Stable coins: The great debate
Convergence looks at the future of money
Bitcoin has been credited with catalysing a revolution in money. But high volatility has kept it and other cryptocurrencies from catching on as a means of payment. Stable coins, whether private ones like Facebook’s Libra or central-bank issued national cryptocurrencies, could solve this problem. But Libra has raised concerns among policy makers, and CBDCs (as central bank cryptocurrencies are known) are as yet untested. While there is great potential, there are also many unknowns.
Convergence is pleased to have the Libra foundation, the ECB, other major central banks and global regulators joining them to take a close look at the promises and perils of stable coins. It is sure to be one of the most highly watched debates in blockchain this year.
Convergence is also proud to announce over 30 new speakers from around the world, among them policy makers, politicians and practitioners:
- Olivier Guersent, DG “Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union”, European Commission
- Dirk Bullmann, European Central Bank
- Jumpei Miwa, Financial Services Agency of Japan
- Richard Williams, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
- Caroline Malcom, OECD
- Bernhard Kowatsch, World Food Programme
- Michèle Finck, Max Planck Institute
- Samia Melhelm, World Bank
- Jesus Ruiz, Alastria
- Pelle Braendgaard, uPort
- Takeshi Fukuizumi, Softbank Corp
- Rebecca Hoffman, OOC Oil & Gas Blockchain Consortium
- Caroline D.C. Madagow, Grassroots Economics
- Stela Mocan, World Bank
- Harald Gruber, European Investment Bank
- Masamba Thioye, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Cristina Aranda, Taiger
- Pietro Marchionni, Agency for Digital Italy, Italian Government
- Alejandro Pardo, Inter American Development Bank, LACChain
- Alakanani Itireleng, Satoshi Centre
- Bart Preneel, KU Leuven
- Chris Berg, RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub
- Chris Zhong, Blockchain Philanthropy Foundation / Accenture Australia
- Ovais Sarmad, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Franz von Weizsäcker, GIZ
- George M. Giaglis, Institute for the Future, University of Nicosia
- Ismael Arribas, Kunfud
- Ling Wu, TBCASoft
- Manuel Machado, Worldline
- Roberto Fernández Hergueta, Everis/NTT Data
- Zenu Sharma, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, St. John’s University
View the speaker list online (updated continuously). Or, if you’re intested in joining the Convergence conference as a startup, register for the Global Blockchain Challenge and address challenges around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals with your solutions.
“At INATBA our goal is to offer those developing and those using DLT a global forum to interact with regulators and policy makers and so bring blockchain technology to the next level. For three days in November, Convergence will be providing just such a forum. Our organisation is delighted to be leading the effort to bring this very special gathering to life on behalf of our over 150 members as well as the global blockchain community. We encourage everyone involved or interested in blockchain to take advantage of this unique opportunity to have their voice heard.” Julie Maupin Chair of the Board of Directors of INATBA, Director of Social Impact & Public Regulatory Affairs at IOTA Foundation
Sweden signs up to Innovation Radar
Taking the number of signatory countries to 23
Sweden has joined the Innovation Radar, an initiative supported by the European Commission, which identifies high potential innovations and the key innovators behind them in Horizon 2020 projects.
Last week His Excellency Ambassador Haak, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden to the EU signed the Innovation Radar declaration, making Sweden the 23rd country to join the initiative. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology was represented by Thomas Skordas, Director “Digital Excellence and Science Infrastructure”, during the ceremony on 26 September.
The Innovation Radar is an initiative that focuses on helping high-potential innovations developed within the Horizon 2020 funding programme to reach the market. The Innovation Radar declaration was launched in April 2018 at the Digital Day. The Commission is committed to working with EU countries to raise the profile of the Innovation Radar and increase its uptake by relevant participants in countries and regions.
Untold Stories Budapest
The newest entrepreneurial event in Budapest looking for the best startups
● First startup event of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe
● Top-notch entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and Europe
● Startup-speaker ratio is 10:1
● Possibility to book office hours with the speakers
With the focus on Central and Eastern European startups, Untold Stories, an event sponsored by Kitchen Budapest, Microsoft, Hiventures and KPMG, will bring international speakers, mostly from Silicon Valley, to the Hungarian capital with the intention to strengthen the bond between the USA and the EU.
“The ecosystem from Silicon Valley is incredibly dense, tons of smart people, tons of competition and you can learn really quickly. Whereas in other parts of the world it is much more challenging. Where you can’t go to an event every night and meet people who are in startups in most of the world, like you do in Silicon Valley. That’s why Untold Stories Budapest and similar event are so cool. Building connections between people who are doing similar things is super important because it is very difficult to build startups without community” says Zach Coelius, Founder-turned-angel & Syndicate leader.
What makes Untold Stories different from other startup events is in its name. A name which describes no-frills event, where attendees will be able to engage in one-to-one discussions with the speakers by booking office hours with them in advance. In fact, the startup-speaker ratio is 10:1. Startup founders will be exposed to the invisible reality that lies behind entrepreneurship and will listen to those stories which are often untold because the great majority of people are unwilling to acknowledge them. These stories are, however, the protagonists of this conference.
Having no more than one hundred startups attending the event will guarantee an intimate atmosphere for participants to connect and learn from one another. Startups are asked to fill out a typeform and, as applications are accepted on a rolling basis, the spots available may be taken before the deadline.
Over ten top-notch speakers will travel to Budapest to share their insights and personal experience with a community of entrepreneurs and founders who will be granted the opportunity to book one-to-one meetings with them. Amongst some of the great international speakers who can be met at Untold Stories are founder-turned-angel Zach Coelius, Entrepreneur in Residence at Silicon Valley Bank, Shruti Shah, partners at 500 Startups, Marin Liao and Sheel Mohnot and many more.
