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Libra and our letter to the Prime Minister


Dear readers,

Wow, what an exciting few weeks it has been. Many would argue that the Facebook Libra announcement was the biggest news in the crypto/blockchain world since the bitcoin whitepaper was released over 10 years ago. The entry of Facebook and some of the biggest companies in the world into this market means everybody now has to take cryptocurrency seriously. There have been many great debates and opinions about whether Libra will be a success, whether it is, in fact, a blockchain/cryptocurrency, how the traditional system (i.e. banks, taxes, regulations) will deal with it, how it will affect the established cryptocurrencies, and what the wider societal implications will be. 

There has been some good in-depth coverage by RNZ on this topic:

It is good to see the media taking an interest in this topic – I was interviewed on Newstalk ZB last week and have an upcoming interview on RNZ.

personal blog I wrote suggested that New Zealand should host a global summit to discuss the impacts of Libra. 

BlockchainNZ believes that even though New Zealand is a small player in this emerging global ecosystem, this is an issue we should take the lead on. Many of our traditional business models are being disrupted by the likes of Google, Facebook and Uber. Libra, and the potential new crypto token global ecosystem that it could create, presents huge threats and risks, but it also presents huge opportunities for New Zealand. Our biggest strength is our small size and agility, and our ability for Government and private sector decision makers to get around a table and work together for the good of the country. Shortly after the announcement, we wrote to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urging the Government to take a holistic approach on this topic. BlockchainNZ members comprise of a smart and diverse group of organisations and individuals and we are hopeful that we will be able to work together with the Government to realise the opportunities. 

Mark Pascall

Local events

In addition to a number of informal meetups across the country, there have been some great local events over the last month, including:

The Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain film
This screened in Auckland and Wellington, with introductions and question and answer sessions by Aaron McDonald (Centrality) in Auckland and myself in Wellington. I thought it was a really good film and I definitely recommend it if you get a chance to see it.

Horizon State meetup
Andy Ellis and Nimo Naamani gave a fascinating insight into blockchain-based voting and Horizon State’s journey.

Web3 native #Cryptopreneurship
Australian entrepreneur Daniel Bar presented in Auckland and Wellington about the cutting edge developments in the DAO space.

Watch out for two new events being planned (details will be available soon on our website and via social media channels):

  • Arthur Falls (ex ConsenSys & Dfinity)
  • The Libra debate

Conference Presentations

BlockchainNZ regularly presents at industry conferences around New Zealand. For example, over the last few months we’ve presented at the India New Zealand Council and RailConf in Auckland, and the CFO Symposium in Wellington. These events are an invaluable way to expose new audiences to the world of crypto/blockchain and grow the New Zealand ecosystem.

New members

As a membership organisation, we can only achieve our goals with the financial support from our members. This month we welcome a number of new member organisations to BlockchainNZ: 

Member Profile – Horizon State

Horizon State is an Australasian blockchain technology company, headquartered in the grand metropolis of Porirua City, Wellington.

The company was founded in October 2017, where they ran an ICO and created their own ERC20 token called HST (Decision token). They raised a little over 2400 ETH, and since then have been on a journey to turn a valid idea and viable use case for blockchain technology into a promising business. Their system is blockchain agnostic, and all users of the system are completely anonymous.

They have celebrated a number of successes since inception, including running a vote for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet in South Australia, being listed on three tier 1 digital asset exchanges, being nominated as technology pioneers in 2018 by the World Economic Forum and recently being nominated as a finalist at the Wellington Gold awards.

Why become a member of BlockchainNZ?

As a member of the New Zealand Tech Alliance, BlockchainNZ provides an independent, positive voice for blockchain for New Zealand. We work closely with New Zealand Government agencies, local businesses, other members of the NZTech Alliance and offshore partners to generate valuable benefits to our members.

Through our work we serve to link our members’ voices to Government and cross-industry stakeholders. The services we provide ensure our members are able to meet best practice standards as they seek to grow their blockchain businesses as well as drive the wider digital economy forward.

Different organisations will benefit differently from being members of BlockchainNZ. BlockchainNZ is a vehicle enabling members to do what individual organisations cannot do alone, and even more benefits can be expected from growing membership and participation.

Key benefits for members include the ability to:

  • Directly shape the New Zealand blockchain agenda and calendar of activities;
  • Participate (at discounted costs) in activities throughout the year, both domestically and internationally;
  • Have promotional opportunities for yourself and your business in relevant activities and events;
  • Gain visibility of who is doing what and direct opportunity to connect and collaborate with other members;
  • Have sponsoring opportunities in blockchain related activities and events;
  • Be part of the wider New Zealand Technology Alliance.

This is your opportunity to connect with others who care about blockchain, help shape the New Zealand blockchain agenda and promote collaboration across industry and Government.

Please email us if you would like to become a BlockchainNZ member 

Other tech events of interest

Join Digital Identity NZ and FinTechNZ on 18 July in Auckland to learn how having a well-designed digital identity ecosystem can provide more transparency across the Financial Services Sector. 

The AI Forum is hosting a discussion on increasing AI adoption in New Zealand on 24 July in Wellington and 30 July in Auckland

Join Tech Future Labs for their Mental Health Symposium on 31 July to discuss how to tackle the mental health crisis with technology. 

Learn how technology can improve customer outcomes in a changing regulatory environment on 31 July in Auckland. 

Attend Massey’s ecentre Innovation Showcase 2019 on 8 August in Auckland.

Save the date for the annual Indo-Pacific Dialogue: Beyond 2020 on 15 August in Auckland. Business leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers collaborate on critical areas of trade and investment. 

Callaghan Innovation is requesting proposals for incubators with deep tech commercialisation experience. The proposal deadline is 4 October.

Attend the 2019 NZ Cyber Security Summit in Wellington on 16 October.

BlockchainNZ We provide New Zealand businesses and individuals opportunities for connecting, promoting and advancing in all things blockchain, crypto and decentralisation. We believe that by working together and leveraging our globally recognised brand of trust and integrity, New Zealand can become a key player in the move to a decentralised global ecosystem.