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MARE BALTICUM Gaming & TECH Summit 2024


Insights from Prague Gaming & TECH Summit 2024 Speakers (pre-event)





As we approach the Prague Gaming & TECH Summit, we’ve connected with some of the event’s distinguished speakers to delve into the future of the gaming and tech industries. Their insights shed light on the shifting dynamics, underscoring the significance of adaptability, innovation, and strategic foresight.

We posed the following questions to our speakers:

  • What has been the most surprising or valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career within the gaming/tech sector?
  • Can you share a project or achievement in your career that you’re particularly proud of?
  • In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the gaming and tech industries today?

Below, you’ll find a brief overview of their responses. For more in-depth insights, scroll down to read each speaker’s full reply.

#### Viktoria Soltesz: Mastering the Financial Game

Viktoria Soltesz, a pivotal figure in the payment solutions space, shared a crucial lesson from her career: the significance of a well-crafted payment plan. Through her work, Soltesz has observed the downfall of companies due to inadequate financial strategies, emphasizing that such pitfalls are easily avoidable with proper planning. Her recent book, “Moving Money – How Banks Think,” aims to demystify banking and payment processes for businesses, advocating for informed financial decision-making within the gaming and tech sectors.

#### Aleksandra Andrishak: The Power of Continuous Learning

Representing Slotsjudge, Editor in Chief Aleksandra Andrishak looks forward to delving into topics like iGaming and blockchain at the summit. Andrishak highlights the transformative work undertaken at Slotsjudge in 2023 and stresses the importance of perpetual learning in the fast-paced gaming industry. Her advice to newcomers is to embrace innovation and remain adaptable to stay ahead.

#### Jakub Tesar: Blockchain’s Expanding Horizon

Jakub Tesar predicts a promising future for blockchain technology, especially within the Ethereum ecosystem, and the rise of Web3. He envisions a world where gamers have greater control over virtual collectibles and in-game items, thanks to blockchain. Tesar anticipates GenAI revolutionizing game interactions and narratives, urging industry professionals to experiment with blockchain’s burgeoning use cases.

#### Kaspar Szymanski: Navigating SEO in the Gaming and Tech World

Kaspar Szymanski, with his rich background in Google Search, identifies the challenge of distinguishing brands in a saturated market. He argues for a focus on unique selling propositions and long-term growth strategies. At the summit, Szymanski aims to dispel SEO myths and offer actionable advice, emphasizing that SEO setbacks can lead to significant growth opportunities.

#### Jasmina Poglavc: Data-Driven Innovation in iGaming

Jazz underscores the impact of advanced data analytics and AI in enhancing the iGaming experience through personalized player engagement. She points out the challenges of data privacy and navigating the regulatory landscape, advocating for a shift towards more player-centric and responsible gaming practices.

These insights from our speakers highlight a common theme: the gaming and tech industries are at a critical juncture, facing challenges that span financial planning, regulatory navigation, and technological innovation. The Prague Gaming & TECH Summit stands as a pivotal platform for addressing these challenges, fostering dialogue, and paving the way for future advancements.

As we anticipate the rich discussions and networking opportunities at the summit, it’s clear that adaptability, continuous learning, and strategic planning are key to navigating the future of gaming and tech. Join us in Prague to explore these themes and more, shaping the trajectory of these dynamic industries.

Viktoria Soltesz – Founder at PSP Angels

What has been the most surprising or valuable lesson in your career within the gaming/tech sector?

In my career within the gaming/tech sector, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is the importance of having a payment plan. While analyzing the financial and banking information of various companies, I noticed a recurring pattern: many companies that failed did so due to poor payment and banking practices. They often miscalculated risks, under-budgeted costs, or neglected to set up a proper payment plan. These errors in financial planning were common culprits behind their downfall. What surprised me the most was how easily these businesses could have avoided such failures with proper payment planning. It became evident that many businesses fail for avoidable reasons, and simply taking the time to understand and establish a payment plan can make a significant difference. By paying close attention to the flow of money and investing just a few hours in crafting a solid plan, a business can set itself on a path to success, outperforming much of its competition.

Can you tell us about a project or achievement in your career that you’re particularly proud of?

One of the achievements I’m particularly proud of in my career is the recent launch of my book, “Moving Money – How Banks Think,” which is now available on Amazon. This book is a valuable resource for businesses, emphasizing the often-overlooked importance of banking and payments in today’s competitive landscape. It provides insights into the intricacies of banking decisions, the history of payment systems, and practical guidance on managing funds more safely and cost-effectively. I’m excited to share this knowledge and help businesses make informed decisions in the realm of payments, especially those that are high-risk or startups.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the gaming and tech industries today?

