A two-day conference dedicated to the fusion of top sport and international business trends, “Mastercard 255 to the Moon”, was concluded in Planica during the finals of the Ski Jumping World Cup. More than 1,000 enthusiasts of new technologies followed the conference live and online. Numerous experts from the fields of web3, crypto, blockchain technologies and NFTs discussed innovations, investment opportunities and the importance of developing innovative technologies, which are undoubtedly our future, overlooking the Planica jumping hill.
The participants were welcomed by the Minister of Economy, Tourism and Sports, Matjaž Han: “Digitalization and digital transformation of the Slovenian economy is an important priority of our Ministry. Slovenia’s current position on this index is the best ever, which means we are on the right track. Advanced digital technologies absolutely contribute to the faster transformation of companies into more efficient, more resilient and market-successful companies. Advanced digital technologies also bring benefits in the field of sports,” he said. In the beginning, the director of the Ski Association of Slovenia, Uroš Zupan also pointed out how important the intertwining of sport and the economy is and welcomed exellent speakers and interesting program.
Many discussions highlighted the importance of education, which is key to understanding the importance of blockchain technologies and web3 tools and thus their mass use. For the successful development of sports, it is necessary to think about the use of all advanced technologies, which has been confirmed by many experts, many of them also beginners in thinking about the connection of sports with the technologies of the future. “Metaverse is more than just entertainment, it can be used for learning, urban planning, healthcare. Metaverse allows us to offer better and more efficient services to users in an easier way,” points out Jane Thomason from the World Metaverse Council.
In the first part, we spoke with representatives of the countries of Slovenia, Andorra and Norway, who highlighted projects in the field of using web3 technologies, then with his keynote address, Christian Rau, senior vice president for cryptocurrencies and fintechs at Mastercard Europe addressed the topic of cryptocurrencies and their involvement with Mastercard: “Nearly half of the world’s population is in some way interested in entering the world of cryptocurrencies. As the decades-old operator of multiple secure, reliable and flexible payment networks around the world, we at Mastercard are committed to bringing this experience to the emerging blockchain and digital currency networks. We see the opportunity in helping our clients and consumers better understand and trust how these funds are being used.” After the panel discussions on regulation and investment opportunities, Luis Pinedo, Product Manager at Bitfinex Pay, highlighted that we are in the most interesting period of bitcoin’s development, which is otherwise still in its early stages. “With its widespread use, it will significantly impact our daily lives in ways we can’t even imagine,” he concluded.
The Mastercard 255 to the Moon conference, as the main economic accompanying event of the Planica 2023 Ski Jumping World Cup final, also shed light on challenges in the field of modern technologies in connection with sports. Among other things, many examples and good practices were presented in the panel discussion on the future of sports, the involvement of supporters and the transition to web3 – football club Dinamo Zagreb attracted the attention of young fans with the introduction of NFT and thus deepened its interaction with fans.
Magnus Jones, Nordic Blockchain and Innovation Lead also spoke about the future of the metaverse at one of the panel discussions: “We see the future of the metaverse as a new version of the Internet, an evolution from 2D to 3D with three key components: XR (extended reality), AI (artificial intelligence) and blockchain technology, which we will have to be able to use hand in hand.”
In one of the final lectures, we hosted a representative of Japan, which is one of the more advanced countries in terms of digitization and the use of web3 tools. Seki Harayuki from the Japanese digital agency presented the challenges brought by advanced technologies and concluded that flexibility is the most important thing when introducing innovative technologies.
Planica NFT 2023 was also presented at the conference, which is the continuation of the Planica NFT 2022 success story. This year’s collection represents the entry of Planica mascot Čaplja Vita into the NFT world. With the entry into the NFT world, the classic mountain mascot becomes a modern marketing concept in the web3 world.
“Planica has big plans with the Mastercard 255 to the Moon conference and the Čaplja Vita collection.
Together, we will be the first winter sports spectacle to be intertwined with the events and opportunities of modern blockchain, NFT, web3 and metaverse technologies. This year’s conference and collection are the first big step towards that. With this, Planica successfully follows its mission – to set new milestones and push the boundaries of what is possible,” concluded Jožko Križan, Marketing Director of the Ski Association of Slovenia, which together with Mastercard prepared a conference on innovative technologies.