Addy Crezee is the founder of BlockShow, a global trade networking conference on blockchain and cryptocurrency. Events have drawn thousands to Berlin, Singapore and Las Vegas. Crezee talks to Filthy Lucure about his success and the future of blockchain.
How did you get involved with blockchain and how did that lead to BlockShow?
In 2014, I was just looking for a job. I was 21 or 22. I was looking for interesting stuff. I had been doing different startups since I was 18… I was introduced to some people who said, “Hey, maybe you’d like to work for Cointelegraph?” I said, “What’s this?” and they said it’s news media about bitcoin and in those days, it was about bitcoin. I started to get to know more about it and I was working as CMO until 2016, I was also helping blockchain startups to raise funds. In 2016, I realized, hey, this is a really big thing and we decided to start BlockShow.
My first investment in bitcoin was in 2014. It was up around $500 and went down to $150. I sold it and my next crypto was bought at the beginning of 2016.
How did BlockShow get off the ground?
The first event wasn’t BlockShow, It was just a conference (in Helsinki in 2016). Then Munich and Singapore in 2017. In 2018, we had Berlin with 3,000 people and now, Vegas.
What’s the goal for those attending a BlockShow event? Are they investors in addition to people who just want to learn more about blockchain?
The general opinion is that the market is down, but we’re thinking quite differently. We’re thinking what’s happening in the market now is a positive thing. We think that blockchain is getting mature now. The community is getting more mature and interesting. Experienced entrepreneurs and real institutional investors are coming into the industry. Everyone is telling them the market is down but not so long ago, I saw a public presentation about investments in the space now, and it’s much more than in 2017. It’s growing. So maybe for the general audience and speculators… for those who came into the industry just to make some money and go out, yeah, it’s down. But for early adopters and those who are thinking about the future and doing valuable stuff, they’re very happy about it. All the speculators go out and real entrepreneurs and investors come in.
Are you trying to convince the general public that blockchain isn’t just a fad, but something that’s long-term, has legitimacy and can be done for real purposes?
We don’t want to convince — we want to show. Smart people will understand it for themselves. We don’t need to convince them. We’re just showing. Take a look at the panels. Regulators are coming. They’re thinking of how to regulate the space everywhere. Every single country in the globe is thinking about that. Real big investors are coming. They don’t mind the coin market cap prices… You didn’t see that in 2017.
Is the future of voting in blockchain?
Yes, of course.
It’s transparent, you can keep track of the vote and it’s still private, correct?
Yeah, I’ve heard that many organizations in different countries — blockchain organizations mainly — are trying to implement it. They’re talking to governments and right now, I guess it’s impossible to have it. There’s a lot of news right now about countries influencing each other’s (election) actions all over the globe, (but) blockchain will help it.
BlockShow gets a very diverse turnout — all ages, men and women. It’s a good cross-section of people. Does that speak to the broad appeal of blockchain?
That’s the space now. When we talk about how it’s not going down and it’s getting mature, it means that more and more people come. A more diverse crowd comes. For example in 2017, when the market was up and all the prices were up, it’s more about speculators. Right now, when the market is down, only real smart people are coming. There are lots of smart women, there are lots of smart people of all ages. That’s why you can see a diverse crowd. We’re not inviting women in particular or people under 50 or people over 50 or teenagers. We target the masses. The masses are interested in fintech and blockchain. Coming to BlockShow, you see the communities. It’s diversified.
How would you describe BlockShow to people who are thinking about attending?
They can network and get to know more about blockchain. People who are not educated about blockchain are coming. Everyone knows about it. For example, those who are looking for new insights — business people who want to know what’s going on in the space — of course, it’s the best place for them to be.
One of the most interesting part of BlockShow is the Battle Stage. Tell me what that’s all about?
There are different controversial opinions. For example, is ICO a scam or when will the ICO bubble burst? Is ethereum a scam or not? People with different opinions are on stage talking to each other, convincing each other of who’s wrong or not.
So, it’s a debate?
It’s a debate, yes. It’s a blockchain debate.
What is the most controversial element of blockchain or cryptocurrency right now? What do people debate the most?
Of course, it’s the scalability that’s the problem — and regulation. Some people say no regulation — and that it’s not possible. It was created to remove all of that stuff. But frankly speaking, with regulation comes maturity.