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Boris Johnson Lauds Blockchain ‘Opportunities’ at Singapore ISBA Conference

Former United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson recently gave a speech at the International Symposium on Blockchain Advancements (ISBA) in Singapore in support of blockchain technology. He compared the onset of blockchain to significant technological advancements such as the invention of fire, the railways and the internet.

In his speech, Boris stated that blockchain users were pioneers of an infant technology with all sorts of possibilities that the whole world is still struggling to assess. He also encouraged a better relationship between the cryptocurrency industry and politicians if crypto has a future. Johnson added that he was in favor of tighter regulation of cryptocurrencies to hold people accountable. In doing so, crypto supporters will build trust and thus persuade people that the technology is not just speculation or another type of financial instrument.

Blockchain technology, which enables cryptocurrency investors to securely record transactions in a way that makes it difficult or even impossible for the system to be changed, hacked or manipulated, is largely unregulated. However, the collapse of the FTX exchange, one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, which left thousands of people without access to their savings, has brought the sector under close government scrutiny.

While many cryptocurrency giants want the industry to be regularized, some government and financial regulators feel that this would give it status and credibility by putting it on par with traditional finance.

In recent weeks, the European Central Bank, in a bid to disqualify Bitcoin’s legitimacy, stated that Bitcoin is an artificially induced last gasp before the road to irrelevance. This comes at a time when the value of Bitcoin has plummeted from a peak of almost $70,000 to a low of $16,000 since the collapse of the FTX exchange.

The intervention was met with immediate opposition from those within the Bitcoin community. Leaders who support blockchain technology include the new UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, who has previously stated his desire to make the UK a global hub for technology and crypto-asset investment. Matt Hancock, the former health secretary, also accepted £11,638 in hospitality to attend the Permissionless cryptocurrency conference in Florida, as well as £10,000 to speak at the LendIt fintech conference.

Johnson also shared his views on Twitter, saying it could be an intimidating environment for politicians who should instead learn to have thicker skins and find ways of doing their jobs without feeling beaten up. The former prime minister has not yet disclosed how much he was paid for the speech or who funded it and his trip to Singapore.

His payment notwithstanding, the fact that Johnson made such positive comments about the opportunities in the blockchain space gives an indirect boost to industry actors such as Bit Digital Inc. (NASDAQ: BTBT) as they spread awareness about the different applications of crypto and blockchain technology.

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