For blockchain enthusiasts, London as a city takes a lot to beat, access to the City of London and all the financial acumen that has been built up over centuries, world-class universities and a pool of talent that few other places can match. Even with the restrictions of Covid, meeting people and exchanging ideas is very simple in a City like London, however it never hurts to gain a new perspective as I did on a recent visit to Manchester.
CoinFest last week saw a number of the London community head up north to discuss the industry and trends they’re seeing. As a city Manchester has always held a very special place in the world of Technology, Alan Turing developed some of the world’s first computers there after the War and to this day it produces talented programmers and engineers. Visiting the city helped me gain a new perspective on where this industry is heading. London often feels as though people are obsessing about cryptocurrency prices and how to make a quick buck. Manchester by contrast saw many of the community assessing how this technology is going to be put to practical use in the next decade and which industries are set to benefit from it. For sure Mancunians are happy to make some money and take profits from their crypto assets, however I was struck by how many of the panellists were looking at how this technology is being applied.
NFTs were one area in which people were looking to see how creative industries could register Intellectual Property in a more equitable and transparent way. New tools such as Flashloans and how they could prevent liquidation fees from margin calls while creating a more streamlined environment were also well received as were gaming platforms. In the 19th century, Germans used the abstract noun “das Manchestertum” to symbolise what they saw as the English ideology of free trade and economic individualism. Today this liberal attitude and openness to new ideas is as strong as ever, something we Londoners and people from further afield would do well to take note of as we build the blockchain ecosystem of the future.