# La Conexión in Medellín, Colombia

Report by @elian.


* dates: 2019-05-20 - 2019-05-21 (2 days)
* location: Country Club Ejecutivo, Medellín, Colombia
* site: https://www.la-conexion.com/
* Twitter: https://twitter.com/Conexion_Events


* Participants: ~200 (estimated)
* Decred attendees: @elian


* 5 t-shirts
* 2 totebags

## Overall experience

This has been the first edition of the event and a success because of the quality of the conversation and presentations. The audience was a mixture of investors, entrepreneurs and cryptocurrency professionals from China, Colombia, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and the United States. Particularly important was the presence of Chinese companies investing and headhunting in Latam. It was clear that attendees understand what cryptocurrencies are and the focus of the event was rather to make businesses and networking. For the majority of the foreigner attendees that I got the chance to talk, the objective was to connect with Latin America and build relations to thrive business between Asia and Latam. There was a notorious consensus among foreign companies of Latam potential because of demographic bonus, unbanked population and massive connectivity, for the majority Latin America represent the next wave of adoption and uses cases for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

The event attracted people that are more interested in understanding how blockchain technology can be implemented in specific use cases rather than the investment/speculative side of the technology. In contrast to the previous event in Bogotá, where the attendees were more interested in speculation, La Conexión was an opportunity to make business and networking. This focus on business rather than speculation definitely raised the quality of the conversations and attracted a different kind of people with a different mindset. This was a better environment to connect with other companies in the space and to network with professionals of the crypto industries in Latin America.

It has been interesting to understand how the Colombian industry is being developed and the important role that Medellín has taken. The city of Medellín is characterised for its entrepreneurial community and is setting itself as the hub for innovation and technology development in the country. Interestingly, the tech industry is growing at a faster pace in Medellín than in Bogotá. Talking with friends about this, they argue that historically this is the result of protestantism setting in the region of Antioquia Department, of which Medellín is the capital of, during the time of the Spanish conquest several centuries ago. Since then, the perceptions of work, entrepreneurship and money have developed in a different fashion than in Bogotá and the rest of the country where it was catholicism the major religious doctrine back in the day. This is one of the major historical reasons why entrepreneurial activities are more common and have more support in Medellín than in Bogotá.

Some of the high profile contacts at the event were Pedro Gutierrez from NEM Latam, George Conelly from Dash Latam, Felipe Vazquez OTC Director Latam from Kraken, Dwayne Golden Jr CEO of Coinlogiq Crypto ATMs, Lawrence Wolff from ShellPay, Jose Rodriguez early investor and Payments VP from Bitso, David Yao director of Blockchain Land at Talent Land and Joao Mendez Manager Latam from PundiX,

Important activity in the region that needs to be taken seriously as a precedent of cryptocurrency expansion is the efforts of Dash to expand their merchants accepting Dash and raising awareness about their cryptocurrency solutions. Both in Cripto Latin Fest and in La Conexión they had a stand and a team of around 7 people. Other company investing heavily in Latam is Coinlogiq ATMs, they were present in Blockchain Land at Talent Land, Cripto Latin Fest and La Conexión with a big team and showcasing their ATMs. Also NEM had a presence in the past three events that I have assisted in Latam and Pedro Gutierrez is very active among the Latam community.

It is important to understand that there is a deep connection synergy between Colombia and Venezuela, in which due to the crackdown of miners in Venezuela, many of them are moving into Colombia while continuing their operations in Venezuela. Also interesting to notice that Bitcoin is being sold 10% below the market price due the abundant offer of Bitcoin in the country. Linked to this is the fact that Venezuela is one of the cheapest countries to mine Bitcoin in the world. There is a unique synergy between both countries in the crypto industry in which Bitcoin is mined in Venezuela and sold in Colombia. Same with OTC brokers that used to operate from Venezuela and now are moving to Colombia to continue operations without the worry of government crackdown and harassment because of crypto operations. It is noticeable that due to the lack of regulation in Colombia there are no big crypto exchanges in country, but rather, there is an important number of OTC brokers that operate negotiations for buying and selling Bitcoin.

During the event I got the chance to talk with Joao Mendez, Latam Manager of PundiX, and to know more about their XPOS merchant solution. At the moment this is a custodial solution for accepting and selling crypto and they want to integrate also a non-custodial wallet to their XPOS solution. I talked with him about the possibility of getting DCR listed on the XPOS and he guided me on the process. PundiX is one of the examples of connections build between Asia and Latam, they have realised the that potential of the region is untapped and that there are tremendous opportunities to expand and do business in the crypto industry.

Another company that was very interested into getting closer to the project and even to present a proposal for integration was Coinlogiq ATMs. We talked about the last proposal that was rejected by the community for ATMs integration and they were interested into preparing one to get DCR integrated into their ATMs. I am following up on their questions because there is definitely an opportunity to create synergy and take advantage of the interest in Latam that both Decred and Coinlogiq have.

Finally, another interesting remark of the event is that there is a general consensus among Colombian professionals in the industry that the main concern of crackdown comes from banks and not the government. All the banks in Colombia are owned by 3 families and they have set their attention on the disruptive potential of crypto and blockchain. Henceforth they are policing all the activities related to crypto in the country. In the words of many Colombians working in the industry, "banks are the police of crypto, they know we are going after them and they want to set their resources on blocking any potential threat to their business model". Another big reason why all major transactional activity in the country is done through OTC brokers.

## Media

* Livestream: https://twitter.com/Decred_ES/status/1130541146185314305
* After event video: https://twitter.com/J_ibagonhz/status/1131469441043259392