Selected startups will have the opportunity to pitch at Millenaris Startup Campus, a day prior to the conference on 6 November while all conference attendees will also be invited to Startup and Innovation Day right after Untold Stories.
As the last event of MY-GATEWAY, an EU-funded project which aims to boost entrepreneurship in the CEE region, Untold Stories aims to contribute to bridging the gap between the CEE and the rest of the world. Co-organised by Europa Media, IVSZ, Startup Hungary and Startup Europe Networks, Untold Stories came with the intention to stay.
Join Untold Stories here.
Join the Global Blockchain Challenge!
Calling all developers, regulators and business people
If you like solving problems in a cross-disciplinary way, then you’ll want to come to Málaga on 11 November and take part in the Global Blockchain Challenge.
This is an open innovation initiative to bring together developers, regulators and business people to address challenges around the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and deliver impactful, cross-disciplinary blockchain-based solutions.
Teams of three people will be formed with three different profiles (tech, business and legal) and with backgrounds coming from private sector, academia and entrepreneurship.
Thanks to this cross-disciplinary approach, we hope and expect to have exciting, innovative but also well thought-through and practical solutions that take into account a broad range of conditions and viewpoints, and that are implementable in the short- to mid-term.
Information on how to participate and attend the Global Blockchain Challenge is available on the website.
And while you are in Malaga, participate in Convergence – the first truly global blockchain conference, bringing together the worldwide blockchain community for an intense dialogue with regulators, policy makers, industry influencers and members of the social impact community.
Attendees will enjoy a number of unique opportunities not available at any other blockchain gathering. These include:
- A chance to shape the industry through direct dialogue with regulators and policy makers
- An opportunity to help set blockchain priorities for the coming year
- A global exposure and a vision of the blockchain “big picture”
- Learn about the opportunities offered at EU and international level for funding blockchain initiatives
The conference will have a broad remit, exploring the convergence of blockchain with other technologies, with business, with the legal and regulatory landscape, and with society in general and the social good.
See you in Malaga!
Open call to develop new XR solutions
Calling all XR innovators!
XR4ALL is launching an open call to attract, select, and provide financial support to third parties to develop new XR solutions.
Interactive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are set to transform the ways in which people communicate, interact, and share information.
The XR industry has now reached a stage, following years of research and development, where technology has become commercially viable; however, the European XR industry is fragmented. In this context, XR4ALL is launching an open call to increase XR innovation through funding of research teams to develop new XR solutions.
Projects selected through the open call are able to receive a maximum of €50,000 by undergoing two support phases with specific deliverables. Once completed, projects will receive €10,000 for phase 1 and €40,000 for phase two. The specifics are as follows:
Phase1 – Concept validation (2 months): Projects in this phase need to expand upon and validate their concept from a business and a technical perspective. The funding for this phase is €10,000 as a lump sum. Only the projects which submitted the required deliverables for this phase, on time, and were evaluated to have sufficient quality will receive funding. Based on an evaluation at the end of the first phase, only the best rated projects will be admitted to the second phase and therefore be able to develop the proposed solution. XR4ALL expects to fund up to 50 projects in phase 1, from which up to 25 projects will be admitted to phase 2. Each of these projects will enter the first phase following selection after each one of the 4 cut-off dates.
Phase 2 – Development and integration (4 months): Projects admitted in this phase will undertake to develop a working version of the proposed solution, a tested Minimum Viable Product. Furthermore, the working version of the solution, or a limited functionality version, will be promoted on the XR Solutions Catalogue. The funding for this phase is €40,000 as a lump sum. Only the projects which submitted the required deliverables for this phase, on time, and were evaluated to have sufficient quality will receive funding.
The total funding to be sub-granted by XR4ALL is €1,500,000. This is broken down to a maximum of 50 projects in phase 1, receiving each a funding of €10,000 (€500,000 in total). Following phase 1, up to 25 projects will be admitted to phase 2 with a corresponding funding of €40,000 per project (€1m in total). The maximum amount granted per project is therefore €50,000.
Interested parties can apply before one of the 4 cut-off dates for the open call which are:
31/10/2019 at 17:00 (Brussels time)
31/01/2020 at 17:00 (Brussels time)
30/04/2020 at 17:00 (Brussels time)
31/07/2020 at 17:00 (Brussels time)
Click here for more information and to apply.
Block.IS launches its first open call
Calling all blockchain startups and SMEs!
Block.IS, a Horizon2020 funded project which aims to catalyse blockchain innovation, has launched it’s first open call.
Block.IS is looking for innovative startups and SMEs to generate blockchain-based products, processes and business models with strong market potential in the sectors of agrifood, logistics and finance.
For the EU economy to grow sustainably it needs to re-industrialise, leveraging innovation and digital intelligence. The agrifood, logistics and financial sectors are among the most important sectors in the EU’s economy. The EU’s agrifood sector has a strong global competitive position as the largest food and drink exporter with a market share of 18%. The logistics sector amounts to 14% of the EU’s GDP, and the sector is expected to grow 40% by 2040. The financial sector makes up to 20-30% of total service market revenue and about 20% of the total gross domestic product in EU economies.
Blockchain technology has been recognised by influential people and institutions, including EC and WEF, as one of the most promising and disruptive technologies of the century. The technology exhibits a unique combination of features that make it ideal for solving certain challenges – provenance, transparency, traceability, efficiency, trust, data sharing — in the three sectors. Blockchain technology enables a decentralised, trusted and programmable way to transfer value and information.
Click here for more information and to apply.