Disclaimer: eToro provided me with two free tickets to the show.
This past Saturday I took to London for the launch of the Crypto Investor Show, brought to my attention by their association with eToro. Tasking themselves with “giving investors the chance to fully understand the key elements driving blockchain technology forward, how and why the industry has got to where it is now, and what could be in store for 2018 and beyond” they clearly weren’t planning to start small.
They were rewarded with unparalleled interest, the queue at 9:30am still stretched from the doors of the QEII Centre all the way around the corner & down Storey’s Gate. Within minutes, founder of the show (Patrick Dooley) was on hand to apologise for the unexpectedly long queue and to provide a new ticketing solution to get everyone in faster. In fact, not much later he was on stage informing people that he would refund everyone’s tickets due to the overcrowding and the inability for everyone to squeeze into the main stage (not for the lack of trying).
Overall I feel that Patrick handled the situation well, ensuring that everyone was aware that the content was being live-streamed, and would later be made available for free. The first talk we saw was Iqbal from eToro. He presented to an audience crammed in wall to wall, and gave a strong overview of the evolution of cryptocurrency over the past few years, and the parallel changes in the demographics of investors. His final point was one of concern for newer traders buying anything associated with the word blockchain, he urged the room to take more time to research the technology and people behind the various ICO projects. Although not anything new to me and probably any other investors who have been around the space for a long time, I actually feel that Iqbal’s speech was one of the best at the event.
After battling our way out of the main stage we ventured into the first of two halls of exhibitors. For me this is where the fun begins, events such as this are usually full of excited entrepreneurs ready to pitch their great new idea at you. The quality of most of the exhibiting projects at this event was broadly quite low; offering solutions to problems that have already been solved by existing cryptos or problems that don’t exist in the first place. As an event organiser it can be difficult to turn away exhibitors, especially when the line between shitcoin & legitcoin can be so blurred, but in future I’d like to see some more curation of the ICO’s in attendance, at least in terms of who is allowed presentation time on the event stages.
But not all of these ICO's were bad, I’d like to highlight both Bitcar & Zero Carbon Project as two ICO’s I came away with some interest in.
Bitcar plans to provide a platform aiming at tokenising exotic cars; with this being a historically well-performing asset class, and substantially more fun to tell your friends about than an ISA or some government bonds. This could be a good place for long-term crypto holders to diversify their holdings. There are a few similar projects, but the team behind this have a track record in cryptocurrency, although the results are somewhat mixed. This is not an ICO I would recommend just yet, but is equally not one I would entirely dismiss.
Zero Carbon Project are light on the details, with a whitepaper promised for the end of March. They have a vision of reducing global carbon emissions to zero in fifteen years through incentivising people to switch to green energy suppliers across most of Europe, Australia and a few other countries. I had a lengthy discussion with Ian White, a member of the team. His enthusiasm was contagious, and one of the most intriguing things he told me was how the deflation of the tokens is based on the number of people still opting to use fossil fuel based power. The more people who switch to a fully green supplier, the fewer tokens are created. Climate change is a cause I am passionate about, and providing the whitepaper stacks up, I will be looking to invest a small amount into this cryptocurrency.
After investigating most of the ICO’s exhibiting throughout the event, and meeting several copiers we decided to leave the venue in a small group due to the congestion at the venue. One of my copiers, Piotr works for a trendy AV company who had a small (amazing) custom designed cinema setup in their office. There we were able to relax over a few beers and watch the live-stream for the remainder of the event.
As an experience for myself, I’m on the fence as to whether I would continue attending. The event is heavily focused on newcomers to crypto investing, and outside of a few ICO’s and the opportunity to spend time with my copiers, there wasn’t a lot for me. I think there’s great value in it for potential investors; with the presentations from Iqbal Gandham from eToro and Prof. William Knottenbelt from the Imperial College being the major highlights for me and I suspect most visitors, both experienced and new.
Overall it was still a great event, especially considering the immense popularity. Having worked in events for several years I can understand the difficulties the organisers faced. Despite it’s problems, the event is a superb option for new investors, and one I hope will return to London slightly more polished in the future.