In the gaming and tech industries today, one of the most significant challenges is undoubtedly related to payments. While these industries focus heavily on product development, market competition, and marketing strategies, the crucial aspect of payment planning often gets overlooked. This oversight can lead to businesses incurring unnecessary banking fees and facing unexpected operational risks. Understanding the complexities of banking and payment systems is crucial, yet it remains an area with limited knowledge for many in these sectors. Lack of knowledge in this domain can result in poor financial decision-making. As a payment expert, I have observed that addressing these payment-related challenges is essential for the long-term success and sustainability of businesses in the gaming and tech industries. By gaining a better understanding of how payments work and the reasoning behind banking decisions, these industries can navigate financial challenges more effectively and make informed choices, ultimately ensuring smoother operations and cost savings.

What are you most looking forward to at the Prague Gaming & TECH Summit?

I am greatly anticipating the upcoming Prague Gaming & TECH Summit for several compelling reasons. First and foremost, I’m excited about the high-quality content that will be presented during the event. It’s an excellent opportunity to gain valuable insights and knowledge about the gaming and tech industries.

Additionally, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with old acquaintances and making new connections. Networking is a fundamental aspect of such gatherings, allowing us to exchange ideas, share experiences, and forge new professional relationships.

Lastly, I’m eager to hear about the latest industry developments and gossip. Staying informed about the current trends and happenings within the gaming and tech sectors is essential for keeping a competitive edge in these dynamic industries.

Overall, the Prague Gaming & TECH Summit promises to be an enriching and engaging experience, offering valuable content, networking opportunities, and industry insights.

Aleksandra Andrishak – Editor in Chief at Slotsjudge

What are you most looking forward to at the Prague Gaming & TECH Summit?

The vegan catering! Jokes aside, Hipther events are renowned for their best-in-class networking, and I’m eagerly anticipating the opportunity to delve into topics such as iGaming, eSports, and Blockchain with top experts in the industry. This will mark my second collaboration on stage with Zoltan and the team, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Can you tell us about a project or achievement in your career that you’re particularly proud of?

I’m honored to represent Slotsjudge at the Prague Gaming & TECH Summit 2024. I’m particularly proud of all the work we’ve accomplished with the team in 2023. This year, you can expect even more from us, including new features, a completely revamped website, and even more ways to have fun together with us if you’re a gaming enthusiast!

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the gaming or tech industry?

Never stop learning. The gaming industry is one of those sectors where innovation occurs almost daily. To stay ahead of the curve, you cannot afford to become complacent. Continuously strive to expand your knowledge and skills. Good luck!

Jakub Tesar – Innovation, Digital & Emerging Tech Lead at EY

What are your top three predictions for the future of gaming and tech industries in the next five years?

  1. The Ethereum ecosystem will evolve into a hub for practical applications, driving large-scale enterprise adoption of blockchain technology.
  2. The growth of Web3 will empower users to have self-custody over virtual collectibles and in-game items, enabling the purchase of ‘phygital’ items that merge the physical and online worlds. This evolution will facilitate free trade on blockchain-powered marketplaces and allow brands to explore new monetization strategies for digital assets.
  3. Generative AI (GenAI) will revolutionize gaming experiences, enabling players to interact with non-player characters (NPCs) in more natural and dynamic ways, and experience storylines that adapt and evolve in real-time.

Can you share a recent innovation in the gaming/tech industry that excites you? What challenges do you think the industry needs to address? The integration of GenAI within gaming environments excites me the most. It offers unprecedented, natural-like interactions with GenAI-based NPCs and allows for fluid, dynamic storylines. However, the industry must navigate the ethical implications of AI, ensuring that these technologies are developed and used responsibly.

What has been the most surprising or valuable lesson in your career within the gaming/tech sector? In my career, the most valuable lesson has been the constant need for innovation and adaptability. The rapid pace at which technology evolves requires a perpetual learning mindset and the willingness to embrace change.

How do you see the role of AI and emerging technologies shaping the gaming and tech industries? AI and emerging technologies are set to fundamentally reshape the gaming and tech industries by introducing more immersive, interactive, and personalized experiences. These technologies will not only enhance gameplay but also offer new avenues for creativity and innovation within the sector.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the gaming or tech industry? Never stop learning. The gaming industry, in particular, is characterized by its rapid evolution and innovation. Staying informed and continually enhancing your skills is crucial to staying ahead in this competitive field.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the gaming and tech industries today? Addressing the ethical and societal implications of rapid technological advancement, including privacy concerns, data security, and the potential for misuse, remains a significant challenge.

How do you see regulations impacting the gaming and tech industries, and what changes would you like to see? Regulations need to strike a balance between fostering innovation and protecting consumers. I hope to see regulations evolve in a way that supports the ethical development of new technologies while ensuring they are accessible and beneficial to all.

