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Davos Forum Sees Major Influx Of Crypto Firms

Cryptocurrency and blockchain companies are a major presence at this week’s meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, its first in-person event since the pandemic began, in spite of a major drop in crypto values in recent weeks.

Hundreds of political leaders and policymakers and more than 1,000 business leaders are expected to attend the event at the Swiss Alpine resort, which follows a virtual event in January that revolved around topics such as global economic recovery, climate action, technological innovation and international collaboration.

The event also includes the attendance of nearly 100 Global Innovators and Technology Pioneers, promising tech and business start-ups singled out by the Forum.

Topics are to include everything from the pandemic to climate change, education, technology and energy governance.

‘Turning point’

The theme of this year’s meeting is “working together to rebuild”, or, more formally, “History at a Turning Point: Government Policies and Business Strategies”.

Blockchain technologies and digitisation are key themes of the conference, with discussions around decentralised finance and related topics.

Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive of crypto exchange FTX, is to give a presentation on the environmental sustainability goals of Bitcoin to world leaders on Tuesday morning.

Another Tuesday morning discussion will address decentralised finance, with topics such as the need for centralisation in the decision-making process and whether DeFi protocols require regulation.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Lunch on Tuesday will see experts from various fields sharing their points of view on emerging technologies.

Blockchain side-events

Female Quotient is to host an in-person Equality Lounge at the event, alongside a parallel virtual version in Decentraland, a decentralised virtual universe – adding a “metaverse” theme to the event.

In addition to the main World Economic Forum event, the resort of Davos will also host GBBC’s fifth annual Blockchain Central Davos, where leaders from the blockchain, digital asset, technology and government sectors will discuss the future of decentralised blockchain-based technologies.

Casper Labs and CV labs are hosting the separate Blockchain Hub Davos 2022 from Monday to Wednesday to give another perspective on these emerging technologies.

Securrency, a digital market infrastructure firm backed by Abu Dhabi, is attending Davos for the first time this year and has set up its own series of panels outside the main event to showcase ideas on decentralised finance and digital currencies.

Physical storefronts

Many of the physical storefronts in Davos have been taken over by companies in blockchain-related fields, including an NFT store operated by RollApp.store from Sunday to Thursday.

On Sunday Stablecoin operator Tether offered free pizza slices to passers-by to celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day, when on 22 May 2010 Lazlo Hanyecz paid for two pizzas with 10,000 Bitcoin – at the time worth about $41 (£33).

Stan Stalnacker, chief strategy officer at social network Hub Culture, told Reuters he estimated about 50 percent of Davos’ storefronts have been occupied by blockchain or cryptocurrency firms for the duration of the summit.

Cryptocurrencies lost about $800bn in market value earlier this month, notably with the spectacular collapse of Luna, which until recently was the eighth-biggest digital coin, and its companion “stablecoin” TerraUSD, which had been pegged to the US dollar.

Bitcoin, which was trading at about $30,500 on Monday, fell to its lowest levels since December 2020 earlier this month and is more than 50 percent down from its high of $69,000 last November.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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