Three of our team members, founder Matej Michalko, Xiaomin Wang responsible for Operations Asia and myself attended the ADFC Shanghai, June 23-24, 2015.
To Matej, Shanghai is like his second home. He has been a regular visitor there for the last 5 years and Xiaomin lives there. But for me it was my very first time in this buzzling high tech metropolis. We spent 10 wonderful and very interesting days there.
Shanghai is the heart of Chinese economy. It is a rapidly growing and developing city. With a population of 34 million, Shanghai is called the “Manhattan of China.” Shanghai skyline is littered with giant skyscrapers. As the city has seen considerable development during recent years, Shanghai is very different from what it was even 10 years ago.
The first thing I observed immediately when we landed at Shanghai Pudong International Airport was that everybody is busy with their smartphones. People of all ages are walking on the streets reading news, discounts and offers of the day, navigating through the busy streets, communicating with friends and family on their mobile phones. I have to say that Chinese are very tech-savvy. They are using their smartphones for payments too, even with cryptocurrencies. And all these high-tech developments were the actual purpose of our visit there.
2014 has seen rapid developments in China’s Internet Finance landscape and the concept of Digital Finance has become widely recognized and accepted. It is important to mention that a surge in Chinese demand underlies bitcoin’s astronomical rise in 2003—the alternative digital currency topped $1,200 underscoring the nation’s interest in digital currencies as alternative investments.
Payments have always been one of the first pioneers in internet finance, but we can expect more disruptive innovations in payment scenarios, tools, forms and payment agreements in the next few years. In the future, the rise of virtual currency and network payment protocol might even make subversive changes to traditional payment systems, and Bitcoin or cryptocurrency in general is just the beginning.
ADFC/Asia Digital Finance Conference aimed to become one of the biggest gatherings in Asia for practitioners from the field of digital currency and Bitcoin. 2015 ADFC adopted a global perspective, bringing together leading companies and emerging innovators from around the world. The summit aimed to promote, encourage, and influence more cooperation, understanding, and collaboration among practitioners in Internet Finance, Digital Money, FinTech, Cryptocurrency and new Blockchain Platforms.
The first day of the conference the discussions were about the Rise of Digital Finance, Bitcoin and the Future of Blockchain, Revolution of Decentralized Exchanges, just to name a few. The second day was dedicated to Digital Payments: New Frontiers – Next Generation Payment and Digital Currency, Building a Win-Win Economy Model, Combination of Internet and Currency, etc.
The conference was sold out and the organisers had to put more chairs to accommodate the overwhelming crowd of attendees.
On the first day of the conference Matej was having a disruptive presentation about “DECENT The Independent Decentralized Web 3.0 platform Allowing Borderless Publishing”. Thanks to the fact that Shanghai now scores as the top city that is emerging as a tech innovation hub internationally, it was the right choice for us to introduce the DECENT platform at this conference. The presentation was very successful and it stirred up an interesting Q&A session. Some of the attendees were curious about the technicality and decentralisation of the platform. One of the questions was concerning the layers or the timestamp of the published content. Another one was about the smart contract. Others were interested about cryptography, the blockchain or how are we dealing with spamming.
The attendees offered us one of the best seats in the front row. DECENT sponsored the t-shirts of the organizers team. The participants found them also in the giveaway bags and many were wearing them even during the conference. They were excited about the presentation of DECENT platform and wanted to take pictures with Matej and the rest of team. With some attendees we exchanged business cards and answered queries for which there was not enough time during Q&A.
I observed, that people at the conference were having two mobile phones and one tablet and/or a laptop. And not only the younger generation. People of all ages know how to use them, which is not so common in Europe. They scanned the QR codes on each others’ mobile phones to exchange pictures, business cards, simply put all sorts of information.
Shanghai is a very modern city with a young and multicultural population. There are about 500,000 foreigners living in the city. We met with some of them during the Startup Grind, a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs and attended a very interesting presentation “Hiring and Retaining Top Talent!” The people, we met and talked to, found the DECENT platform very interesting and also mentioned that an decentralised and independent platform like DECENT is really needed.
Matej and I did a one day trip to Changzhou, where we were invited to visit the university campus. Changzhou is an educational hub and is home to several universities and the Changzhou National Hi-Tech District (CND) a state-level high-tech industrial development zone. We met many creative and talented young entrepreneurs and some students. It was a well spent day, with lots of new information and experiences.
Ten days in Shanghai were not enough to experience all the wonders this amazing city has to offer and the variety of the Chinese cuisine I like so much. But at least I know what to look for the next time I will be in Shanghai again. And I am really looking forward to my return.