Meet Our Speakers
Nick Spanos

Nick Spanos

BlockTech and Zap

Founder Chief Executive OfficerBlockTech and Zap

He is one of the earliest adopters and innovators in the blockchain space. He is best known for launching Bitcoin Center NYC, the world’s first live cryptocurrency exchange, in 2013, right next to the New York Stock Exchange - as immortalized in the Netflix documentary “Banking on Bitcoin”.

As the cofounder of and the CEO of BlockTech, Nick has also pioneered applications of blockchain technology in the fields of voting, smart contracts, and the oil and gas sector.

Nick is deeply passionate about education and permissionless blockchain innovation and has lectured in over twenty countries, including Armenia, Belarus, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.

He studied computer science and aerospace engineering at the New York Institute of Technology.

Nour Hineidi Kirk

Nour Hineidi Kirk

DIFC Courts

Deputy RegistrarDIFC Courts

Nour was appointed as Deputy Registrar of the DIFC Courts in February 2018.

Nour’s main role is to work in tandem with the Registrar, helping to ensure seamless operation of the Courts. Her duties include maintaining the momentum of existing Registry measures, which aim at ensuring increasing efficiency through the accomplishment of technology and human experience. She also focusses on professional development and supporting UAE nationals to pursue senior careers within the DIFC Courts. In addition, Nour consults with the DIFC Courts judges to assist them in carrying out their duties.

Prior to joining the Courts, Nour practiced in the Dubai office of a large international firm. She has over ten years legal experience in Australia and the Middle East, with her expertise concentrated in international commercial arbitration and litigation across a broad range of sectors.

Mohsen Alzahrani

Mohsen Alzahrani

Saudi Payments (Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority)

Vice President of Strategy and Excellence Saudi Payments (Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority)

Mohsen is passionate about innovation and digitalization.

He leads all current SAMA blockchain initiatives.

Mr. Alzahrani holds a master degree in computer engineering; he is MIT Fintech certified

He also recently won the 'Visionary' award from Ripple's first ever 'Blockchain Innovator Awards'.

Bart Brands

Bart Brands

European Blockchain Foundation

PresidentEuropean Blockchain Foundation

Bart Brands (1982) is a Security expert and Certified Security Intelligence Professional.

He developed an award nominated anti-terror method and worked at the Ministry of Justice in Holland. in 2010

He got elected as a member of the City Council of The Hague and in 2011 as a member of the Provincial Parliament of South Holland.

 In 2013 Bart became interested in Bitcoin and Blockchain technology and started giving workshops about the technology in early 2017.

In april of 2018 Bart, along with others Founded the European Blockchain Foundation with  the mission of promoting and creating a Blockchain friendly regulatory ecosystem in Europe.

Dr. Hesham Bin-Abbas

Dr. Hesham Bin-Abbas

Ministry of Communications and Information technology (MCIT)

Senior ConsultantMinistry of Communications and Information technology (MCIT)

Dr. Hesham Bin-Abbas is a Senior Consultant at Ministry of Communications and Information technology (MCIT) and the Blockchain Leader in Saudi Arabia.

Before joining MCIT, he was a Director at EY (Ernst & Young) MENA in the Technology Consulting GPS Advisory Services. His experience covers both private and public sectors as he managed multiple businesses and initiatives including Internet Service, Technology Innovations and Marketing, entrepreneurship, and Advisory Services relevant to vision 2030 of KSA.

Bin-Abbas holds a Ph.D. Degree in Computer Networks and M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Pittsburgh and University of Washington, Seattle, respectively. He graduated from King Saud University, the department of Electrical Engineering with First Class Honor.

LLanjin (Ken ) Huang

LLanjin (Ken ) Huang

Nuclear Chain Foundation

Founder & Chief Executive OfficerNuclear Chain Foundation

Mr. Huang in addition to being the CEO of 3 blockchain companies, is also the conference Commit Member of ACM AI Decentralized Practitioner Board , blockchain Expert Committee Member of Chinese Institute of Electronics  and a distinguished Researcher & Lecturer of  Big Data Blockchain and Regulatory Technology Laboratory and RegChain Laboratory of Renmin University of China.

He is author of the book Blockchain Security Technical Guide”  in Chinese and a senior advisor to several successful blockchain startups.

He is a frequent speaker at many global Blockchain conferences, including CoinDesk Consensus, Blockchain Connect, Tokensky, World Crypto Economic Forum, and Bigdata Expo in China.

Dr. Marwan Alzarouni

Dr. Marwan Alzarouni

Dubai Blockchain Center

Founder &Chief Executive OfficerDubai Blockchain Center

Dr. AlZarouni is not only the CEO of Dubai Blockchain center but also the Director of Information Services at Dubai Electronic Security Center.  He founded the region's first innovation hub for blockchain technology. The center was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai on the 15th of May 2018 and is encompassed within Area 2071 in Emirates Towers. 

The center aims to bring together blockchain thought leaders, developers, investors, and educators. It is a place to engage with the blockchain community. The center therefore continuously hosts blockchain related courses, events, meet-ups, and hackathons.

Before establishing the blockchain center, Marwan was an early crypto investor that started Bitcoin mining in early 2013. He also created Dubai’s first crypto payment processing and blockchain software development company in January 2014. In February 2018 he launched OTC Supply DMCC, the region’s first fully licensed over-the-counter crypto commodity trading entity. His latest venture is Co-Founding Quanterium, a technology solutions provider focusing on providing social impact solutions for organ and blood donation based on technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, IoT and genomics.

