This was the first, yet we are told inaugural, Crypto AM awards, where developers and entrepreneurs alike gathered in the hope of walking away with a trophy. Some might be pondering whether cryptocurrency is still relevant, but on this occasion, there was hardly an empty chair to be found.
Emphasis on education and sustainability
While the 12 categories focused on topics such as user experience and the Incubator/VC award, actually what was most telling was the emphasis on education and sustainability. With Bitcoin currently in freefall after its bounce last week, now is the time more than ever to concentrate on these topics if companies still want to be here next year.
The industry has always suffered with a marketing issue, that of the coins rather than the initiatives behind them. But good projects are still ongoing, from a coin to protect craft beer in Europe to a mobile phone network in rural Tanzania.
However, it was Kent-based Electroneum that took home the prestigious Social Impact & Sustainability Award. The company focus on allowing small payments to be sent across borders without exorbitant banking charges. What’s more, they have implemented both freelance and education platforms where the unbanked can supplement their income.
“Innovation for innovation’s sake”
While some people are asking if crypto is still relevant, Electroneum is already valued at $240bn, something that CEO Richard Ells believes is down to the financial needs of the poorest in society.
He said, “You might find in blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation for innovations sake, but it does open up global remittance at virtually zero cost. Ultimately, that is how we can make a difference in the world.”
The company focuses on those wanting to make micropayments, and takes away the large fees that banks would often charge to transfer the cash.
Education services still required
Other big winners were blockchain and crypto education providers, proving that there is a need for these services but people need help in harnessing their power. Whether that’s a secure blockchain ledger, or developing a coin and ecosystem.
Cointelligence was the winner on the day, where its free academy sessions offer an insight to the markets and how to choose a wallet. For those interested in putting together a portfolio, their paid-for expert courses allow you to have confidence while trading in a relatively new and unstable territory.
London’s financial market may have over 400-years of history, but it is yet to realise the dramatic impact of cryptocurrency, something that will only become heightened with FCA regulation for e-payments by 2021.
Events such as these may provide a platform to shout about the successes, yet only when acknowledged alongside its failures.
Image credit: Crypto AM
Author: Gina Clarke. She is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.