ETHDenver, the largest Web3 Ethereum event in the world, was a greatly anticipated event in Copper’s calendar this quarter. Bringing together developers, designers, builders, and blockchain companies, this years’ event brought together nearly 30,000 attendees from around the world and across the United States. Our Business Development Directors (BDDs) attended the main session over five days and were thrilled to network with representatives from some of the biggest names in the digital asset industry.
In this write up, we’ll explore our key take aways and the recurring themes of the event. Principally, we were pleased to see a great deal of enthusiasm from institutional investors for ClearLoop as the market looks to mature and adopt solutions to safeguard digital assets.
There was an optimistic and upbeat tone at the conference despite some of the market turbulence seen over the course of 2022. Not even a bear market and recent enforcement actions were able to stimy the event’s enthusiastic and jovial spirit. On the back of strong performance early in 2023, the industry appears ready to move forward and continue driving innovation in the digital asset space. Those walking the expo floor will have seen an abundance of excited builders proudly sharing their projects and blockchain achievements with attendees.
The topic of tokenisation was frequently brought up in our discussions with various institutional investors. The idea of tokenising “real-world” assets continues to gain traction as a recurring topic of interest in the industry. This is due in large part to tokenisation’s ability to improve liquidity, protect data, streamline and make financial transactions easier and more convenient, and to help ensure ownership rights. In addition, because tokenisation of tangible and intangible assets offers significant operational efficiencies when compared to the traditional space, there was palpable excitement about the future of these assets. The buzz in Denver around this viable blockchain use case was noticeable as it appears to provide greater access to private markets and makes illiquid and previously inaccessible assets more widely available.
We also took part in a number of discussions surrounding the future direction and growing maturity of the space. Overwhelming attendee praise for Copper’s ClearLoop offering was a notable ETHDenver takeaway. ClearLoop facilitates our institutional clients to use off-exchange settlement with integrated exchanges, thereby mitigating counterparty risk. In the light of the damage caused by counterparty risk in numerous collapses throughout 2022, attendees hailed ClearLoop as setting the industry standard for facilitating trading activity on-exchange while keeping client assets secure and off-exchange— all underpinned by Copper’s client segregated Multi-Party Computation (MPC) custodial offering.
The current regulatory landscape for digital assets was another frequently discussed topic in our conversations with institutional investors. Specifically, there was much talk about the developments for staking and stablecoins following recent action by the SEC. A clampdown by regulators was to be expected, and indeed welcomed, following the fallout from FTX, Terra, Celsius, Voyager, Three Arrows, and the contagion effect in crypto over the last year.
Several interesting discussions centred around enforcement actions by the SEC, including proposed changes to its custody rule, suing Paxos and TerraForm for their respective alleged stablecoin infringements, and issuing a $30 million fine to Kraken for their “staking as a service” offering. Despite all of this, market sentiment remains cautiously very optimistic, while institutional investors wait to see what happens next on the regulatory front when the dust settles. Notably, the institutional investors we spoke with believe (as we do) that regulation enables institutions to participate in this market with the same confidence and trust as traditional markets. More regulation and guidelines will eventually lead to a more mature market with improved industry standards and a less fearful market.
Over the course of the main ETHDenver event, we arranged and held more than 30 meetings with several significant clients, prospects, and partners (including some of the world’s largest hedge funds and service providers). We also co-hosted a Happy Hour event in partnership with our friends at TwoPrime, a private wealth and treasury services asset manager. This casual gathering was exceedingly well attended and over-subscribed.
ETHDenver 2023 yielded a number of notable conversations and takeaways for the Copper team. From the upbeat tone of the event to the growing excitement around tokenization and the continued maturation of the digital asset ecosystem’s infrastructure (within which ClearLoop sets the institutional standard) as well as the continued push for sensible and thoughtful regulation, there was no shortage of interesting topics to discuss. The Mile High city delivered another world class event and, based on what the Copper team witnessed, is poised to do the same in 2024.
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