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Bermuda needs NFT and blockchain policies, says entrepreneur

Panellist Chris Christmas, left, uses panellist Karee Luna’s sneaker to illustrate a point at the Bermuda Tech Summit 2022 (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Bermuda could be a leader in the blockchain industry, but first the island needs progressive and meaningful policy, according to one tech entrepreneur newly set up in Bermuda.

Chris Christmas, founder of Bloktime, told The Royal Gazette it is not so much the lack of a specific policy, but a lack of policy generally.

“I will be sitting down with the Bermuda Monetary Authority to talk about how to draft policy and to be more progressive-minded so that more companies will invest in this market, because of your NFT-friendly, token-friendly policies,” he said. “I have about five or six patents on this platform, so they are looking at that.”

Bloktime uses non-fungible tokens to help brands authenticate products and increase revenue over multiple cycles.

Speaking in the panel In Conversation About NFTs at the Bermuda Tech Summit 2022, Mr Christmas said blockchain and web3 are so new, that Bermuda could lead the innovation.

“You could introduce new ways on policy and new ways of financing,” he said. “You have insurance companies that could be a part of that as well. If you understood the power of blockchain and the impact it has globally, this country could lead that. You just have to be open minded.

“Technology is a great thing for us, it is not a restriction. It enables us to do things more. And you have to look at the young people today as assets.”

Bermudian Karee Luna, graphics designer and founder of Hai Tyde, was also a panellist. Hai Tyde assists artists and companies in bringing an NFT component to their product and project launches.

“There needs to be a lot more education in Bermuda about NFTs,” she said.

This week, she organised What The NFT workshops, designed to educate the local community on NFTs.

“Even just trying to get the event up, it took almost a year to get done because people did not quite understand it,” she said. “Now they are starting to. But I think from a year ago, it is moving so fast. Later on today at What the NFT, we will be teaching what is an NFT, what is a wallet.”

Moderator Simone Smith-Bean, managing director of Smith-Bean Co, said when NFTs first hit the market, people were perplexed that people were spending large amounts of money on GIFs and pictures.

“It is changing so much over the years,” Ms Smith-Bean said. “Now NFTs are used in so many more ways.”

Mr Christmas said: “I almost think we should change the word into something that allows people to understand that it is a digital certificate that has some unique characteristics to that certificate, and it allows open transparency.”

Ms Luna said a lot of young people already understand the concepts involved in NFTs and blockchain.

“It is actually older people like me who are struggling with the concept,” she admitted. “Some of the young ones say to me yeah, I told my dad what to invest in. In a year’s time, you will sit here and have someone a lot younger than me speaking about this.”

Mr Christmas said one problem is that many of today’s programmers are not educated in Solidity, one of the most common programming languages for Ethereum.

“If you are not learning how to programme for Ethereum, you are not going to be able to move into the future,” he said. “So today, we have to move our educational systems forward to blockchain programmers, and getting younger people into 3D and graphic design and animation, things that will prepare them for the future so that Bermuda can be a leading country in blockchain.”

The three-day Tech Summit 2022 wraps up today. It is presented by the Bermuda Business Development Agency in partnership with the Government’s Economic Development Department and fintech industry association, NEXT Bermuda.

For more information see www.bda.bm/events/bermuda-tech-summit-2022

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Published October 31, 2022 at 7:41 am (Updated October 31, 2022 at 7:41 am)

Bermuda needs NFT and blockchain policies, says entrepreneur

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