The Blockchain Conference @ Deloitte (San Francisco) w Constellation Labs

On November 28th, 2018 the Blockchain Society hosted a special, executive only conference at Deloitte’s San Francisco office for corporate and entrepreneurial thought leaders in the space.  The event featured an exciting lineup of entrepreneurial speakers who were eager to share information about the exciting developments they were observing in the current blockchain space. Executives from all over North America had the chance to meet up in one place and discuss the innovative ways their businesses are using blockchain technology on a day-to-day basis.


After hearing opening remarks from The Blockchain Society and Lori Wren Elerts, Tax Partner at Deloitte, the first keynote speaker made a presentation about the ways in which their company is using blockchain technology to reduce international carbon emissions. Chris Ballinger, CEO and Founder at MOBI: Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, explained the idea behind the MOBI Challenge to those assembled.

The MOBI Grand Challenge (MGC), sponsored by MOBI, the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, and TIoTA, the Trusted IoT Alliance, is loosely modelled on the DARPA grand challenge for autonomous driving. The MGC will run in bi-annual stages over three years.

The first stage of the MGC will run from October 12th, 2018 to January 10th, 2019 beginning with a launch in New Mexico and culminating in finalist presentations and a public demonstration of selected technologies at an event hosted by the BMW Group, MOBI community member, in Munich Germany on February 15th, 2019.


The goal of the first stage is to demonstrate the pieces of the BC/DLT Mobility puzzle that can be addressed today. Entries in this first stage could include, but are not limited to: exchanging data and payments with other vehicles and infrastructure; operating in a tokenized environment by registering assets and payments on a public or permissioned ledger; negotiating rights of way, access, and use of infrastructure in a cooperative and distributed ecosystem; adjusting behaviour to maximize efficiency from providing services, buying fuel, managing pollution, congestion and carbon footprint, etc.

Future stages of the challenge will draw on the demonstrations of this first stage to set goals, narrow the selection criteria, and address gaps. By the end of the third year, winning teams will be expected to demonstrate how blockchains and related technologies - distributed ledgers, cryptography, tokens, and consensus mechanisms can leverage the connections and computing power of vehicles to extend the ‘effective range of perception’ of autonomous vehicles to make mobility safer, cleaner, faster, more efficient and accessible.


The ultimate goal of the challenge is to create the first viable, decentralized, ad-hoc network of blockchain/dlt connected vehicles and infrastructure that can reliably share data, coordinate behavior, and thereby improve urban mobility. MOBI has selected The Blockchain Society to assist with organizing the Grand Challenge.

After Mr. Ballinger’s presentation about the Mobi Grand Challenge, Zaki Manian, Executive Director at Trusted IoT Alliance spoke to the audience about his experience working with Trusted IoT to use blockchain technology as a means of connecting and securing a decentralized network of smart technology worldwide. Mr. Manian is the Executive Director of Trusted IOT Alliance, and a prolific contributor to the development of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology. Zaki has deep expertise in cryptography and distributed consensus system. He is also an advisor to the Cosmos Project, and several other investment funds and startup in the space.


Ben Jorgensen, CEO at Constellation Labs, concluded the lineup of keynote speakers and shared exciting details about the growth of his San Francisco based company. With over 10 years of business development experience, most notably as a two time founder and entrepreneur, Ben Jorgensen is the COO at Constellation Labs. Before being responsible for the fluid operation of the Constellation business, Ben founded and served as the CEO of Klick Push Inc, an ad technology company that made it easy for Fortune 1000 brands to implement music into digital advertising initiatives which captured the attention of a $50 Billion dollar industry.

Through his work with Constellation Labs, Ben aims to use blockchain technology as a scalable and secure distributed ledger technology. The Constellation framework enables developers and organizations to integrate a cryptographic security layer into their applications - providing fast, cost effective and secure data transfer at scale.


After a brief lunch break, during which attendees had the chance to chat and connect, the conference started it’s second half with a panel about the Real World Applications of Blockchain. Joining the conversation was Neil Gerber, Director of New Energy at IBM, Don Ho, Head of Business at Quantstamp, Robert Drost, Senior Research Scientist at ConsenSys and moderated by Aviv Milner, President of Black Tie Consultants.

Following the discussion about real world applications of blockchain technology, four tech leaders from a variety of different sectors formed a panel to share insight and speculate about The Future of Blockchain. Chris Ballinger, CEO of MOBI, Ben Jorgensen, CEO of Constellation Labs, and Zaki Manian from Trusted IoT Alliance spoke from three very different perspectives about the ways in which they imagine blockchain technology will evolve over the next decade.

A panel about the Correction Market for ICO's concluded the conference, featuring Mayra Ceja, Partner at Republic Crypto, Lori Wren Elerts, Tax Partner at Deloitte, and Lawrence Lerner, CEO of Pithia. Attendees mingled over drinks and continued to chat well into the afternoon.

Aaron Ballantyne