Harvard China Forum

Harvard China Forum

IOS Foundation Co-founder & COO Ray Xiao was invited to speak on the Blockchain Keynote Panel at the Harvard China Forum on April 8th. The Harvard China Forum is North America’s longest-running student-run conference on China. Dedicated to a constructive dialogue on the challenges, trends, and issues affecting China and Sino-US relations, the forum aims to engage leaders in business, academia, and politics in discourse that offers insight and generates new ideas.

This was the first year that the Harvard China Forum has hosted a blockchain panel which serves to underline the impressive spread of blockchain into traditional industry. We were greatly encouraged by the ubiquitous acceptance of blockchain as a fundamentally useful and imminent technology by leaders of various industries.

During the panel, both Ray and Jiang Changhao (Cofounder of COBO Wallet and F2Pool) argued that the industry requires a scalability solution in order to achieve mass adoption, but more importantly in order to support a so called “killer app.” While all of the speakers agreed that blockchain is still in its early stages, Ray was far more optimistic about the advances that will be made in 2018 and argued that due to the exodus of top talent into blockchain from more traditional industries, killer apps are likely much closer than most realize.

When asked about how blockchain will be integrated into the current business landscape, Ray emphasized that while most companies should familiarize themselves with the benefits of blockchain technology, the majority of businesses likely will not be immediately effected by the technology shift and should continue to focus their resources on their areas of expertise. He explained that blockchain is foundational technology and, because it fundamentally changes how transfers of value can occur, it will likely be disruptive in some way for every industry.

Ray was also asked how blockchain has been helpful with existing technology. He responded that in the past, businesses had to deal with high fees and long delays to receive payments through the traditional banking industry. Now however, it’s possible for service providers to conduct business globally with minimal fees and wait time. While this technology needs to be improved and scaled, it is already highly functional and should completely revolutionize the remittances and money transfer industries. He also spoke to the benefits of payment transparency and how it can help to eliminate graft.

Some of the other noticeable participants from this year’s conferenced included: Ray Dalio — Bridgewater Foundation founder, J. Stapleton Roy — Career Ambassador and Director of the Kissinger Institute for Chinese — U.S. Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Philipp Rosler — former German Deputy Prime Minister, Wang Xiaochuan — founder of Sogou, Da Hongfei — founder of Neo, along with many other influential figures.

Originally published on Medium.

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