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Walmart Files Several Crypto, NFT and VR Gaming Patents

Niche Gamer | Michael Valverde | January 18

Walmart files crypto and NFT patents - Walmart Files Several Crypto, NFT and VR Gaming PatentsSeven recent patent filings suggest retail giant Walmart is embracing crypto, NFTs, and more as they’re entering the Metaverse with a new business venture that incorporates VR gaming, cryptocurrency, and NFTs.

These trademarks were filed to the US Patent and Trademark Office on December 30, 2021, outlining several potential applications that Walmart can pursue that incorporates the growing (and controversial) world of Web 3.0.

One patent describes “downloadable e-commerce software” that would allow users to “perform electronic business transactions” by providing them with a “virtual marketplace” that accepts “digital currency, crypto currency, and virtual currency.”

See:  Walmart to launch fintech startup with partner Ribbit Capital

An example of this potential marketplace went viral earlier this month, when a video created by Mutual Mobile for SXSW 2017 resurfaced on Twitter. This video showcased a tech demo of a virtual Walmart shopping experience using Oculus virtual reality technology.

Instead of the traditional e-commerce experience that involves clicking on a picture of an object to add it to a cart, this video shows how the user can manipulate specific products as physics objects placed inside a virtual representation of a real shopping cart, with FMV-style cutscenes of workers providing unsolicited feedback and other shoppers crowding the aisle. Bafflingly, this video also implies that removing items from your cart requires you to place them back in their original location on the store’s shelves.

Another patent application filed by Walmart’s parent company focuses on “financial services, namely, providing a virtual currency for use by members of an online community” that includes both “exchange” and “issuance” of “virtual currency in the field of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).”

Also see:  Amazon, Walmart, the Secret Battle for FinTech Supremacy: Part II

This implies that Walmart’s proposed platform would allow them to mint their own NFTs for trade while also facilitating the exchange of other NFTs through an integrated wallet. Based on the tech demo, these NFTs would likely be found on the gift card rack and would require you to physically scratch off the foil with a Walmart Coin to redeem it.

The fact that the aforementioned tech demo was created four years prior to the trademark filing indicates that this is not an impulsive decision made by a company that’s worth nearly $400 billion. Instead, this appears to be the next step in a longer plan to carve out space in the still very theoretical concept of the Metaverse.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Walmart Files Several Crypto, NFT and VR Gaming Patents The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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PBOC White Paper: e-CNY’s Path to Cross-Border Payments

CloudTree Ventures | Winston Ma | Jan 19, 2022

E CNY Cross border global payments - PBOC White Paper: e-CNY’s Path to Cross-Border Payments

Today, China and the United States are competing and growing their technological capabilities in a wide array of sectors. The cutting-edge area of America and China’s technological war that’s been heating up recently is around who will dominate the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.

Although China has cracked down on cryptocurrencies, shutting down all domestic crypto exchanges and banning all ICOs, blockchain technology itself is recognized as a revolutionary development by the government. In a speech October 2019 speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared blockchain would play “an important role in the next round of technological innovation and industrial transformation.” That marked the first major world leader to issue such a strong endorsement of the widely hyped – but still unproven – distributed ledger technology (DLT). (By contrast, most governments in the West have been far more cautious.)

See:  The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Central Bank Digital Coins (CBDCs)

Calling for blockchain to become a focus of national innovation, President Xi’s speech detailed the ways the Chinese government would support blockchain research, development, and standardization. China’s leadership position in the global competition of central bank digital currency (CBDC) is the prime example.

In April 2020, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank unveiled the world’s first sovereign digital currency that is based on blockchain-like technology. (PBOC has started research and development for a digital version of the yuan, known as e-CNY, since 2014.) Since then, China has been steadily expanding its digital yuan pilot programs while also cracking down on cryptocurrencies. In July 2021, the PBOC issued a white paper detailing the current workings of the digital yuan, also referred to as the e-CNY, which is the first comprehensive disclosure of its plans.

