Blockchain conference comes to Cayman

Premier Alden McLaughlin speaks at the 'd10e' blockchain conference on Monday. - Photo: Ken Silva

One of the world’s most prominent blockchain conferences, “d10e,” is taking place in Cayman this week, with dozens of people in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry coming to the island to network and share ideas about how the technology can influence all aspects of society.

Monday’s schedule included entrepreneurs speaking about the services their companies offer, as well as an “initial coin offering pitch competition” where startup blockchain entities pitched their ideas to a panel of judges in hopes of winning a $100,000 investment prize.

Premier Alden McLaughlin also spoke at the event, encouraging blockchain companies to set up shop at Cayman Enterprise City.

“Not only are you in the gem of the Caribbean, but the Cayman Islands is one of the foremost financial centers, as well as the hedge fund capital of the world,” he said. “We have a cadre of professional people servicing our financial services sector that is second to none.”

Mr. McLaughlin admitted during his speech that he has had to do research in recent months to familiarize himself with the blockchain technology, which is essentially an online, decentralized public ledger – the technology that serves as the ledger for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

“I admit, the concept of economic, financial decentralization based on emerging technology sounded like something from Star Trek,” he said.

To help blockchain novices grasp its concept, Symmetry Blockchain Advisors cofounder Debbie Hoffman gave a presentation on all of the technology’s potential uses, which she said far outspans just serving as a ledger for cryptocurrency transactions.

Ms. Hoffman said she was introduced to many technological innovations during her years as an attorney in the financial sector, but that she knew blockchain would be a game changer when she first heard about it.

Just like blockchain tracks each transaction of a cryptocurrency, it can also be used to date- and time-stamp legal records, medical records, and other documents. This will allow someone to know when and by whom a given document is accessed, Ms. Hoffman said.

“Lawyers will be at a competitive advantage by using blockchain,” she said, adding that Dubai is already pushing to have its land records, visa applications, and other government documents transacted using blockchain.

According to Ms. Hoffman, blockchain can also be used for real estate, insurance and a variety of other financial transactions. The technology also has the potential to be used in supply chain management, allowing consumers to see exactly from where their products come.

The conference is scheduled to conclude on Tuesday. The conference name “d10e” stands for the 10 letters between the first and last letter in “decentralize.”