There are plenty of hot topics covered at SXSW, from virtual reality to smart cities. But one topic is certain to get a lot of play among SXSW Interactive badge holders – blockchain.
Like VR and social media before it, there are plenty of meetups, events and ways to connect with blockchain enthusiasts and investors alike over the next few days.
We’ve compiled a list of interesting meetups, panels and people to know in the blockchain community at SXSW, along with a little feature on a new company poised to make waves with the crypto crowd this year.
“Why Ethereum is Going to Change the World,” featuring Joseph Lubin, founder of Ethereum.
Notes: While comments and discussions about cryptocurrency and blockchain inevitably lead to discussions centered around bitcoin, ethereum is a coin growing in popularity. In fact, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has agreed to accept the token for tickets for the 2018-2019 season. This will be an interesting session hearing from the co-founder of ethereum and what he sees as the future for the technology.
“Business on the Blockchain”- Sunday, March 11: featuring Brian Behlendorf of Hyperledger, an open source project connecting blockchain on multiple industries, and Amber Baldet, who is the blockchain lead for JP Morgan and the FInancial Chair of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. This is a great panel for those people who might be interested on how blockchain fits into e-commerce.
Intro to Blockchain and the Bitcoin– Wednesday, March 14: This panel is a must-do for those who want to learn about bitcoin and the blockchain. Kevin Cruz, Reggie Middleton, and Paul Puey will take attendees through a Blockchain 101 course, while also letting everyone know about the latest developments in the crypto ecosystem.
Trust Crisis: The Need for Blockchain– Thursday, March 15- With Russian hackers and an American election that had everyone scared, trust in the usual large institutions are waning. Representatives from the National Defense Institute, New America Foundation, Bitfury and the Blockchain Trust Accelerator will give attendees insight on blockchain-focused human cooperation projects.
There are plenty of blockchain and bitcoin-focused meetups for badge holders and non-badge holders alike.
The biggest blockchain event happening at SXSW is the SXSW Crypto Summit held at the Hotel Van Zandt from Monday to Wednesday. The theme for the first day is “New Girls on the Block,” where participants will hear from twenty women movers and shakers in the world of blockchain. This event for the blockchain rookie – it costs $399 for a basic ticket and $999 for a pro ticket.
A blockchain event with some local flair is the Bad Crypto Meetup, hosted by local startup Verimos. While the Saturday night meetup is sold out, there might be a last minute cancellation or two that will enable someone to hang out with the guys from the Bad Crypto Podcast, and a few Austin-based crypto companies.
A free blockchain meetup is being hosted by Input Strategic Partners on Sunday March 11. This might be a more casual blockchain meetup than some of the badge-only meetups, so non-badge holders who have some free time on Sunday are definitely encouraged to attend.
If there’s one thing everyone can get on board with, it’s tacos. And nothing says tacos like… Bob’s Steak and Chop House. A play on ICO (initial coin offering), The Founder’s Organization is putting on this event, called The Initial Taco Offering, with plenty of interesting speakers, including Kyle Samani of Multicoin Capital. It’s basically all day Sunday, from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., so you’ll have plenty of time to wait in other lines after going to this can’t miss event.
The First Time SXSW Blockchain Attendee
Austin will have plenty of representation in the blockchain sphere at SXSW, from panelists, to parties.
One particular company that will be showcased is ERC dEX, a peer-to-peer ethereum trading platform. The founder, David Aktary, is a panelist for a session entitled “The Quantifiable Business Benefits of Blockchain,” featuring other Austin-based blockchain startups. We spoke with ERC dEX’s chief marketing officer, Lindsey Renken, about her goals for SXSW.
This interview condensed for clarity.
Inno: What is ERC dEX focusing on during SXSW? Who are you trying to meet? What panels are most important to you? What panels are most interesting to you?
Renken: We’re focusing mostly on our fundraise and getting the word out about ERC dEX, which directs who we’re trying to meet.
For the panels, we’re interested in technical panels and panels related to regulation, as both could affect our product development. I think these four panels will be interesting:
- The Future of Ethereum dApp Development
- The Quantifiable Business Benefits of Blockchain
- Blockchain and the Decentralization of Finance
- Blockchain and the Future of Global Governance
Inno: As the CMO, who are you trying to target at SXSW?
Renken: On the marketing side, we’re looking to raise awareness… mostly among institutional investors. We’re also looking to reach crypto enthusiasts, as well as the newcomers to the space. I’d love to even inspire more women to start trading and get involved with various trading groups.
Inno: What trends should crypto/blockchain enthusiasts pay attention to during SXSW? What panels should blockchain newbies go to versus veterans?
Renken: Trends — The rise of decentralized exchanges – the different types and protocols available. Regulation will be another big topic. Also, probably the rise of non-fungible tokens and the support for them: ERC 721 and 821, specifically. Scaling issues and solutions, and the use of side-chains could also come up. We’ll also hear about new use cases for blockchain technology for different industries – not just finance and blockchain infrastructure.
There is typically something for everyone at each event. It really breaks down by if you’re interested in the tech side, business side, media side, trading side, etc.
Inno: What other blockchain companies are most interesting to you for SXSW?
Renken: There are so many… I’m curious about the companies doing ICOs. I’m excited by companies that already have sound technology and have a genuine use-case for a token.
As a team, we’re also interested in companies that aren’t doing a token that have great technology to contribute to the ecosystem.
Where to Meet Lindsey: The Initial Taco Offering, The Seraph Meetup and the SXSW Crypto Summit.