Asia Innovation Summit (AIS) Experience

Woodstock Fund
7 min readAug 6, 2021

AIS Conference

The Asia Innovation Summit (AIS) showcased implementable and scalable innovation. As associate sponsors and active participants, the Woodstock team was able to engage with not just blockchain experts but with brilliant minds across these five sectors:

In cognizance of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was held in a completely virtual setting allowing people from myriad geographies to participate from the comfort of their homes.

But what about interactions? Satellite events? Quick-paced networking?

As ardent blockchain enthusiasts, we miss in-person conferences. However, kudos to team Lumos for facilitating an immersive experience for the summit attendees. The AIS platform had:

  • Breakout rooms for quick conversations
  • A lounge area where participants gathered to enjoy easy flowing conversations
  • Engaging panel discussions
  • Exciting daily contests

The Web3.0 investments panel shared a fun moment with the audience

The AIS summit also provided an opportunity for individuals to look for new job opportunities in development, marketing, product designing, etc in the blockchain landscape.

25 Companies participated in the jobs corner. Some of them were:

Team Woodstock participated in three panels and hosted a virtual booth on all 7 days wherein we interacted with enthusiastic Indian developers and college students about the future of blockchain and various opportunities in the industry.

Panel Discussions

Here are some key insights from our team’s panel discussions.

  1. State of web 3.0 startup investments in India

Click here to witness this conversation

Why participate in the blockchain ecosystem?

  • The star-studded panel began with sharing insights on what attracted these stalwarts of the traditional finance sector to the blockchain ecosystem.
  • Pranav and Ravi discussed the inefficiencies they saw in the centralized computing and financial services industries that drove them towards decentralized solutions.

How to get the best long-term returns as a web3.0 investor?

  • The blockchain investment landscape is filled with short-sighted investors. Ajeet rightfully termed this capital as “TGE (Token generation) capital” which dumps the tokens as soon as they are released.
  • Luchang and Pranav highlighted the importance of finding the right teams and closely working with them over complete market cycles helps ensure sustainable growth for investors.

Among other topics, the panel also discussed the emergence of investor DAOs and the increased interest from traditional VCs in the blockchain sector. Pranav spoke about how being regulatorily informed and compliant will differentiate between top-tier investors and everybody else.

2. The Future of banking

Prashanth moderated the concluding panel of AIS. Some key takeaways were:

  • Indian blockchain founders are pro regulations and want to work with policymakers to expand the scope and possibilities of the sector.
  • The panel discussed sandbox structures to propel the growth of the decentralized ecosystem. These sandboxes will assist organizations like Woodstock Fund along with Indian regulators to nudge entrepreneurs to start experimenting, learn from other startups, and help accelerate India’s digital transformation journey.

3. Demystifying NFTs

Click here to watch the recorded video

Why is there such a strong interest in NFTs collectibles?

  • By facilitating a path towards the creator economy, offering artists greater control over their creations by circumventing the traditional brokers and commissions, NFT marketplaces have attracted many artists and generated a sizable supply for collectible NFTs.
  • The panel rightly also pointed out that the NFTs haven’t achieved a product-market fit yet and we still need to explore other use-cases of the technology as NFT collectibles have been limited to a few thousand users.

What will be key to unlocking NFTs mainstream adoption?

  • Ishita spoke about how cultural NFTs are gaining traction and will be drivers of mass adoption, primarily because popular culture is attractive to the masses and easier to include in any conversation.
  • Luke and Gary talked about creating smooth user experiences such as human-readable addresses, easy-to-use wallet infrastructure, and educating users about truly owning their digital assets, to bring mainstream adoption in the NFT space.

One of the interesting insights provided by Ganesh was regarding democratizing power of data in the system. Earlier art & collectibles marketplaces were opaque, limited to a selected group of people. But, due to the transparent nature of public blockchains, anyone with a mobile device can be a part of this ecosystem. The discussion also covered interesting topics like the panel’s favorite NFTs, operational utilities such as access & membership tokens, proof of attendance, in-game assets, etc. that NFTs can revolutionize.

Audience Interaction

As a part of the AIS conference, our team actively participated in the networking sessions that were conducted daily from 8–9 PM IST. Our virtual booth at the AIS also received visits from academicians and professors from reputed institutes. Through these interactions, we at Woodstock received a re-affirmation to our beliefs that India has a lot of developers, entrepreneurial talent that is eagerly looking to join the blockchain revolution.

Conversations with students

Onboarding the next cohort of coders: The majority of the attendees at the networking sessions were final and pre-final year engineering students who were curious to understand the blockchain development landscape and the job opportunities associated with it. Some of them were curious about which programming language — Solidity, Rust, or Golang will generate the maximum demand for talented developers in the future.

Wide-ranging FAQs: We had some insightful discussions with the student community on a broad range of topics including:

  • Benefits of different Layer-1 blockchains
  • Zero-knowledge proofs
  • Drawing parallels between DeFi and traditional finance
  • Collectible NFTs.

Opportunities beyond coding: Conversations with the young talent helped us clear some of their misconceptions about coding being a must-have skill to enter the blockchain space and how students interested in marketing, product development, and analytics can become an integral part of this ecosystem.

Conversations with developers

Developer communities: We also interacted with a few developers from Hyderabad who have created a community of like-minded blockchain enthusiasts. The community regularly hosts meetups discussing blockchain technology and protocols. It was fascinating to know that they also encourage and help students from local colleges to learn smart contract development languages like Rust in their foundational year of engineering.

Fundraising for new projects: Our team also had very engaging conversations with developers about tokenization and fractionalization of real-world assets like real estate, commodities and how this can create more accessible investment prospects with lower barriers to entry for young investors.

Some participants were curious about how investors like Woodstock Fund analyze projects that we come across in the blockchain space, and how they could potentially go about raising funds for their blockchain projects.

Regulatory uncertainty: Some developers expressed their concerns around India’s uncertain regulatory frameworks, leading to apprehension about getting into the blockchain ecosystem full time. We also had an interesting discussion about how many developers in the blockchain industry receive their compensations in cryptocurrencies and how they should go about recording these transactions and file taxes to be regulatorily compliant.

Conclusion

We at Woodstock Fund were thrilled to be a part of the Asia Innovation Summit, 2021, as an associate sponsor. It was a unique experience to be a part of multiple panels, hosting a virtual booth, and engaging with students and young professionals across the country about their views on the blockchain industry.

One of the key learnings at the AIS was that currently the Indian blockchain community is fragmented into small groups — blockchain clubs at colleges, small teams of developers, and investors. AIS gave a platform to bring all these individuals together, leading to a more collaborative approach to propel into a blockchain-enabled future.

We would like to congratulate Raghu Mohan and the entire team at Lumos Labs for organizing the entire conference in a seamless manner and providing a platform to discuss some very interesting technological innovations.

Woodstock Fund is committed to being a part of more conferences like the AIS in the future and helping build the Indian blockchain community up from the grassroots level.

Author — Neel Daftary and Ishita Srivastava from Woodstock Fund

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Woodstock Fund

Woodstock is an emerging technology investment fund focused on investments in Blockchain and DLT Projects. Website: woodstockfund.com