Back in 2018, Malta attempted to cement its position as the blockchain island by introducing three blockchain related bills into law. On the same day those bills went live, we saw the inaugural Malta Blockchain Summit where hundreds of companies from around the world gathered to show off projects and potential industry-changing innovations.
After the huge success of the first edition of the summit, the organizers decided to ramp it up and put on two shows per year. Last week saw the first of the two summits for 2019 and the Malta AI & Blockchain Summit – hosted at the Hilton Hotel – was absolutely jam-packed!
All Sizzle and No Steak
After the first blockchain summit in November 2018, this latest edition was hyped up to be the hottest blockchain event of the year. Huge names were down on the speaker list and they drew in quite the crowd. However, the new venue was decidedly smaller than the previous event, with this being a point of contention for many attendees. It was barely possible to walk around the many startup stands and this led to a lot of pushing and shoving in the crowd. The speakers were on top form and delivered tremendous talks and discussions, unfortunately, the speakers felt like the peak of an event that was lacking in firepower.
Questionable Awards… Again
Everyone knows the awards at blockchain summits are bought by projects, but to see it happen at what was supposed to be the biggest blockchain event of the year was an additional disappointment. Last year, two companies that won awards shutdown less than three months later – clearly showing that the projects weren’t up to scratch. This year the awards were just as controversial. The award for Blockchain & A.I Influencer of the Year 2019 went to none other than Bitcoin.com. Bitcoin.com is owned by Roger Ver and is a rather sketchy place for genuine information. It’s misleading, as it’s a Bitcoin Cash website, but while it does have a lot of useful resources, it’s far from influential.
Outdated Promotional Tactics
It’s time that projects and firms in the cryptocurrency space woke up and saw that we’re living in 2019 and not the 1950s. A number of projects at the summit were parading around scantily clad women to draw in a crowd to their stand. This outdated sales tactic is nothing more than disrespectful to the female attendees – especially those that are trying to make headway in the crypto space. Any project that relies on these tactics to get noticed is likely going to vanish in the coming years – so be warned.
Great Speakers and Guests
As usual, the Malta AI & Blockchain Summit booked some of the biggest names to speak and lead workshops. We saw the likes of Bobby Lee, Roger Ver, Tim Draper, Brock Pierce, Tone Vays, Dr. Alexandra Mikityuk, and Kiana Shek give riveting talks and take part in thought-provoking discussions. The talks and workshops were definitely the best part of the Malta AI & Blockchain Summit 2019 – or at least the first event of the year anyway.
Overall, it was a rather disappointing performance from the blockchain island. Hopefully, the winter edition can return to form and give us the blockchain summit we know and love. For free entry to the winter event, you can use the code “MaltaWeek100%” until June 15th – you’re welcome!