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Your author spent a day last week at the Olympia conference centre in London attending TechEx. For those unfamiliar, it is billed as “the world-leading enterprise technology exhibition” and was attended by over 5,000 visitors. Those present would have got to listen to more than 180 different speakers and to interact with at least 120 exhibitors. The conference’s remit is a broad one, embracing trends as diverse as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud, cyber and more.

The most-crowded session– by a long way – that your author attended was a debate on where next for blockchain in 2023? The starting point was that the collapse of FTX had “rewritten” the prospects for blockchain technology. Much of the discussion related, therefore, to the extent which enhanced regulation might hinder rather than help the development of blockchain solutions. The other major challenge up for review was how to drive greater customer adoption. Better incentive structures (perhaps digital currency rewards for customer referrals?) were mooted, as were apparently needed improvements to the toolkit developers might use at the outset for creating more user-friendly new solutions.

The same sense of seemingly unremitting yet perhaps slightly misguided optimism prevailed during a panel debate your author witnessed on the metaverse. Our scepticism on this topic is well-documented, but it was notable how even the panellists seemed unable fully to agree on quite how to define metaverse. Suggestions included “a 3D world of simulation” and “a life outside a physical world.” Go figure… Some of the presenters even highlighted how opportunistic start-ups had jumped on the metaverse bandwagon: augmented/virtual reality, for example, might be necessary in a metaverse environment, but is far from sufficient. Perhaps the best characterisation we heard was the metaverse as “a playground which will evolve.”

We have written many times that data (whether in a blockchain or metaverse setting – or anywhere else) have no value unless secured, stored and analysed. It was therefore refreshing also to attend a presentation from the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Canon Europe, whose topic was to highlight the things which keep CISOs up at night. Geopolitics featured high up the list – perhaps unsurprisingly, given the current backdrop – but it was also refreshing to be reminded that CISOs constantly should be wondering whether they’ve done enough. Cyberattacks will still happen, so learn from them should they occur. 

6 December 2022

The above does not constitute investment advice and is the sole opinion of the author at the time of publication. Past performance is no guide to future performance and the value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise.

Photos taken by the author.

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Alex Gunz, Fund Manager


The document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice or any recommendation to buy, or sell or otherwise transact in any investments. The document is not intended to be construed as investment research. The contents of this document are based upon sources of information which Heptagon Capital LLP believes to be reliable. However, except to the extent required by applicable law or regulations, no guarantee, warranty or representation (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this document or its contents and, Heptagon Capital LLP, its affiliate companies and its members, officers, employees, agents and advisors do not accept any liability or responsibility in respect of the information or any views expressed herein. Opinions expressed whether in general or in both on the performance of individual investments and in a wider economic context represent the views of the contributor at the time of preparation. Where this document provides forward-looking statements which are based on relevant reports, current opinions, expectations and projections, actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. All opinions and estimates included in the document are subject to change without notice and Heptagon Capital LLP is under no obligation to update or revise information contained in the document. Furthermore, Heptagon Capital LLP disclaims any liability for any loss, damage, costs or expenses (including direct, indirect, special and consequential) howsoever arising which any person may suffer or incur as a result of viewing or utilising any information included in this document. 

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