BILCON: The Blockpass Identity Lab Conference

October 2018
There are a few things that can make any conference great: Intriguing presentations, an attentive audience, productive conversations, and a great environment. September 28ths inaugural Blockpass Identity Lab conference had each of these things in great supply.

Great speakers

A wide variety of speakers appeared at the event. They keynote address was delivered by Blockpass CEO Adam Vaziri. Vaziri discussed not only the Blockpass product, but went in depth about what blockchain technology means for privacy and identity protection. Vaziri, who was one of the first lawyers in Europe to begin working with blockchain, put everything into the context of compliance, describing how the technology can address issues of identity in a way that enables compliance with important identity and data security requirements like KYC/AML and GDPR for businesses.

Vaziri’s talk was followed up by that of Mr. Leonardo Grammar, CEO of Agora, a blockchain eVoting platform. Grammar gave a fascinating talk, contrasting the kind of potential there is for real democracy by instituting blockchain eVoting technologies with the actual desires of world governments and leaders. Grammar’s presentation was extremely illustrative, telling stories of failed projects with Sub-Saharan dictators as well as successes on a grassroots level.

Later, Dr. Mihai Cimpoesu, founder and CEO of Uniqx gave the entire audience an excellent introduction to non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Cimpoesu clarified for everyone a topic that is all-too-often misunderstood by the blockchain community, and demonstrated the potential for a future of asset digitization and tokenization. Cimpoesu has just launched the Uniqx platform, which enables the issuance of NFT and the creation of NFT exchanges that solve an inherent issue of liquidity to these kinds of assets.

The next presentation, given by Greig Paul, Research Engineer at Strathclyde University, described many academic aspects of blockchain in a way that was easy to understand for even the least technically-minded in the audience.  Paul went through the key issues facing engineers and developers at the current time, and solutions that have been proposed thus far.

Owen Lo, Research Fellow at Napier University, then gave a talk presenting his thoughts on “Cracking Lightweight Crypto.” Lo went into an in depth case study of the Cipher solution and the basis technology. Based on his experience using blockchain in a number of fields, Lo was able to elaborate on a number of fascinating use cases.

The following presentation was given by Liam Bell, a PH.D student and research fellow who leads a team at the conference’s namesake, the Blockpass Identity Lab. Bell’s talk went over some of the most important issues that the Lab aims to solve. The presentation was extremely well received and encouraged lively conversation among the audience.

The conference was headlined by Professor Bill Buchanan OBE of Napier University. Buchanan’s much-anticipated lecture, entitled “Crypto of the Future” described the various possibilities for the future of blockchain technology and cryptography in general. The issue of privacy was framed around different methodologies for sharing secrets. While at times very in depth, the talk brough great clarity to its subject matter with plenty of amusing interludes, and as quite well received by everyone in attendance.

Lively dialogue

In addition to the back-and-forth that resulted from the excellent questions put forward by the audience following every presentation, two panel discussions were held over the course of the day.

In the first panel, Lucas Kwiatkowski, founder of Fully Verified, Leonardo Gammarof Agora, Will Abramson of Blockpass Identity Lab and Thomas Leiritz, CTO of Blockpass discussed the future of self-sovereign and distributed identity. In the second, Blockpass CEO Adam Vaziri returned to the stage with Dulce Mendes of Ice Robotics and Liam Bell to discuss the challenges of IoE and the solutions offered by cryptography.

A great week

BILCON was a great success, and much of what went right has everything to do with where it took place - at Edinburgh Napier University, in Scotland. This conference was a pristine example of what can happen when industry and academia come together to do something tremendous.