Now that the hype around Crypto Kitties has settled down, the next big thing hitting the Crypto space is Blockchain conferences. The growing Crypto community is looking for better reasons to network, socialize, learn and party with their peers in the industry. The vast majority of conferences currently being held tend to be the same thing: early adopters congratulating themselves while regurgitating the same, tired line that “Blockchain is the future!” The cool people on CryptoTwitter fuel conference FOMO by posting photos with all the other cool people you vaguely recognize from the hours you’ve spent scrolling through feeds.
While we all appreciate a good back-patting and photo opp, it begs the question: can a Blockchain conference have a greater purpose and, if so, why should you go?
To me, the social aspect is a moot point. An anonymous Twitter guy who has expended a lot of energy to obscure his identity has little to gain from showing up and doxing himself just to get photos with all of the cool people.
If I’m going to attend a conference, it’s going to be because it may actually increase my knowledge and facilitate meaningful networking with leading industry professionals. Most conferences tout that, but few are backed by companies that are truly thought leaders in the space.
Hosho was the first and largest Blockchain security firm specializing in smart contract audits and penetration testing. Founder Yo Sub Kwon has been involved in Blockchain since 2010. He began by starting an early American crypto exchange that eventually was acquired by Kraken. He’s one of the brightest minds in the Blockchain today and has assembled a team of experts to scale out their shared vision of a more secure industry one audit at a time.
Hosho’s Co-Founder & President, Hartej Sawhney, has spent most of the last year on the road spreading their vision at conferences and meeting with clients around the globe. HoshoCon is a culmination of the Hosho Road Show and Hosho’s desire to host a conference that they would like to attend in the conference capital of the world, Las Vegas, NV.
HoshoCon is more than a conference. HoshoCon will have speakers, exhibitors, workshops and afterhours entertainment. In many ways HoshoCon could be viewed as a three day bootcamp where you’ll gain firsthand knowledge of the best security practices from leading industry experts. One of the strongest advantages of cryptocurrency is the fact that you become your own bank. Becoming your own bank comes with the responsibility of securing your assets and digital footprint, which is a daunting task. Investing the time and money now to learn how to protect yourself and your assets could be the best investment you make.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Yo Sub Kwon and I asked him a few questions about security in the Blockchain space.
Q: What are some simple steps a crypto enthusiast who doesn’t have a great deal of technical knowledge could take to ensure a project they’re investing in is taking security seriously?
Yo: The easiest question is: “Who are you using for your smart contract audit?”. You should take the time to double-check and verify that they are being honest. It’s an immediate qualifier; a company should be using a reputable third party security firm for the audit. Also ask about their internal security policies. Do they have a dedicated staff member with enough authority in an organization to speak up if things aren’t being done to an adequate level whose priority is security? Did they get a penetration test? How do they protect themselves and their users/investors from other kinds of attacks?
Q: Do you think most Blockchain companies are using best practices regarding security? What percentage would you say are?
Yo: The vast majority of companies that are attempting an ICO don’t successfully fund raise and the ones who take security seriously are far more likely to do so. So, it’s kind of a self-selective process in some ways. There are plenty of established Blockchain companies that are becoming increasingly sophisticated with their security procedures, but a lot of the difficulty in adhering to best practices is that they simply don’t exist. That’s part of what we’re doing at Hosho; we help develop guidelines that can be generally followed for strong security hygiene and adopted by regulators, exchanges and Blockchain companies.
Q: Do you see the industry moving to some sort generally accepted certification for Blockchain security, like underwriters laboratories?
Yo: We’ve spoken with quite a few regulatory bodies, security standards groups and central governments about these kinds of things. There is certainly a desire for it but right now, things are a bit too fragmented for this to take hold in the near term.
Q: There’s not a lot of materials available regarding Blockchain security and best practices. Do you have any resources for someone interested in learning more?
Yo: Come to Hoshocon!
Q: What are the most important things a person can do to ensure they’re safeguarding their digital assets?
Yo: This is a tough question because of the fragmentation in the space and the natural way security continuously evolves. The way you may best secure one cryptocurrency is potentially different than another. Also, you can do 99 things correctly and all it takes is a single problem for a critical issue to arise. On top of that, there is the balance of what is reasonable security, because you can always go more secure but with diminishing gains and increasing difficulty in use.
For large quantities of assets, I would recommend asking a security professional about the best handling practices for the particular kind of asset you’re holding and take the time to learn about how it works.
I also had the opportunity to speak with Gabe Sheppard, VP of Global Strategy with Hosho. He’s the guy in charge of HoshoCon.
Q: HoshoCon seems to be geared toward the technical, what could a person who may not be knowledgeable in that regard gain from going to HoshoCon?
Gabe: I think the perception that a Blockchain Security Conference is geared towards only technical people is part of the problem we are trying to solve with HoshoCon. Very few people understand the necessity of security (personally or professionally) until it is too late. While we do have some technical content at HoshoCon, a lot of the program will be geared towards those who are not technical, who may not have thought about the repercussions of inadequate security, or people who just don’t know where to begin. But security, or the lack thereof, is also applicable to conversations about the regulatory environment, legal consequences and how they do or do not not affect mass adoption of Blockchain technology.
This is why we have prominent Blockchain attorneys from around the world, non-technical Blockchain experts and entrepreneurs contributing to the programming at this conference.
HoshoCon may be called a Blockchain Security Conference, but if we do a good job, it will be regarded as an annual event where non-technical people go to learn from the security experts in person.
Q: Blockchain conferences seem to be getting more and more common. What makes HoshoCon unique?
Gabe: I think our focus on education and our attention to detail in the production of this conference are the big differentiators. On the programming side of things, we have educational workshops that anyone with a badge can attend. These are entry level workshops including, “How to Setup a Hardware Wallet,” “How to Protect Yourself When Traveling Abroad,” “Protecting Your Identity Online,” “Setting Up 2 Factor Authentication,” etc…
To be able to have some of the best security experts in the industry convene in Las Vegas with the intent of teaching others who aren’t technical will be incredibly valuable to investors, non-technical founders and the public in general.
I am also really confident our nightly programming will include parties with some of the industry’s best entertainment. I can’t go into much more detail there… but we didn’t secure Hard Rock’s Vanity nightclub for our opening party, the Paradise Pool for Wednesday night, and The Joint – a world class music venue – just to have another party with a DJ that hardly anyone knows. This is Vegas.
See you at HoshoCon
There’s very few conferences I get excited about. HoshoCon is one of the rare opportunities presented in the space where you can interact with the brightest minds in the industry and hear firsthand from experts like Andreas Antonopoulos.
I will be attending in Las Vegas, at the Hard Rock from October 9th-11th. I’m looking forward to seeing you all there.
Hosho’s Website: hosho.io