By James Lawrence - Georgia - 3 months ago

The NEO Black Sea Community Assembly

The second installment of the NEO Black Sea Community weekend, focussing on the Assembly took place at TechnoPark, Tbilisi, on Friday, September 28, before the kickoff of the hackathon.

The Assembly brought together key stakeholders, from NEO leadership, Georgian government officials and 11 different NEO-based projects, for a one-day forum to explore opportunities and develop blockchain technology infrastructure for the new smart economy. The day proved to be a bold step forward to accelerate innovative technology solutions for a more prosperous future in the Black Sea region.

The assembly was made possible by event sponsors NEO and Spotcoin and supporting partners at Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA), City of Zion, and NEONEWSTODAY.

Both Shorena Kikaleishvili and Ani Kurdadze also need to be acknowledged for their responsibilities as Assembly Project Manager and Project Coordinator respectively. Without these two the event would have been impossible, they oversaw every aspect from booking, updating, coordination, and execution of the assembly.

In attendance, sharing expertise and connecting with local projects and innovators was Johnson Zhao, General Manager of NEO Global Development. “This is a Black Sea community. It’s coming and we look forward to working with you in many different ways” Zhao said, “Developers: Let’s build it. Let’s build something together.” The assembly was a unique opportunity for stakeholders in NEO and the Black Sea region to explore ideas, challenges, and collaborative opportunities.

Also in attendance was Mariam Turashvili, Head of Project Management and the Blockchain Project Manager from the National Agency of Public Registry (NAPR). The NAPR is the agency responsible for the first use-case of blockchain applied to land registry in Georgia. At the assembly Turashvili took part in a panel discussing blockchain for government, “I briefly presented the ongoing project at NAPR, which was the first real use case of the technology in public services, I also made a brief announcement on introducing TRUST contracts, which addresses the financial risks of the citizens during property registration process.” Turashvili went on to talk about future possible applications of blockchain to other ministries and government projects and expressed the NAPR’s “readiness to help them [other ministries] implement the system” as well as the NAPR’s “ambition of becoming a hub in the country and region as we already have the expertise and experience.” The NAPR continued its progression within the blockchain space contributing an all-female panel to the assembly. Turashvili reflecting on this, “it was a great feeling, as it was my first panel with all female participants, right now I have negotiations with donor organizations to plan and implement the project which will encourage girls to be more active in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields and I see women involvement as a very important part of the development in overall.”

NEO-based projects represented at the assembly included NEO Health, iMusify and Effect.AI, all of whom were excited about opportunities and community in Georgia. NEO Health, a complete medical ecosystem, was able to speak to the Georgia Ministry of Health from the connections fostered at the assembly. The platform will include both an advanced medical information resource for doctors and a complete web-based electronic medical record (EMR) platform for healthcare professionals.

iMusify is a decentralized music economy, created by artists, for artists, to establish a vibrant ecosystem that greater rewards participants by circumventing middlemen in the industry. CEO of iMusify, David Walters commented on the event, “It’s an awesome opportunity and it’s cool to meet all these NEO projects around here and to see what is happening in Georgia and that the spark is igniting here, I see a good future for Georgia in general. If NEO can support that, it’s great.” Jennie Legary, CMO at iMusify, shared her musings on the assembly on Twitter, “ the very core we’re finding it’s simply about culture and community.”

Chris Dawe CEO of Effect.AI, one of the judges from the hackathon, was also present at the assembly and received opportune partnerships options from Georgia. Effect.AI an open, decentralized network to help in the development of AI, will begin a trial with the UN in Georgia to create jobs online for people to solve business solutions, “We start the pilot program in about a week and a half or two weeks, we’ll have ten workers on board structuring some of the data of some of the clients that we have and then from there we’ll explore true partnership.” Dawe said. The workers will be based in Rustavi and work on Effect.AI’s mechanical turk, where humans complete work AI’s are currently unable to while simultaneously training the AI programs. Dawe suggests the platform allows “companies to experiment in a cheap way to see what they can pull out from their data.”

Attending the NEO Black Sea Community Assembly was Dawe’s third visit to Georgia. He has previously met with GITA and views Georgia’s progressive push toward blockchain tech as a massive opportunity, “[it is] very smart and progressive for a developing country to jump on board early, sometimes it’s risky but they’ve done the research and they’re coming to realize the massive opportunities in the next few years. Adoption sooner than others, it can really be a big, big chance for the country and the people. It’s been incredible with everyone I’m meeting.”

Speaking with Assembly Project Manager, Shorena Kikaleishvili, she regarded the assembly as “a fantastic opportunity that let us connect NEO Global Development with the Georgian government, to connect NEO blockchain projects to each other, and to foster a deeper relationship between these projects and NEO’s top staff.” Kikaleishvili also explained through organizing the event, it had brought her company, Spotcoin, and the Georgian government closer together. “Spotcoin was able to further deepen relationships within the Georgian government and at NEO. So we are definitely happy to move forward with different proposals there. The NEO Black Sea Community will definitely continue to add value regionally and here in Georgia, and we are excited at the prospect of hosting another event like the Assembly.” On what her favorite part of the assembly, “Seeing so many NEO projects advise each other and connect directly with NEO was truly amazing. We see so much benefit in these relationships, and we love being able to create the opportunity for everyone to come together and work face-to-face.”

Throughout the day and time and again over the entire weekend, the NEO Black Sea Assembly reflected its own community, a progressive and collaborative space crowded with individuals who have passions for blockchain and innovation. The event proved beneficial in fostering connections, educating, and inspiring all those involved. As much as stakeholders in blockchain tend to coexist in a virtual world, the NEO Black Sea Community reminds us of the utility of shaking someone’s hand or seeing a face light up as you talk about an idea or project.