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Is Boris really the emissary that blockchain needs right now?

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With FTX crumbling, Bitcoin shutting down, and the entire crypto-finance infrastructure in question, blockchain technology was desperate for an image boost. Singapore decided that it was Boris Johnson’s rhetorical skill that needed honing his ragged image.

Blockchain in particular and innovation in general is always scary at first, according to Johnson. “Mankind has been paranoid about this since Prometheus the Titan gave the first flame,” he said, mixing classical references with technical details.

Johnson was giving a keynote address at an international symposium on blockchain advancements to some 80 crypto enthusiasts who braved a tropical thunderstorm in Singapore to hear his insights. In the same week Singapore’s state fund Temasek was facing scrutiny for dumping his $275 million into failed crypto exchange FTX, eight months of due diligence reveal major concerns I felt it was the right place for this event because I failed to do so. After Mr Johnson’s hour-long reflection on Brexit, Australian submarines and his time spent at The Telegraph, one conference attendee said it was clear paranoia and fear weren’t enough.

Beyond free canapés and macaroons, the event was nothing more than a plea from the government. blockchain An industry to take seriously. All sectors have the right to seek the support of the disgraced former leader, but Johnson’s hymn of praise for the Singapore Sling and his room at the notoriously expensive Raffles Hotel praises the potential of blockchain. Then it was delivered to the men’s half-filled ballroom. The suit, of course, was no panacea for its woes.

One representative, who identified himself as Kai and said he worked at a local crypto custodian startup, was thrilled to hear someone “very famous” talking about the potential of digital currencies and blockchain. What about Johnson’s position? “Oh, I don’t know about that,” Kai said with a strained laugh.

A rare female attendee admitted she was actually a journalist who was mainly trying to find out how much Johnson It was paid to headline the conference.

Against this backdrop, the former UK prime minister hilariously assured the room of “blockchain pioneers” that they were in the right place, telling the audience that technology is “morally neutral”. He recalled how, in the early days of railroads, doctors falsely claimed that the rattling and shaking of railroads was likely to cause sexual arousal, and how the city of London was “the most productive man on the planet.” He explained in detail why the nuclear power plant is “a place where nuclear power is a safe place” and what is unclear about nuclear power. -Electric vacuum cleaner. However, it was not clear how these digressions would strengthen his claims for blockchain.

He eventually returned to technology and cryptocurrencies. He said, “I’ve seen some pretty shocking headlines about this whole venture, so there needs to be some way to hold people accountable.” , the Ukrainian War, and green technology.

Then came his finale. “I strongly argue that if we do all things Brexit, the UK will become even more attractive as an investment destination.” On blockchain, he added, he could not comment further without knowing the details.

Blockchain enthusiasts didn’t seem enthusiastic. Someone showed enough interest to take a picture, but was warned by a man that hissing and not taking pictures in a hurry.

The interviewer valiantly tried to lure Johnson back to blockchain. What was his overall message to innovators in the industry? “Apart from Singapore, which is a great place for innovation, come to London. “It will rain more,” he replied. “I look forward to watching the progress of the blockchain industry fascinatingly,” he added to the bemused applause.

mercedes.ruehl@ft.com

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