Osman Sultan

Osman Sultan

DU Telecom

CEODU Telecom

As the founding CEO of Emirates  Integrated Telecommunications Company  (du) since 2005  in the UAE, and the founding CEO of Egyptian Company  for Mobile Services (Mobinil) in Egypt from 1998 to 2005, Osman Sultan set during the course of his career several strategies translating the profound transformations that  the telecom and information sectors have been creating in our lives.

As an influential figure and a mentor in the telecommunications sector, he is proud to  have groomed close to  20 talented individuals who  became CEOs of various operations across all continents.

Osman  Sultan is a visionary leader and a notable  public speaker  in the field. His distinguished achievements ranked him as one of the most  powerful executives in the telecoms industry in the world  twice on “GTBPower100 List” in both 2010 and 2011.

Osman Sultan brings 35 years of leadership, rich with achievements in the telecom business. His vast knowledge and expertise in the field as early as the pre-internet period,  placed him as one of the pioneers  in France, Europe, the USA, Japan and the entire MENA region.

Ali Hashmi

Ali Hashmi

Deloitte Consulting

Director TechnologyDeloitte Consulting

Ali is Director Technology in Deloitte’s Consulting/Technology domain; he leads the artificial intelligence (AI) and advance analytics practice for the Middle East.

His expertise includes AI machine learning, big data, business intelligence, natural language processing (NLP) and corpus linguistics.

As a MIT alum, he has held research affiliate appointments with MIT Media Lab and Harvard Law School ILSP's SHARIAsource project.

 In the past, he has worked as a software architect and development manager for Bell Canada for more than a decade, leading high-performance business intelligence and data integration teams in Toronto, Montreal, London (Ontario) and Bangalore.

He has been involved in start-ups in the education and marketing sector. He has also advised and consulted for international non-profit organizations.

He holds  a  MS, MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States,  MS, Medill, Northwestern University, Chicago, United States and a BS, University of Western Ontario, Canada

Dr. Khalid Tahhan

Dr. Khalid Tahhan

Blockchain Solutions & Services

Chief Executive OfficerBlockchain Solutions & Services

Dr. Tahhan has a keen interest in Technology throughout his life. He has operated projects related to internet technology through his family company (Kalo Holdings) in the past and developed a keen interest in blockchain technology since 2013.

Dr. Khalid is currently the CEO of Blockchain Solutions & Services, a government company aiming to lay down the needed infrastructure to enable innovation and adoption of blockchain application models within the Sultanate of Oman.

He is a graduate of The Royal Collage of Surgeon in Ireland and the Oman Medical Speciality Board and practices as a Radiology Specialist. Furthermore, he has a Masters of Science in Education and Simulation, incorporating leadership and change management.

Jihad Tayara

Jihad Tayara

du Telecom

Vice President ICT Business Developmentdu Telecom

Mr. Tayara focuses on new collaborations and initiatives in the ICT & Smart Services space and managing relationships with Du’s strategic partners. He previously led the engagement and commercial negotiation of the Smart Dubai Platform win and the launch of the first smart city WiFi UAE initiative. He is also leading ICT and IOT sales in Government and Large enterprises.

Mr. Tayara joined Du in 2006. Prior to this, he worked for Motorola networks in Dubai, Orascom in Cairo and Investcom in Beirut.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Telecommunications Engineering from the American University of Beirut and a Master’s Degree of Business Administration from the University of Cambridge.

Mr. Tayara is an accomplished Triathlete who participated in many races including The Ironman 2015 Championship held in Texas, USA.

Paul Ferris

Paul Ferris

ObjectTech Group

Chief Executive OfficerObjectTech Group

Listed as one of the Global Top 100 Influencer in Identity, Paul regularly provides government briefings on the impact of new technologies, and is a speaker on identity, blockchain and advancing new technologies.

Paul is now the global lead for the development and standards of Digital identity and Blockchain for ISO. He is a founding board member of the UKDCA, a board representative on the IBC and represents the UK on the Global Blockchain Forum and is also a founder of the UK Digital Currency Association.

With 30 years’ experience of creating the technical architecture for next generation banking services in UK, Europe, Australia and the US, Paul has co-founded the ObjectTech Group who are building a digital, self-sovereign identity system to address the challenges and opportunities of the worlds current identity systems.

Paul has been instrumental in innovating seamless travel experiences, building for digital passports using blockchain and cryptography to provide security and accuracy, for both civilians and border controls.

Jose Francisco Fernandez

Jose Francisco Fernandez


Director IoT& Blockchain SolutionsDU

Jose has a strong background in management consulting and in the telecommunications sector with more than 15 year of experience where he has held a number of different positions with focus on business transformation, new strategy execution, and the implementation of new technologies.

He has an Economics and International Studies degree from Hastings College in the USA and an MBA from IEDE Business School in Spain.

 Jose has broad functional and geographic experience with a multicultural mindset, and specific expertise in business transformation.

He has lead du’s efforts on the regional adoption of IoT & Blockchain Technology and is responsible for the implementation of different POCs and some of the most relevant Blockchain Projects in the UAE.

Ali Sajwani

Ali Sajwani


Founder & Chief Executive OfficerGrapeTech

Eng Ali Hussein Sajwani is a leading Emirati figure that is passionate about innovation. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Washington USA.

