Day 1 of TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco saw a particular focus on artificial intelligence and cryptocurrencies. One of the highlight talks was from Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin who’s company, Ethereum Foundation, is attracting a lot of press coverage following the surge in the prices of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. He spoke about the future of the block chain technology and the challenges it faces, proven by the shutdown of all trading and uses of cryptocurrencies in China recently.
Another stand out talk was on understanding ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) given by a panel of cryptocurrency experts. They discussed how token sales are changing the way startups are funded and how ICOs are disrupting the conventional way to raise finance through venture capital. Amongst the panel was Jun Hasegawa, CEO of OmiseGO which is a fintech startup based in Thailand. His company closed a $25 million round in new financing via an ICO in July of this year becoming the most established tech company to take this financing route. So far this year more than $500 million has been raised by companies going down the ICO pathway.
Disrupt 2017 features a ‘Startup Alley’ where companies can exhibit their products and gain exposure from the passing crowd, including leading tech figures and venture capitalists. On the Monday, some industries that were featured included: robotics, machine learning and healthcare startups. One interesting robotics company called Robby Technologies were demoing their robot which can deliver goods to customers with a secure storage system that only opens upon arrival to the customer.
Overall the first day of the conference was a great insight into the tech industry in Silicon Valley and across many hubs around the world. The conference continues on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
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