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October Meetup recap: blockchain & cryptocurrencies

Last Friday, Holland FinTech organized its monthly meetup in partnership with the Master of Finance of the University of Amsterdam. This month it revolved around bitcoin & cryptocurrencies. More than 400 professionals and students gathered at the Amsterdam Business School to participate in this event, lead by experts including cryptocurrency start-ups, Dutch regulators and consultants.

The sunny afternoon started with opening words by Don Ginsel, CEO and founder of Holland FinTech, and Jens Martin, the Master of Finance’s Programme Director at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

These preliminaries preceded the pitching session, where the bitcoin start-up BTC.com, represented by Alejandro De La Torre, offered a glimpse into their wallet for bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash audience was particularly interested in the security of the solution.

Richard Khol, founder of the Bitcoin Wednesday Meetup in Amsterdam, introduced the platform aimed at educating and raising awareness of the broad applications of the technology. A firm believer in the potential of alternative currencies, Richard provided us with valuable insights regarding the digital revolution lead by a technology he considers potentially more impacting than the Internet.

Eduard Korijn, LA-based cryptocurrency trader, delighted the attendees with his view on how to invest in cryptocurrencies.

It was nice to see the active participation in the debate of the Dutch Authority for Financial Markets (Autoriteit Financiële Markten), present in the name of Lars van de Ven from the Innovation and Fintech programme.

The final part of the program was made up of a panel discussion featuring Maurits Dewina (Innopay), Oz Eleonora (Zinica Group) and Lars van de Ven (AFM), with Jens Martin (UvA) as moderator.

The discussion on stage was generally positive towards cryptocurrencies, and Bitcoin in particular. Oz Eleonora stated his belief that “the asset class has proven its right of existence ,” maintaining that this “segment is going to exist, there is no other way.”

In line with the other participants, Eleonora mentioned the ‘tragedy of hype,’ leading tech companies to move forward on the markets at a faster pace than the technology, as cryptocurrency technology is “early in the life cycle but super well distributed.”

Maurits Dewina acquiesced, underlining the huge potential inherent in the underlying blockchain technology, and pointing to challenges such as linking the digital sphere to the physical one.

Regulator Lars van de Ven highlighted the difficulties raised by cryptocurrencies in terms of regulations. He was inclined to look more at the potential benefits of blockchain technology in non-currency applications. He stated that ICOs in the eyes of the regulator are in most ICOs securities. Eleonora agreed and stressed the need for a proportionate regulation .

The event was wrapped up by the organisers, after which a lively meet, greet and drinks session led everyone into the Friday night.

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