He has more than 20 years’ experience in the ICT field and has held several positions in the banking and oil and gas sector.  He was the IT Manager for Emirates National Bank. During his tenure, he played a prominent role especially with the integration of Emirates National Bank with Dubai Bank and led the technical team of Emirates Islamic Bank during its acquisition of Dubai Bank in 2012. He also developed the Future Lab for innovation at Emirates National Bank to further develop the digitization strategy for the bank.

In 2018 Sajwani founded Grape Technology which is specialized in banking solutions, and Artificial Intelligence. Sajwani looks forward to achieving the vision of the UAE leadership in their digitization strategy and paperless government by using the latest technologies and solutions for both public and private sector.

Dr. Ramadan AlBlooshi

Dr. Ramadan AlBlooshi

Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulation (DHCR)

Chief Executive OfficerDubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulation (DHCR)

Dr Ramadan AlBlooshi is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulation (DHCR), an independent regulatory arm of Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA), the governing body of Dubai Healthcare City free zone, a health and wellness destination.

DHCR is responsible for the licensure of all healthcare professionals and healthcare operators and setting and maintaining international best practice in healthcare delivery and patient care within the world’s largest free zone, occupying more than 26 million square feet in the heart of Dubai.

Prior to joining in October 2014, Dr Ramadan was the Director of the Health Regulation Department at Dubai Health Authority (DHA). Committed to raising the standards of healthcare delivery, he played an instrumental role in establishing clinical governance in the emirate. He was also tasked with leading medical tourism strategy and setting up policies in healthcare practice in both government and private sectors.

His journey into governance was preceded by clinical roles - three years as internist with the UAE Ministry of Health (MOH) and two years as a gastroenterologist at Rashid Hospital.

In his career, he has demonstrated expertise in areas including registration and regulation of facilities and professionals; inspection of healthcare facilities; customer care; polices and standards; complaints management; health informatics; and medical tourism.

Dr Ramadan holds a Masters’ degree in business administration (MBA) from the Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, and in Science (gastroenterology) from the Queen Mary University, London, UK. In addition, he holds an Executive Diploma in Public Administration from the National University of Singapore.

He is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). He is also a participant of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Programme for Leadership Development (MBRPLD), an innovative leadership programme designed to develop future national leaders capable of promoting the sustainable development of Dubai.

Outside work, Dr Ramadan enjoys traveling and water sports.

Toufi Saliba

Toufi Saliba

Toda.Network CEO, UN Chair Blockchain & AI Global Initiative

Toda.Network CEO
UN Chair Blockchain & AI Global Initiative

Toufi is a serial technopreneur with a track record in algorithms, machine learning and cryptography since 2001. In parallel to his crypto life, he has built & sold IP that ended up at Google, HP and his last AI startup became an Intel company. Co-Author of the TODA Protocol, Was the elected Global Chair of ACM's Practitioners Board CC where he founded in 2017, an invited speaker at WIC, UN, ITU, AiForGood, and a board member & advisor to several tech ventures, organizations such as FSR and F500 companies.

Dr. Yannis Kalfoglou

Dr. Yannis Kalfoglou

Blockchain Advisor

Blockchain Advisor

Dr. Kalfoglou is a blockchain advisor to large FG500 multinationals in a multitude of industries, including financial services, technology, consulting, consumer electronics, energy, and insurance. He focuses on blockchain strategic and tactical advice to clients. He brings onboard 5 years of hands-on experience with commercial scale blockchain work and experiences from diverse industries and use cases.

He led the blockchain efforts at a large global asset manager in the capital markets. He pioneered proof-of-concept blockchain work in the smart contracting space for management fees, worked with post-trading reconciliation and settlement solutions using blockchain technology and evangelized use cases of blockchain across all functions in institutional asset management.

He has also been involved and advised blockchain startups in the insurance space in the banking sector for fiat-to-crypto vertical integration for retail markets, in the data marketplace space for the use of AI technology to determine optimum demand/supply pricing and a number of ad-hoc engagements for innovative use cases of blockchain in intellectual property, smart cities, consumer loyalties, and many others.

Dr Kalfoglou holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the leading centre of excellence for AI research, University of Edinburgh, and 7 years post doc research on the Semantic Web.

Saeed Hareb Al Darmaki

Saeed Hareb Al Darmaki

Binary Financial and Co-Founder of Alphabit Fund

Managing DirectorBinary Financial and Co-Founder of Alphabit Fund

Al Darmaki has great insight into the crypto currency space that enables him to develop a key network of contacts which has helped him grow his knowledge of the market exponentially.

Saeed started his career at ADIA in October 2009 as an Operations specialist then from May 2013 became a Fixed Income & Treasury specialist.

In June 2018 he decided to leave ADIA to focus on the crypto currency industry.

Abdullah Almoaiqel

Abdullah Almoaiqel


Co-Founder and PartnerRain

Abdullah is a co-founder and partner at Rain Financial ( - a central bank regulated digital currency exchange based in Manama, Bahrain. Previously Abdullah co-founded, a blockchain identity company in the Netherlands helping NGOs and government institutions register identity beneficiaries such as refugees. Abdullah has been one of the largest evangelists and educators on the potential impact of blockchain technology and digital currency in Saudi Arabia, hosting talks, workshops and meetups since 2014.

Abdulrahman Ali Alolayan

Abdulrahman Ali Alolayan

Taibah Valley

Chief Executive Officer and Co-FounderTaibah Valley

Abdulrahman Alolayan currently holds the position of CEO and Co-founder of Taibah Valley, the investment arm of Taibah University. Taibah University recently opened up the Blockchain lab and has currently held various training sessions on blockchain.

