I’ve just spent the last 5 days around some of the most influential people in the crypto space. After arriving in Barcelona on Sunday the 9th of June, I didn’t know what to expect over the next 4 days aboard one of the worlds most impressive cruise ships. The Royal Caribbean operated Oasis of the Seas that cost an eye watering $1.4bn to build, was the chosen venue for the 3rd annual blockchain cruise hosted by Coinsbank.
Having seen many interviews from the previous years cruise, I have to admit I was quite excited about what was in store. However, the turn out was no way near as impressive as the ship it was being held on.
Blockchain Cruise Attendee Numbers
In previous years Coinsbank boasted larger attendee numbers, however in 2019 the blockchain attendees were thin on the ground, and whilst the opening line of this blog was about spending the last 5 days with some of the most influential people in this space, the emphasis needs to be firmly directed to the word “some”.
I arrived with my business partner Steve, who was on hand to help with some camera work and editing whilst aboard the cruise, however arranging interviews on this cruise would seem difficult, as there was a bit of a communications issue aboard the cruise liner. This was mainly due to the lack of reliable internet and a poorly structured day, whereby Coinsbank front loaded most of the conference talks between 9am and 12 noon, which was followed by a hurried afternoon excursion and then there was the segregation between VIP’s, Media and Attendees in the evening.
In an effort to extract more money from paying guests, Coinsbank came up with the terrible idea, and I do truly mean terrible idea, to have a VIP suite which is where all the “cool kids” where hanging out. Meaning that for the rest of us plebs aboard this amazing vessel, we were left mingling with American family holiday goers wearing matching tshirts that had corny slogans such as “Holy Ship we’re on a Cruise”
One such VIP was someone I have come to gravitate towards at such events, and that was Brandon Smietana otherwise known as Synth, the controversial CEO of Skycoin. Brandon joked that he was the only “altcoin” on the ship, and you could understand why. It seemed at times like Skycoin was the exclusive sponsor of the cruise, as everywhere you turned there were two recognisable logos on the ship from the cryptosphere, the skycoin logo and the coinsbank logo.
Brandon did however sneak me in to a VIP dinner and VIP suite one night, which really did make the event seem a lot better, here I met Tone Vayes, Davinci Jeremie, filmmaker Miguel Francis-Santiago and many other familiar faces from the blockchain space, and I felt more engaged. The remainder of the cruise however was somewhat a bit of a bust.
I was lucky to have met Steve Safronoff, Partner and COO of Obyte (formally Byteball) upon disembarking in one of my favourite cities, Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Steve was an interesting person to speak to as he explained how the Obyte blockchain functioned, which is similar to that of the Iota tangle, and we openly discussed some the problems that we both see from our roles in the space. Here Steve explained that marketing and market making are two massive obstacles that face genuine blockchain start ups in this space, as hype wins favour. Whilst I on the other hand highlighted the adoption struggles I see from my side, one of which being the need to hold a coin like ETH to send an ERC20, which incidentally is an issue I see with Obyte, I mean imagine having to hold USD in your bank in order to send some Euros to another euro account, it wouldn’t catch on and this is a problem a lot of blockchains need to address in my opinion. However, now that I know more about Obyte, which is a completely ground up built blockchain and not a fork of a popular chain, I feel there could be an investment opportunity here, so DYOR and all that jazz!
Back to the cruise, and there were a few more notable parts of this experience that I feel are worth mentioning, and one such part was the talk delivered by CryptoLaw Partners founder Gordon H Einstein. Gordon delivered a fascinating talk about the blurred guidelines set out by the SEC that could potentially trip up persons considering having an ICO, IEO or STO. Here he outlined that any coin offering that runs or ran a tokensale, whether they blocked US investors or not, would become a US reporting company if more than 2000 US residents held their coins which can be bought on the secondary market without the need for KYC. This is something that Gordon believes this will open up a whole new wave of litigation towards to ICO companies very soon.
