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Building a Global Digital Middle Class - Outcomes from the Bermuda Innovation Sprint 2019

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23rd Oct 2019

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With 700+ participants in over a dozen events during the Bermuda Innovation Sprint and Bermuda Tech Week, what were the key outcomes, deals and insights?

The Sprint kicked off with days of bilateral meetings and activities, anchored by participating companies including Ven Finance, Dropp, Proof of Trust, XBTO, Circle, ShyftSALT Lending and others. Discussions focused on the growth of stablecoin issuances globally and the opportunity to embed such services into Bermuda, scaling them outward to users around the world. Governance and information security were at the top of the agenda, with companies showcasing new technologies designed to help government services enter the cloud.

Speaking of the cloud, speakers at the Liquidity Summit examined how core banking services are evolving, with the line between exchanges and unbundled services blurring the boundaries of financial services. From Hollywood token issuance to IP identification and storage, the arrival of tokenization is changing how companies raise and allocate resources in entertainment, opening up new opportunities for participants, creators and investors outside of the Hollywood machine. Tokenization even has applications for agriculture, which is itself being changed through radical technologies like Aerofarms and the plant based meat movement.

Liquidity concluded with an SDG workshop that helped participants to identify the Sustainable Development Goals most personally relevant to them, aligning personal purpose with outward action. Rola Diab, leadership consultant, maps the six basic human needs to the SDGs. First, define your most important need:

1. Certainty

2. Variety

3. Significance

4. Love/Connection

5. Growth

6. Contribution

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Then, map your highest need to the Sustainable Development Goals to determine which one makes the most sense for you. The outcomes of the exercise were fascinating, as participants in matching tribal groups quickly agreed on areas of interest within the SDG framework.

During Bermuda Tech Week the BDA hosted a full day summit further examining the world of technology at large, covering insurance, banking,  tourism and other topics. One of the outcomes from these discussions was a comparison of 'unicorn culture', which focused on building multi-billion dollar winners,  vs. the creation of ecosystem outcomes where smaller digital companies can thrive. While building a 'Global Digital Middle Class' is admirable and even necessary,  the contradiction to outsize success is real.

In a fully efficient tech ecosystem, winners mathematically accrue advantages until they become practically monopolistic.  This returns incredible rewards to a limited number of founders and investors, while disenfranchising customers and society at large. Managing the needs of incentive based meritocracy with the damaging effects of wealth concentration remain an intractable issue.

The BDA Summit was punctuated by the Bermuda Government's announcement that it would soon begin accepting 1:1 USD digital  currencies for payment of taxes, fees and payments. Such 'stablecoins' issued into the market must first pass approval from the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Support for the initiative was voiced by Circle/Coinbase USDC, Ultra uUSD, Stably, TrustToken and others.

 Watch highlight from the Liquidity Summit on HubLive.tv:

1. Digital Asset Securities

2. Accessing Liquidity in Blockchain Capital Markets

3. The Bermuda Fintech Advisory Board

4. Digital Governance and the Cloud

5. Digital Banking Services and Exchanges

6. Fintech & Blockchain in Entertainment

7. Tech for Climate

8. Sir John Swan on Geopolitics

For more Innovation Sprint conversations with Celsius, Shyft, Fintech Bermuda, Walkers and others, visit HubLive.tv

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Bermuda Business Developement Agency




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Ven Currency




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Goodwin Law




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Digital Chamber of Commerce




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ATCEHoldings Group




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Blockchain Radio