Al Olayan is also an assistant professor at Taibah University School of Business. In addition, he is the founder and CEO of Arabian Organization for training and development.

Abdulrahman A. Alolayan holds a Ph.D degree in Business Administration from Morgan State University and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management. He has a number of articles that he presented at conferences such as USASBE, EAM, and ICSB. He also taught Entrepreneurship, Principle of Management and Strategic Management courses at Taibah University and Morgan State University.

Hamdan Azhar

Hamdan Azhar

Chief Data

In addition to the position of chief data scientist at, Mr. Azhar is alsothe founder of PRISMOJI.

He was formerly a senior data scientist in advertising research at Facebook. Prior to that, he was the national statistician on Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Hamdan is a frequent writer on the intersection of technology and culture and his writings have appeared in Forbes, VICE, The Washington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor, among other outlets. He is also a prolific public speaker and has delivered invited lectures in 14 countries around the world.

Hamdan holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Penn State, a master’s degree in biostatistics from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and spent one year in the Ph.D. program in neuroscience at the University of Chicago.

Arjeh van Oijen

Arjeh van Oijen


Arjeh founded Unchain  a blockchain company that offers a solution that simplifies, accelerates, secures and lowers the costs of integrating existing systems and devices with blockchain networks.

Arjeh has 30+ years of experience in helping organizations to translate business strategy and concepts into IT strategy and solutions.

He has worked for banks, start-ups as well as large multi-national corporates.

Before Arjeh started Unchain, he worked at IBM where he was one of the front-runners in IBM’s blockchain initiatives. Arjeh is a regular speaker on the topic of blockchain at conferences.

Ibrahim Alkurd

Ibrahim Alkurd

Lavaliere Capital Management

Founder & PresidentLavaliere Capital Management

He is the founding partner of Lavaliere Capital Management, a digital assets hedge fund headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, USA. The fund contains early investors and adopters of digital asset technology as well as world-class mining and machine learning experts. It leverages its principals' deep market knowledge and technical expertise for the benefit of its clients.

He is also the founder and CEO of New Mine New Mine, the UK's leading cryptocurrency mining company. New Mine has sold its mining hardware to customers across 3 continents and has extensive mining operations across the United States and Canada.

Bruce Jeong

Bruce Jeong

FundShing Investment

Deputy Chief Executive OfficerFundShing Investment

Bruce is the deputy CEO for FundShing a private equity fund based in Swtizerland. He is also the Korean representative of IDACB International Decentralized Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (hereinafter - IDACB) is a decentralized autonomous organization which has headquarters worldwide including Dubai.

He also advises on the crypto Accelerator Fund and he is chief board Advisors and partner in EUCC

He also sits as a board member in the Asia Blockchain Industry Association and is partner in BD Lawfirm.

Narayanan Ganapathy

Narayanan Ganapathy

Angivest Ventures

Chief Executive OfficerAngivest Ventures

Ganapathy runs an early stage investment firm based in Bahrain

It provides pre-seed and seed stage capital to technology startups globally.

Over a career spanning twenty years, Narayanan has evolved as an investment management specialist, having held senior management positions with prominent institutions such as Deutsche Bank in London, GFH Financial Group, KPMG Corporate Finance and International Investment Bank in Bahrain across a range of sectors.

 He is an advisor to FinTech Connector, which is the first exclusive online membership community that connects local fintech entrepreneurs and start-ups (Innovators) with global professionals, thought leaders, and investors (Enablers) for the purpose of innovating financial services with cutting edge technology that will benefit people around the world.

He is a CFA Charterholder, a Master in Finance from London Business School, an alumnus of MIT’s Fintech: Future Commerce and has completed the Oxford Blockchain Strategy Program at Said Business School, University of Oxford and the Digital Business Leadership Program at Columbia Business School.

Mohamed El Kandri

Mohamed El Kandri

Smart Transformation Saudi

Co FounderSmart Transformation Saudi

Mohamed is passionate about blockchain and committed to help grow the ecosystem. With over 11 years’ experience in finance, product design, big data analytics he has always had a passion for innovation.

He is co-founder of the project "Smart Transformation Saudi" at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Mining with a direct connection to the "Dhahran Techno Valley. The project aims to use new technologies like Blockchain, to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030.

He also occupies various executive positions, including CEO of "FA Enterprise System" a company developing decentralized Blockchain solutions such as the "Fast Access Blockchain" the decentralized exchange platform "Exchangily" and the platform "Artcryption"

He leads the strategic initiatives at The BlockchainHub and also led the C-Lab incubation program, the first peer-to-peer community based incubation program for Blockchain startups. ". He is the program manager of the Certification IoT course at The BlockchainHub – York University.

Finally he is a "Durland Innovation Award" recipient for a Blockchain use case; the use case was described as "A cutting edge security technology to protect artists from forgeries and theft.”

He holds a Bachelor degree in Banking and Insurance and two Masters Degrees, the first in Business Administration and Engineering Logistics, the second in Technology, Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

He is a Certified Ethereum developer and IBM Blockchain Certified.

Sergey Vostrikov

Sergey Vostrikov

Memorandum Capital

Managing PartnerMemorandum Capital

He is based in Seoul and serves a broad range of blockchain companies with his work in fundraising and Investor Relations strategy.

He co-founded Memorandum Capital in 2017 as a response to the challenge of emerging cryptoeconomy.

