CBDCs and COVID-19 Top Agenda in First Two Days of Unitize Conference

The first two days of Unitize, the virtual conference organized by BlockShow and San Francisco Blockchain Week, have come and gone with speakers from various sectors of the emerging crypto and blockchain space. Developments around central bank digital currencies, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, have taken center stage during the first two days of the event.

Crypto and blockchain adoption amid the pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to dominate discourse across the social, political, economic and several other facets of human life. Thus, it was unsurprising to see the novel coronavirus featured in multiple panels across the first two days of the event sponsored by crypto derivatives exchange Bybit.

According to Juan Otero, CEO of Travala — a Binance-backed blockchain travel agency — the Travala platform saw a 90% drop in bookings due to COVID-19. With many countries locking down their national borders, the global hospitality business is arguably one of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, with countries beginning to open up for summer tourism, the travel industry might be seeing a reprieve. Speaking at Unitize, Otero revealed that domestic bookings increased by 160% in June.

As part of the recovery efforts, Otero announced Travala’s partnership with global travel bookings giant Expedia. The collaboration will see the adoption of crypto payments for Expedia’s network of over 700,000 hotels.

Despite the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, Balaji Srinivasan, general partner at venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz, said the pandemic will trigger faster crypto and blockchain adoption. Speaking at the conference on Monday, the former chief technology officer of Coinbase remarked that perceived government overreach in managing the crisis will push people toward crypto, adding:

“Ultimately, there are two modalities that people can accept: A, we have total power; B, no one has power over us. On the other hand…

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