The Web Summit, a European high-tech bloc, will start Tuesday evening in the Portuguese capital, in particular, on the program’s fundamental questions about the future of cryptocurrencies.
According to founder Paddy Cosgrave, the event will be sold to approximately 70,000 expected visitors during the four days of the fair, which will subsequently return to its 2019 format, before the shock of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the program: startups, investors, business leaders and leading personalities. In total, over 1,000 speakers including American thinker Noam Chomsky or Ukrainian heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk.
But the places of choice are reserved for specialists in cryptocurrency and blockchain, a technology that claims to be able to revolutionize the uses of the Internet, and even the global economy.
Many specialized companies will attend in this universe, from startups to multi-billion dollar unicorns such as the Yuga Labs studio or the OpenSea platform.
Also leading the show is Chinese-Canadian Changpeng Zhao (or CZ), the wealthy head of major crypto-asset exchange Binance.
Everyone will try to convince that the potential of cryptocurrencies still exists while the sector is going through countless crises, accused of fueling financial bubbles, facilitating tax evasion and even being a massive fraud.
In response to a question from AFP, Paddy Cosgrave agreed that “a lot of questions remain unanswered” regarding cryptocurrencies, which he largely described as a kind of delusion.
He added, “We’ve done our best to convince the main characters in the ecosystem to come, and some of them will be pushed a little bit on stage. We’ll see what happens.”
Crypto haters were also invited, such as actor Ben McKenzie (known for the Gotham and Newport Beach TV series).
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Czechoslovakia’s comments will come under special scrutiny, as a world leader in cryptocurrency but also because his company, Binance, has been repeatedly accused of wanting to evade regulations, which it opposes.
She is also one of the investors who rallied for eccentric billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter with an investment of $500 million.
Finally, she indicated at the beginning of last October that she had been subjected to a huge hack, estimating the size of the theft at about $100 million.
The accumulation of controversies and the permanent decline in the valuation of crypto assets – driven like the rest of technology by a deteriorating macroeconomic context – are now prompting the crypto sector to try to rally the public’s interest once again.
Paddy Cosgrave said the role of the Web Summit is not to seek to spur investment in the field.
Traditional tech personalities Amazon, Apple, Google and Meta will also be present to present the latest developments in health, artificial intelligence or virtual worlds.
After whistleblower Frances Hogan came in in 2021 to accuse Facebook of prioritizing its growth rather than fighting online hate, this year’s show will give a platform to Irish lobbyist Mark McGahn, who revealed to the public Uber’s aggressive strategy to assert itself on its site. A war against taxis.
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