By Patty Fantasia
CoinAgenda, which began hosting events in Europe, Asia and the Caribbean in 2014, made its annual return to Sin City from October 26-28, 2019 for Las Vegas Blockchain Week. Currently the leading global conference connecting investors, traders, digital currency funds and family offices with highly regarded blockchain and cryptocurrency engineers, the event also featured a BitAngels Pitch Day at UNLV’s Greenspun Hall on the 26th followed by a welcoming cocktail party at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino before shifting to The Cosmopolitan Hotel on the 27th for exhibits, keynote speakers, panels and fireside chats. Focusing on legal, regulatory and jurisdictional concerns for those starting and/or investing in blockchain companies, this year’s agenda concentrated on investment trends, trading and funds, Exchanges, IEOs and Security Tokens.
The half day BitAngels conference featured approximately 50 companies pitching in a Demo Day environment hoping to secure funding from angel and VC investors. Some past startup competition winners who have gone on to achieve success in the blockchain community include aeternity, Bancor, Cashbet, Omega One, SALT Lending and Qtum with over $500 million and a combined market cap of $10 billion being raised.
At the Cosmopolitan Hotel panels and discussions were underway while the exhibit hall featured a mix of rising stars and more familiar names including tentum, Craft Coin, Aspire, BlockBlox, Airthreum, Transform Group, Perkins Cole and CocoTaps, which was featured on Shark Tank.
Richard Dennis, the Founder/CEO of temtum (TEM), a market leading cryptocurrency and Next Gen-Payments Network, received a Ph.D at the University of Portsmouth in the UK before funding and launching his company. According to him he spent five years in development making his product faster, more secure and greener than anything else on the market, three keywords that were mentioned continuously throughout the event by various participants. A network that achieves decentralized scalability and near instant transaction speeds, the firm is determined to create a financial future where banks are unnecessary and the people are in a position of control thereby eliminating the status quo.
Richard Dennis, the Founder/CEO of temtum (TEM) - Photo credit: Jeff Grinstein
Another exhibitor, Jim Blasko, is the CEO and driving force behind Aspire, a fully developed asset solution platform dedicated to building better assets that are faster than any other platforms based on Bitcoin. Using combined code bases, Aspire was created from CounterParty, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Peercoin and requires no Bitcoin to send assets. The system also features advanced ACP Security using advanced checkpoints and dedicated mining to secure its network and maintain a level of consistency for all assets. The shared vision of Blasko and Michael Terpin, the two realized that a better asset solution was needed after years of working together in the Bitcoin and blockchain space. Aspire was created to replace existing platforms and their issues. In 2015 the duo launched bCommerce Labs to aid their goal of turning ideas into actual projects. Currently, Jim is working on an addition that allows people to build their own blockchain arm using the Aspire platform as a foundation. Although best known for building blockchains costing companies in the ballpark of $150,000-$200,000, this new offering allows clients to have the benefits and security of having their own cryptocurrency at a fraction of the cost and opens a myriad of possibilities for reaching new markets and clients.
Prior to starting Aspire, Jim earned a degree in computer science programming and began doing projects for celebrities before comedy magician Penn Jillette brought him to Las Vegas in 2005 to work on an audio/video system. The explosion of Bitcoin and founding of Aspire came along afterwards. One testament to Jim’s personal belief in cybercurrency is the fact he used Bitcoin to purchase a Lamborghini for himself. In addition to being an exhibitor and speaker at the conference, Jim also presented the day before giving a full demonstration of his system’s new capabilities during the BitAngels part of the event.
The Transform Group is known for promoting blockchain globally and supports and partners with a number of companies while the Perkins Cole Law Firm, which is based in Seattle, Washington, has over 10 years experience servicing clients in the blockchain industry. Perkins Cole was the first one to specialize in this area focusing on virtual currency reporting, IOCS and FCC regulations.
Panels covered topics such as Will New Blockchain Platforms Succeed, Disruptors, Jurisdiction, Wallets/Payments, the Future of Digital Currency Funds, Investing in Social Impact Projects, Institutional Investors and Decentralized Finance while IOHK CEO & Founder Charles Hoskinson, IOHK Chief Strategy Officer & Founder Jeremy Wood, aeternity Founder Yanislav Malahov, Morgan Creek Digital Co-Founder & Partner Anthony Pompliano, Emma Channing, Perkins Cole LLP Partner Joseph Cutler, Digital Asset Trade Association Co-Founder Brittany Kaiser, John Mcafee, Stellar Co-Founder Jeb McCaleb, Entrepreneur & VC Brock Pierce, tentum CEO Richard Dennis and Caitin Long of the Wyoming Blockchain Task Force were featured in Fireside Chats.
Other notable speakers and moderators included: Wave Financial Chief Strategy Officer Lea Borsai, Perkins Cole Partner Lowell Ness, Blockchain Business Leader Mark Friedler, , GoCoin Co-Founder & Chairman Steve Beauregard, Anthem Gold Inc. Co-Founder Anthem Blanchard, Blockchain Cubed Founder/CEO Irina Litchfield, aeternity CEO Pablo Coirolo, Journalist & Activist Melissa Rowley, Transform Group JD & MBA Attorney Manny Alicandro, Transform Group President Richard D. Titus, The Aquarian Advisory Group Executive Director Margaux Avedisian, Transform Group CEO Michael Terpin, , Aspire Co-Founder Jim Blasko and Transform Group Chief Strategy Officer Enzo Villani.