Since 2015 Sergey Vostrikov engaged in attracting investment for high-tech companies in fintech industry. The volume of transactions with his participation exceeds $ 20 million. He has also been a team member of bankex the most successful Russian fintech blockchain project.

Prior to this, Sergey began his professional career in 2007 in management consulting in the Big 3 companies. Then he gained experience in international marketing in multinational corporations (Philips, Adecco).

Marian Hires

Marian Hires

Equidato Technologies

Vice President
Strategic Accounts & Partnerships
Equidato Technologies

Waqas Mirza

Waqas Mirza

Avanza Innovations

Chief Executive OfficerAvanza Innovations

Waqas Mirza is the CEO of Avanza Innovations. Part of Avanza Group of Companies which has almost two decades of experience in delivering solutions to over 300 customers across 45+ countries.

As the CEO of Avanza Innovations, Waqas has been passionately building the company as a technology powerhouse that has an impressive portfolio of services and on-ground implementations across areas like: Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation, Smart City Enablement and Customer Engagement.

Waqas Mirza has also been serving on the board of directors for Avanza since November 2011 and is also a member of Avanza’s Global Leadership and Innovation Committees.

Waqas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Sciences from FAST-NU and Master’s in Business Administration from London Business School.

Zachary Cefaratti

Zachary Cefaratti

Dalma Capital Management

Chief Executive Officer FounderDalma Capital Management

Zachary has over 12 years professional experience in financial services industry, having initially workedhis way through his studies in Franklin University Switzerland, Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, London School of Economics and University of Pennsylvania while operating independent mortgage brokerage, merchant and insurance businesses.

He holds a dual bachelor’s degree in International Finance and Banking and International Business Management.

He began his search for alpha at age 7, when he began trading bonds and equities in an effort to grow assets he earned as a childhood film and television SAF/AFTRA actor. Throughout his career and education, he has been an active member of the investment community – he founded the Franklin University Investment Club

He  spearheaded the formation of the AIMA Middle East Executive Committee, representing the Alternative Investment Management Association in the MENASA Region.

He was the principal organizer of the AIMA Middle East Hedge Fund Investors Summit and went on to found AIM Summit, the largest gathering of Hedge Funds, Private Equity, Venture Capital and PrivateDebt professionals in the Middle East.

Gonçalo Fernandes

Gonçalo Fernandes

Etisalat Digital

Senior Director/Emerging Technology & Design Etisalat Digital

Gonçalo Fernandes is the Senior Director leading Emerging Technology & Design at Etisalat Digital, a business unit of Etisalat helping to drive digital transformation by enabling enterprises and governments become smarter through the use of the latest technologies.

He has over fifteen years of global ICT experience, with extensive expertise in helping customers to deliver value by using emerging technologies and digital services innovation underpinned by strong marketing, commercial and business management capabilities.

Before joining Etisalat, Gonçalo was the Head of IoT and M2M at Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC (du) leading the strategy definition and execution for du’s IoT and M2M portfolio, partnerships and platforms for the enterprise segment. Prior to joining the region in 2014, Gonçalo was responsible for Cloud, Vertical Services and Alliances in Portugal Telecom.

Gonçalo is also currently a member of the European Blockchain Council a vehicle to prepare and launch EU-wide blockchain applications for both public and private sectors.

He holds a Business degree from the Universidade Católica of Lisbon and completed several executive programs at INSEAD business school.

Afzal Ibrahim

Afzal Ibrahim

Emirates NBD

Vice President of Research & Development
Head of Future Lab
Emirates NBD

Afzal is a financial technologist with over 15 years of experience in creating synergies between business and technology. Building the future state of financial services, undertaking measured R&D approach to experimenting with new emerging technologies such as Blockchain, Open Banking, ML, Quantum computing etc.

In addition, he spearheads a series of ambitious and revenue-generating initiatives, by partnering with government, academia, fintechs, entrepreneurs and technology partners from around the world

He is a graduate Heriot Watt University with a degree in Information technology and also holds TOGAF open group certification.

Dina Fares

Dina Fares

Ajman Digital Government

Director of Digital ServicesAjman Digital Government

Dina has been highly instrumental in leading the digital transformation efforts within the Emirate of Ajman and has helped to achieve the challenging and ambitious goals set out through the Digital transformation strategy.

Dina graduated with highest honor from University of Sharjah majoring in Management Information System. She also holds a certified Knowledge Manager & Certified PMP from PMI Institute, USA

She is currently enrolled in the first of kind Artificial Intelligence program from Oxford University, UK

Muhammad Salman Anjum

Muhammad Salman Anjum

Feelogical Solutions & BlockPreneurs

Chief Executive Officer Feelogical Solutions & BlockPreneurs

Being a Technology Futurist, Salman is early Blockchain adopter and key influencer in the space.  He is empowering the next wave of Blockchain innovators through evangelizing, and training. He’s a results-driven professional with over 17 years in corporate & entrepreneurial roles aligning People, Performance and Profit.

Salman has been featured as success story in “Soul Beats @ UAE” the book published by Dubai Government. As a bridge between businesses and Blockchain,  Salman is training & consulting government entities and Fortune 500 enterprises on strategic Blockchain adaption.

He’s Blockchain & FinTech specialist in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Faculty.

In 2018 alone, he has presented keynotes and moderated in around 50 International events in 20 plus countries including TED Talk.

