Cryptoassets were the topic du jour at Davos this year

Last week, Nick and I attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. The predominant themes revolved around the tokenisation of real-world assets and the convergence of AI and Web3; we were pleased to see that the focus had shifted from regulation and scandals to utility and meaningful developments.

At the event, artificial intelligence took centre stage, walking the line between utopian promise and dystopian risks and emphasising the need for inclusive AI development. 

Unsurprisingly, AI has made its way into the blockchain sphere. Casper Labs spoke about its collaboration with IBM to pioneer a system storing AI training data on the blockchain. Medha Parlikar, CTO and co-founder of Casper Labs highlighted the project during a Davos panel.

Casper Labs and the FT Hub were crucial focal points, leading discussions on tokenising real-world assets and the convergence of AI and Web3. The talks showcased a shift from regulatory concerns to utility and impactful developments in the cryptoasset and Web3 space.

During a Filecoin Sanctuary panel on AI and Decentralisation, Yann LeCun from Meta shared his perspective on data centralisation. He divided companies into two groups: those like OpenAI and Google, advocating for strict data control and promoting regulation defensively, and those, including Meta, IBM, VC firms, and universities, favouring an open approach through the Artificial Intelligence Open Alliance; this echoed the familiar tension between tradfi and Web3.

Sir Tim Berners Lee, aka the Godfather of the Internet, expressed optimism about preserving the Internet's original ethos of accessibility for everyone, regardless of financial means. He highlighted concerns about AI's high resource consumption for limited outcomes, urging a thoughtful examination of who benefits from the technology.

Sir Tim Berners Lee
Image Source: XEROF

However, it wasn’t all about AI; there was also a palpable resurgence of optimism regarding cryptoassets. At the Reuters Global Markets Forum at Davos, Anthony Scaramucci predicted Bitcoin may surpass $170,000 in 2025 due to rising demand for new ETFs and the upcoming halving event.

Nick and I actively participated in the CfC and St. Moritz, engaging in various events and discussions. At the INACTA Ventures WEB3Fest dinner, we connected with global Web3 participants, including William De’Ath, Roger Sharma, Ralf Glabischnig, Amit Pradhan, Anotonio Beja, and the CEO of DeFi Foundation Jenna Peterson. What caught our attention about the topics raised continuously was the recognition that user base growth and proof of utility were still the focus and driver for almost all founders present.

The launch event for Chateaushi, spearheaded by Brittany Kaiser, sparked extensive conversations on real-world asset tokenisation. The discussions involved key figures such as Matt McKibbin, Keiko Yoshino, and Ralf Glabischnig. Additionally, the event addressed the ongoing tension between cryptoassets and tradfi, featuring insights from Roy Tap and Richard Roughley of the ISP Group.

On January 15, at the Family Office & Investors Summit, attendees were treated to more insightful presentations and panels. Bill Tai delivered a particularly notable speech, emphasising the critical aspect of timing in business investment. He spoke about recognising when the timing is right to invest resources to ramp up a business with the analogy of surfing and being on top of the wave, not in front and not behind.

AssetRush Gentwo
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At Asset Rush, Patrick Loepfe & Philippe Naegli from Gentwo discussed the vast market potential for asset tokenisation, drawing parallels to the impact of shipping containers on global trade. Engaging discussions on digital asset value took place with members of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and representatives from Single and Multi-Family Offices.

Notably, at a panel titled “The Tokenisation Economy,” Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire spoke about broad tokenisation adoption, spanning property to investment assets, following the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF and endorsement from BlackRock's CEO, Larry Fink. Allaire predicted that major financial companies might issue tokenised versions of their assets this year.

In addition, the 11 Bitcoin ETFs approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission during Davos 2024 sparked positive sentiments, creating anticipation for wider institutional adoption.

Separately, the impact of ETFs on the market is expanding globally, with Hong Kong's Venture Smart Financial Holdings planning to launch a Bitcoin ETF, signalling increased global interest in cryptoasset investment products. In addition, U.S. asset managers like ProShares and BlackRock are exploring leveraged Bitcoin ETFs and Bitcoin-based options, prompting discussions about the broader integration of digital assets within ETF portfolios.

But there is more happening in the cryptoasset market than just ETFs.

In 2024, more realtors and family offices than ever are using digital assets to purchase properties. Digital assets streamline property transactions, offering increased efficiency, enhanced privacy and cost savings. The research team at XEROF wrote about this recently, "How to Safely Buy Real Estate with Cryptoassets".

As we conclude this week's update, we look forward to returning with additional insights in our next newsletter.

P.S. If you are attending the Satoshi Roundtable 2024 in Dubai next month, drop us a note and we’d be happy to reconnect.

Warm regards, 
Marc Taverner

Market Moves & News Of Note 

Bloomberg: Hong Kong firm targets spot Bitcoin ETF launch in first quarter

Hong Kong's Venture Smart Financial Holdings aims to launch a Bitcoin ETF, showcasing the city's push to become a digital asset hub. Given Hong Kong's regulatory framework, the move could enhance the broader adoption of digital assets. Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire at Davos tokenisation panel: 'It's coming on in a significant way'

Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle, anticipates continued growth in tokenisation adoption post-Bitcoin ETF approval and BlackRock's endorsement, suggesting major asset issuers may tokenise assets in 2024. 

Coindesk: The Dow for cryptoasset markets? New CoinDesk 20 Index underpins futures contracts at Bullish

Coindesk introduced the CoinDesk 20 Index, positioned to become a widely followed benchmark for the digital asset market, similar to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in traditional finance.

Views from Switzerland

CNBC: Jamie Dimon says he’s done talking about Bitcoin: ‘I don’t care’

Financial Times: Firms pitch inverse cryptoasset funds after SEC’s Bitcoin ETF approval

Marc Taverner features in ITLogs: Beyond ‘Bitconned’: unveiling lessons on cryptoasset scamming’s shocking ease

Big sales booster for real estate agencies 2024
Real estate agencies can boost sales by integrating digital assets; this is especially appealing to family offices seeking efficient, private, and globally accessible transactions.

2024 update: how to safely buy real estate with cryptoassets
The article discusses the rising interest of family offices and realtors in using cryptoassets for real estate transactions, highlighting popular locations such as Spain, Thailand, and Portugal.

Powerful smart city management for 2024 
As global urbanisation accelerates, the rise of smart cities is increasingly important, with blockchain technology playing a crucial role in managing urban services, enhancing civic engagement, ensuring data integrity, and more.

Blockchain Real Estate Infographic
Image Source: XEROF


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