Optimism reigned during Paris Blockchain Week

Optimism reigned during Paris Blockchain Week

Expectations for Paris Blockchain Week were relatively low considering the poor market conditions. However, Paris can always surprise you. The conference rooms at the event were actually nowhere near as empty or depressing as Consensus after the great crypto meltdown of 2018. People were present, and the conversations were fruitful. (And yes, the croissants were, as always, delicious.)

In 2022, the conference was symbolically held in the Palais Brongniart, a building famous for hosting the historic Paris Stock Exchange until 1987. This time, the organizers managed to outdo themselves and held the event directly under the Louvre in the elegant conference rooms “Carrousel du Louvre” .

Evening side events took place around central Paris, overlapping each other and pushing some participants to eat three or even four dinners each night. Star speakers didn’t make any overly positive market predictions, but the conference mood was definitely upbeat.

Is Paris the next best option for crypto?

With regulators tightening their grip on crypto companies in the US, Europe could be the next bet for crypto. While Paris is already home to prominent companies in the area – such as Ledger and The Sandbox – there are rumors that some major players will move their offices here or become more active in Paris.

Binance held its blockchain event in Paris last year. Circle just announced that it is seeking regulatory approvals in France and wants to establish a headquarters in Paris. Who knows? Coinbase could be next. Obviously, regulation will be an important factor in the future success of any European stablecoin or crypto service.

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Need for crypto consortium

Another theme that flowed through many keynotes and discussions was the lack of industry collaboration. While it is obvious to everyone now that the crypto narrative is falling short, the question is: How can major industry players unite to stabilize the industry in the long term and ensure its growth?

Related: EU’s MiCA crypto regulation is a ‘balancing act’: Paris Blockchain Week 2023

Some experts called for the industry to self-regulate as malicious actors hurt everyone in the sector. Others emphasized a much-needed dialogue with regulators. If rules emerge from dusty offices without consultation with crypto industry players, the threat remains that these laws will be too complex, expensive or impossible to implement. Most experts agree and advocate an industry-wide consortium. While initial industry collaboration to build discussions with regulators has already begun in the US this year (with questionable results), much more effort is required.

Interoperability challenge

Experts across several panels raised concerns about interoperability. Privately operated and centralized bridges have shown a vulnerability to hackers, and the lack of connectivity between networks significantly harms user experiences and slows adoption. Mobile carriers faced the issues in their early days, but different smartphones and networks still manage to communicate flawlessly with each other today. Crypto users should be able to easily switch between applications and blockchains in a secure manner. From a technical point of view, cross-application conversations remain challenging even within a single blockchain, not to mention the same operation between two applications on different networks.

Existing solutions for traditional bridging (wrapping assets) are so-called “message transfer” protocols that do not move assets, but enable conversations between blockchains instead. Others are blockchain operating systems that use “proofs of state” and refer them to other chains.

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Related: PBW 2023 explores the current state of the blockchain space

If this technical debate feels a bit overwhelming, the key is that many bright minds are seeking core technical solutions for interoperability. However, it may take a few years to nail it down in a decentralized way.

This year’s Paris Blockchain Week presented curated content, carefully balanced between commercial talks, panels on deep technology and narrow topics, and entertaining keynotes – imagine Tim Draper singing a Bitcoin song on stage. (Yes, it happened.) Cautious optimism prevailed; builders build and keep going!

Sophia Steiner is the founder of Schteiner PR, which focuses on luxury brands in art, French craftsmanship, design and interiors. She has previously worked for an international communications agency with a focus on blockchain startups. She has a degree in journalism and began her career as an art critic covering the film industry and urban architecture.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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