Blockchain at Davos

The WEF in Davos has come and gone, with headlines about world leaders and international goals. But what progress was made in concrete terms? And what was the role of blockchain at Davos?

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos is an important arena for statements of global leaders – and state they do. Just days after the event, we have all heard the positions and goals put forward by global leaders. But Davos is much more: it’s also a venue where exciting new ideas and dialogue take place – and take flight. One of the biggest differences between this year’s gathering and those of the past is that sustainability and climate protection are not only present, but constitute concrete and measurable goals shared by different stakeholders. We gathered thoughts and impressions from various stakeholders in Davos, with a special focus on blockchain-related developments.

Andy Baldwin, Global Managing Partner with Ernst & Young (EY) commented on the climate and sustainability focus at this year’s WEF, adding that EY has committed to becoming climate neutral. The company is investing US$ 2bn in harnessing climate-friendly solutions for itself and client companies. The tech involved includes blockchain in widely diverse industries like winemaking and insurance.

Jeff Saviano, Global Tax Innovation Leader for EY and Fellow in the MIT Connection Science Lab commented that Davos 2020 is about technology governance. “How do you put new governance models in place to make sure that we’re solving society’s biggest problems?” He explained that EY and MIT are leveraging blockchain and AI to address the biggest tax challenges in the world. “The size of the worldwide shadow economy is equivalent to about a third of the GDP of 158 countries.” By bringing these revenue flows out of the dark, world economies can significantly improve their fiscal situations and international compliance.

Simplifying blockchain tech

“Simplifying the language around blockchain and allowing corporates and institutions to understand the possibility of engaging with digital assets” is a top priority, says Richard Byworth, CEO of the crypto futures exchange Digitex. The company, which is set to be listed on NASDAQ by mid-2020, is also focused on bringing institutional investors into the arena.

Ron Tucker, of the International Digital Asset Exchange Association (IDAXA) representing the interests of crypto exchanges around the world, recognized an increasing recognition of crypto and the industry. “We have a role in fostering the new digital economy,” he said. “IDAXA’s focus is solely on the Financial Action Task Force’s recent regulatory guidelines and the expectations for crypto exchanges to come in line with the traditional financial service sector. It’s a double-edged sword: on the one hand it means we do what we do best – innovate and respond with agility – on the other hand it indicates that crypto is becoming more mainstream. We will be engaging with authorities to examine risks as well as the upsides of crypto.”

The global gathering was also overshadowed by discussions of nationally governed cryptocurrencies – central bank digital currency (CBDC). Rumors spread in Davos that China’s digital yuan was just days away from launch. The WEF itself and the blockchain company ConsenSys both issued guidelines on CBDC development and issuance.

(Source: Blocks99 reporting)

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