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Messari’s Mainnet Conference Puts a Heavy Focus on Decentralization

With most of the social interaction and business talks now happening online, gathering a significant group of viewers is more of a challenge than ever. However, Messari’s latest Mainnet conference managed not only to amass a great audience but also to bring together some of the most influential voices in the crypto industry.

The online event, which took place from Jun. 1 to Jun. 3, had over 100 speakers, all of whom shared their views of the industry’s progress and painpoints. The first two days of the conference, the heaviest focus was put on analyzing the current state of the market and how it might affect the industry as a whole in the near future.

The event also featured booths where companies and their representatives showcased their products and services. Another key feature of the conference was a serendipitous networking space where attendees could network with others on the go 1-1 style.

After the opening word by Messari’s Ryan Selkis, the first panel saw CoinShares’ Meltem Demirors, Fidelity’s Tom Jessop, and Ark Investment’s Catherine Wood speak. Anthony Pompliano, the host of the “Pomp Podcast,” was also among the first speakers that discussed the prospect of Bitcoin as digital gold and the entrance of institutional investors into space.

Facilitating institutional investments requires having well-designed and efficient platforms, which was a topic discussed by Peter Smith, the CEO, and co-founder of Blockchain.com, Miha Grcar, the head of business development at Bitstamp, Diogo Monica, the co-founder and president of Anchorage, and the CEO and co-founder of Messari, Ryan Selkis. 

The head of Ernst and Young’s Blockchain division, Paul Brody, highlighted the significance of keeping standards and blockchains open. As a whole, Ernst and Young (EY) was committed to bringing more companies and more institutions closer to the blockchain, but Brody said that closed networks would make this harder. 

Bitcoin’s future past the year 2020 was also a major topic. Neha Narula, the head of the Digital Currency Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), gave one of the most memorable keynotes, saying we should look at Bitcoin as a technology, not an asset whose value is set to jump.

Balaji Srinivasan, the former CTO of Coinbase and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, was among the most highly-anticipated speakers. His address went into detail about the connection between blockchain technology and media, with the angel investor advocating for the decentralization of traditional media outlets. 

The final, but probably the most important topic discussed during the third day of the Mainnet conference was governance. Creating a thoughtful, new crypto-governance system that doesn’t lose sight of the industry’s larger vision of decentralization is something all speakers agreed was important. CoinShares’ Meltem Demirors highlighted the ideological problems that arise in crypto governance—centralizing the leadership in order to provide better efficiency or decentralizing governance to create a fair, albeit less efficient system. 

Decentralization, however, doesn’t work without scalability. Joseph Lubin, one of the founders of Ethereum and CEO of ConsenSys, said that Ethereum 2.0 is currently being developed at a rapid pace in order to facilitate the scalability the system desperately needs. Once achieved, the scalability will enable trillions, or even quadrillions of dollars to be created in DeFi. 

The conference concluded with the best minds in the crypto industry discussing real issues in-depth and half of the proceeds of the conference going to charities.

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