Richard Branson Holding Digital Currency Summit on Private Caribbean Island
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Most people wouldn't turn down a few days in the Caribbean, but the sunny locale isn't necessarily the first place that comes to mind when you think of cryptocurrency.
But this May, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is set to hold the Blockchain Summit on Necker Island, his 74-acre private island in the British Virgin Islands, to discuss the future of Bitcoin, Blockchain and digital currency. (Blockchain is the software infrastructure that supports Bitcoin transactions -- not to be confused with Blockchain.info, which is a digital wallet service.)
Branson is sharing hosting duties with Valery Vavilov, the CEO of Bitfury, a company that develops servers for "Blockchain transaction processing," Pro kiteboarder Suzi Mai and VC Bill Tai, the co-founders of MaiTai Global and George Kikvadze, the managing director of the Georgian Co-Investment Fund.
The Summit participants -- who are likely to be on the receiving end of Branson's penchant for practical jokes -- hail from the worlds of venture capital, finance and technology, including Lars Rasmussen, Facebook's former engineering director and inventor of Google Maps, futurist Marshall Thurber, James Newsome, a former chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Matthew Roszak, the founder of Tally Capital and Young Sohn, the president and CSO of Samsung Electronics.
The discussions will be moderated by The Wall Street Journal senior columnist Michael J. Casey, The Economist's Globalization Editor Matthew Bishop and Hernando de Soto, president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy.
Branson has been a supporter of exploring Bitcoin for some time. Last fall, ahead of the first the Global Digital Currency Conversation Forum in Australia, Branson explained his rationale for investing in the cryptocurrency, writing "There’s a real desire for greater levels of control, freedom and scrutiny over what happens with our money, Bitcoin addresses these concerns and that is why so many people believe it represents the future."