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The fourth annual North American Bitcoin Conference came to a close last week. Overall, the conference was smaller, but brought together a great assortment of speakers. The show also highlighted some of the emerging non-bitcoin applications of blockchain technology.

Below, we’ve put together our 16 most interesting take aways from TNABC 2016:

1) Hacking Hunger in America- Unsung.org (@UnsungOrg)

49 million people in the United States live in hunger, while we discard over $500 billion dollars worth of food every year. Jason King and his team at Unsung (@UnsungOrg) are working hard with the goal of ending hunger in America.

Unsung is giving communities the tools to redistribute extra food that would otherwise be discarded. The app connects the hungry, with Grocers, Restaurants, Caterers, and others, as well as drivers who can deliver food where it’s needed.

You can contribute by donating here using Bitcoin, and find out how you can help by redistributing food abundance to those who need it most.

Regulatory

2) “In 2016, we’ll see the first regulation specific to blockchain technology” – Marco Santori

MarcoSantoriBlockchainRegulation.png

Marco Santori, Partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, is a recognized authority on regulation affecting digital currencies. In his Friday session, Marco predicted 2016 will bring the first blockchain-specific regulation.

3) The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly in Bitcoin Regulation- Jerry Brito, Coin Center

Jerry Brito (@jerrybrito), Executive Director at Coin Center, referenced the 1966 Clint Eastwood movie to provide a breakdown of his view on Bitcoin regulations:

  • The Good: specific regulations increase clarity for innovators and entrepreneurs
  • The Bad: ignorance about how the technology works can lead to unintended consequences. He cited this as the reason for state and federal laws in the U.S. that make the regulatory burden too high and complicated for small businesses and innovators.
  • The Ugly: A terror attack similar to the recent attack in Paris could have ugly consequences if Bitcoin were linked as a financing source.

Blockchain

4) The main focus on Bitcoin in 2015 was the Blockchain, and it appears this same trend will continue in 2016.

“2015 was the year of the blockchain. Even people who don’t like Bitcoin, like the technology behind it.” – Wayne Vaugn, CEO of Tierion.

Tierion’s technology creates verifiable records of data or business processes on the blockchain. You can read more about specific examples on how Tierion is using the blockchain to help companies solve business problems in items #7 & #8 below.

5) Nearly every Fortune 100 company has a blockchain team. Nasdaq, IBM, Microsoft, Visa, R3 Global Consortium, and Gov.uk are working on how to leverage the technology. (@willobrien)

6) Over $1B in venture capital has been invested in Blockchain startups (@willobrien)

Will O’Brien (@willobrien), a limited Partner at LP Blockchain Capital, who has been involved with multiple Bitcoin startups, said:

“Bitcoin is the future of money. Blockchain is the future of custody and exchange, its potential for applications is limitless. Bitcoin is the first killer Blockchain app. It’s secure, never been hacked, at a huge scale (100 times size in capacity compared to Google’s data centers), and it’s transparent.”

Blockchain Applications

7) A Russian mobile payment processor prevents fraud by registering a record of their new customer’s on-boarding interviews into the BlockChain using BlockNotary.

BlockNotary.pngClick to view the video on the Tierion blog

8) Phillips is sharing and updating medical records in real time using the BlockChain to meet regulatory and insurance requirements.

Tierion announced through twitter that it counts Phillips as a customer, and is aiding their healthcare division in exploring blockchain technology.

9) Syndicated Lending will be one of the main use cases for BlockChain technology.

AlphaPoint (@AlphaPointLive), is a white label exchange running 20 bitcoin exchanges in 15 countries, with volume of $300 million per month. They will also be focusing on Blockchain applications.

Joe Ventura, Alphapoint’s Founder and CEO, explained the benefits of Blockchains as the capabilities for consensus by reconciliation, regulatory reporting, and cross-border transactions. He emphasized the three main use cases as Cross-Border B2B payments, integrated clearing and settlement, and syndicated lending.

For syndicated lending, smart contracts between lenders and borrowers- mostly mortgage securities- will be stored on the Blockchain, allowing both parties to always have access to the latest version of the contracts.

This method for syndicated lending would provide automation, efficiency, and auditability.

10) Crypto Settlement to Replace Wall Street’s Trading SystemPatrickByrne.pngClick to view the video on Tabbforum.com

Patrick Byrne (@OverstockCEO), CEO of Overstock, presented one of the most interesting sessions at TNABC this year.

In his session, Mr. Byrne explained the benefits of Crypto Settlement through t0, their new business project designed to improve the world of finance and stock trading, inspired by the way Bitcoin and the Blockchain works.

According to Byrne, “Wall Street’s entire, complicated and inefficient system can be replaced with a crypto ledger, reducing 90% of the associated cost.”

Some of the benefits he sees in using Crypto Settlement through a platform like t0: transactions are cryptographically protected, transparent and visible to all parties, with no frictional costs and market rigging.

11) Prediction Markets (Augur, @AugurProject

12) Empowering artists to collect and share earnings (Stem, @stem)
StemBlockchainArtists.png
13) Supply Chain Management (Wave, @OGYDocs)
WAVE connects all members of the supply chain to a decentralized network and allows them a direct exchange of documents. WAVE’s application manages ownership of documents on the blockchain eliminating disputes, forgeries and unnecessary risks.”
The Future of Bitcoin & The Blockchain
14) “Bitcoin will do to money what the internet did to Knowledge”
One of the best quotes of the conference, by Caleb Chen.
15) Gold and Bitcoin have all the features of real money

Bobby Lee (@bobbyclee), CEO of BTCC and Board Member of Bitcoin Foundation, explained how Gold and Bitcoin have all the features of real money: stable, portable, recognizable, rare (limited supply), hard to counterfeit, malleable, hard to obtain, and stable supply… whereas Fiat currencies on the other hand, do not.

16) How to achieve mainstream adoption faster

Sean Walsh (@SeanWalshBTC), Founder at Redwood City Ventures, provided a very detailed session on events that need to happen for Bitcoin to achieve mainstream adoption.

Sean explained the current number of Bitcoin users is around 400,000 (users with more than 1 BTC). These users are currently doing +180,000 transactions per day, and moving +2 million BTC on the top 10 exchanges.

He believes Bitcoin will reach an important inflexion point at 1 million users, and to get there faster, the community needs to focus on the use cases where consumers can get the best benefits from this digital currency: international workers, and coupon clippers in the U.S.

He also proposed a way for miners to invest part of their profits on this strategy to reach massive market adoption. Using 7-8% of the revenue miners receive from Bitcoin mining, the entire community would have $30 million to use on marketing acquisition campaigns per year.

TNABC is the first conference of the year. Subscribe to the blog below to stay up to date on the latest bitcoin and regulatory developments throughout 2016.