The release of the white paper probably marks the near end of the testing phase, and the official launch may occur soon at the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year. As such, China is likely to be the first major economy to introduce a sovereign digital currency.

The rapid development of the e-CNY is only an inevitable result of China's robust digital economy. Even before the digital economy, mobile pay has grown rapidly in the last several years to become the dominant form of payment in China. Since 2020, China has been steadily expanding its digital yuan pilot programmes, given the country's rapid development of internet industries such as e-commerce and social network platforms that provide a myriad of application scenarios.

See:  CBDCs 2022: China first-mover advantage

The digital yuan wallet supports several functions, including scan to pay, top-ups and money transfers. According to the white paper, as of June 2021, participants have spent 34.5 billion digital yuan ($5.3 billion) in trials. Uses include paying utility, dining, transportation, shopping, and government services. The new digit yuan would allow users to spend it even without an internet connection, and it will bring convenience to foreigners, too.

“Foreign residents temporarily traveling in China can open an e-CNY wallet to meet daily payment needs without opening a domestic bank account,” said the white paper.

That means even foreigners traveling in China can have access to the digital yuan without a domestic bank account. This is a particular benefit given the difficulties that foreigners have had using mobile payment apps like WeChat Pay (of Tencent) and AliPay (of Alibaba), because those apps must be linked to banking accounts.

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that in its white paper, the PBOC cited the rapid growth in cryptocurrencies as a driver for research and development of the e-CNY and said that "cryptocurrencies are mostly speculative instruments, and therefore pose potential risks to financial security and social stability". This is the first time that the PBOC, in an official document, linked its sovereign digital currency issuance with cryptocurrencies’ potential challenges to the international monetary system.

According to the PBOC, “cryptocurrencies' lack of intrinsic value, acute price fluctuations, low trading efficiencies and huge energy consumption make them unfit for use in daily economic activities”.

See:  China catches fraudsters using central bank digital currency for money laundering

Of course, the profound impact of e-CNY is likely to be more than China’s retail markets. Many believe the e-CNY will bolster Chinese currency's global status and eventually challenge the US Dollar’s preeminent position as the world’s reserve currency. For example, the e-Yuan could bypass western-operated cross-border payment networks, such as Swift, which the US has used to enforce sanctions.

But it’s likely a long march for the e-CNY.

“Though technically ready for cross-border use, e-CNY is still designed mainly for domestic retail payments at present.” the paper reads. For the e-CNY, its real test only starts after its official launch.

Authored by:

Winston Ma - PBOC White Paper: e-CNY’s Path to Cross-Border PaymentsWinston Ma, CFA & Esq. (@Winston_W_Ma), is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of CloudTree Ventures and an adjunct professor at the NYU School of Law. He is the former managing director and head of the North America office at China Investment Corporation (CIC), and author of Investing in ChinaChina's Mobile EconomyThe Hunt for Unicorns, and The Digital War.

 


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This article is featured in NCFA's digital magazine, Fintech Confidential (Issue 4). Click to read the latest thought leadership, insights and trends about Fintech in Canada:

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - PBOC White Paper: e-CNY’s Path to Cross-Border Payments The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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GBBC Blockchain Central Davos Virtual Event Jan 18-19: On Demand Recordings

GBBC | Jan 19, 2022

GBBC Blockchain Central Davos Jan 18 19 - GBBC Blockchain Central Davos Virtual Event Jan 18-19:  On Demand Recordings

Day 1: Jan 18

See:  Can Blockchain Solutions Unlock Capital to Fix Our Planet?

Day 2: Jan 19

Download the 2 day virtual agenda --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - GBBC Blockchain Central Davos Virtual Event Jan 18-19:  On Demand Recordings The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Microsoft Bets on Video Games: Buys Activision Blizzard for $70 billion

New York Times | | Jan 18, 2022

microsoft buys activision - Microsoft Bets on Video Games:  Buys Activision Blizzard for $70 billionMicrosoft is making a big bet on video games, and even if you’re like me and don’t really play them, it’s worth taking notice.

