Web Summit 2018
We have just arrived back from Web Summit and are going to detail some of the things we learnt and talked about while at the event.
The conference itself is huge, I’ve been to a lot of conferences and this is five times bigger than anything I’d ever seen before. More than 70,000 attendees were there, spread across four gigantic conference halls and a ridiculously large arena.
There were a few crypto projects there, less than last year apparently which surprised me. A lot of start ups and early stage companies. Some interesting enterprise and SaaS solutions. We spoke to a few crypto exchanges while at the event Exmo, Ambisafe and GBX (Gibraltar Block Exchange). We are still looking for new exchanges to list on so there might be potential there. Also we had a really interesting talk with eToro who are launching eToro X a crypto exchange who I think would be an ideal partner both as an advertiser on the JSE ad exchange and a liquidity provider via their new crypto exchange platform.
We had breakfast with Tim Draper and his team one day and then went to meet the Consensys team at a really nice Crypto Cafe in the city. The cafe is there year round and if you are ever in Lisbon it’s a quirky place that sells outstanding coffee. One takeaway from that visit was that the owners were very much Bitcoin maximalists and believed truly in its future along with the lightning network as a second layer transfer protocol.
Hearing Tim Draper speak is a highlight in itself as he talks with a confidence and attitude that makes what he is saying come across very well. When asked about the recent downturn in the market for example he simply waved it off as “1 bitcoin is still worth 1 bitcoin and all these other political (fiat) currencies are going to fluctuate in value as they disappear out of existence”
If you believe in the technology then the eventual decline of government backed currencies is probably something you have considered to be inevitable but I’ve never heard someone talk about it as openly and matter-of-factly before this point.
Exhibiting was the best day as we got a constant flow of people coming by and it was surprising how many were already familiar with the project. We set up a laptop to demo the platform and new ad exchange platform (video to follow) and gave out hundreds of onepagers and “Monetize Your Content In New Ways” flyers. Linked to below if you want to take a look:
One thing that was suggested and I’ll get it down here so that we don’t forget to look at it further was from an existing publisher who suggested we add some customisations to the opt-in notification so that website owners can include a more prominent opt-out button or choose between a few different designs.
We did quite a bit of pitching at the event despite not really being focused on finding VC investment at this time. It’s a good thing to practice as we might need further funding at some point in the future. Probably the highlight was a recorded pitch inside a demo rocket ship for one of the incubators. We unfortunately didn’t make it past round one of the pitch event which I take sole responsibility for.
The best way for us to introduce our project to the majority of potential new users is to ask them to set up a platform account. Having a polished, working, scaled product sets us apart from 99% of other blockchain startups. If anyone is reading this that doesn’t have an account yet, it really does only take two minutes to register and it’s the best way to learn about what we are doing:
Another thing I wanted to do was jot down the most frequently used answer to the question we got asked a hundred times a day at the event “so can you tell me a bit about what you do?”
“We are helping webmasters monetize their content in new ways as well as providing a suite of tools for integrating cryptocurrency on their sites. Website owners can register for an account and copy a code on to their website. The website visitors are then displayed a notification asking for consent to start the mining process. Once opted in surplus resources within the browser are used to provide the computational power to carry out hashing or mining.
We hash the data in our own blockchain which contains a ledger of our 120,000 platform users. Deposit and withdraw functions are provided to an ERC20 contract which makes us compatible with 3rd party exchanges and apps where users can trade their JSE for Bitcoin, Ethereum and ultimately Euros.
We are launching an ad-exchange to create utility and demand for the JSE token. An efficient and effective marketplace between advertisers and publishers, without fraudulent bot traffic and using JSE as the currency of exchange. We are going up against some of the biggest tech giants but believe we can add value due to improvements in transparency, operating efficiency and leveraging blockchain technology.
Would you like to see a demo? Logging into https://platform.jsecoin.com”
I think it’s important to vary this depending on the perceived technical knowledge of the person you are talking to. If that person clearly doesn’t understand cryptocurrency then there’s no point in explaining the ERC20 contract integration. Also at this event because it was web focused we tried to concentrate on the benefits to website owners. Dave mentioned this was discussed in one of the roundtables he attended about varying your marketing or pitch to the individual.
Overall was the event a success?
First lets get the negatives out of the way. We were given a “discounted” ticket for start ups known as an Alpha pass. This really did oversell what they are offering and what you get for attending. We also exhibited on the last day which was a negative as it wasn’t as busy and we didn’t get a chance to have follow up meetings. It was also quite hard to stay on top of the support and social channels while at the event and its becoming quite clear we need to do more work in this department. Costs wise the event was overseas as well which made it more expensive. Finally it was so large that a lot of the talks were very generalized towards a broad audience. We went to quite a few blockchain talks and they were very basic and it was hard to find takeaways.
On to the positives. There are so many opportunities to make new contacts at this event. Having all the industry players, both large and small, under one roof really was an unparalleled opportunity to network and expand awareness around the JSE project.
So I’d say yes it was a success, the team done an outstanding job of promoting and expanding the awareness around the project. I think we will get some new investors, traders, publishers, advertisers and general stakeholders in the project as well as opening some doors to potentially game changing opportunities.