Paris blockchain week
This week, the Stellar Development Foundation is heading to Austin for Consensus where we will surface the value of Stellar, blockchain technology, and industry collaboration. To give you a taste of what to expect, we’re looking back at our presence at Paris Blockchain Week last month.
This year, SDF chose a powerful theme in Paris: “Real World Meets Blockchain”. After a year of notable setbacks in the crypto industry at the hands of bad actors, we had the opportunity to be the good guys, demonstrating the real-world utility and momentum of blockchain and the Stellar network. At one of the biggest events SDF has attended to date, Stellar was featured across multiple main stage keynotes, panels, developer workshops, had a prominent booth on the show floor, and participated in the official startup judging panel.
Denelle Dixon, CEO and Executive Director of SDF, kicked off the day on the main stage, where she covered Stellar’s real-world impact through improving the delivery of humanitarian aid with Stellar Aid Assist. Through SDF’s collaboration with aid organizations, MoneyGram International, Circle, and Vibrant, we built a first-of-its-kind blockchain solution on Stellar to deliver instant and transparent digital aid at scale. Mainstream acceptance of blockchain, Denelle said, comes from building solutions like Stellar Aid Assist for real people who need innovation the most.
“We show our value by solving problems for the real world. And not just any problems - the hardest, most entrenched problems, for the people who need better solutions the most…the use of blockchain technology as another rail to deliver real value is undeniable, and in many ways, it is by focusing on those uses that will get us past the blind turns and out of the mountains.” – Denelle Dixon, CEO of SDF
Denelle wrapped up the morning with a main stage panel on the “State of the Chain 2023”, moderated by Cointelegraph’s Kristina Lucrezia Corner. Leaders from Circle, Google, Coinbase, and Nasdaq Digital Assets joined. Denelle proposed a call to action for the industry to work cooperatively, and to lean into evangelizing blockchain’s real use cases to a skeptical public. In the face of recent serious market turmoil, our message was clear:
“Our potential remains unchanged and we need to work together as an industry. Words matter - let’s be mindful of how we describe our work. Our industry’s perception is in our hands…make an undeniable case for the utility of this tech. If we believe that blockchain is for the real world, let’s show up for the real world. Let’s continue solving real-world challenges amidst all the FUD.” - Denelle Dixon, CEO of SDF
We ended Day 1 with a workshop on Soroban, Stellar’s forthcoming smart contracts platform. There SDF’s Tyler van der Hooven and Paul Bellamy, alongside Stellar community developer Morgan Wilde, walked developers through how to write their first contract on the platform. They also covered the preview release of Soroban, and gave a live demo showcasing how to deploy test contracts on Soroban Futurenet.
At the end of their presentation, they also showed developers how they can tap into the $100 million Soroban Adoption Fund to kickstart their development and play a fundamental role in bootstrapping the Soroban ecosystem by creating the tools, protocols, dApps, and resources for it to thrive.
In the panel session “Are We There Yet? Crypto and Enterprise Payments,” SDF’s Director of Partnerships Louisa Bai led a discussion with Fireblocks’ VP of Payments Ran Goldi, GMO-Z.com Trust Company, Inc. CEO Ken Nakamura, and PayU Chief Product Officer Daniel Cohen. Focusing on utility, the panelists discussed the value of stablecoins for payments and users alike, such as how merchants can leverage instant settlements with Stellar USDC leveraging Fireblocks. They also discussed the recent launch of GMO Trust’s GYEN and ZUSD stablecoins, the world’s first regulated digital JPY asset and a trusted digital USD asset on Stellar.
On the main stage, SDF’s VP of Tech Strategy, Tomer Weller, held no punches in his talk “Lies, Damned Lies, and Smart Contracts”. Smart contracts are powerful tools for creating inclusive financial instruments, he said, but face serious limitations today: they are not easy to build, they face real scalability issues, and there is no gold standard for writing smart contracts. Given those pain points, Stellar is designing a smart contracts ecosystem with developers in mind that utilizes established standards and practices, scales strategically, and prioritizes interoperability.
“If interoperability is always top of mind, we’ll be able to build smart contracts that solve real world problems and give the flexibility to adapt to new opportunities. We’ll be able to give consumers the choice to move their money where and when they want. We’ll be able to build a financial system that works for everyone.” - Tomer Weller, VP of Product
Last but not least, the conference wrapped up with the Paris Blockchain Week main stage pitch competition, where Denelle Dixon joined the legendary Tim Draper of Draper Associates, DFJ, and Draper Ventures, and Dan Danay of Orange DAO, as judges. With over 700 applications, the winning prize was awarded to bubblemaps for their innovative blockchain data and auditing visualization platform.
Paris Blockchain Week brought together our industry with an optimistic look towards the future. SDF was a leading voice, showcasing how the Stellar network is a proof point for utility in blockchain.