Anurag Yadav

Anurag Yadav


Co-Founder & CEOPrimaFelicitas

Anurag Yadav is an Entrepreneur, Blockchain Consultant, and a regular speaker at Blockchain Conferences.

He has over 16 years of experience and has led Global Organizations, and lived and worked in several countries.

Currently, he is the Co-Founder & CEO of PrimaFelicitas LLC, a leading Blockchain Consultancy and Blockchain Technology Solution Provider, based in San Francisco, London, and New Delhi.

PrimaFelicitas is focussed on developing innovative Blockchain products for Governments, Enterprises, and Consumers in the FinTech, Energy, Securities, Digital Commerce, Real Estate, Payment Settlement, and Gaming sectors. Anurag is an Engineering Graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and holds a Master’s in Business from the Stanford University.

Fadwa Mohanna

Fadwa Mohanna


Chief Executive Officermicity

Entrepreneur Fadwa Mohanna is the co-founder of micity, which addresses the citizens’ concerns in their routine interactions with government entities or large corporations and makes them cost-efficient, seamless, highly secure and enjoyable by harnessing the powers of the latest technologies including biometrics, IoT, AI and Blockchain.

micity is the creator of “micity Concierge” and “micity Ki”, the building blocks of a Citizen Access Platform, a highly secure identity management and authentication gateway, which enables convenient, smart, secure and cost-efficient interactions between citizens and government entities or large corporations resulting in happier citizen experience.

Fadwa was a key player in launching large telecom operations in various countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates and has an extensive experience in building large networks using the latest technologies.

She is highly active in the Women’s Entrepreneurs Community where the topics of AI, Data Analytics, Chatbots and Blockchain are high on the agenda.

David Drake

David Drake

LDJ Capital

Founder& ChairmanLDJ Capital

David Drake is Founder and Chairman at LDJ Capital, a multi-family office which deals in worldwide funds accessing over trillions in assets and maintains over 50+ global directors and family office partners.  LDJ Capital has holdings in Victoria Partners, a 500 family office network based in London; LDJ Real Estate Group; and The Soho Loft Media Group.

David Drake is also seen as a leader in blockchain and cryptocurrency.  He saw the value of digital assets when everyone was avoiding it. He runs a $200M LDJ Cayman Fund focused on cryptocurrency, mining, and ICO acquisitions. LDJ Capital Credit also offers middle market bridge financing to seed upcoming ICO’s.

Drake has been involved in TMT (technology, media, telecoms), realty, hospitality, cleantech, energy, and social impact investments for more than 20 years. 

He is the co-author of the books Planet Entrepreneur and is the author of the upcoming books The Crowdfunding Economy and LIFEE: Life Instructions for Entrepreneurs and Executives.

Born in Sweden and fluent in six languages, David Drake has an MBA in Finance and an MA in International Law and Economics from George Washington University, where he was awarded the Wallenberg Scholarship for academic merit.

Manmeet Singh

Manmeet Singh


Chief Investment OfficerEmurgo

Manmeet is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Investment Officer for Emurgo. He spearheads its global strategy and investment portfolio.

Emurgo drives the adoption of Cardano and adds value to ADA holders.

He also runs Blockseed Ventures, a private blockchain focused investment firm.

Collectively he manages over $1 billion in blockchain assets.

Kokila Alagh

Kokila Alagh

KARM Legal

Founding PartnerKARM Legal

Kokila has more than 14 years of experience as a corporate, commercial and real estate lawyer in UAE.  Kokila is an ardent Fintech/Technology Lawyer and she established KARM Legal as a boutique firm specializing in Technology and Artificial Intelligence along with conventional commercial and corporate law practice. KARM Legal is a firm catering to the niche area of practice for start-up or tech companies or multinationals embracing technology and progressing ahead.

Under Kokila’s stewardship, Karm Legal’s work encompasses advising clients on the correct jurisdiction to carry out their proposed activities; assisting clients with funding rounds and the implementation of blockchain technology; providing full legal support for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs); and setting up of cryptocurrency exchanges.

In terms of education she holds a degree from Oxford University on Blockchain Strategy,   L.L.M. in Digital Economy Law, Monash University – Australia and •  L.L.B. with honors from Symbiosis Society’s Law College, University of Pune – India.

Ryan Merheby

Ryan Merheby

Dhonor Healthtech

Co-founderDhonor Healthtech

Ryan is a 15-year-old student and a social entrepreneur and uses his skillet to create solutions that positively impact society.

He co-founded Dhonor Healthtech, the platform that hosts the verification of Organ donations, Blood-transfusions, Pharmaceuticals, and several other sectors of the healthcare industry by implementing the bleeding edge technology in AI and Blockchain to ensure secure and efficient patient safety.

Ryan is an avid Artificial Intelligence developer, has completed AI courses at MIT and participated in regional AI Hackathons.

Nadim Takchi

Nadim Takchi

Cambridge Blockchain

Director of Business DevelopmentCambridge Blockchain

Nadim is currently the Director for Business development at Cambridge Blockchain which makes digital identity enterprise software. Cambridge Blockchain simplifies the storing, sharing and validation of personal data, using the highest levels of privacy and security. 

The platform allows financial institutions to meet the strictest new data privacy rules, eliminate redundant identity compliance checks and improve the customer experience.

Nadim is an entrepreneur with a background in finance and business. He has also managed a Blockchain consulting and training company for financial institutions in France.

Prior to that, he co-founded and developed a crowd lending company for SMEs in France.

