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The New Reality for Belarus 2017: the 3rd International Crowd Conference in Minsk.

Everybody knows where Minsk is on the map of Europe and why it is probably an ideal location for a high-tech conference such as “New Reality: Challenges 2017”, dedicated to ICOs, Blockchain, AI and Fintech? Maybe not? Ok, so, Minsk is the capital of the Republic of Belarus, one of the ex USSR’s leading high value production hubs and long-standing engineering and talent growing bases. For all those who have never been there, Minsk will surely surprise you, as it is a modern city with maintained traditional architectures, wide and clean streets, lots of green zones everywhere, tons of smiling intelligent people walking around, with a clean and precise metro service. It is an incredible concentration of University crowds, from engineers to teachers, economists to foreign relationships specialists, modern medicine to electronics, computer science and mathematics! It was known in the recent post-Soviet era as one the biggest European hubs for IT and high-tech business outsourcing development, thanks to its strong engineering traditions and a special focus made recently on the Computer Science and Software Engineering profession, by the main Universities.

Last week-end (starting from Friday 20th October), there was a real cool crowd oriented conference about Blockchain, AI and related sciences, with a special focus on ICOs and the future of Fintech. This is the 3rd edition of the Conference, but this year it was really big and energetic, thanks to an active involvement and sponsorship from its main strategic and financial supporter Bel Gazprom Bank, one of the most important commercial banks in the Russian & CIS area. The web page of the event is available only in Russian, however you may want to at least scroll down the list of participants, there are some known names, presenting their related high-profile projects:

Of course, the great topic was the ICOs, some fabulous speakers have been sharing their practical experience in developing and bringing to market their niche crypto currencies and their blockchain operating platforms. I will continue the topic of ICOs, as it was covered in Minsk, in a series of F2F interviews with the ICO project founders and key people. So, wait & see and we will reconnect again via the ICO Crowd magazine!

The second great area of focus was of course blockchain, with an emphasis on Smart Contract logic. One of the most interesting messages, was that in the near future we will see many value chains shortened and many “middle men” businesses and roles will begin to disappear. A really provocative attention point was the prospect of smart contracts “replacing” lawyers (although, this does not mean we will no longer require law experts!), and also the Open Government or an AI & blockchain powered governance structure. In my next piece, I hope to have a F2F interview with a specialist in this field.

Well, I’m not a fan of speaking about myself, but I must admit, I didn’t expect to receive such a warm reaction to the theme of AI-powered Fashion and Retail, because Belarus is not known for being a fashion design or production hub. However, the wave of enthusiasm from the crowd in front of me really helped, and I believed that at the end my 30 minutes keynote I would be thinking where the hell are the Fashion Retail, Fashion Design and Manufacturing enthusiasts gone? At the end, I spoke about the strategies of connecting the “Virtual Retail” business models for the fashion sector, to Industry 4.0 and the “Factories of the Future”, a topic that my company is very interested in.

Stay tuned for my F2F interviews with industry leaders and conference attendees.