By Natalie Lord
It’s that time of year again when world leaders, politicians, CEOs, social-impact personalities, rock stars, actors and global entrepreneurs gather in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. The giants of business, heads of state and glitterati will intermingle over four days and consider how to put the world to rights, discussing issues from climate change to sustainability and beyond.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the WEF so it’s a special one. The WEF, is a non-profit organisation started in 1971 to engage the foremost figures in politics, business and culture to discuss global and industry agendas. Noone could have anticipated when it first started how immensely successful it would become. This year more than 30,000 people are expected to attend. People that can impact change. People will influence, connections and power.
The theme of the WEF this year is: “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.” It will cover topics from technology to climate change to economics, digital asset regulation, digital identity and central bank digital currencies. But Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the WEF, is already focusing beyond the event and setting the intention of securing real results and effective progress. “With the world at such a critical crossroads, this year we must develop a ‘Davos Manifesto 2020’ to reimagine the purpose with scorecards for companies and governments,” he said.
With the world compromised on many levels, the audience at Davos will be looking for solutions, and will be keen to consider how the benefits blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies might assist with the purpose. Two years ago, Michael Douglas attended an MIT-hosted lunch on AI and blockchain. It’ll be interesting to see who might surprise us in the 2020 event, with the crypto space is closer to centre stage than it’s ever been.
A few years back, crypto pioneers politely gate-crashed the WEF, setting up a side show to discuss the future of cryptocurrencies. Back then very few knew what this was or paid it any attention. This year, however, most corporations taking part in the WEF will have internal blockchain projects underway and will be involved in digital asset groups to varying extents. Five years ago the CEOs of these companies were probably unaware that blockchain even existed, yet now people are looking to the space for answers. This year could see a significant merging of the traditional and the digital, with visions combining to create the opportunity of a better world.
On the Promenade outside the KongressZentrum there will be panels, networking events and meetings focusing on cryptocurrencies, blockchain, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. Conversations will start, continue and end on the street and in the KongressZentrum where the mighty and respected will speak. On the slopes skiing and strategy will combine and stretch into the evening soirees. Much will be said, promises will be made and positive change in many forms will hopefully follow.