He graduated from the Grande Ecole program at HEC Paris and Babson College in Boston.

Vickneswaran Gowribalan

Vickneswaran Gowribalan

GRIP Investments

Co-Founder & CEOGRIP Investments

Gowribalan better known as Gowri is the Co-founder and CEO of GRIP Investments, an investment company focused on enabling investors from across the globe to invest into a multi-asset portfolio (consisting of 6 unique asset classes) focused on the GCC region and accessible through a digital security.

Gowri is an institutional Investment Manager with an established track-record across the GCC region spanning listed equities, sukuks, debt securities and managing direct investments across the financial services and industrial sectors.

His expertise spanning 15 years within investment management, includes establishing and leading the Asset Management Division of Ahli Bank, managing assets of Oman National Investment Corporation (ONIC), and others.

Gowri is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants – U.K. (FCMA), Member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment – U.K. (MCSI), Certified Practising Accountant (CPA Aust.), Chartered Global Management Accountant – U.S.A. (CGMA), International Certificate in Wealth & Investment Management (ICWIM - CISI), Certified Blockchain Expert (Blockchain Council) and holds a First-Class Honours Degree in Applied Accounting (BSc. Hons.) from the University of Oxford Brookes.

Mohamed Roushdy

Mohamed Roushdy

Head of Technology- Dubai Asset Management, Founder of FinTech Bazaar

Head of Technology- Dubai Asset Management
Founder of FinTech Bazaar

Mr. Roushdy has more than 25 years of experience in technology of which 12 years as CIO and COO for financial services industry. He had the honor to establish four Islamic Finance Startups in MENA as well as lead the first transformation from conventional to Islamic banking in 2001.

He has also held positions in management consulting firms like PWC and as an Advisor with Booz and Co in establishing major financial services startup in North Africa.

In recent years Mohamed has been focusing on technology disruptions in financial services such as Blockchain, Big Data, Machine learning /artificial intelligence and IOT.

Mohamed holds an MBA from Manchester Business School (MBS) and received the award of Distinguished Ambassador of Manchester Business School - Middle East.

 Mohamed has been rated amongst the top 50 CIOs in the Middle East 2012 by CNME

Manav Krishan

Manav Krishan


IT TechnologistHuawei

Manav is a well versed technology blockchain advocate.

Manav is a seasoned IT technologist with his experience in designing solutions for Telecoms, Governments, Healthcare, Education and Financial Institutions.

Driven by his passion for technology, Manav works as a Solution Architect for Huawei and excels in Blockchain, Cloud and Big Data solutions.

Clara Florey

Clara Florey



With over 20 years’ experience in PR, digital marketing & social networking, Clara is a London-based PR, marketing, social media and digital professional. She is the co-founder of DISPRUPTIVE, a full service international PR and marketing agency that specializes in working with ICO/STOs and clients embracing Blockchain, AI and IoT technologies.

Prior to founding  DISPRUPTIVE, Clara was the founder and CEO of,  which she grew and then sold as one of the UK’s top 50 PR agencies (PR  Week).

Clara has specialized in working with DISPRUPTIVE start-ups for the past decade. She has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands, across deliberately diverse sectors. She is an expert in managing the communications programs for ICO/STOs and for brands using technology to make ‘things better’ – whether that technology is AI, IoT, or Blockchain.

Clara has won 12 awards for her contribution to the PR industry, and over 30 awards for the campaigns she has implemented for clients.

Clara is a member of the Malta Blockchain Association and the Said Business School (Oxford University, UK) Blockchain Society.

Paul Scott

Paul Scott


Head of StrategyDisPRuptive

Paul believes that “decentralization and digitization of all things will have a greater impact than the internet ever could have imagined and the beneficiaries will be a global population with freedom of movement, skills-development and resource accumulation.”

He is the head of strategy for DisPRuptive, an ICO/STO PR and strategy advisory company, and also leads a global blockchain and STO / ICO development advisory He has deep-level expertise in FinTech, GreenTech, InsurTech and Big Data ecosystems, including utilization of leading-edge technologies that underpin the ecosystem’s development. His focus for the last 2-years has become the inherent benefits in Blockchain technology and the nascent opportunities this presents for a decentralized global economy to the benefit of all, equally.

Prior to his current endeavors, his passion for the environment saw Paul developing a GreenTech consultancy business, with a view to matching projects and technology in the eco- system to drive beneficial results in low-impact energy generation. Technology was the underpin, and the related benefits the driver.

He has more than 18-year experience in financial services

Christoph Harks

Christoph Harks


Co-FounderENERGY one

Christoph is the co-founder of ENERGY one, an energy company applying a cost-cutting, game-changing blockchain technology and other modern technologies to disrupt the energy market and enable its digital transformation, and to facilitate the responsible, efficient production and consumption of energy.

Christoph has nearly two decades of diverse industrial and leadership experience.

He has lived out and fostered his entrepreneurial spirit, and has an unblemished track record in identifying or creating business opportunities.

Having headed various capital measures and listed successfully one of his companies at the Frankfurt stock exchange, Christoph has proven his unique expertise at creating shareholder value

Lara AbdulMalak

Lara AbdulMalak



Bashar Lazaar

Bashar Lazaar


Director of Operations - Middle East & North AfricaConsenSys

Bashar focused his early career on energy projects across the MENA region just after graduating from Babson College with BS degree.

Combining his knowledge in finance and renewable energies Bashar worked to deliver financial engineering for utility scale PV & Wind power plant development in the MENA region.

