present their blockchain related roadmap to investors within the next five years.
While there was plenty of optimism within the world of institutional investors concerning the future of blockchain, cryptocurrency, on the other hand, got a lot of bashing.
Jeff Schumacher, the founder of BCG Digital Ventures, a company investing in blockchain technology was one the first to attack crypto noting that he believes Bitcoin (BTC) is a pseudo-currency that will fall to zero. Schumacher added that he firmly believes in the future of blockchain, drawing attention to the technology’s ability to facilitate the creation of “open decentralized systems” to streamline business operations.
Those sentiments were shared by PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, who played down the uses of cryptocurrencies, especially BTC, arguing that its limited use for retail payments effectively relegate its purposes down to serving simply as a reward.