The experts came from all around the world, with leading luminaries coming from reputable institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Intel, and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
One Of The Main Obstacles
One most lively discussion was hinged on cybersecurity, with Lotem Finkelsteen from Check Point predicting that there will be more cryptocurrency-related attacks than all other cybersecurity issues, at least this year.
Finkelsteen’s dire prediction had a basis: according to him, “not a day goes by without [their company’s] hearing about a new Initial Coin Offering (ICO) scam or mining attack.” He also said that blockchain “is suffering from reputational damage,” and that it is “one of the main obstacles for blockchain technology to move forward.”
Somehow, Finkelsteen makes sense, because many companies are wary of blockchain because of reported news of crypto scams and burglary.
Haim Pinto, Bank Hapoalim’s CTO and a member of the panel at the conference with Finkelsteen, also expressed his misgivings about the technology. He said that blockchain itself is still in a ‘hype cycle’ and that “we can’t just take it and use it.”
Furthermore, blockchain’s promise of immutability is not something that should be celebrated especially in the financing industry in Europe, as there are “right to be forgotten” laws which mandate them to erase their clients’ sensitive personal information if they are told to do so.
“That’s just one of the challenges. In addition, there are mathematical challenges. Distributed general ledgers can’t scale up to the volume of transactions we need to serve.”
De Facto Standard
In another session, Gideon Lichfield, MIT Technology Review’s editor-in-chief, discussed blockchain appreciation for non-fintech applications.
Lichfield presented challenges, along with his co-panelists. However, he said that “if blockchain is an adequate solution, it could become the de facto standard, simply because there is so much hype around, and money being poured into, blockchain technology,” The Times of Israel article regarding the conference read.
“Big companies don’t want to be left behind,” he added. “They jump into this.”
On a lighter note, there were also many who expressed their support on blockchain. John Velissarios, Accenture’s Director and Global Blockchain Technology Lead, said that they’re “seeing blockchain applications for capital markets, exchanges, clearing and settlement systems and payment systems. The technology and the applications are becoming more significant.”
Included in the conference also are interesting topics like Artificial Intelligence (AI), ICOs, Financial Technology, as well as Price Manipulation in the Bitcoin Ecosystem.