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“Big Shift” in tech - who do you trust?

Rīga turned into the Baltic tech capital for two days during the international Techchill tech conference on February 20 and 21, gathering around 2,000 attendees to discuss green tech, blockchain and 5G, while giving startups the opportunity to battle it out in a pitch competition for the grand prize of 10,000 euros, according to organizers.

Everyone got their business cards ready and updated their Linkedin profiles in preparation for the event where the worlds of tech entrepreneurs, investors, media, policymakers and job-seekers collide, looking for business and cooperation opportunities. And of course since it is the Baltics, specially branded Techchill beers and parties help the generally shy locals open up a bit and approach new people and visitors from abroad.

“I make sure to come to TechChill every year – it's the best event to meet a ton of international media representatives, which is incredibly important for our business,” said Jūlija Gifford, Co-founder of content marketing company Truesix.

Much of the discussions onstage centered around trust. We've all become familiar with the ways technology is eroding trust through the propagation of fake news, deep fakes, surveillance, etc., but the speakers onstage spoke about new ways technology can work for us to increase trust, and of course make the world a better place.

Blockchain solutions will play a big part in regaining trust. Yes, at one point even adding the much overhyped term “blockchain” to your business name was enough to send your stock prices soaring through the roof, but now the technology is slowly coming into its own and offering solutions that combat corruption, fraud and bureaucracy, while increasing trust, transparency and accessibility in various fields.

“1.2 billion people in the world are excluded from society because they don't have an identity. Our ID 2020 project with the United Nations is working on establishing the right to have an identity as a human right,” said Accenture Emerging and Growth Specialist Tom Ghelen.

Being able to verify your identity is crucial in an increasingly digital world where people are moving around more than ever, but blockchain solutions are even being used to verify property deeds, supply chains, artwork and so much more. It's also allowing people who previously wouldn't have access to new investment opportunities. Ten years ago could you imagine owning 0.01% of a multimillion-dollar luxury hotel, or world-famous Warhol artwork?

This year's program featured more than 70 speakers including Martin Villig, Co-Founder and CEO at Bolt, Juhani Mykkänen, Co-founder and Head of Internal Development at Wolt, Ivana Gabravac, Head Of Brand and Reputation Marketing at Google, and many more prominent tech activists.

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