Blockchain Increases Presence At SXSW Music Festival

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Music Festival kicked off today in Austin, Texas, combining music, art, film, culture, and interactive technology. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the 2017 event boasts 72,000 registrants and artists in attendance seeking to explore, observe, participate, and network within a global community.

Although not the first time that cryptocurrency-related topics have been presented at the event, 2017 is unique because of the increased presence of blockchain-based panels and meetups. Besides blockchain technology, the nine-day festival will host numerous conferences and labs on an array of tech topics, including IoT (internet of things), artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) gaming.

Blockchain events include:

Beyond Fintech: Blockchain for Every Industry

Tech for Good: Blockchain Trust Accelerator

Blockchain: This Changes Everything! (Or Does It?)

Additionally, Ethereum-based ConsenSys will host the Blockchain and Decentralization Meet Up that invites tech, product, policy, and design folks to discuss “how Blockchain enables individual contribution, makes it easy to collaborate, decentralizes power and creates hope for increased equality.”

Another Ethereum company attending SXSW is OZcoinGold (OzGLD), the world’s first cryptocurrency backed 100 percent by 24 karat gold. OZcoinGold promises to be a next-generation cryptocurrency backed by 100,000 ounces of gold valued at over $123 million.

IBM will be hosting the IBM Maker’s Garage inviting participants “to experience how IBM Watson is making the world healthier, more secure, more personal, more creative and more engaged.” Watson is IBM’s artificial intelligence cognitive technology that can think like a human. IBM’s other events at SXSW include demos, talks, and hands-on workshops where the public can interact with and learn more about IBM’s tech projects, such as:

•  Use Watson to create a bot, remix a song, design a t-shirt, or get a beer recommendation;

•  See what it’s like to be at a company under cyberattack; and

•  Learn how blockchain networks function, and how companies like banks, shippers, and retailers are already using it.

Also taking place is the SXSW Hackathon (formerly the SXSW Music Hackathon), a 24-hour event where hackers/creators will use their programming knowledge to develop industry-changing prototypes for music, VR/AR, and film. Participants will compete for cash prizes in one of the five categories: Commerce & Industry, Creation, Distribution, Consumer, and Cross-discipline.

Hackathon judges include Josh Constine (Techcrunch), Robert Scoble (Transformation Group VR), and Benji Rogers (Dot Blockchain, Pledge Music), to name a few.

With so many blockchain events taking place at South by Southwest 2017, it looks like the crypto space is going mainstream in a big way.