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Learning Why Blockchain Matters – SXSW 2018 Sessions Worth Checking Out

The blockchain and cryptocurrency world has been on quite the rollercoaster ride in the last twelve months. Bitcoin (BTC) alone climbed in value from $1,110 in early February of 2017 to over $18,000 mid-December, and today sits at around $7,000 and change as of this publishing date. Meanwhile, you can’t swing a cat (figuratively, of course) and not hit a blockchain or crypto-related meetup or conference being held in cities across the globe.

The string of continuity throughout the blockchain community as a whole is the potential for the architecture to transform nearly every market sector. Those who are the real deal, so to speak, hold a long-game approach to the development of services and products that solve problems and improve business ecosystems, as opposed to short-term money grabs, fake ICOs, and rip-off schemes.

Despite news of countries like India and banks like Lloyds banning certain crypto coins like BTC, the future for blockchain looks very bright.

At SXSW this year, the programming focused on blockchain has expanded as those who are influencing the direction this technology is headed has grown, with new companies sprouting up that are changing operations in numerous verticals for the better.

These speakers will help SXSW attendees to understand blockchain’s potential, explaining how they plan to move innovation forward and turn traditional operations on their head, moving to models that deliver transparency, fairness, and profound change that furthers both business and humanity.

Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Music 

This solo session presented by Shelita Burke, herself a pop artist, data scientist, and cryptologist, will offer attendees the opportunity to “learn about the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and how to utilize them in the music industry without any coding knowledge at all.” She’ll share how she used data and technology to reach fans and grow engagement of her music. According to a Forbes feature piece on Burke, her efforts have enabled her music to “appear on Next Big Sound’s Pandora Predictions Chart, which measures social growth to predict the up-and-coming artists who are most likely to make their first-ever appearance on the Billboard 200 in the next year,” all as an unsigned indie artist with no label support. Burke will explain how blockchain can be used by the average musician or performer to solve music industry issues like royalty tracking and getting paid by using the blockchain, presenting real-life examples of how she did it herself.

“I really believe that every artist needs to understand data,” Burke told Forbes, “because then you can know who your audience is and what they like and how to give them what they  want. Data is the solution to understand how to build a bigger audience.” Burke is also scheduled to perform as one of the SXSW showcasing artists.



How Tech Can Save the Music Industry 

Music royalty, rights, and usage. Getting paid more than a penny for your music. Secondary ticketing driving event costs out of reach for the music fan. Bots buying up all the tickets when they go on sale. Representatives from dotBlockchain, HelloSugoi, Haawk, and Soundstr will address these problems that have plagued the music industry for years and how technology solutions like blockchain, smart contracts, metadata, and tokens can solve them, bringing sustainability, fairness, and transparency to the music industry.

What Blockchain Means for Media & Entertainment

This session will focus on content creators as a whole and how they can use the decentralized aspects of blockchain to tracks sales and distribution of their works throughout that content journey, be it a filmmaker’s short to a songwriter’s new track, ensuring all the players get paid their due and copyrights are protected. Civil, a newly launched journalism startup that runs on blockchain will show how fake news can actually be stopped, with members from Newhouse School at Syracuse University weighing on other aspects of blockchain that will impact media and advertising. The CEO of Upgraded will contribute the ways their company delivers “smart tickets” to solve industry issues with fraud, transactions, and market transparency.

Women in Blockchain Meetup

As with other areas of technological developments such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality, it’s critical that a diverse array of people play a role in moving blockchain into the various market sectors. The organizer of this meet up, Consensys user experience designer and product strategist, Thessy Mehrain, states, “We believe a female lens is essential to realizing the full potential of the blockchain. A more collaborative style, from any gender, aligns with the characteristics of the technology itself –horizontal, open, fluid, self-organizing.”

Business on the Blockchain

Named International Business Times as one of eight blockchain stars to watch in 2018 and the “bank whisperer,” and one of the most influential people in blockchain by Coindesk, this session will be led by Amber Baldet, the executive director of JPMorgan’s Blockchain Center of Excellence and leader of the blockchain platform Quorum. She’s joined by Brian Behlendorf, executive director of the open source project, Hyperledger, within the Linux Foundation. The two will co-present what blockchain-enabled businesses of the future may look like, and how various market sectors can develop and transform in a collaborative fashion to benefit its evolution.

Some may not know that Behlendorf was the founder of SFRaves within the Hypperreal internet community back in the early 90’s, which is where we in the bay area found out about the underground raves. This community, including Behlendorf, was featured in the SF rave-inspired film, “Groove,” which had a cast of local and superstar DJs, along with dance community members. I highly recommend the soundtrack, which features classic tracks “Heaven Scent” from Bedrock (John Digweed) and “Halcyon and On and On” by Orbital.

Check out more Blockchain sessions, including SXSW’s recommendations and a write up from SXSW’s director of Interactive, Hugh Forest.


Listen to Kaffeine Buzz’s SXSW 2018 Showcasing Artists Spotify Playlist



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