When hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors and technologists descended on Tel Aviv Blockchain Week (TLVBW), few could have expected a better backdrop for exploring the lofty ideals and greedy impulses that drive today’s cryptocurrency industry.
Duality is something Israelis know well.
More than 430 people attended the D&DD Summit on Sept. 10, several dozen came to the Scaling Bitcoin conference on Sept. 11 and 700 attended the first Israeli Ethereal on Sept. 15, just to name a few of the week’s dozen events.
Venues were packed with crypto tourists sipping espressos and pontificating on typical blockchain fodder: token governance, “mainstream” adoption and the immaturity of those other “vaporware” shills.
But while tech-savvy Tel Aviv represented the profit-driven side of the blockchain industry, nearby Jerusalem offered TLVBW visitors the chance to commune with the timeless notions of freedom that lie at the heart of the decentralization movement.
Although cryptocurrency isn’t a panacea, it may still have unique value in this conflict-riddled land paved with ancient stones.
DeFi Dapps Day (D&DD) in Tel Aviv. (Photo by Leigh Cuen for CoinDesk)
For a country of roughly 8 million people, Israel has a disproportionately large impact on the global crypto market.
International companies like Tezos, Telegram and even Facebook’s Calibra subsidiary all have teams working in Tel Aviv’s high-tech hub. Some of the industry’s biggest token sales also hailed from Israel, including Bancor, Sirin Labs and Orbs. Furthermore, Israel is home to the world’s leading researchers of zero-knowledge proofs, a privacy technology that underlies both Zcash and upcoming ethereum developments.