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Ethereum New Zealand Conference to expand blockchain understanding in the business world

The Ethereum conference, “The Blockchain - Disrupting Global Commerce: Understanding the Blockchain, Smart Contracts and Ethereum,” is taking place on May 17 in Auckland and continuing on May 19 in Wellington, New Zealand.

It’s got an exciting lineup of speakers to talk about Ethereum, and It’s hosted by an offshoot of New Zealand-based web, mobile, and Internet of Things development company, 3months.  The company offers a range of smart contract services including consulting, training, prototyping, and deployment.

The Ethereum conference, “The Blockchain – Disrupting Global Commerce: Understanding the Blockchain, Smart Contracts and Ethereum,” is taking place on May 17 in Auckland and continuing on May 19 in Wellington, New Zealand.

It’s got an exciting lineup of speakers to talk about Ethereum, and It’s hosted by an offshoot of New Zealand-based web, mobile, and Internet of Things development company, 3months.  The company offers a range of smart contract services including consulting, training, prototyping, and deployment.

Next week’s conference will showcase five presentations, a panel discussion, and have plenty of networking. It was deliberately aimed at introducing professionals in the greater business world to blockchain technology, and so it won’t be too technical for your average executive to dive right into. Their goal is to be the perfect introduction to blockchains, smart contracts, and Ethereum.

Many different business use cases for blockchains and smart contracts will be discussed. Ryan Ashton from A Few Quiet Yarns will be the official MC, and Taylor Gerring, co-founder and the Director of Technology at the Ethereum Foundation, will be the keynote speaker. He is joined by Augur co-founder Dr. Jack Peterson, Lead Ethereum developer Peter Borah, Brave New Coin co-founder and CEO Fran Strajnar, as well as Ethereum.NZ founder and director Mark Pascall.

Ethereum is the most powerful decentralized platform for running smart contracts on. With it, your developers can easily create and deploy applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference. The advantages that Ethereum applications have over their web 1.0 counterparts appears to be an unstoppable force, both in terms of cost savings and added functionality.

Running on the powerful Ethereum Blockchain, which is constantly timestamping all information to make sure no one can fake, forge, or otherwise fudge with any data used in your projects, Ethereum introduces smart contracts to your business that act like a cross between business documents and applications.

A smart contract can be as simple as an automatic escrow, paying out to the proper person under the proper conditions, or it could be as complex as an entire, decentralized corporation with human employees that don’t have any bosses nor headquarters because the business is fully run by a set of rules alone.

Wills, trusts, crowdsourcing, bookmaking, insurance, gaming, accountancy, and much more are some of the many decentralized applications, referred to as “Dapps,” that have already been rebuilt as smart contracts on Ethereum.

BraveNewCoin spoke with Taylor Gerring, keynote speaker at the conference and one of the original founders of Ethereum Foundation. Gerring oversees the systems, deployment, and security of Ethereum today. He also helps the research and development teams with their external communication, explaining what new functionality may soon be ready for the public to use. For the conference he’ll be talking in depth about the different parts of Ethereum, trying to give his audience a glimpse of what’s possible. “Smart contracts are only the second step,” Gerring told us, “right after blockchains themselves.”

Taylor Gerring“Beyond smart contracts is where the really interesting stuff comes in: Distributed Autonomous Organizations. DAOs will allow for arbitrarily complex organisms to exist on blockchain, whether that be for-profit corporations or a community co-op project.”
— – Taylor Gerring, Ethereum Foundation Co-Founder

While predicting when he feels the whole blockchain movement will take off, Gerring sounds optimistic that the time draws near for mainstream adoption. “It’s hard to predict exactly where this whole "blockchain" thing could go,” the co-founder explained. “I watched some very prominent professionals on stage at Consensus 2016 broadly speak about how they felt that blockchains as an idea is here to stick around. Perhaps we are hitting the turning point where people start to see the larger picture around governance and automation.”