Microsoft said on Tuesday that it would buy Activision Blizzard, which makes video games including Candy Crush and Call of Duty. Microsoft will pay close to $70 billion for the game maker, a lot of money even for such a rich company. Activision slots into Microsoft’s other video game businesses, including the Xbox game console and video game makers like Halo and Minecraft.

See:  Inside the metaverse economy, jobs and infrastructure projects are becoming real

But Microsoft’s acquisition also shows that video games are not merely entertainment anymore. They have become weapons that today’s technology titans wield to try to shape our future in their preferred direction.

I’m talking about the “metaverse,” the terrible shorthand that technologists have adopted for a broad vision of a future internet that will further blur the lines between online life and real life, and between people and computers.

The metaverse is hard to define. (We could just call it the next phase of the internet, but I guess that’s too boring.) Tech companies now believe that video games are a gateway to moving faster toward whatever that more immersive internet future will be, and they are dictating what it will look like, and who the winners and losers will be.

Wanting to shape the future of the internet is one reason Facebook renamed itself Meta and has focused so much attention on its Oculus virtual reality goggles and video-game-like virtual business meetings. It’s also a reason Apple is designing face computers, and why Amazon and Google have used their cloud-computing services to make it easier for people to stream sophisticated video games over the internet.

See:  What Does The Financialization of Games Mean? GameFi

Video games for a long time have been a glimpse at what’s possible. Even before we camped out on Facebook and YouTube, game designers created worlds that didn’t exist but felt real. Video games were among the first consumer products that proved that people would pay for virtual things — for example, weapons, clothing or tractors in FarmVille. Gamers are already living in the metaverse, and tech companies essentially want to bring that sense of imagination to every aspect of life online, including friendships, shopping and live theater.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Microsoft Bets on Video Games:  Buys Activision Blizzard for $70 billion The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Rep. Emmer introduced legislation to prohibit the Federal Reserve from issuing a CBDC for use by individuals

Cato Institute | Norbert Michel | Jan 14, 2022

CBDCs - Rep. Emmer introduced legislation to prohibit the Federal Reserve from issuing a CBDC for use by individualsEmmer introduced legislation to prohibit the Federal Reserve from issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) for use by individuals.

This week Rep. Tom Emmer (MN–R) introduced legislation to prohibit the Federal Reserve from issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) for use by individuals. A CBDC of this nature goes by several names, but it is just a private account for individual customers at the central bank, an institution that historically serves commercial banks.

In his press release, Emmer noted that “to maintain the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency in a digital age, it is important that the United States lead with a posture that prioritizes innovation and does not aim to compete with the private sector.” Emmer deserves high praise for taking such a principled stand for the private sector over further government centralization and control.

See:  ‘Ready to Go’: Powell Says Fed Report on Crypto and CBDCs will drop in the coming weeks

He clearly understands what’s at stake with a CBDC, and Americans can only hope that many other members of Congress share his sympathies. With any luck, the Federal Reserve researchers working on the Fed’s upcoming CBDC report — one that could be released any day now — are paying very close attention.

That report, among other things, is supposed to “evaluate whether to issue a CBDC and, if so, in what form.” This question of what form a CBDC might take is especially important, and that’s why Emmer’s bill is such a positive step.

CBDC proposals vary a great deal, but it’s the retail account based CBDC that poses the biggest risk to both personal and economic freedom. (Broader overviews of CBDC proposals can be found hereherehere, and here.)

See:  ECB Report on CBDCs: Functional scope, pricing and controls

So far, Fed officials have argued that the central bank only has the authority to offer accounts and payment services to commercial banks, as opposed to individuals, but nobody should doubt the Federal Reserve’s creativity. Its proclivity for creating special facilities, for instance, is especially worrisome given the details of some retail CBDC proposals.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Rep. Emmer introduced legislation to prohibit the Federal Reserve from issuing a CBDC for use by individuals The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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US government to address the ramifications of cryptocurrencies on Jan 20th -> Tune in here

FinBold | Jordan Major  | Jan 16, 2022

US government - US government to address the ramifications of cryptocurrencies on Jan 20th -> Tune in hereThe Bitcoin mining sector has piqued the interest of several countries over the last year, and it appears that the United States government is starting to become interested in this market.

