Kansas City is running low on blockchain-fueled innovation, said Shekhar Gupta.
“I want to see Kansas City as one of the top places where people think about blockchain,” said Gupta, chief technology officer of Overland Park-based SaaS firm Asuun, and organizer of the inaugural Blockchain KC conference. “I have a big map on my wall [stating] the various cities and areas that are involved in blockchain and Kansas City is not on it. Missouri or Kansas is not on it.”
Cultivating the effective utilization of the emerging technology infrastructure can spawn new startups in the area, therefore driving the economic success of the region, he said, noting the seemingly far away goal has be tackled head on to become a reality.
“My goal is to take the problem by the bull horns, rather than wait for someone else to solve it,” he added. “Let’s solve it ourselves. I would really like to see Kansas City on that map, but there’s a lot of work to be done before that happens and the Blockchain KC conference is just one of those steps.”
The April 24 conference — a one-day event organized at Plexpod Westport Commons — is expected to feature Kansas City thought leaders talking about blockchain implementations in different industry verticals, he said, noting a few familiar faces — from a civic development track led by KCMO chief innovation officer Bob Bennett, to a fintech track led by Liquifi co-founder Rachel Qualls.
The conference will also introduce strands in healthcare, energy, law, supply chains, cybersecurity, and a demo led by Cerner on the latest in blockchain development, he added.
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“[We hope] to give people an idea of when to use blockchain and even when not to use blockchain,” Gupta said.
The conference is expecting an audience of at least 200 people in its first year, he said, noting the forthcoming iterations are expected to grow in size and in quality.
“I absolutely do not want it to be one and done,” he added. “As soon as the conference is over we’re going to start working on the other conferences we have lined up for next year as well. We’ve got [support] from other companies that were not able to make themselves available [this year,] but they are very much interested in next year so next year is going to be even bigger and better.”