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.