One of the most anticipated events in the blockchain sphere this year was organized in Singapore this week. Forbes Asia organized a “Forum: Decrypting Blockchain For Business”, with the aim of bringing together blockchain leaders and crypto evangelists with Asia’s most important families, entrepreneurs, and investors.
Dr. Janil Puthucheary, the Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Transport of Singapore, was the highest-ranking government official at the Forum. He helps oversee Singapore’s government technology research and is regarded as the driving force behind the nation’s “Smart Nation” initiative to incorporate blockchain and other technologies into its infrastructure.
Besides Puthucheary, the list of speakers was long and impressive. Here, we take a deeper look at the most influential figures who participated in this event.
Zhao “CZ” Changpeng
First is the founder and CEO of Binance, the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. He holds the major degree in computer science from the Montreal University in Canada and is widely regarded as one the most influential crypto influencers in the world.
After university, he worked for the Tokyo Stock Exchange on developing a software for matching trade orders. Similarly, he occupied a post futures trading software developer at Bloomberg Tradebook. Later in his career, he founded Fusion Systems, which produced some of the fastest high-frequency trading systems for brokers.
A few years ago, he started to move into the blockchain and cryptocurrency sphere. His first cryptocurrency projects included Blockchain.info where he was a member of the developer team. Before founding Binance in 2017, he occupied the position of chief technology officer of OKCoin, a global bitcoin exchange.
His company, Binance, went from successfully completing the $15 million ICO, to the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by traded volume in just 6 months.
Speaking at the event, Zhao noted that:
“…we will see millions of tokens and thousands of blockchains.”
He also announced that his company will launch Binance Chain soon, in a couple of months or so. More about this story can be seen here.
CZ was introduced as the star of the Forbes event. He was the only speaker in the “The Future Of Digital Assets” panel, while his interview closed the Forum.
Bobby Lee is the co-founder of Chinese crypto exchange BTCC and a board member at the Bitcoin Foundation. His company, BTCC, is the first China-based crypto exchange and one the biggest exchanges by traded volume in 2014. Today, the company has around 150 employees.
Lee had graduated computer science at Stanford University before he started his career in Silicon Valley as a software engineer at Yahoo!. His spell at Yahoo! was followed with work on the EMC cloud and digital entertainment at BesTV.
Following short spells at different companies, Lee was poached by Walmart China to be its Vice President of technology, as the giant launched an e-commerce operation in the most populated country in the world.
His brother, Charlie, is the founder of Litecoin (LTC) – currently the 8th biggest coin in the world. Bobby is also known as “BTC maximalist”, as he uses every opportunity to ‘big up’ the digital currencies. Lee, an influential proponent for Bitcoin, has more than 80,000 followers on Twitter.
At the event, Lee was a panelist in the “Cryptocurrency – Blockchain’s First Smash Hit” section.
Unlike Changpeng and Lee, Anderson Tanoto is not known to the crypto and blockchain community. That is for a reason – he comes from the traditional side of the industry. At the Forum, Tanoto was the key speaker in the panel “Once on the Block, Forever on the Chain”, where business leaders examined unprecedented opportunities across industries and regions.
Tanoto is a director of the Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), an Asia-based conglomerate with businesses in paper, palm oil, construction, and energy. The company employs around 60,000 people worldwide with assets exceeding $18 billion. He is the youngest son of businessman and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto.
So now you may ask yourself – why was he invited to speak at the blockchain and crypto conference? Apparently, he is a firm believer in blockchain technology.
“There are two herds of people in blockchain. Those who want to get rich off crypto, and those who want to change the world with blockchain. I would like to associate myself with the second group,” said Tanoto during his panel talk.
Tanoto helped launch the Sustainability Assurance & Innovation Alliance (SUSTAIN) to move RGE’s vast palm oil supply chain to a blockchain. Thus, he puts his money where his mouth is. According to him, the plan is to move half the world’s palm oil supply chain to a shared, distributed ledger within the next two years.
Fujimoto a.k.a The Miss Bitcoin is the founder and chief executive officer of Gracone Inc, a Tokyo-based blockchain and cryptocurrency consultancy. She is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in the crypto ecosystem of Japan.
She also founded Kizuna, a platform that lets you make donations via Bitcoin, with the goal to facilitate donations through cryptocurrency to vulnerable teens for education and music programs.
Fujimoto has also been active in the fields of cryptocurrency exchanges and mining businesses in Japan. Her company, Gracone, provides advisory services to blockchain-based businesses by providing insight. She has also been active in activities to educate the public about blockchain and to raise the industry’s profile in Japan and abroad.
“I want to focus on social innovation, and I hope social impact projects can start using blockchain technology,” said Fujimoto recently.
Apart from leading Gracone and Kizuna, Fujimoto also serves as an advisor to GMO Internet, BitPoint, LayerX, BRD, MediBloc, Zeex, etc.
At the Forbes event, Fujimoto was part of the panel “Funding Models – ICO, IPO, STO – Which One Is Right For You”.
Roszak is a leading blockchain investor, entrepreneur, and advocate. He is the co-founder and chairman of Bloq, a provider of blockchain-based technology solutions for global enterprises. Previously, Roszak was at SilkRoad Equity, where he settled SEC charges of insider trading, and in private equity for Advent International in the UK.
He is regarded as an early investor, having invested in currencies as Mastercoin, Factom and Maidsafe back in 2013. Given his involvement in many different projects and positions, he is regarded to be a “thought leader” of the blockchain industry. For instance, he testified as an expert before U.S. Congress and has spoken at the U.S. Federal Reserve.
He also co-founded Tally Capital, a private investment firm focused on cryptocurrencies and blockchain-enabled technology. The Tally Capital’s portfolio includes platforms such as Binance, Block.One, Blockstream, Civic, Genaro, Orchid, Polymath, Rivetz, Spacechain, tZERO and Qtum.
Roszak was the only speaker at the panel “The State of Blockchain”. His talk centered around the potential for investors wanting to get involved in the space but he also provided a more general view of the current state of the industry.
Commenting on the struggling cryptocurrency market, Roszak said that “hype is turning into pragmatism, but we see the momentum there. This is a good time when we see these lulls to think about your strategy and your approach to the space.”
Feldmeier, also known as the “cryptoqueen”, is the CEO of Smart Valor, a blockchain startup developing the VALOR Platform. The platform is the first global marketplace for tokenized alternative investments.
Before founding Smart Valor, she was the Managing Partner at Xapo, a Hong Kong-based bitcoin wallet. She is a well-respected banker, having previously occupied the positions of the Executive Director of the Wealth Management Division of UBS, as well as the Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Barclays Capital.
Similarly to the Forbes event, Feldmeier is one of the founders of the ICO Summit, the first global conference focusing on blockchain crowdfunding in Switzerland. She has been regarded as one of the founders of the Crypto Valley in Switzerland, following her transfer from the banking to the crypto industry.
Feldmeier was a panelist in ‘The Token Economy’ section, where she shared her ideas in understanding how blockchain is transforming business transactions.