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9 Takeaways from Consensus 2023: Trends in the Evolving Blockchain Industry | Blockster

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The annual Consensus 2023 blockchain technology conference brought together industry leaders, policymakers, and traditional brands and enterprises to discuss the latest trends and developments in the blockchain sector. The event highlighted several themes, including infrastructure-focused projects and applications, AI integration, decentralized storage, and RegTech compliance products.

With a diverse range of voices from the industry, the conference showcased the growing maturity and sophistication of the blockchain industry, which has come a long way since its earliest years. In this article, we summarize nine key takeaways from the perspectives of thought leaders at top Web3 companies, including: NodeReal, XYO Network, Masa Finance, BANXA, LAMINA1, Core DAO, OneOf, Blocto, and Neo.

Takeaway 1:
Dr. Xiao-guang (Ben) Zhang, Founder & COO, NodeReal

“The energy at this year’s edition of Consensus has shown how much the industry has evolved since its earliest years. With greater participation from both policymakers, traditional brands and enterprises alike, it certainly speaks to the industry’s growing maturation and sophistication.

With a significant turnout from infrastructure-focused projects and applications, as well as layer-1 and layer-2 platforms, we’re seeing a marked shift toward the tech where demand for purpose-built blockchain solutions is growing, driven by demands from traditional businesses and large-scale dApps.

It was certainly exciting to see great infrastructure projects – SDK, security tooling, etc. at the conference, a clear indication of focus on adoption and a shining example of #BUIDLer spirit on full display.

Chatter around AI + blockchain was also a hot topic at Consensus. We’re seeing AI being integrated into many projects now, from AI-powered chain analytics to AI-generated designs in blockchain games, AI is making it easier for end users to generate their own content.

This represents a real opportunity for the industry, especially around decentralized storage, which gives users ownership and the ability to commercialize their own IP.
“In the age of AI, decentralized storage & ZK will enable users to own the content & data they generate, with a focus on privacy & protection.”

Dr. Xiao-guang (Ben) Zhang, Founder & COO, NodeReal
High-performance decentralized storage will also play a key role in supporting the Web3 data economy, as more businesses explore high-performance cloud-based decentralized storage. Finally, we are also seeing great strides in development that are being made in RegTech with more compliance-related products such as tax and accounting products, and some of these projects are even from Web2 RegTech companies.

As a whole, I believe that Web2 businesses are driving the market demand for enterprise blockchain infrastructure in recognition of Web3’s transformative potential for their bottom line.

For one-stop infrastructure providers such as ourselves, this is especially exciting. To bring the next 1 billion users onto blockchain will require purpose-built infrastructure that can scale and keep up with business demands — I believe there are exciting opportunities on the horizon for us and what I saw at Consensus is but a testament to that fact.”

About the company: NodeReal is a leading, award-winning one-stop blockchain infrastructure and service provider that embraces the high-speed blockchain era and empowers developers by “Make your Web3 Real”. We provide scalable, reliable, and efficient blockchain solutions for everyone, aiming to support the adoption, growth, and long-term success of the Web3 ecosystem.
NodeReal’s Semita empowers enterprises to build their custom Application Chain or scale their blockchains with Layer 2 solutions, like ZK Rollups and Optimistic Rollups.
Spokesperson bio: Dr. Xiao-guang (Ben) Zhang is the Co-Founder and COO of NodeReal, the leading blockchain infrastructure service provider. Dr. Zhang is a renowned pioneer in the blockchain infrastructure space and was a founding member of Binance’s BNB Chain. At BNB Chain, Dr. Zhang was responsible for and facilitated the growth of the BNB Chain ecosystem, enabling it to become one of the world’s largest layer-1 blockchains in the world within two years of its launch.

Dr. Zhang’s experience spans the worlds of blockchain and traditional finance, having previously held senior leadership roles at Morgan Stanley for almost a decade before transitioning into Web3. Throughout his career, Dr. Zhang has managed teams across the United States, Europe, and Asia, across a myriad of industries spanning consulting, financial services, blockchain, and enterprise technology.

Dr. Zhang holds a PhD in Computer Science from Shanghai Jiao Tong University which is among Asia’s top-ranking higher-education institutions.

Takeaway 2:
Calanthia Mei, Co-Founder of Masa Finance

“Consensus was incredibly productive, meeting with so many projects, investors and developers building in Web3. The one big takeaway from all these conversations is that it’s clear projects are eagerly looking for user-activity in a meaningful way.

There was a poll done at Consensus regarding the biggest challenges affecting blockchain and Web3, and the answer with the most votes was, “low demand.”

The bear market has created a musical chairs of user activity across the ecosystem. That’s why at Masa we’re incredibly excited for developers and projects to be able to utilize our soulbound identity infrastructure to acquire, retain and verify users in Web3.
“SBTs give a simple way for users to establish on-chain identity & be rewarded for their achievements in their Web3 journey.”

Calanthia Mei, Co-Founder of Masa Finance
And now, we’re leaving Consensus, with some great opportunities to scale our protocol.”

