DAVOS 2024 in Review: Navigating the Mountains and Minds of Davos

Jan 24, 2024
A picture of Davos

The crisp mountain air of Davos, Switzerland, crackled with more than just the winter chill this January. As the World Economic Forum (WEF) unfolded, a different kind of energy pulsated beneath the snowdrift - the frenetic hum of innovation, buzzing with the possibilities of blockchain and Web3.

This wasn't our first trek up the Davos slopes. Back in 2020, YouHodler planted its crypto flag - literally -  at the Forum, eager to engage with the global elite shaping the future of finance. This year, however, the terrain felt different. Blockchain wasn't a novelty hiding between traditional asset classes; it was a commanding presence, weaving itself into the very fabric of discussions, from economic policy to environmental solutions.

Why was YouHodler there and what is Crypto Conto?

While we would love to think we were in Davos to share lavish meals with Klaus Schwab and discuss how YouHodler can help guide the world into its next gilded age, that was not the case - at least not this year. This year, we were on a mission to promote our new B2B solutions that help integrate traditional finance into crypto.

Furthermore, YouHodler wanted to engage with an international audience of industry experts, policymakers, and innovators, fostering dialogue about the diverse applications of blockchain technology across various sectors.

YouHodler’s comprehensive B2B suite - dubbed “Crypto Conto” -  aims to empower businesses with the tools they need to embrace crypto seamlessly, including:

  • Blockchain Infrastructure: White-label solutions allow traditional banks and FinTech companies to seamlessly integrate crypto wallets and exchanges into their existing offerings.
  • Crypto Trading and Management: Advanced tools for businesses to execute strategic crypto trades and effectively manage their digital asset portfolios.
  • Crypto-Backed Loans: Tailored financial solutions leveraging crypto assets for funding, providing businesses with swift and flexible access to capital.
"Being here allows us to demonstrate how YouHodler's B2B services can equip businesses to leverage crypto's advantages, unlocking secure, efficient, and transparent financial solutions' ' said YouHodler CEO Ilya Volkov. 

Ultimately, YouHodler's presence at Davos signifies more than just their commitment to bridging the crypto-traditional gap. It serves as a testament to the increasing recognition of cryptocurrency's significance in the global financial landscape. It marks YouHodler's position as a pioneer in building the bridges that will seamlessly connect these two worlds. 

Blockchain and Web3 with a strong showing in Davos

Gone are the days of hushed side events tucked away in smoky cafe corners. This year, Web3 had staked its claim in the heart of Davos, with the "Crypto 2030"  and Web 3 Hub,  holding court in prominent squares.

This wasn't just about glitzy parties and high-powered socializing. The WEF 2024 agenda, while prioritizing AI as its central theme, was riddled with discussions on blockchain's potential to solve real-world problems. Stablecoins were dissected as alternatives to volatile fiat currencies, privacy-focused blockchains emerged as champions of data security, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) sparked hot debates. 

At one point, YouHodler huddled with El Salvador's president of the National Commission of Digital Assets, swapping insights on harnessing blockchain for financial inclusion and chatting on the Risk Management tool at the Crypto2030 panel discussion. 

Even Filecoin, a decentralized storage network, rented a church 😂, complete with CNBC cameras and professional lighting, to host its event. Mainstream media was no longer a hesitant visitor, but an enthusiastic guest at the crypto feast.

A shift from the abstract to the concrete

But the most significant shift wasn't just in the topics discussed, but in the depth of the conversations. In years past, we often heard abstract musings about blockchain's transformative potential but the discussions did not go much deeper. However, this year, the buzzwords were "compliance," "privacy," and "decentralized solutions." 

DeFi evangelists, once content with disrupting traditional finance, were now building tools to ensure regulatory adherence and data protection. The lines between industries blurred, replaced by a shared understanding that the future was decentralized, and everyone was scrambling to catch the wave.

YouHodler’s panel discussions: “Crypto isn’t an outlier”

YouHodler CEO Ilya Volkov talks crypto assets and risk management in lengthy panel discussion

We, too, had a say in shaping this conversation. Our panel, a 1.5-hour marathon alongside Juan Carlos, El Salvador’s Digital Asset minister, Ledger executives, LCX Exchange, and Swiss lawyers, resonated with a simple but powerful message: Crypto isn't an outlier. It's just another asset class, another payment option, another way to manage data. It's an evolutionary leap, not a revolutionary break.

Drawing an analogy with sailing, Ilya Volkov, our CEO, and Crypto Valley Board Member argued for applying the same “rules of the sea” to both traditional and crypto instruments. Just as there are universal laws governing physics, similar principles with economy laws should guide risk management across all financial realms. 

The epic market crashes of 2022, both in crypto and traditional markets, were stark reminders of this interconnectedness. Both stemmed from the misuse of funds, highlighting the need for a unified approach to safeguarding financial well-being.

What’s Davos actually like?

Despite the luxurious aura surrounding Davos and the WEF, navigating the streets of Davos isn’t for the faint of heart. It demanded physical resilience as much as mental agility. Once a year, this secluded mountain haven morphs into a bustling metropolis, choked with traffic and overflowing with events. 

Finding a bed felt like winning the lottery, and traversing the snowy hills to connect with fellow pioneers tested our endurance. Yet, amidst the chaos, there was a unique charm. Panel discussions featured CEOs in snow boots and ties, and impromptu encounters on icy streets could land you face-to-face with presidents, tech gurus, or even the occasional eccentric.

WEF 2024: Final thoughts

It's easy to dismiss Davos as an exclusive playground for the privileged few. However, beyond the opulent facades and high-priced coffee, there's a deeper undercurrent of purpose. Amid protests by those denied access due to accommodation shortages, one wonders if the organizers deliberately cultivate this aura of inaccessibility. Is it a test of commitment, a crucible to forge meaningful connections and ideas?

One thing is certain: Davos 2024 offered a glimpse into a future where blockchain is not a fringe phenomenon, but the bedrock of a more transparent, inclusive, and equitable financial landscape. We, at YouHodler, walked away empowered by the knowledge that our mission – building innovative B2B solutions for a decentralized future – is not just timely, but essential. 

The E.U. is progressing with regulation and Web3/blockchain development. Interestingly enough, this is not limited to member countries either. Some non-members, like Liechtenstein for example, are also taking quick actions to welcome more crypto companies by complying with MiCA and other regulations. 

Our experience in Davos this week proved that several high-quality startups are tackling pressing issues like AML compliance. It was a honor to join the Startup competition jury at World Crypto Forum. YouHodler is happy to see that the blockchain industry is powering both traditional and Web3 FinTech companies with these cutting-edge solutions. 

Ilya seen here congratulating the winners of the startup contest

The mountains may have tested our patience, but the conversations ignited on those snowy slopes reaffirmed our belief that the future of finance lies not in isolated peaks, but in the interconnected valleys of Web3.

So, until next year, Davos. Let us leave you with one final quote from our CEO:

Our Future is “Web3 Finance” which connects the old world with the new, offering enhanced and secure services for anyone with a smartphone.”

Additional photos from the WEF

Navigating the Swiss terrain in our YouHodler mobile office

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