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Perspectives from the Satoshi Roundtable 2019

Satoshi Roundtable 2019

The Satoshi Roundtable is the annual coming-together of the “Bitcoin OGs,” or as Max Keiser would have it, “Titans of the Blockchain Industry.”  This is not meant to be boastful – this “invitation only” event has a very carefully curated guest list of C-level executives that have operated exchanges, wallets, payment processors, ATMs, remittance companies and OTC trading desks. In addition to what we at Bloq like to call the “Crypto 50,” executives from Fortune 50 institutions, bankers, lawyers, developers, VCs and cryptographers attended.

The conference operates under Chatham House Rules. To make sure that everyone is as candid and honest about the technology and their thoughts on the industry, there is a strict no-photos, no-social-media, and no-leaks rule. This is worth keeping in mind as you read my perspectives here.

As with my previous conference reports, here were my takeaways from the Satoshi Roundtable:

  • The days of tradable non-fungible tokens (NFT) are quickly approaching, especially in gaming.
  • Although we will see many STOs (Security Token Offerings), the road to trading volumes that will get the interest of sophisticated traders looks longer than I anticipated. My estimate has moved from 2019 to 2021 or slightly beyond.
  • Stablecoins in the US may continue to struggle for adoption, and SEC clarity would most certainly help.
  • Self-sovereign identity and decentralized governance still face significant hurdles before becoming a reality, such as leaping the gap between government-issued identities and likely some for of biometric information.
  • Asset-backed tokens have a lot of near-term potential, with setting up custodianship of the underlying assets, physical delivery and escrow services around delivery and trading platforms standing to gain the most.

Perhaps the project with the most game-changing potential in the arena of asset-backed (or, more accurately, collateralized) tokens was presented by Abra.

Abra announced a product offering where users in 155 countries will be able to purchase as little as $5 worth of blue chip stocks and ETFs using Bitcoin as collateral. They have designed a product whereby the consumer fully collateralizes his or her position with BTC. While the system will need to rely on counter-parties to some degree, the app on their phone will be the custodian. If Abra gains traction with this offering, it will not only promote financial inclusion to a massive population of new investors, but also provide greater demand for the collateral required to participate, bitcoin.

While I’m a veteran of the Satoshi Roundtable, it’s worth reading newcomers’ perspectives too. I found this new attendee’s insights valuable and will keep them in mind when I attend next year.

Steve Beauregard is chief revenue officer of Bloq, Inc.

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