The lights at the Dome suddenly went off, eerie music crept in, shivers went down our spines. The ‘Slush Tokyo’ logo faded in on screen and, in one thundering voice, the crowd roared. You could feel the adrenaline flooding in. 6,000 attendees, 600 startups, 200 investors. Slush Tokyo 2018 was finally underway. Here is a glimpse into what Day 1 had to offer:
Slush Tokyo CEO, Antti Sonninen, welcomed the eager crowd with a powerful opening, hailing Japan’s revolutionary startup movement. The energy was tremendous. The community had gathered, ready for two days of breathtaking technological disruptions and a peek into the awesome future that awaits.
A New Age of Payment Solutions
Ripple CTO, Stefan Thomas kicked off our event at the Dome with a hauntingly frightening reality. “The web business model is broken.” A powerful statement. In an age when digital presence is crucial, payment models are simply incomplete. “The current ad revenue model is nothing more than a bypass of a fundamental problem,” he continued. “There’s no direct, reciprocal approach from the user to the website owner.”
But there’s hope, and that is the Interledger Protocol: an open protocol suite for sending payments across different ledgers. Drawing from internet routers, connectors, route packets of money across independent payment networks. Stefan summarised it in one, final statement, “True reciprocity, from content providers to consumers, is now possible.”
The Future Token Economy
Following Stefan on stage were entrepreneurial giant and investor, Taizo Son, and one of the leading experts of the up-and-coming token economy, Aya Miyaguchi (Executive Director at the Ethereum Foundation).
The pair began their interaction warmly, sharing their personal introductions into the world of entrepreneurship and the valuable lessons they’ve derived from their journey, “If I were to give one, final lesson, that encompasses all my beliefs, it would be that we should never underestimate the power of the individual,” Taizo said.
When it came to the tokenized economy, the discussion followed a similar sentiment. “Since its inception, Ethereum has always been about decentralisation,” Aya began, “even when faced with the challenging trade-off between transaction speed and decentralisation, the latter had always been our priority.”
Indeed, decentralisation holds immense potential of empowering the individual. Aya, believes increasing autonomy will also serve to empower the community. “A sense of ownership, over yourself, your identity, and your possessions, will only bring out the best of you. That’s what we need.That’s what we need. That’s the future.”
Innovation and the New Age of Democracy
Towards the end of the first day, Viola Llewellyn, Co-Founder & President of Ovamba, took the stage to present a development that is, all too often, neglected. The Lions on the move. Africa’s new dawn of democracy and the region’s economic potential.
“The world, by 2045, will experience a shift in economic power,” she declared, “The African economy is only going to become more vital, quadrupling its economic size and becoming a leading figure in the world’s economy.”
According to Viola, Africa is at an economic tipping point. Now is the time for investors and entrepreneurs to look to the promising region. To take charge and leverage Africa’s immersive adoption of technology and welcome the region’s emerging movement. “Africa’s adoption of technology is unlike any other region’s. It happens faster than anyone can ever possibly imagine, and once it does, it doesn’t ever let go,” she explained to the crowd.
Finally, Viola stressed one last point, “Investors should embrace the new era of individualism”, she urged, “Technology has empowered the individual. Readied with the tools necessary to succeed, Africa does not need charities. Its rise will of its own accord. And we will witness a new age of technological democracy.”
Day 2’s agenda promises more excitement. Make sure to check out our program page to keep up with the event.
Photos: Petri Anttila