BraveNewCoin CEO Fran Strajnar is also among the event’s speaker lineup, and was happy to share his thoughts on what is possible with Ethereum, and what kind of difference he sees it making in the world.

Fran Strajnar“The rollout of Shared Virtual Computers and the application potential it brings to Reputation Systems, Content Rights Management and Supply-Chain efficiency is going to have large and tangible benefits across the globe.”
— –  Fran Strajnar, BraveNewCoin CEO

Strajnar has a background in business management and was already an entrepreneur with several successes under his belt when he discovered Bitcoin in 2010. Instantly he realized its technology would change the world, and ever since he has been speaking at various Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Ethereum conferences while growing his blockchain data company. Yet when he does, he is sometimes the most bearish in the room, using more caution than many other speakers. “I firmly believe that not everything needs a blockchain,” he pointed out, “Just like I don’t need my toaster connected to the internet. However, this technology is going to disrupt society more so than the internet already has because it’s ability to make irrelevant the current decaying and inefficient political and financial framework.”

Content rights management, reputation systems, financial derivative products, and even more subtle areas like supply-chain efficiency are some of the targets Strajnar feels will be revolutionized by blockchains and Ethereum. Its growth has been phenomenal, he notes, especially with developers. “Ethereum comes with a scripting language meaning pre-packaged tools to develop applications fast,” Strajnar stated. “This ‘out of the box’ feature set with a focus on smart contracts has attracted a healthy number of developers and entrepreneurs and I expect to see ethereum differentiating itself from bitcoin’s wide reaching potential by focusing on powering oracles and distributed autonomous corporations.”

Gerring agrees that the development push has been key, but makes the distinction that it’s not just established coders driving this trend. “In my estimation, we’re currently in a build-out phase where the technology is generally available and people are starting to experiment.” In fact, he likens Ethereum more to a new operating system for the internet than a mere coding platform, opening it up to the masses, given time. “If we do everything right and the research proves out, I hope to see a decentralized internet OS blossom. Blockchains and decentralization in general enable this new model without inherent centralization. The vision has been there since the beginning.”

Like all new technologies, Blockchains and Ethereum haven’t been perfected yet. Bridging the gap between what people are used to doing today and what we could have if we reach for it, is the real problem that this new technology faces, and it’s one that can only be overcome with education. “The biggest problem for blockchains is actually the human key management part,” continued Gerring. “We will have to use traditional human trust systems to go the last mile when the technology or user fails,” he explained, pointing out that trust is also a part of the problem, but is still secondary to education. “The most important thing for users to know is that with power comes responsibility.”

Given that challenge, when put on the spot to make a time estimate for mainstream blockchain rollout, Gerring still had little problem deciding. “If all goes well, I think we could be looking at public blockchains for everything starting in 2018 with substantial build-out by 2020,” he predicted.

“The most benefit we will yield collectively is to focus on building important core components and sharing them with the community as a general utility. Projects like The DAO are a great example of code that can be reused by many organizations and still benefit the first mover.”
— – Gerring

Judging by the number of big banks and fortune 500 companies jumping on board the blockchain bandwagon lately, being prepared for this brave new future could make the difference between a business sinking or swimming in the next few years. “A growing number of professionals have heard of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Blockchains & ‘Smart-Contracts’,” said Strajnar. “This event will be a crash-course to better understand what this technology is, what it represents and how to apply it to business.”

“I hope attendees and speakers alike will hear new ideas about what blockchain means to each other,” said Gerring about the event. “One of the most impressive things I find in the Ethereum community is how varied the backgrounds are of the people. Humans from all walks of life see different possible applications of blockchain and yet no one is sure what it exactly will become. If it’s so innately interesting, how come we have difficulty in expressing its complexity succinctly?”

“Blockchain technology is the tool we’ve been waiting for to dramatically reduce human-error in general governance. Understanding early on, where this technology is going to take us, is vital to understanding how society and business is going to be reshaped in the coming two decades.”
— –  Strajnar


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