What Gordon spoke about was such fresh information that less than a day after the blockchain cruise was over, several exchanges including Binance either delisted certain coins (that were likely to have 2000 US investors) or banned US customers altogether. Gordon did also speak of solutions, such as Regulation A+ (https://www.nyse.com/regulation-a) which is essentially saying “hey yeah, we’re a security” and once your project is live and your token has genuine utility, you can request that you change from a security to a utility and he used Ethereums past as an example of this.
Another person I found myself drawn to was bitcoin maximalist Tone Vayes, and let me start off by saying I didn’t expect to be in agreement with so many of his values, so much so that since returning from the cruise I am fast becoming a maximalist myself. During a talk, Tone asked the crowd (I use the term crowd loosely, it was a gaggle as best) to raise their hands if they got in to crypto through bitcoin. Everyone raised their hand, he then asked if anyone got in to crypto though an altcoin, and you could almost imagine the tumble weed as he said it. Not a single hand in the air, and you could have heard a pin drop over the crickets.
During the cruise I sat and debated several points with Tone along with Synth and filmmaker Miguel that I felt I was amongst peers that all shared a similar vision, and one I don’t talk about too much. That vision is one of a utopian society in the future where government spending is on a public ledger for greater transparency which could eliminate corruption. Whilst this was what we all dream of for the future of blockchain, all of us agreed it was not likely to be something we would see in our lifetimes. Being a part of such a space early on however, is incredibly exciting and it was experiences like this that made me glad to be on the blockchain cruise.
Another amazing experience was meeting the winner of my Blockchain Cruise 2019 competition Edvard Kranich and is lovely fiancé Marleen. I was surprised to learn that Edvard had been following my YouTube channel since 2015, so we caught up over mocktails at the closing party, where Edvard discussed his foray into bitcoin mining, however in true Keith Wareing fashion I forget to switch the microphone on, so the audio was a bit ropey. Nevertheless I will be staying in touch with Edvard, as I have been picking his brains about setting up my own mining venture.
The final and best part of the Blockchain Cruise 2019 was the last minute special guest appearance by Brock Pierce, which he flew in from Puerto Rico for.
He did this on the final day to deliver what I found to be the most exciting speech of the event. The former child actor who turned to VC tech funding at the age of 17 dropped the incredibly bullish news, that info of which he as a billionaire venture capitalist investor was privy to, is that major VC firms in his circles are now being urged to hedge 30% of their capital in to crypto.
Whilst I became sick of people talking about institutional money coming to crypto throughout the entire bear market, given Brocks position in the space I felt he added legitimacy to this narrative. Pierce went on to speculate as to the true potential ahead of us in the crypto space, drawing comparative valuations from the Internet 1.0, where he stated that without taking into consideration quantitative easing or inflation of any sort that he sees the overall market cap of crypto growing to 50-100 trillion dollars, shortly before asking Tone Vayes what the current global market capitalisation is for crypto right now, which is a mere $300bn.
With this in mind, that means that Brock Pierce genuinely sees the space growing by 175x – 350x from todays valuation, and that for me made the attendance of the 2019 blockchain cruise definitely worthwhile.
Now this may seem like a long way off, but if Bitcoin were to go 175 X from its current price of 9k that would put the cryptocurrency at over $1.5m per coin, which makes an earlier forecast I heard on the cruise from Chris and Davinci from MM Crypto of $350k per coin seem rather conservative.
However if you’re wondering when we might reach the next top in which to sell Bitcoin, the oracle himself Davinci Jeremie believes it will be the when the first Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund goes live, so keep some of these figures and dates in mind.
So my closing thoughts on the Blockchain Cruise 2019 are this, there was some great content delivered by some great people, however the VIP segregation made the event feel like there was an us and them divide something I feel is very un-crypto so I’d like to see less of that and more unity at future events. That being said, it was worthwhile and I highly recommend getting a ticket for the next event as soon as it’s announced.