One of the top selling points for blockchain technologies is that it decentralizes whatever it is used for — cryptocurrencies, government records or health data.
So, it might sound a little strange for a bunch of local blockchain-based startups to centralize their efforts. But that’s exactly what’s happening.
The Austin Blockchain Collective, a newly-formed group of Austin area startups, will act as a unified voice to advocate for the adoption of blockchain-based technologies, educate people about how it works and lobby politicians who might be exploring policies to guide the emerging technology.
“Austin has significant blockchain activity,” Pete Harris, principal of Lighthouse Partners and executive director of the Austin Blockchain Collective, said in a news release. “The next step is to coordinate our efforts into a singular force that makes Austin a blockchain hub of international significance. The collective will increase community engagement with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, growing a network of peers who will galvanize Austin’s leadership in the crypto space.”
The group’s primary financial backer is Wanchain, an Austin startup that raised $36 million in an initial coin offering last year to further develop a platform that links various cryptocurrencies to give coin holders exchange options.
Other initial members include Multicoin Capital, Capital Factory, Lighthouse Partners, Laurence Ventures, Factom, Decred, Steemit, TEN Capital Group, DecentraNet, AMSYS Blockchain, Austin.city, Algebraix Data, Williams Technology Group, SeriesX, UlaHealth, Kilroy Blockchain, Chain Business Insights, GovernanceChain, Hatch Crypto and Windmill Enterprise.
That may seem like a lot. But consider that Austin, which had about a dozen blockchain startups a year ago, now has more than 50 blockchain-focused businesses.
“Forming the Austin Blockchain Collective — much like Capital Factory’s Blockchain $100,000 Challenge — puts our money where our mouth is and supports the local blockchain ecosystem,” Capital Factory Founder Joshua Baer said in a news release. “It brings together the best minds and showcases our leadership capabilities to the world.”
Currently, the collective is free and has no formal membership structure. Instead, it’s focus is largely on amplifying Austin’s blockchain ecosystem by coordinating efforts to bring in new crypto-based startups and talent, bolster investment activity and share resources.
“The founding participants of the Austin Blockchain Collective recognize the value of a thriving local blockchain ecosystem,” Dustin Byington, president of Wanchain and executive committee member of the collective, said in a news release. “Bringing Austin’s blockchain builders and businesses together is a foundational step towards making Austin the global blockchain force we know it can be.”