Sharath Kumar, the Commercial Director of the World Blockchain Summit global series, is an expert in facilitating deal flow and business development for crypto, blockchain and web3.0 projects around the world.
Passionate about exploring new opportunities and building successful ventures, Kumar made his entry into the crypto space with the Blockchain Business Conference in 2017 and is now leading sales and commercial operations for the World Blockchain Summit, the world’s longest running blockchain summit series, organized by Trescon.
Viewing the blockchain technology and crypto industry from his optimistic lens, Kumar sees a bright future and exponential growth for the industry. As such, he endeavors to nurture startups and beginner projects by facilitating new business opportunities through introductions with industry experts, investors, and influencers to give them the needed exposure and knowledge. Moreover, he believes that bringing the crypto and blockchain industry together through summits like WBS builds the community and fosters adoption and trust.
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I have spent a significant part of my career in Sales and Business Development, particularly in the events industry. My expertise lies in sales for conferences, expos, and trade shows, and I have been directly involved in strategizing and building many large-scale events across the globe.
With that said, my interest in the world of blockchain and crypto was piqued in 2017 through Trescon’s launch of World Blockchain Summit
My passion for exploring new opportunities and building successful ventures has allowed me to make significant contributions to the events and crypto industry.
As the commercial director of the World Blockchain Summit, can you tell us what challenges you faced while hosting the event?
The challenges varied based on the nature, size, and location of the event. However, our goal was always to create a meaningful event experience that attracts and retains the right attendees while providing valuable networking and learning opportunities.
In particular, some of the initial challenges we faced during our 2017-18 period was a need for more awareness and understanding of blockchain technology. During this period a lot of people needed to familiarize themselves with blockchain and cryptocurrency technology, which made it challenging to attract attendees and sponsors to the event.
Nonetheless, we managed well during these turbulent times. We made our grand entry into this market by bagging the Government’s mandate of hosting India’s first and biggest event on blockchain, called Blockchain Business Conference, in 2017.
We then launched our own IP, called World Blockchain Summit, in Dubai, and the rest is history. Since then, one of the biggest challenges has been the market’s uncertainty and complying with ever-changing regulations. Despite these challenges, I am delighted to see where we are today.
While securing high-profile speakers with subject matter expertise is always challenging, we managed to attract these domain experts and host over 30,000 visitors along with thousands of pre-qualified investors in over 11 countries.
What is your opinion on the blockchain and crypto space here in Dubai?
The government of Dubai is committed to blockchain technology and any future tech for that matter. It has taken steps to create a friendly environment for blockchain startups. Additionally, several blockchain and cryptocurrency companies and exchanges are based in Dubai. The city has hosted several blockchain and crypto-related conferences and events, making the country a hotbed for all things blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Over the past five years, sectors that would reap the benefits of blockchain have quadrupled, and most of them see this technology as a game-changer. In this regard, Dubai is leapfrogging some of the most developed countries like Singapore. Even at a faster pace than many pundits and gurus would have imagined.
How important do you think community building is in an industry such as crypto?
Community building is crucial since it fosters adoption and a sense of trust, which are core principles of blockchain. Building a community aids in establishing trust in a system since community members are better able than outside sources to deliver accurate and reliable information about it.
A strong community can also prevent false information and rumors, which can be crucial in a highly speculative and unstable market such as the cryptocurrency sector. Additionally, they can aid in advancing these ideas across the more extensive industry when the community is built on shared beliefs and ideals.
How important is an event like Trescon WBS for up-and-coming crypto projects?
Emerging cryptocurrency ventures may find opportunities like WBS (World Blockchain Summit) to gain attention, validate their projects, connect with possible partners and investors, and build brand recognition. Participating in our global series of business events allows a project to present its technology, mission, and product or service to a sizable and focused group of pre-qualified investors, policymakers, and decision-makers.
This can be especially helpful for early-stage projects still attempting to develop their offerings by gaining validation and traction. Events like WBS can also allow emerging crypto projects to network with other industry members and prospective collaborators. This can include possible backers, business associates, and initiatives with similar technologies or goals.
When viewed in a broader context, WBS can be a significant way to stay current on the most recent advancements and trends in the cryptocurrency industry. This is significant because the cryptocurrency sector moves quickly, and technology and trends can shift rapidly.
The blockchain space, as you know, is very dynamic. What do you think is the future of this industry?
Suppose you compare blockchain with other technologies that have emerged in the past 20 years. In that case, blockchain is still relatively new, and its future is even more challenging to predict. Blockchain technology, in contrast, has the potential to make a substantial impact and be extensively adopted in the future in several domains.
I’m no domain or tech expert, but creating decentralized, open, and secure financial systems is one of the most promising applications for blockchain technology in the financial sector. Through our events, we’ve understood how Blockchain-based systems can make it possible for smart contracts, new financial services, and speedier and less expensive cross-border transactions.
This can cause (and maybe is already causing) a disruption in the traditional banking systems and sparking the development of alternative financial services.
Even though this technology is nascent, I see massive potential in supply chain management, identity management, and voting systems. The future of the blockchain sector will probably be defined by continued technological advancements, legislative changes, and advancements in other related fields like artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), etc.
In general, the blockchain sector has a bright future and technology can significantly alter and advance several businesses.
What new technology excites you?
ChatGPT comes to mind when I think about technologies that excite me today. Natural Language Processing (NLP) enables systems like ChatGPT to understand and respond to human speech and text with increasing accuracy. I’ve read this will get crazier in the future, and traditional search systems like Google and Bing already feel threatened.
Apart from this, I get excited with any technology that makes our life easier. That is precisely why we have so many of them, right? I love how they can improve productivity and solve social issues.
As you are aware, there have been several negative developments in the industry. In regard to this, what do you think is the importance of regulation in the crypto space?
Regulations are critical for widespread adoption across enterprises and consumer markets. While many in the industry are resistant to the idea because of previous experiences in other industries, sound regulations are a cornerstone to safeguarding the interests of individuals and businesses against bad actors.
This is one of the reasons we actively work with government entities at each of our events to help enable that dialogue and collaboration so the ecosystem can grow and develop together.
Is Trescon WBS preparing for any new projects? Are there any projects or areas you are planning to venture into?
Yes, we are actively looking to expand our operations and foothold in the markets we’ve already entered and enter new markets like the UK and North America. In 2023, WBS has a line-up of 9 editions taking place in 6 countries that will focus on a wide spectrum of topics under the web3 umbrella, starting with the World Blockchain Summit in Dubai on March 19-21 at Atlantis the Palm.
How do you see the future of Trescon WBS toward projects?
A core part of our mission is to help founders and projects access qualified investors and enterprise stakeholders and are actively working to offer additional support services designed to help achieve that objective. We will leverage all of our deep-rooted relationships in the industry to help our clients continue to grow and thrive in the ecosystem and foster the widespread growth and adoption of blockchain and web3 technologies.