What are you most looking forward to at the Prague Gaming & TECH Summit? I’m eagerly anticipating the opportunity to delve into the latest industry trends, connect with fellow professionals, and share insights on the evolving landscape of gaming and technology.

Is there a specific message or insight you hope attendees will take away from your session? I hope attendees recognize the enduring significance of blockchain technologies and are inspired to explore and experiment with their vast potential for innovative use cases.

Kaspar Szymanski – Founder of SearchBrothers

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the gaming and tech industries today?

One of the primary challenges in an industry saturated with numerous market players offering similar web platforms and services is effectively defining and communicating a compelling unique selling proposition (USP). While brand building, prioritizing user experience, and optimizing website performance are essential, they are merely steps towards the ultimate goal of offering a service or product that isn’t readily available elsewhere. Moreover, developing a long-term strategy presents a significant challenge in an industry that tends to favor short-term success. The pressure of organizational and market demands often hinders decision-makers from adopting strategies focused on sustainable, gradual growth. This challenge is particularly evident in search engine optimization (SEO), where the goals of long-term growth and meeting immediate organizational needs must be aligned, as search engine algorithms prioritize actual ranking signals over organizational constraints.

What are you most looking forward to at the Prague Gaming & TECH Summit?

I am eager to share the unique insights into Google Search that I gained during my time working for Google, as well as my experiences as a consultant helping clients in competitive niches outperform their competitors. My presentation will include exciting real-life case studies, debunk several myths within the SEO industry, and provide attendees with actionable advice they can immediately apply. I am also looking forward to listening and learning from others, and eagerly anticipate addressing audience questions during the Q&A session following my presentation.

Is there a specific message or insight you hope attendees will take away from your session?

I want my audience to understand that Google penalties are not the end of the world and can be resolved. SEO setbacks, while initially unwelcome, can actually offer an opportunity for significant growth, potentially surpassing any previous rankings on Google Search. These moments can be a hidden blessing, revealing new paths to success. I invite anyone curious about the inner workings of Google Search, how it can benefit your website, and seeking genuine answers to their Google and SEO questions to join my session.

Jasmina Poglavc – Senior Product Manager at Gamanza Group AG & Freelance iGaming Consultant

Can you share a recent innovation in the gaming/tech industry that excites you, and what challenges do you think the industry needs to address?

My background in iGaming platforms and online operations has given me a unique perspective on the transformative potential of advanced data analytics and AI. These technologies promise significant changes, especially in real-time player engagement for iGaming platforms and operators. By analyzing player behavior, preferences, and patterns in real time, we can offer personalized promotions, customized gaming experiences, and targeted loyalty programs. This not only boosts player satisfaction but also optimizes revenue streams.

However, the full realization of these benefits faces challenges, primarily concerning data privacy and security. Protecting sensitive player information is paramount, and navigating the evolving regulatory landscape to align data-driven practices with compliance standards is equally crucial.

What has been the most surprising or valuable lesson in your career within the gaming/tech sector?

Adaptability has been the most valuable lesson in my career. The gaming and tech sectors are incredibly dynamic, with constant evolutions and innovations. Embracing change, remaining agile, and continuously seeking learning opportunities have been essential for navigating challenges and achieving success. Anticipating industry trends and staying informed about technological and regulatory developments are key to staying ahead.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the gaming or tech industry?

Stay curious and proactive. Embrace challenges as growth opportunities, keep up with industry trends, and cultivate a strong professional network. Innovation drives the gaming and tech industries, so developing a mindset that embraces change and fosters creativity is crucial.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the gaming and tech industries today?

The primary challenges include cybersecurity threats, talent acquisition and retention, and adapting to an evolving regulatory landscape. Balancing innovation with compliance is challenging, as regulations often lag behind technological advancements. A strategic, adaptive approach is essential for navigating these challenges, necessitating proactive engagement with regulators and an awareness of legal frameworks.

How do you see regulations impacting the gaming and tech industries, and what changes would you like to see?

The gaming industry, exemplified by the situation in Germany, faces challenges from overregulation, which can drive players toward unregulated, black-market operators. While regulations are crucial for ensuring fairness and consumer protection, too restrictive an environment can hinder the industry’s growth and inadvertently compromise player safety.

I advocate for regulations that evolve with technological advancements, are harmonized globally, and are developed in collaboration with industry stakeholders. This approach aims to balance consumer protection with innovation, ensuring a thriving, responsible gaming ecosystem.

Click here to register and unlock the door to endless possibilities at the Prague Gaming & TECH Summit. Your next big opportunity awaits!

