A World First for Phoenix Community Capital in the House of Lords
April 26, 2022, was certainly a day for the history books. On this beautiful spring morning the most modern and mind-blowing of human imaginings — the Metaverse — materialized in the Palace of Westminster, London. This iconic 1000-year-old (give or take a rebuild) building on the north bank of the River Thames is where the Second Chamber of the UK Parliament, the House of Lords, meets to discuss, debate, and advise. Something they have done, in one form or another, since medieval times.
The four-hour event was hosted by Phoenix Community Capital at the invitation of Baroness Uddin, who is a passionate proponent of technology, particularly the power of the Internet.
As well as PCC founders Luke Sullivan and Eric Marshall, SpectrumNFT CEO Brent Robison and other key PCC staff, there were 75 attendees representing a wide range of interests including venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, university academics, SMEs, investors, and people from the world of politics.
Proceedings began with breakfast on the House of Lords Terrace overlooking the river, followed by a presentation of PCC and what it does. There was then an awards ceremony recognizing some influential figures within the crypto space. The awards were presented by Baroness Uddin.
The group then moved to a conference room for more short presentations on NFTs, the Metaverse, and the opportunities and challenges facing deregulated finance (Defi) as well as regulations in the UK and the rest of the world.
CEO of PCC incubation project Spectrum NFT, Brent Robison, spoke passionately about the new NFT platform that is “built by artists for artists” and of his determination to create a space where people can thrive and give back.
Spectrum has already attracted a celebrity following and has on board former World Heavyweight boxing champion Shannon Briggs and UK Premier league soccer player Sol Bemba.
Leading Academics Recognized
Receiving the award for Blockchain Leadership was CEO of London-based think-tank Big Innovation and Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group Blockchain, Professor Birgitte Anderson.
“PCC’s modern application of blockchain to crowdsource information with independent research in order to de-risk investment and grow the economy are setting new trends and opportunities for the emerging fintech market.” Professor Birgitte Andersen
Big Innovation promotes open innovation via challenge-led taskforces, All-Party groups in the UK Parliament on Artificial intelligence and the Blockchain, and the AI Global Governance Commission.
Often called upon as a media expert, Professor Andersen is a highly-respected thought leader and authority on the Blockchain. Her company has mapped the Blockchain landscape and its key influencers, something she believes is crucial.
Professor Andersen was full of praise for PCC’s achievement. “It was mind-blowing to attend the Phoenix Community Capital event in the House of Lords to celebrate the amazing things they do in blockchain, NFT and the metaverse and I was very honored to receive their Blockchain Leadership recognition award,” said Professor Andersen. She added “PCC’s modern application of blockchain to crowdsource information with independent research in order to de-risk investment and grow the economy are setting new trends and opportunities for the emerging fintech market.”
“I hope Phoenix Community Capital can create more such activities for this sector and keep the UK in a leading place in the world.” Professor Yu Xiong
The award for Blockchain Innovation went to Professor Yu Xiong, renowned expert in sustainable and technological issues in global supply chains. He has extensive experience working with international companies at the director and chairman level, and was Co-Chair of Cocoon Global Ltd, Fellow of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Founder and Director of the Surrey Centre for Innovation and Commercialization and Associate Dean International of the University of Surrey.
Professor Yu said: “The event was very successful and especially encouraging to many blockchain start-ups to meet, share, discuss and collaborate. I hope Phoenix Community Capital can create more such activities for this sector and keep the UK in a leading place in the world.”
Hip Hop with Heart
Not all the attendees came from the world of finance. One of the most interesting speakers was Toby Gorniak, the inspirational founder and CEO of Street Factory CIC, a charity based in Plymouth, in the south of England which, according to madeinplymouth.co.uk “inspires young people through education and memorable experiences. The goals of their program are to use hip hop to uplift families and communities and foster economic development whilst giving hope.”
“I met Luke Sullivan at a business networking event. As soon as we spoke, we just clicked. He told us that he leads with his heart, and so do we…” Toby Gorniak, MBE
In 2018, Toby Gorniak was presented with the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by Prince William on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, and he and his wife have featured on TED talks and the media, including the BBC. He is a recipient of multiple awards including one for “Outstanding Community Contribution” from TV mogul Simon Cowell.
He posted a short video about the event and wrote: “I met Luke Sullivan at a business networking event. As soon as we spoke, we just clicked. He told us that he leads with his heart, and so do we…So he took us to the House of Lords to share with a phenomenal audience everything we do for the Plymouth community … and since then we’ve had so many exciting calls with investors and doors opened. So lucky. So blessed. So grateful.”
The Guest from Blockchain Island
One of the attendees was Peter Meli, Maltese Economic Attaché to the UK and Director of Malta Enterprise. In case you are wondering about the connection, Malta is a central Mediterranean island state with a warm climate and rich history. Popular as a location for big budget blockbusters, it is also the first country in the world with clearly established regulatory frameworks for DLTs, ICOs and virtual currencies. In fact, this pioneering country is so welcoming to emerging technology that it is known as “Blockchain Island”.
Peter Meli thoroughly enjoyed the experience and his time meeting the PCC team. He said afterwards: “The whole event was a success and PCC came out of it very well. It helped them get close to the business community, explain what they’re doing, and share their vision for the metaverse, nfts and Defi. I wish them all the best and hope to work with them in the future.”
The Start of Things to Come
Venture capitalist and innovative disruptor Balbir Judge is a great friend of PCC and he received an award from Baroness Uddin for Contribution to the Blockchain Community. The event meant a great deal to him for a number of reasons. He said “It was a honour for me as two years ago I was very seriously ill with Covid and hoping to just live. Together this amazing blockchain community is growing and it’s great to see everyone is getting supported.”
For Phoenix Community Capital, the House of Lords occasion was the first of three significant events they staged while in London. But what a way to start. They are building a platform in this space unlike any other, a place with expertise and knowledge, but also a place with heart.
The phoenix is definitely rising.
Web 3.0 Collaboration Award — Luke Carter
NFT Networking — Balbir Judge
Blockchain Leadership — Professor Birgitte Andersen
Blockchain Innovation — Professor Yu Xiong
Web 3.0 Investment — Madding King
Development and Advocate Award — Alan Blake, Lee Erswell — Swapsicle
Web 3.0 Security — Larry Lundy — Certik
NFT Hospitality Innovation — Tape London