2018 Rhode Island Blockchain Summit Live Blog

About to start. The hashtag is #ribs2018.


David Paolo Founder and CEO of G Media Studios kicks off the day – our MC. He introduces John Harwood – former Speaker of the House in Rhode Island – pictured below. He explained that Rhode Island is a small state and people have great access to the constituents. The point being, you hear the good and bad – and he went on to say how happy he is to bring tech jobs to the area.


He then pumped up Rhode Island. Lots of great colleges nearby. No traffic. Business-friendly. Between New York and Boston.

He introduced the Governor Gina Raimondo.


“Rhode Island is a great place to do business and invest.”

She said the industrial revolution started here and they had the first offshore wind farm.

We don’t shy away from being first, being early and being innovative.

She was a VC – invested here and knows it is a great place to do business. They have worked hard to make the business climate even better.

Wavemaker Fellowship: Get a STEAM degree – science, engineering arts or math in the state – get a job here and get some of your college loans paid off.

Will start teaching science in kindergarten onwards.

“The best design school in America RISD and top ten science and math in Brown University.”

“I don’t know everything or much about blockchain but Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM really pumped up blockchain as a future technology.” This encouraged her to get involved.

Stefan Pryor Secretary of Commerce takes stage.

Spoke of James Madison and Federalist Papers – brought in the libertarian approach government and how Rhode Island was instrumental in this philosophy. He tied this into blockchain and liberty being a defining principle – he tied that into light regulation.

He went on to say RI is the lightest tax state in New England – they took on pension reform years ago, controlled Medicaid costs and is now slashing more taxes.

Discussion of all the companies coming to RI and also – the reduction in capital gains taxes in certain instances.

“We know that regulation is in fact key to the success of blockchain systems. We aim to rationally regulate crypto while protecting consumers in the process”

Jeff Pulver takes the stage – says he has never seen a state do so much for an industry.


He contrasts the world of IP communications – where he had to fight regulation at the state level – as opposed to what is happening with blockchain here in RI.

“The first trillionaires will come from the blockchain market.”

“Blockchain gives you the opportunity to trust again.”

“This will be significantly more impactful than the industrial revolution – a 4 quadrillion dollar opportunity.”

Numerous Rhode Island regulators take stage for lively discussion. One key takeaway is death certificates and the blockchain allowing people to collect on policies after a death.

Alexander Lopatine is recreating banks from the ground up through a portfolio of companies that could replace banks – though he says we will always need backs which are #FDIC insured.

Jeff Pulver takes the stage to interview Steven Nerayoff the founder of Alchemist Group and the legal architect of the Etehreum offering and actual creator of the ICO market.

steve jeff.jpg

Jeff Pulver: “Rhode Island, you no longer have to apologize for being a small state. You have big vision!”

Steven discusses the founding of ethereum – how it happened – what he thought when he first heard about it, etc.

Questions from the audience – good one – why are ICOs raising so much more than you did with ethereum? Steven – said there will be excesses – but was careful to not say we are at that point or past it. Jeff then said what is the use of proceeds? We are at the early stage of the revolution and many people will be held accountable for where that money ended up.

Steve added that companies aren’t doing multiple raises – they are raising all at once at the moment.

Jeff said people will go to jail – it will happen – it’s a matter of when. We have to figure out how to do it right.

In response to a question regarding institutional investment, Steven explained we are in early days – the protocols haven’t been decided on and they aren’t commercially ready. And the applications are still being built out. The internet had years of Arpanet to build on. 

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