It was an action-packed week in Paris. From the piles of garbage on the streets amid the ongoing protest against President Macron raising the French retirement age to the extravagant celebrations happening all over the city, Paris Blockchain Week (PBW) was an event that will be etched in people’s memories for years to come.
Amid the glitz and glamor often associated with crypto and blockchain events, the true essence of business took center stage at the Carrousel du Louvre on March 22 and 23, 2023. The panels were a goldmine of knowledge, offering a diverse range of insights and discussions on the industry’s future.
From thought-provoking talks on regulations and NFT branding to the limitless potential of the metaverse, PBW attendees were treated to an enriching experience that promised to shape the future of the blockchain ecosystem.
Regulations Are a Must-Have
The winds of regulation are blowing through the world of crypto, with Europe and the Middle East at the forefront of the movement. This was a theme that echoed throughout the conversations had at PBW.
As the industry continues to mature, the need for clear guidelines and policies becomes increasingly apparent to ensure a safe and stable environment for investors and innovators alike.
Breaking Down MiCA
One of the first panels of the conference kicked off with a bang, diving straight into the hotly-debated topic of Market in Crypto-Assets (MiCA). This discussion – aptly called “MiCA: How is the EU Regulating Crypto?” – was expertly moderated by Sabine Van Haecke-Lepic from Sciences Po and featured an all-star lineup of industry experts including Gundars Ostrovskis from the EU Commission, Nadia Filali from Caisse des Dépôts/INATBA, Hubert de Vauplane from Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, Janet Ho from Chainalysis as well as Vytautas Karalevicius from Bankera.
The panelists didn’t shy away from the tough questions, tackling head-on how the development of MiCA is set to disrupt and benefit the industry as a whole. They explored how these regulations will provide much-needed assurance and credibility, ultimately driving innovation and encouraging further growth.
While not without its flaws, the MiCA legislation is expected to be a game-changer for the European regulatory landscape. Janet Ho from Chainalysis provided some valuable insights into the need for future amendments to the legislation, ensuring it remains relevant and effective.
Overall, the panel was an informative and engaging showcase of just how far European nations are going in their approach to regulating the crypto industry. With industry heavyweights like these leading the way, the future of crypto regulation is looking brighter than ever.
A Balancing Act
Another riveting panel – titled “How to Do CeFi Right – the Balance Between TradFi & DeFi?” – was moderated by Emma Joyce of GBBC Digital Finance. The panelists – including BitGo’s Joaquin Sastre, Shift Market’s Ian McAfee, Woorton’s Charlie Meraud, Messari’s Eric Turner, and Finoa’s Henrik Gebbing – are all experts in the field and provided insightful perspectives on the risks and rewards of traditional finance (TradFi) and decentralized finance (DeFi).
The discussion highlighted the differences between the credit risk of TradFi and the technology risk of DeFi. Despite the early adoption of crypto as an asset class in CeFi, the panel agreed regulation is necessary to provide a safety net – especially after the FTX fallout that left a lasting impression on the Web3 industry as a whole.
The panelists also stressed the industry needs to strike a balance between the benefits of innovation and the need for regulation – and that collaborations between regulators and industry players are key.
Dubai Is Ready
In one of the final panels of the week – titled “Dubai: Developing a Silicon Valley for Web3,” – Marwan Al Zarouni, strategic advisor for Digital Dubai, shared insights on the regulatory landscape with moderator Herve Larren, CEO of Airvey.io.
Al Zarouni shed light on Dubai’s unique approach to fostering innovation and growth by operating as a business, providing unique access to investors, embracing enabling technologies, and also being an early adopter of digital assets.
What sets Dubai apart is its willingness to engage in long, progressive conversations with industry players and regulators who understand and speak the language of innovation. As Al Zarouni put it, Dubai is a land of opportunity with a supportive ecosystem in place.
The message was clear: Dubai is determined to become the Silicon Valley of Web3 – and they’re actively laying the groundwork for a bright future in the industry.
As the curtains close on PBW 2023, a new stage for the future is being constructed. Now more than ever, it is evident that the industry’s growth and innovation are intertwined with the regulatory landscape. Despite the challenges, there is a palpable optimism for a more cohesive and globally-aligned framework to emerge.
The discussions served as a reminder of the importance of staying informed and engaged in the conversation, especially as the crypto and blockchain space continues to evolve at lightning speed.
The future is bright, and the potential for this asset class is limitless. With the right regulations in place to protect investors, it’s only a matter of time before we see widespread adoption and transformative change.