As a result, a hearing has been scheduled in the US to explore the ramifications of the energy consumption incurred by cryptocurrency mining operations. Indeed the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce will conduct a public hearing on the subject next Thursday, January 20, according to the House Committee.

“The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hybrid hearing that includes both in-person and remote attendance on Thursday, January 20, 2022, at 10:30 a.m.”

See:  Landmark Jury Verdict Finds Digital-Asset Products Linked to Cryptocurrency Mining Are Not Securities

The investigation is titled “Clearing Cryptocurrency: The Energy Implications of Blockchains,” and in particular, the Subcommittee is interested in learning about the energy consumption of blockchains, with the premise that they may create environmental concerns in the future. On the scheduled day, the hybrid hearing will also live stream on YouTube.

Congress’ energy subcommittee to discuss cryptocurrency

Bitcoin has gone through a lot of ups and downs in its short existence of just 13 years; however, one of the most recent efforts to discredit this technology is predicated on the fact that it is energy-intensive.

Proponents of Bitcoin argue those who oppose digital currency have not considered the costs of technology compared to the conventional banking system or the energy required to transport paper money across the globe.

US crypto mining growth

In response to the rapid expansion of US mining businesses after China’s mining prohibition, the local mining industry organized the formation of a Mining Council in 2021, which is overseen by the likes of Michael Saylor and Elon Musk.

See:  Arcane Research: Summary of Crypto 2021

Watch the live stream on January 20th: Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency: The Energy Impacts of Blockchains

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - US government to address the ramifications of cryptocurrencies on Jan 20th -> Tune in here The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Quantum computing use cases are getting real—what you need to know

McKinsey Digital | Matteo Biondi, Anna Heid, Nicolaus Henke, Niko Mohr, Lorenzo Pautasso, Ivan Ostojic, Linde Wester, and Rodney Zemmel | Dec 14, 2021

harvard physicists - Quantum computing use cases are getting real—what you need to know

A burgeoning quantum-computing ecosystem and emerging business use cases promise to create significant value for industries—if executives prepare now.

Accelerating advances in quantum computing are serving as powerful reminders that the technology is rapidly advancing toward commercial viability. In just the past few months, for example, a research center in Japan announced a breakthrough in entangling qubits (the basic unit of information in quantum, akin to bits in conventional computers) that could improve error correction in quantum systems and potentially make large-scale quantum computers possible. And one company in Australia has developed software that has shown in experiments to improve the performance of any quantum-computing hardware.

As breakthroughs accelerate, investment dollars are pouring in, and quantum-computing start-ups are proliferating. Major technology companies continue to develop their quantum capabilities as well: companies such as Alibaba, Amazon, IBM, Google, and Microsoft have already launched commercial quantum-computing cloud services.

Of course, all this activity does not necessarily translate into commercial results. While quantum computing promises to help businesses solve problems that are beyond the reach and speed of conventional high-performance computers, use cases are largely experimental and hypothetical at this early stage. Indeed, experts are still debating the most foundational topics for the field (for more on these open questions, see sidebar, “Debates in quantum computing”).

See:  Documentary (30mins): Quantum technologies role in our sustainable future

Still, the activity suggests that chief information officers and other leaders who have been keeping an eye out for quantum-computing news can no longer be mere bystanders.

Quantum computing startup activity and investments growing - Quantum computing use cases are getting real—what you need to know

A Growing Ecosystem

  • China and European union lead significantly for public funding on quantum computing
  • Startup activity and investments have sky rocketed since 2015
  • Hardware is a significant bottleneck in the ecosystem - Multiple quantum-computing hardware platforms are under development.
  • Most known use cases fit into four archetypes: quantum simulation, quantum linear algebra for AI and machine learning, quantum optimization and search, and quantum factorization.  Industry use cases in pharmaceuticals, chemicals, automotive and finance.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Quantum computing use cases are getting real—what you need to know The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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