About the company: The identity infrastructure for developers building web3 communities. Masa’s vision is to bring humanity on-chain by giving developers the tools to build thriving web3 communities. On-chain is the new online, and Masa Soulbound Tokens are the composable and interoperable on-chain identifiers to scale web3 to the next billion users.

Masa is backed by DCG, GoldenTree and Binance’s accelerator MVB. Calanthia’s vision is to build a more connected, decentralized and equitable world.

Spokesperson bio: Calanthia is a co-founder at Masa, the first and fastest-growing Soulbound Token protocol. She has been a global fintech builder and investor in the past decade, as a founding member of PayPal’s venture capital arm where she invested in 25 leading fintech and web3 startups across US, Europe, Asia, LatAm and Africa.

Most recently, Calanthia scaled a fintech startup from 20 to 450 people to a public company acquisition. Her work has been featured on industry publications such as CNBC, New York Stock Exchange, CoinTelegraph, and Blockworks.

Takeaway 3:
Markus Levin, Co-Founder of XYO

“Providing a space for the brightest minds in blockchain to exchange ideas, Consensus 2023 has truly showcased the resilience of this incredible sector. I was fortunate to connect with likeminded individuals who are transforming the way our world operates and disrupting legacy industries.”

“The amount of synergy and valuable conversations and opportunities that come out of events of this scale is next to none. The overall sentiment was highly optimistic, and I’m excited to continue to build for the next bull market.”

About the company: XYO is a technology protocol and network which improves the validity, certainty, and value of data. Focused on building a vast but highly organized data marketplace that gives users a gold standard for any apps, websites, and blockchain technologies that rely on trusted data, XYO solutions enable a more functional and easily accessible Web3 for everyone — developer, business, and individual alike.

XYO technologies and services are aimed at promoting self-sovereignty through expanding data ownership, with the firm belief that these values should be core to all crypto projects and initiatives.

Spokesperson bio: Markus Levin co-founded XYO Network in 2018, establishing it as the first people-powered decentralized project that connects data from the physical world directly with blockchain smart contracts and other digital realities.

Takeaway 4:
Richard Mico, Chief Legal Officer & US CEO of Banxa

“At Consensus 2023, conversations around regulation permeated the conference. Especially in light of the last 6-9 months, which featured a number of spectacular crashes as well as ramped up enforcement actions, people across the Web3 space are yearning for regulation and clarity in the US to provide a clear path forward for the industry.
“But the potential for US regulation isn’t bringing down the mood – rather, it’s truly energizing conversations.”

Richard Mico, Chief Legal Officer & US CEO of Banxa
“Clearer oversight will go a long way toward legitimizing the industry and taking us further toward rebuilding the trust needed for greater mainstream crypto adoption, so it was great to see that as such a centerpiece of this year’s Consensus.”

About the company: Banxa’s mission is to accelerate the world to Web3 with its leading global on-and-off ramp solution. Through its extensive network of local payment solutions paired with the required crypto licences, Banxa gives its partners and projects access to global audiences with less friction and higher conversions.

Spokesperson bio: Richard Mico is US CEO and Chief Legal Officer of Banxa. Richard has a strong technical knowledge and broad experience in providing advice and legal guidance across technology and finance across multi-jurisdictional spaces.

Takeaway 5:
Rebecca Barkin, CEO of LAMINA1

“Truly impressed by the quality of the crowd and content at Consensus, and honored to be one of their 2023 Projects to Watch. Our days were jam-packed meeting partners, investors, and innovators leveraging the blockchain to transform the future of metaverse experiences. We’re tired, a little sweaty, and have eaten a week’s worth of BBQ but we’ll def be back!”

About the company: The brainchild of Neal Stephenson (Chairman), who first conceptualized the Metaverse in his 1992 million-selling book Snow Crash, and Peter Vessenes (CEO), a foundational leader from the early days of Bitcoin, LAMINA1 is a Layer-1 blockchain purpose-built to empower the Open Metaverse.

LAMINA1’s chain technology, cryptographic model and extensive intellectual property partnerships (to be announced throughout 2022) will establish it as the preferred destination for this generation’s most creative minds – those who are crafting the digital societies of the future. It is the first provably carbon-negative blockchain in the world.

Spokesperson bio: Emerging technology and entertainment executive Rebecca Barkin brings over 20 years of experience shaping creative strategy, product, and immersive experiences to her role as CEO of Lamina1. Prior to joining L1, Barkin served as VP of Content Strategy & Partner Solutions at the groundbreaking immersive venue Madison Square Garden Sphere, where she played a key role in bringing transportive experiences to life.

Barkin additionally held leadership roles at Augmented Reality (AR) pioneer Magic Leap, where she led the rebrand and award-winning product design for the enterprise-focused Magic Leap 2 and drove development of AR experiences with premium partners including Alibaba, Weta, Warner Bros, and HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Takeaway 6:
Brendon Sedo, an initial contributor to Core DAO

“Consensus is a top-tier event, built for real builders and believers. I’m impressed by how many quality projects I’ve been able to engage with. It would be difficult to come away from Consensus without excitement for what’s coming.”

