Blockchain’in Miami

I was excited to attend the most recent #BlokTalks — Rokk3r Edition event with the Miami Blockchain Society in Wynwood. The topic, ‘Bitcoin, Blockchains, Smart Contracts’, included in the panel (to name a few):

Robin Lam, CEO and Founder of Bloktalks/Miami Blockchain Society and The Coin Hub, and formerly involved in blockchain engineering at Facebook and Google

Erik Mendelson, CEO and Co-Founder of RecordGram and TUNE token

Praveen Yalamanchi, CEO and Co-Founder of KindrCoin, and

Igor Artamonov, CTO of Ethereum Classic (ETC).

The night was a successful, standing-room-only event, and embodied the energy filling the room of Miami’s ever-burgeoning blockchain ecosystem.

Unsurprisingly — given the city is “emerging as a hotbed for cryptocurrency” — the community present and especially the Q&A reflected the overwhelming interest in ICOs, coins, tokens, asset classes, and mining, all focused on cryptocurrency. Many, if not most, of the questions for the panel and the discussions fell within this theme, which highlights some of the struggles of the collective community as whole, as decentralized technologies gain more and more momentum.

Shoutout to Amir’s Treasures bakery newly opened in Key Biscayne for the crypto-treats

There were mixed levels of understanding within the room, and rightly so some questions had to do financially with ‘How to go about getting “in” with crypto?’. Good questions were also raised to the panel about their thoughts on achieving more mass adoption, as well as insights about ecological concerns like those presented by mining — which, although generally the feeling of the responses leaned more toward indifference or ambivalence, did prompt some more creative mentions, like the South Florida brewery crafting beer from excess produced energy: or, “when avocado mining means guacamole”.

One other interesting question to the panel was asked about their computer hardwares and cloud providers. Although met with some disdain in the room among the audience, the question definitely had merit since it was related to this individual’s curiosity about who the panelists trusted. For the record, Azure, Drupal, AWS/Amazon, Apple — all name dropped here.

“Trust will become perhaps the most important design element in any system.” — IDEO CoLab, “Why Designers Need to Start Thinking About Blockchain

A panelist did comment that they felt the U.S. was losing out on innovation for decentralized ecosystems, most of all because of the lack of proper frameworks nationally; of course, it was agreed that this is improving, as with the example of House Bill 10.31 — still, the feeling was that the actions are piecemeal and the process slow.

Notable was the number of more underrepresented groups present within the crowd; however, some comments also included:

  • gentlemen’s club references
  • mafia (blockchain) references; and
  • asian economic dogma references.

This is simply to express a perspective of experience so that, hopefully, we can be even more mindful of inclusivity for the future, but not to speak negatively of the overall good spirit of the event.

Interest was there for sure overall for healthcare initiatives, food+agriculture initiatives, general supply chain initiatives, and IOT+industrial automation initiatives for blockchains and the present/future of Web 3.0.

And since the “What is blockchain?” question proved to have put some on-the-spot, I thought to bookmark-share some of my personal favorites from others:

a digital, decentralized, distributed ledger,
as a design pattern in computing to create chains of signed events, secured and linked by cryptography,
made by a method of maintained register amongst ourselves, instead of someone else (3rd party) doing it for us.

Thank you to all who made the event, for both community + inspiration: imagining what a world could look like where our interactions, human and beyond, were more equitable, transparent, and accountable? And how might we design our technology and lives for it?