Dear Friends and Colleagues,
After 3 years in NYC and 6 months in London, The NetForum has finally landed in Silicon Valley!  We will be holding a NetForum breakfast event on May 25, 2016 hosted by Jitendra Kavathekar, MD of Open Innovation at Accenture, featuring James Slazas, CFO of ConsenSys, a venture production studio building decentralized applications focused primarily on Ethereum, a leading Blockchain platform.
The objective of this discussion is to get a better understanding of where Blockchain applications are in fact gaining traction.  This event is for anyone who has a viewpoint on the subject or experience to share, or just wants to understand how the Blockchain will affect their business.
We perfected the NetForum in NYC and London for 3 years before coming out West.  We do hope to contribute to enriching the SV business community with our unique peer-to-peer events.  If you have not attended a NetForum event before, the NetForum is a monthly breakfast of bringing together Digital leaders from expansion-stage startups and large commercial enterprises.  There are no pitches, no presenters — everybody is there to share viewpoints on a selected topic with the participation of special guests.  We distribute a summary of the discussion to the entire NetForum mailing list.  See the list of companies that were represented at our events, and some of the most popular topics we have covered.
On October 27th 2015, we held a similar Blockchain event in NYC.  It was a smashing success.  The discussion was very enriching with lots of insights from people in the trenches.  I would not say that six months ago most people had not heard about Blockchains but having a discussion on “Blockchain is bigger than Bitcoin” made sense then.  Today, there is an explosion of interest and funding in Blockchain-related projects, overtaking the fascination with Bitcoin.  How far has the hype cycle gone in the last 6 months, how much has reality changed.  On May 25th, we will get answers.
We invited James Slazas to participate because ConsenSys sits in a unique position in the market.  ConsenSys’ mission is to invent, design, fund, launch and spin-out products and companies leveraging decentralized applications based on its preferred version of Blockchain, called Ethereum.  Its projects span the multiple industries, from financial services to music.  It is working with Microsoft to launch a Ethereum-flavor Blockchain as a Service on Azure, and has attracted the attention of the likes of IBM and JPM Morgan Chase.  (See the NYTimes recent article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/28/business/dealbook/ethereum-a-virtual-currency-enables-transactions-that-rival-bitcoins.html.)  ConsenSys is a great barometer of what is going on and what is coming down the road.
Despite all the excitement surrounding the Blockchain, especially in Financial Services, there are cautionary voices.  For example, Morgan Stanley recently released a report cautioning that Blockchain adoption, in Financial Services in particular, was going to face significant challenges and that Blockchain’s impact in the short term would be limited.  http://www.the-blockchain.com/docs/Morgan-Stanley-blockchain-report.pdf   According to Morgan Stanley, we are still in the proof of concept stage of Blockchain adoption, and success is not self evident for many use case.  Yet, I have spent enough time with leaders in the financial services industry to be convinced that most take the Blockchain as an existential threat and opportunity, and that whether it is 5, 10 or 15 years away, this is a train they feel that they cannot afford to miss.
I invite you to join us at Accenture on the 25th to share your views on the impact Blockchain is having on your company and your industry, and how you are responding or plan to respond.  As always, the NetForum is free thanks to our hosts, Accenture.  Space is limited so RSVP at your earliest convenience.
Accenture’s address is 50 W San Fernando St, San Jose.  The venue will open at 8am, breakfast buffet will be served, and will sit down and start the discussion at 8:30am and end at 10am.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Laurent Ohana