A Harmonious Frontier for Blockchain
Earlier this month, our team began a media partnership with Mondo NYC with the aim cultivating a new wave of music-based entrepreneurship and emerging blockchain technology. On October 3rd, Mondo began a three day conference and music festival right here at the Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn. Each day of the event was packed with diverse workshops, performances and talks by leading blockchain platforms like Steem, Ujo and Choon. Presenters became panelists during a university competition for new blockchain businesses, and workshops introduced newcomers to crypto-fueled resources. With so much going on in this first rendition of the conference and festival hybrid, this article looks to unpack some of the major takeaways and significant discussions of the event roster.
If you would like to learn more about the goals and ideas behind the event, be sure to read up on Mondo’s mission with our initial interview with the founding team here.
Hitting All the Right Notes
Day one ran a full gamut of industry-specific panels and presentations completely dedicated to the workings of the music industry and how blockchain is spreading its impact across all components of the business.
Aaron Steinberg of Singular DTV started off Day 1 with a full overview of their media-focused blockchain and their aims to create a “fair ecosystem.” Their TOKIT reward system will make it seamless to launch personal campaigns and leverage their distribution. With virtually any artist being able to create and broadcast music today, there is a significant need to figure out the value and channels for these works.
Steinberg was followed-up by a panel of experts leading the crypto-music charge. Jesse Grushack of Ujo and Matt Hall of Choon were joined by music artist Shelita Burke to run through how exactly these new distributed platforms are supporting actual music careers. Hall and Grushack explained the components of their respective applications and how they’re tackling pain points in the current music industry – fair royalties, young artist exposure, and copyright protection amongst others. Burke revealed her insights, now having created her own work through blockchain, and how the tech is offering an entirely different creative experience.
“Your fan wants to connect to you. iTunes doesn’t connect you to your fan.” – Shelita Burke
The final noteworthy main panel was “Side Hustle – Generating Resources with Emerging Tech & Blockchain“ where Grushack rejoined Andrew Levine of Steem and Nick Saponaro of Divi. More opportunities for content and artistic creators are emerging from the blockchain to monetize their work incrementally everyday and this discussion outlined some of those tactics.
“Time is valuable. And people aren’t making enough money.” – Nick Saponaro
Blockchains like Steem power new kinds of decentralized applications like Steemit, and are establishing cryptocurrency rewards structures for content creators and curators. With the current state of DApps on Steem, every piece of written content, photo, video, track, and livestream are intrinsically money-makers.
“We’re moving towards an economy where content is extremely powerful. Steem is the largest blockchain community out there right now with over 400 applications and businesses transacting with Steem everyday.” – Andrew Levine
Ushering in a New Wave of Crypto-Education
The 2nd day brought in the more nuanced conversations around education and community, vital cornerstones in ushering in mainstream adoption and understanding. Professor Paul Johnson kicked off the day with “Blockchain 101” and some of the panel highlights included “Importance of Community & Education in Blockchain and Emerging Tech” and “Why Blockchain and Tech Are Critical for the Environment and Society,” roping in the more complex problems that stand between technology and users. A majority consensus was that no matter the strength of the tech, few users would be compelled towards the emerging resources without proper educational portals and community engagement.
And finally, Friday was built more around the next steps of blockchain-centric entrepreneurs with a university competition. An exciting quality of the blockchain industry is the already widespread involvement by college students who are looking to stake out a part of the rapidly growing industry. Pitch ideas included a decentralized T-shirt service and a permissionless gig interface, with the winner being a unique platform that solves the issue of usage rights. All in all, it was impressive the depth of understanding these young students are aspiring to and it highlights the future potential of the blockchain space in their hands.
General Takeaway and Future Steps
Mondo’s industry-specific focus for blockchain in this particular event series establishes a new precedent in how ‘crypto conferences’ can be designed and operate. As the issue of adoption increasingly becomes the key barrier between the technology and true industry empowerment, we’re excited to see a focused move like this and away from guarded presentations behind expensive ticket walls. To be clear, Mondo was not a blockchain-specific or DApp-centric event. Over a dozen distinct blockchain and token systems were represented and often purposefully placed in the same panel to grind out discussion. Mondo doubled-down on the music aspect, bringing together entrepreneurs, agencies, musicians, and other stakeholders in the music industry with many already operating in blockchain.
Simply put, it was the most successful event in terms of educating newcomers from the ground up and bridging the educational divide. Many attendees, most of whom had no experience or understanding of the tech beyond the buzzwords, attested to the understandability of the presentations that didn’t linger on the definitions of tech jargon or push too many broad strokes of blockchain’s revolutionary quality, nor did we see just CEOs using this platform as a speakerphone to advertise their products. The umbrella was much larger with many more newcomers being welcomed under it.
The messages were much more precise and actionable – explore this application, join that community, read up on this material. All of this made more a much more multilayered and fruitful conversation.
“Mondo.NYC cultivates an environment that ignites debates and forms collaborations which develops solutions for the pitfalls of thriving in the worlds of music and frontier technology. Leading up to our 2019 event, Mondo.NYC will continue driving its ethos of inspiring, showcasing and supporting these pioneers, innovators and entrepreneurs through a series of highly curated and interactive workshops and jam sessions. Come down the rabbit hole with us!” – Elliot Chun, Emerging Innovations at Mondo NYC
The Mondo team has also just announced their dates for 2019 and their intent to pursue more regular programming throughout the year. We’re looking forward to seeing what Elliot and the team have in store for us in the coming months!