About the company: Core DAO is a Layer-1 blockchain combining the decentralization and security of Bitcoin with the scalability and utility of Ethereum. Through its Satoshi Plus consensus mechanism, Core DAO integrates the best aspects of Proof of Stake and Proof of Work.

The Core DAO is made up of a global group of contributors seeking to promote the growth of Satoshi Plus consensus and the power of blockchain technology to reshape society based on a philosophy of co-creation. Visit coredao.org for more information or to start building today.

Spokesperson bio: Brendon Sedo is an initial contributor to Core DAO, an independent blockchain combining the decentralization and security of Bitcoin with the composability and application platform of Ethereum. In this role, Brendon manages Core DAO’s outreach to developers and other collaborators to activate broader access to the transformational potential of blockchain technology. Brendon believes a collection of decentralized blockchains will improve the way we all live and work.

Takeaway 7:
Jennifer Styles, Vice President, Head of Communications of OneOf

“Great energy, friendly vibes, smart conversations and much more talks of collaboration this year. The builders, creators and brands who are in attendance are in it to win Web3. Love seeing, hearing and learning how Web2 enterprise brands are onboarding to Web3.”

About the company: OneOf is the mass-consumer Web3 company connecting the next 100M non-crypto-native fans to iconic brands, artists, and athletes. OneOf technology enables global brands and enterprises to reimagine commerce, loyalty and engagement, allowing consumers to seamlessly collect or trade digital assets with no prior crypto expertise.

Minting digital assets on OneOf’s platform uses up to 2 million times less energy than previous generation proof-of-work networks, and costs up to 99% less in gas fees. A leader in diversity, over 80% of the collections curated by OneOf come from minority or female creators.

Spokesperson bio: A senior marketing and communications executive with 20+ years of award-winning global in-house and agency experience. Jennifer Styles oversees Communications at OneOf, a music, sports and lifestyle NFT platform on multiple energy-efficient blockchain designed to create sustainable, creator-and-fan-friendly experiences.

Takeaway 8:
Hsuan Lee, CEO and Co-Founder, Blocto

“In bear market conditions, the inherent vitality of the #BUIDL community persists at Consensus 2023. Infrastructure builders presented exciting progress across the ecosystem, including L1s (Aptos, Flow, Solana), L2s (Arbitrum, zkSync), wallets (OpenBlocto) and dev tools (Alchemy).”

“As the tech and market progressively matures, it’s become clear that building robust infrastructure and seamless UX go hand-in-hand for sustainable blockchain innovation.”
“Discussions dominating the space include ERC4337 / account abstraction, mobile-nativity, and the provision of coin-less onboarding experiences…”

Hsuan Lee, CEO and Co-Founder, Blocto
“Features available for integration via OpenBlocto — as Web3 continues advancing towards a seamless and intuitive experience for all.”

About the company: Blocto is a cross-chain smart contract wallet ecosystem that offers a simplified, UX-led gateway for anyone to access Web3. Blocto SDK enables instant Web3 integration for builders, developers and innovators with significantly lowered user acquisition costs. As an industry frontrunner in account abstraction (AA) / ERC-4337, OpenBlocto is their initiative to provide a breeding ground for AA-related standards and protocols.

Spokesperson bio: Hsuan has been listed as one of the 21 most influential people in Taiwan’s blockchain field, which he has been actively developing since 2015. Previously, as VP of Engineering, he helped build DEXON into one of the top performing blockchains at the time. Traveling around the world as a crypto nomad, Hsuan continues to push for a culture of innovation and the mass adoption of blockchain with Blocto Wallet, made by portto.

Takeaway 9:
Da Hongfei, founder of Neo

“It was clear that the blockchain community is ready for the digital to move into the physical. People are hungry for tangible, practical use cases that make blockchain technology part of the everyday world where they work and play. Neo’s exhibit at Consensus 2023 featured OneBand, a physical ring that cryptographically binds to an NFT, allowing users to sign transactions securely.”
“Booth visitors could claim & quickly activate a OneBand, use it to build out their own dynamic lizard NFT as they visited each project pod at our exhibit, & later use the ring to redeem a digital credit for food and drink at a local brewery.”

Da Hongfei, Founder of Neo
“The ring also contains a dev kit to help developers get started building their own projects on the blockchain. As you can see from the 3-day non-stop stream of visitors who wanted their own rings, the time is right to get tangible and easy-to-use phygital experiences out into the world:

About the company: Founded in 2014, Neo is an open-source, community-driven blockchain platform designed to welcome developers into the Smart Economy. By enabling developers to digitize and automate the management of assets through smart contracts, Neo is built to realize the optimized digital world of the future.

As the most developer-friendly blockchain, Neo meets developers where they are by integrating seamlessly with the world’s most widely used languages and tools, and providing the most feature-complete blockchain platform for building full-stack decentralized applications. With native support for powerful infrastructure including decentralized storage, oracles, and domain name service, Neo is the ideal foundation for developers to build the next generation Internet.

Spokesperson bio: The founder of Neo and a core leader within the blockchain industry, Da Hongfei is a serial entrepreneur who has provided invaluable advisory expertise on blockchain technology to many banks, stockbrokers and bill exchanges.

   

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