Richard Branson Holds Second Blockchain Powwow On Necker Island

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Laura Shin from Forbes was lucky enough to land a writing gig at Richard Branson’s second annual Blockchain Summit on his private Caribbean hideaway Necker Island, and weaved some great coverage from the event.

The attendees included an aerospace engineer, a musician, a derivatives specialist, the founder of a Chinese fintech museum, and former Pentagon and CIA and Department of Homeland Security officials. Sponsors included MaiTai Global, a non-profit event organizers, and BitFury Group, a bitcoin blockchain services and chip manufacturing provider and miner.

The second annual Blockchain Summit — an event considered so exclusive that, as I noted in a previous story, some sources had joked that my attendance this year officially made me “Bitcoin illuminati” — was reaching its culmination.

On Monday night, about 40 people were scattered on Balinese and Javanese teak and bamboo furniture in a room with soaring ceilings decked out with a bar, a pool table, bembe drums and ocean views on three sides. Golden light bathed everything, an easterly wind blew and seagulls glided above the water, but the gathering didn’t notice the setting sun from their tastefully appointed perch on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island.

They were all fixated on a large screen, on which renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto was presenting, via videoconference, a plan he and Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori are proposing to help citizens title their property, such as land and automobiles. If such systems were rolled out worldwide, De Soto believes they would help bring $20 trillion of dead capital into the world economy and help lift people out of poverty globally. 

He told tales of how the lack of land titles or a well-organized system for managing them kept citizens in certain countries from building credit or profiting from, say, oil, gas and gold rights on the land. He said it has also contributed to 70% of the Peruvian population living in shantytowns without running water, because piping water in requires knowing who will pay the water bill — and that can’t be determined without a title. And, he added, the majority of rapes of women in shantytowns occur when they go to outdoor bathrooms in the dark of night because there is no electricity.

BitFury announced the Global Blockchain Council to help companies adopting blockchain technology by offering a forum for innovation and collaboration. The council will work with the Chamber of Digital Commerce. In April, the chamber announced the Global Blockchain Forum to guide global blockchain policy.

Read more of Shin’s great coverage from the event here.

About Richard Kastelein

Founder of industry publication Blockchain News, partner at ICO services collective CryptoAsset Design Group (helped raise over $200m+), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) and ICO event organiser at leading industry event  CryptoFinancing (first ICO event in Europe) - Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of half a dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1200 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat.
 
Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London, Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, San Mateo, Shanghai,Tel Aviv and Venice. His network is global and extensive.
 
He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French.
 
A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world.
 
In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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