While employed at SunEdison, Bashar took a keen interest in Ethereum Blockchain's potential implementation within the energy sector, and made a shift to ConsenSys, where he contributed to launching its MENA operation and establishing the Dubai office.

 As part of his day to day responsibilities, Bashar has been actively engaging in ConsenSys' strategic advisory role for the City of Dubai. Bashar currently serves as Meridio’s EU lead. 

John McGuire

John McGuire


Chief Platform OfficerFinocracy

John is a well versed and highly experienced expert in digital innovation. He currently holds the position of Chief Platform Officer for Finocracy/Aion Digital providing a digital platform for lifestyle banking. Previously he was the Vice President of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships for Visa and Vice President of Innovation at MasterCard Labs. John has more than 20 years’ experience holding senior positions in multinationals such as IBM, Microsoft, Nortel Networks, Siebel Systems & SAP. He is an expert in delivering global technology innovations including AI, Digital ID, Smart City technology, Connected Stadiums and specializes in payment technologies.

He is a proven leader in transformational change and holds several patents. John has an MBA from Oxford Brookes University and is currently a PhD candidate.

Andrew Rippon

Andrew Rippon


Chief Technology OfficerBabelChain

Andrew Rippon is VP Blockchain at Centurion and CTO of BabelChain. He is the founder of Thrupny, a new type of asset backed platform.

He is also on the board of two further blockchain projects, Ubex and Fiduxa, both of which have raised significant investments and are delivering technology innovation.

In his recent past Andrew was the Blockchain Lead at NXN, developing technology at the intersection of crypto currencies and the underlying utility of blockchain. Andrew is also involved in startups within the space, having advised several on technology development, hardening and governance. Recently Andrew has been advisor for Goal Bonanza, BoatPilot, EVEN, Eggs and several other ICOs.

Having graduated from Staffordshire University in the UK with a business focused degree and gained his deep technical knowledge afterwards, Andrew has a keen eye for the impact of technology on business value, solving organizational problems and creating new ways of operating to advance the achievement of strategic goals.

Ahmed Al-Balaghi

Ahmed Al-Balaghi


Founder and Co-hostEncrypted

Ahmed Al-Balaghi is the Head of Partnerships at Kambio Ventures, co-host of the Encrypted podcast and a Blockchain and Fintech researcher. He is also the Community Partner for Fintech Connector in Dubai. 

Having spent over 2 years within the blockchain industry in China, the U.K., and Dubai, he has developed deep industry expertise and regularly delivers talks and workshops. His research and investments span across blockchain infrastructure and protocol layers, security tokens, digital identity, cryptoeconomics, and exchanges. 

Ahmed previously worked for Viewfin, a leading Chinese blockchain company, heading up their Middle Eastern expansion through office set up. He has also launched the 1st podcast dedicated to blockchain in the Middle East called Encrypted (

He graduated with a first class degree from Queen Mary University of London studying Economics and Maths. He then was awarded a scholarship to study Mandarin at Fudan University for two years.

During his time at Fudan he was the Cofounder and President of the Fudan Blockchain Association and was the FinTech Lead for an entrepreneurship project in Shanghai with a team of UK-China entrepreneurs and the British Government. 

Sheikh Mohammed Irfan

Sheikh Mohammed Irfan


VP Global OperationsBloccelerate

Sheikh Mohammed Irfan is a serial entrepreneur, author, inventor, and philanthropist. He is currently the VP of Global Operations at Bloccelerate, a global blockchain venture fund based in Seattle. His focus areas are in the fields of emerging technologies and their implication in the global industries and economies.  His goal is to create a sustainable world enhanced by technology, people, empathy and effective resource distribution.

Irfan received his education from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MIT Sloan School of Management and Oxford Said Business School. He has a background in System Architecture, Computing and Business Management. Prior to his current role, he has worked extensively in the IT Enterprise industry as a technology strategist and advisor. He sits on the board of several projects in the intersection fields of technology, infra structure, finance and security. 

Walid Abou Zaki

Walid Abou Zaki

The Unlock Company DMCC

CEOThe Unlock Company DMCC

Muhammed Arafath

Muhammed Arafath

Apla Blockchain

Executive Director Apla Blockchain

Muhammed Arafath globally leads Apla a blockchaintechnology company with a proprietary built blockchain  platform and rapid application development capability, focused on governments and large business networks.

A graduate from Southern Cross University, Australia and certified in multiple technologies including blockchain, he works with public and private organizations to help them adopt blockchain technology.

With his team, he develops the strategy and implementation roadmap necessary to identify how blockchain can benefit an organization, and how to rapidly move these initiatives forward.

Muhammed has been advocating for blockchain and training Governments in Middle East, Africa and India, delivering proof of concepts, ideation workshops, and pilot projects. He has been at the forefront of conducting comprehensive assessments of internal front-to-back operating and IT models, deriving the best uses of blockchain and establishing proof of value (PoV) cases for organizations.

Leon Smith

Leon Smith


Chief Executive OfficerDEX

DEX was founded by serial entrepeneur Leon Smith who has been active in the crypto Asset investment ecosystem as an early adopter. He has been working with the financial Services Regulatory Authority proactively since the first release of their guidance note in 2017 to understand the regulatory implications and strucuture set forth by regulator in Abu Dhabi Global Market.

He has 12 years of experience in project management of Olympic games, high profile construction projectts and others. He has been in the MENA region for 10 years.


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