The post Insights from Prague Gaming & TECH Summit 2024 Speakers (pre-event) appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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Supply Chain Finance Market Forecast to Reach $9.4 Billion by 2029: Increasing Emphasis on Sustainable Sourcing




Global Supply Chain Finance Market

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Web3 Startups Raise Nearly $1.9B in Q1 2024 Despite Overall Downtrend in Crypto VC Interest




Venture capital funding for cryptocurrency and blockchain projects has seen a notable resurgence in the first quarter of 2024, marking its first quarterly rise since 2021. Crunchbase data released today indicates that Web3 startups secured nearly $1.9 billion in funding across 346 deals during this period. This represents a substantial 58% increase from the previous quarter, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the ongoing downward trend in overall crypto VC interest.

The recent surge in funding can be attributed to investors adopting a more long-term perspective on Web3, as opposed to the hype-driven “tourist investors” predominant in recent years. Chris Metinko, the author of the report, notes that investors are shifting their focus to the AI sector, indicating a change in investment strategy. There is a growing interest in supporting the foundational infrastructure of the decentralized internet, rather than solely concentrating on crypto wallets and lending platforms, which attracted significant investments during the peak period of 2021 to 2022.

While large funding rounds were relatively uncommon in Q1, several notable investments stood out. Exohood Labs, a company integrating AI, quantum computing, and blockchain, secured a remarkable $112 million seed round at a valuation of $1.4 billion. EigenLabs, an Ether token “restaking” platform, raised $100 million in a Series B round led by a16z crypto. Additionally, Freechat, a decentralized social network leveraging blockchain technology, secured $80 million in a Series A round. These investments, among others, contributed to the increase in valuations and the emergence of four new Web3 unicorns in Q1.

Despite the recent progress, the future trajectory of Web3 remains uncertain. Metinko suggests that the next few quarters will be pivotal in determining the industry’s direction. While investors anticipate a rebound in investment as the decentralized internet evolves, it may take another year for venture capital activity to stabilize after the exuberance of 2021. Factors such as the approval of U.S. spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds and the upcoming Bitcoin halving could also influence the market, given the rising prices of Bitcoin and Ether.

A noteworthy example of significant funding in the Web3 space is Monad Labs’ recent successful funding round, which secured $225 million led by Paradigm. Monad Labs is a layer-1 blockchain compatible with Ethereum, offering faster transaction processing. This funding round harkens back to the golden era of crypto funding in 2021-2022, when L1 solutions attracted substantial investments.

Earlier this year, Balance, a digital asset custodian based in Canada, announced that it had once again reached $2 billion in assets under custody (AUC) amidst the recent market recovery. Similarly, Korea Digital Asset (KODA), the largest institutional crypto custody service in South Korea, has experienced remarkable growth in crypto assets under its custody, expanding by nearly 248% in the second half of 2023.

Analysts at Bernstein Research project that crypto funds could reach an impressive $500 billion to $650 billion within the next five years, representing a significant leap from the current valuation of approximately $50 billion. This forecast underscores the growing optimism and potential for substantial growth within the crypto industry in the coming years.


The post Web3 Startups Raise Nearly $1.9B in Q1 2024 Despite Overall Downtrend in Crypto VC Interest appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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ASIC cracks down on blockchain mining firms




Three blockchain mining companies – NGS Crypto, NGS Digital, and NGS Group – along with their directors, Brett Mendham, Ryan Brown, and Mark Ten Caten, are facing legal action from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for allegedly operating without a license, in violation of Australia’s Corporations Act. ASIC initiated legal proceedings against these entities on April 9, citing concerns about their non-compliance with financial regulations and their solicitation of Australian investors.

According to ASIC, the NGS companies promoted blockchain mining packages with fixed-rate returns to Australian investors, encouraging the transfer of funds from regulated superannuation funds to self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) for conversion into cryptocurrency. Approximately 450 Australians invested a total of around USD 41 million in these packages, raising concerns about potential financial losses.

The legal action filed by ASIC alleges that the companies violated section 911A of the Corporations Act, which prohibits companies from providing financial services without a valid Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). ASIC is seeking interim and final court orders to prohibit the NGS companies from offering financial services in Australia without an AFSL.

ASIC Chair Joe Longo emphasized the importance of investors carefully considering the risks before investing in crypto-related products through their SMSFs. Longo stated that ASIC’s actions send a message to the crypto industry about the regulator’s commitment to ensuring compliance with regulations and protecting consumers.

In a separate development, the Federal Court appointed receivers for the digital currency assets associated with the NGS companies and their directors to safeguard these assets amid concerns about the risk of dissipation. Mendham was also issued a travel restriction order, preventing him from leaving Australia.

While a court date for the proceedings has not been set, ASIC’s investigation is ongoing, with the regulator continuing to gather evidence and build its case. It is worth noting that the investigated companies share a similar name with NGS Super, a legitimate Australian pensions provider, leading to potential confusion among investors. NGS Super clarified that it is not involved in selling cryptocurrency or related products and has taken legal action to protect its trademark and members’ interests.


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