No doubt, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin have gained massive traction in 2017, mainly due to the explosion of their exchange rates to fiat currencies like the US Dollar and the Euro. But why did this happen and why do we see those prices fluctuating on a daily basis? Why do news, like the recent ban by the Chinese government of Initial Coin Offerings (the equivalent of initial public offerings of stocks), shake the perception of value that these coins are carrying? The answer to that question could be as simple as saying that cryptocurrencies treated as securities and traded on secondary markets are volatile to human speculation and mass psychology.
But what do we speculate when it comes to cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology? Is it what it can deliver to society on the one hand, and to corporations/consortia on the other? Could it be that the exciting part starts here, and ideas start jamming our creative minds as we embark on daring journeys? The Blockchain, which is the technology behind the Bitcoin, undoubtedly can unlock never before imagined potential and that is, probably, what caught Imogen Heap's attention when she started experimenting on that ground. Imagine a world where you could raise funds for your next album, tour, promotion campaign using the wisdom of the crowd, and share some of the generated future income with your fans. Wouldn't it be a relief to know that whenever someone uses a song of yours, you get paid your share instantly? I bet that you wouldn't say no if you could provide the tickets to your next show through a blockchain-powered platform, which tracks sales and automatically splits revenues among the people involved in making the event happen.
Are all of the above mere speculations, or is there more to it? These are areas that various collectives and aspiring groups of individuals currently explore to create meaningful and efficient products that could help us deal with everyday tasks, fast and cheap. Most important of all, Blockchain provides means of achieving several goals and keeping track of vital information in an immutable way, mainly due to the technology it utilises (chain of blocks of encrypted data). I would guess that we will see a lot of progress in this area and some of the ideas currently cooking promise to change the way we do business for good. Whether or not the solutions initiated will prevail, depends on the degree of crowd adoption. Another speculation? Let's find out!
Christos Martinis is the owner of Plasteline Recordings & Publishing, the academic coordinator of SAE Institute's online programme 'MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries)', and co-founder of the startup Musicspoon, a collective dedicated to providing smart funding to aspiring creators.