Facilitating unexpected crossovers and bringing all enthusiasts from the ecosystem and beyond up to speed about latest developments, cool new initiatives and startups. As BCNL Foundation we are organizing a broad range of events during the year for the Dutch web3 ecosystem. Our flagship event; the Dutch Blockchain Days, took place last week. I had the pleasure of co-organizing this with our team of enthusiastic volunteers, but also curate and moderate the program. Five things I learned from our event:

Adoption is happening in the shadow

Todays’ news seems to be overshadowed with AI, AI and AI. The only attention the traditional media is giving to blockchain and crypto, is when something bad happens. Bitcoin was already declared dead hundreds of times and often I read that blockchain technology is a solution, looking for a problem.

It was therefore very refreshing to hear a broad range of adoption stories from both development countries and western organizations. Yes, blockchain has a more profound impact right now in countries where the infrastructure is still lacking, in financial systems, government services and supply chains. But there are also numerous big organizations that are not just experimenting with the technology, but proudly showcasing their successful implementations. We learned this from Jan3, an organization providing Bitcoin infrastructure in development countries, like El Salvador and speakers joining from Vodafone and IBM.

But as multiple speakers argued, most activity is taking place in the shadow. Users often don’t even know they are using blockchain technology and that’s a great thing.

The EU is rocking the boat

It are not just companies, working on this. I really enjoyed my conversations with Joao Rodrigues Frade from the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI). They are working on tens of initiatives regarding cross border blockchain infrastructure, like preventing fraud with higher education degrees, by putting them for all European higher education institutions on blockhain. The EU is also busy with the Digital Wallet implementation, where lots of blockchain companies (like our member Ledger Leopard) are working on.

I’m always very happy with the ‘Brussels effect’, the fact that the EU is always pro-actively working on regulation, like the GDPR, DMA and MICAR. It provides a level playing field for all actors in the industry. This was also discussed thoroughly with different representatives of crypto companies, who see a rise in the interest of investors and removal of bad actors from the ecosystem.

Yes to the moon, but there is also a dark side of the moon

These bad actors are everywhere, in all industries, in all technologies. Criminals are always very innovative and use technologies for their daily activities all the time. It is and will always remain a ‘cat and mouse game’, as the public prosecution office told us. Yes, criminal activity can be monitored better with blockchain technology (compared to cash), but ransomware and Pig Butchering Scams also thrive on crypto. There is still lots of criminal activity taking place and as lots of these activities are impossible to track & trace, it is also hard to provide concrete figures about this.

Convergence is the key

We spoke a lot about the convergence of blockchain with other emerging technologies, like AI, IoT and ML. They not just complement each other, but the combination(s) is giving incredible new and powerful solutions. Instead of seeing technologies like AI as a danger (as they absorb lots of investment money and interest from companies), we should really look for cool ways how the can connect with each other.

We are just getting started

Everyone spoke about the next big thing within the technology and ecosystem. Besides the Ethereum ETF, DePin and MICAR, most speakers agreed that tokenization could be the killer app for blockchain. This next big thing, already happening right now. We see this in different ways; the NFT-boom and latest developments around Real World Asset Tokanization. From carbon credits to property, all assets could be tokenized and enjoy the broad range of positive features what blockchain can provide them.

But with all future plans, the speakers shared with regard to new technological developments, adoption possibilities and convergence with traditional industries and new technologies, even after being active in the industry since 2013, I have the idea and feeling… we’re just getting started. There are so many cool developments ‘in the pipeline’, so many positive things we can look forward to in the upcoming months and years to come.

We do so with the BCNL Foundation as well, so stay tuned for our cool events in autumn! Dutch Blockchain Week, meetups and more!