US-Swiss Exchange on Blockchain Innovation & Regulation

On May 15th, 2019, the first US-Swiss Exchange on Blockchain Innovation & Regulation has been held in Zurich. This conference was co-organised by the US Embassy in Bern, Swiss Fintech Innovations and economiesuisse, and it took place at the Fifa Museum.

Speakers from the US and Switzerland were invited to give lectures about specific topics related to Blockchain technologies, to discuss the latest projects and future prospects on the subject of Blockchain/DLT and to encourage an exchange between the two countries.

Based on the insight that the hype surrounding Blockchain has subsided, the referents outlined projects that have already been realised, what kind of projects are planned and whether the technology can actually keep up with the promises that have been announced in recent years. The primary objective of this conference was to show promising topics that survived the hype and encourage an exchange between the countries.

The speakers and their topics:

Rik Willard, Agentic Group (New York)
Rik is one of the best-known representatives of Blockchain technology worldwide, Managing Director of the Agentic Group and on the board of various companies in the industry. Rik talked about the changes the technology is bringing with it at conferences around the globe. He argued that it’s not about technology, but about re-establishing trust in different aspects of society and business equally, which would require talking about a new kind of values and digital assets. Rik also emphasized that Blockchain technology, or DLT, is not a cure-all in general, but can do a lot of good in a targeted way.

Adrian Schatzmann, SwissBanking (Zurich)
Adrian spoke about the regulation of Blockchain/DLT and the great value for Switzerland as a business location. Optimal framework conditions and legal clarity were of outstanding importance here.

Roger Darin, Head Crypto Assets at inacta AG (Zug)
Roger led the audience back to the beginnings of the Blockchain to show us that the technology is by no means as new as it seems and at the same time showed what potential still lies behind the technology if we use it correctly.

Eli Stern, Principal Advisory Services at EY (New York)
Eli reported on many use cases that EY has already initiated in the US. In his opinion, working with Blockchain/DLT should focus on the strengths of the technology: Speed and transparency are strengths that only blockchain technology can offer.

Sunnie J. Groeneveld, Managing Partner at Inspire 925 (Zurich)
Sunnie moderated the conference. She filled the panel discussion with provocative questions, e.g. whether there was already a blockchain fatigue, with life and asked the important questions on the topic.

The closing speeches were held by Toby Wolf, Economic and Commercial Officer of the US Embassy Bern and Dr. Michael Manz, Deputy Head of the Department of Financial Systems and Markets, FDF.

Conclusion
The first “US-Swiss Exchange on Blockchain Innovation & Regulation” successfully looked behind the hype and searched for the potential of the blockchain technology. All participants agreed that the evolution of technological adaptation and the decline of interest after the hype were quite normal and that the true core of the technology had to be addressed, that it would not be able to solve all problems, but especially in the areas of trust, transparency and the creation of new values and cooperation, it still has great potential that we now have to exploit.