Georgian Students for Liberty Tbilisi Conference
Technology, State, and Individual

Tbilisi Conference 2022
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Another two-month cycle of technology-related events has passed successfully. Like the last year, Georgian Students for Liberty, in partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation, organised the online lecture series seminars, followed by a major tech conference in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The online event, “Tech Liberty – Bitcoin Academy,” which covered the three weeks of May (14-28), hosted Azerbaijani, Armenian, and Georgian students to learn about the fundamentals of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. Thirty students from the three South Caucasus countries attended the seminars. Each country had ten representatives chosen based on the specifically designed applications for this event. Prominent speakers in the crypto space like Stephan Livera and Leon Siegmund had extremely interesting presentations, from which the participants learned a lot. We can proudly say that most students who attended the seminars know more than the basics of cryptocurrencies after the event.

The following month, on June 11th, the “Technology, State, and Individual” conference was held in Holoseum Tbilisi. Like the last year, the conference goal was to cover the most widely discussed topics in the technology sector. Furthermore, the participants had the opportunity to enjoy the NFT exhibition, which was held in the same venue.

The first speaker of the conference was Levan Bodzashvili. As he is the advisor for one of the largest DeFi lending protocols MakerDAO, Mr. Bodzashvili’s lecture about the decentralized society was expected to be compelling. In the first part of his talk, Mr. Bodzashvili explained how blockchain technology works and why it can facilitate decentralization. Then, he presented several uses of blockchain technology like the newest idea of Vitalik Buterin, Soulbound Tokens (SBTs). He talked about the advantages and disadvantages of SBTs, and their potential role in a decentralized society. In the final part of his presentation, Levan Bodzashvili discussed the government regulation of the sector and his experience advising the National Bank of Georgia.

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Following the lecture about the decentralized society, the next speaker, David Khosroshvili, talked about the use-cases of blockchain technology. David is a successful Georgian entrepreneur whose lectures are always fun and engaging. He talked about the essentials of DeFi, DAOs, NFTs, and metaverses. “If you are not interested in NFTs, now is the time,” claimed David after showing audience some of the most successful NFT projects. By the end of his talk, David played the video of Snoop Dogg’s concert in the Sandbox Metaverse as a visual representation of the technology’s potential.

After the second talk, there was a large break for participants to have lunch and enjoy the NFT exhibition. The founders of the SeerFits NFT project organized the exhibition, which mostly focused on the works of Georgian artists. Beautiful digital paintings displayed on the large Holoseum monitors had a memorable effect on viewers.

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A lieutenant at the Ministry of Defence of Georgia and a US Coast Guard Academy graduate, Sandro Tsereteli, commenced the second part of the conference. He talked about the use of the newest technologies in Ukraine following the invasion of Russia. Sandro claimed that some of the modern technologies turned out to be unexpectedly beneficial for Ukraine’s defense. For instance, the use of commercial drones and the Starlink internet has been significant for Ukrainians. However, according to him, the US-made anti-tank and air-defense missile systems are still the weapons giving an edge to Ukrainians. “Javelins and Stingers are the game-changers,” claimed Sandro. Because of the relevance of the topic of his talk in Georgia, the audience was very engaged and asked numerous questions.

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Sandro Tsereteli’s talk was followed by the keynote session. Zach Harvey, the creator of the first Bitcoin ATM and a decade-long speaker in SFL’s conferences, spoke about the fundamentals and challenges of cryptoanarchy. As always, his talk was well-structured, gradually explaining the pillars of cryptoanarchy. In the beginning, Zach discussed how money functions and the disadvantages of fiat money. “Why would you save money when the government is printing more?” he asked rhetorically. Zach continued by discussing the basics of cryptography and its importance for online privacy. As expected, participants had many questions for Zach, all of which he answered in detail.

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The conference was closed by the representatives of SeerFits, Tatia Gotsiridze and Giorgi Samkharadze. They talked about the essential steps for building a successful NFT project. The detailed guidelines they provided for the audience can be helpful for anybody thinking about starting the NFT project.

After the final talk, the conference participants were invited to the closing ceremony. They had the opportunity to network with each other and the speakers while enjoying Georgian wine and cheese. The informal conversations of students with our speakers were no-less valuable than the formal part of the conference.