Blockchain Advisor speaks to Mohammed Saleem, the Founder and CEO of Trescon, and Dr. Sid Ahmed Benraouane, the Senior Advisory Board Member of World Blockchain Summit about the growing regional acceptance of Blockchain technology
Tell us about Trescon. What sort of products and services do you offer on the market?
Mohammed Saleem: Trescon delivers world-class B2B events that feature industry experts from around the world who are contributing to bolstering the business-technology ecosystem. We have been at the forefront of conceptualising and organising successful events that are heavily focused on future technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Future Mobility, Robotic Process Automation, and 5G to name a few.
The ‘World Blockchain Summit’ and ‘World AI Show’ series went from a concept to a ‘Brand’ that reached 12+ countries in less than just 18 months. We won the confidence of multiple governments worldwide and consequently, governments from around the world have opened their doors to host our flagships events to bolster their business-technology ecosystems. Our conferences have come out as one of the biggest ‘Blockchain & AI Summits’ in the world that can be associated with the league of world-class technology events.
Tell us about the World Blockchain Summit. How many countries does the event cover?
Mohammed Saleem: World Blockchain Summit is a global series of elite gatherings that have taken place in 12+ destinations across the world. So far, we have successfully brought together 20,000+ C-level executives, 3000+ Investors 600+ Speakers, 500+ Exhibitors, 75+ Media Partners and representatives from 35+ countries from the blockchain space including emerging technologies.
We have been able to create an ecosystem to connect global investors, government authorities, policymakers, startups, and technology gurus in the Blockchain space. World Blockchain Summit has been endorsed and supported by multiple governments worldwide and was the first event in the blockchain space to be endorsed by the Smart Dubai Government and Dubai Economy at the same time. Now in its 14th global edition, we are looking to take this series to more countries in 2020.
Who is the target audience of the event?
Mohammed Saleem: Our target audience is a niche market of enterprises that are looking to leverage emerging technologies to amplify, enhance and improve overall business processes. Our conferences also cater to governments that are pursuing to use technology as a major pillar for economic development.
Tell us about the Dubai leg of the event. How many exhibitors, attendees, and so on?
Mohammed Saleem: As one of the leading destinations for blockchain and crypto enthusiasts, the UAE is at the forefront of blockchain adoption among other countries of the world. Keeping this in mind, we hosted our flagship event ‘World Blockchain Summit’ several times now in the UAE and in almost all the editions, we have got support from multiple governments and private entities in the UAE as partners.
Dubai’s third edition of WBS saw 1000+ Regional and International attendees that included Regional Governments, top enterprises, blockchain and crypto pioneers, industry experts, investors, solution providers and startups from the blockchain and crypto space, gather under one roof to stimulate business opportunities through collaborations in the UAE. Dubai’s third leg of WBS was organized in collaboration with LEAD Ventures, a Dubai-based organization that forms strategic partnerships with local and international companies for a new era of expansion.
The summit was attended by the Chairman himself, H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Abdullah Bin Sultan Al Qasimi and his delegation, Mohamed Al Banna, CEO & Managing Director and Faris M. Al Tahtamooni, Associate Director – Strategic Partnerships, LEAD Ventures. The partnership synergy was to create more investment opportunities in the UAE through collaborations with selective companies and brought together more than 50+ solution providers who convened to stimulate business opportunities.
World Blockchain Summit has hosted major blockchain pioneers such as Nick Spanos, Roger Ver, Charles Hoskinson, Alex Mashinsky, Ted Lin and heads of global government organizations such as The Hon. Yogida Sawmynaden, Former Minister of Technology, Communication & Innovation, Republic of Mauritius; Suresh Prabhu, India’s Sherpa to G7 and G20 and Former Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India; Bitange Ndemo, Chairman of Blockchain and AI Taskforce, Government of Kenya and the Mayor of New Taipei City Hou Yu-Ih among others.
You also held the Startup World Cup at the event. What sort of importance does the competition have, when held alongside WBS?
Mohammed Saleem: We have partnered with Pegasus Tech Ventures as a regional partner to host the Startup World Cup (SWC) at our editions in various cities across the globe. SWC was featured in Trescon’s WBS editions to achieve the specific goal of fuelling the digital ecosystems of nations. We provide a platform for companies to showcase their innovative business ideas in the future-tech space including those preparing to launch ICOs/IEOs/STOs.
It brings together the world’s leading early-stage startups for a live on-stage battle where they get to pitch their ideas to some of the most influential global investors in the emerging tech space. SWC at Trescon’s events has provided an opportunity for young companies to compete with other emerging startups from around the world at the Grand Finale in San Francisco for a $1 Million Investment Prize.
What are your plans for the MEA region in general regarding the events you conduct?
Mohammed Saleem: We will be hosting our flagship events World Blockchain Summit and World AI Show in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kenya, South Africa, and Mauritius. We will also be launching our new series called InnovX Show which will focus on innovation and World 5G Show in a few countries in the MEA Region in 2020.
Are you looking for more regional partners to tie up with, for your events?
Mohammed Saleem: We are always looking for regional partners, more specifically government bodies, ministries, Industry associations, and development institutions. We already have formed partnerships with strong local partners in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, South Africa, and Mauritius as part of our strategic expansion plan in 2020.
Tell us about the Blockchain tech landscape in the region. What sort of promises and opportunities does it bring along?
Dr. Sid Ahmed Benraouane: Well, we see the potential of Blockchain in the region as huge. First of all, we see a political will to develop the infrastructure needed for the Blockchain ecosystem. We see first a conversation taking place around the rules of engagement, specifically in the financial sector. Rules clarifying financial transactions, banks developing exchanges and serious discussions happening around the topic. We see also hubs centered around the creation of Startups that are focused on the Blockchain technology with a variety of business, commercial and government applications.
In Egypt, for instance, the Central Bank is taking the issue of crypto, seriously. A new bill has been drafted to regulate the question of crypto trade while in the Nile University, we see a new incubator that was built to help entrepreneurs develop Blockchain startups. In Kuwait, for instance, a remittance service using Blockchain technology is already operational, while in Oman, a new institution that aims at regulating the activity is already in place.
But perhaps the most important opportunities for Blockchain technologies will be coming from the UAE and KSA. UAE first, because there is a fairly mature ecosystem driven by a national strategy to make Blockchain technology a cornerstone of economic growth and in KSA the opening of the market and the new vision 2030 is also driving innovation and improvement in government services, where Blockchain is expected to play a major role.