“The world is moving from competition to collaboration, and Chicago Blockchain Project aims to accelerate that change starting right here in Chicago,” said Joe Hernandez, founder and CEO of the Chicago Blockchain Project (CBP), which will host its inaugural Voice of Blockchain conference on August 24th and 25th at Chicago’s Navy Pier.
Hehmeyer Trading + Investments sat down with Hernandez to learn more about the Chicago Blockchain Project, the Voice of Blockchain conference and how collaboration rather than competition will further society.
“The beginning of the Chicago Blockchain Project was fueled by my own interest in blockchain technology. My friends and family were sick of me talking about bitcoin and ethereum,” said Hernandez. “I started a Meet-Up group and we went from a handful of people that brainstormed and split up research assignments, to building a community with 2,500 members in little over a year.”
Hernandez explained that the Chicago Blockchain Project is a growing company focused on establishing Chicago as the global blockchain hub by proactively educating, marketing and developing software with the community. They connect firms in the blockchain space and streamline efficiencies based on synergetic project based work.
According to their website, the Chicago Blockchain Project’s portfolio currently includes companies such as: Urban Array, a decentralized and crowdsourced social enterprise; Big Data Block, which democratizes the analysis of big data; and Omega Grid, a peer to peer energy platform. It also includes an educational mining protocol called Mined, a philanthropic data sharing resource called Block Data 4 Good as well as a donation based social impact blockchain called Pinkcoin.
“I think blockchain is such a revolutionary technology because it changes the coordination game,” he said. “It allows us to engineer incentive systems providing a truly equal opportunity, but not guaranteeing an equal outcome.”
Hernandez believes that there are three eras of the coordination game in society. He said that the first age was before mechanical time, when religion gave large groups of people the ability to coordinate.
"The second, the era of competition, is when we learn to coordinate en-mass through trust in institutions, religions, business and goverment. When we trust data and information like measurement of time, or we trust institutions, the corrupting influence of power over time has created systems that are sub-optimal for most people," he said.
Hernandez thinks the third era, the one society is entering now, is made possible by the existance of scarce digital assets.
"Previously, the only value we could create had to be taken from somewhere. Natural resources for example were easier than building and creating. These had to balance to account for the limited number of physical resources," he said. "Now that builders can represent the unique value digitally, there is no need for competition. We are in a positive-sum game. Collaboration is now more beneficial to the individuals than competition."
Collaboration is something that will be heavily emphasized at the CBP's inaugural event, the Voice of Blockchain, on August 24the and 25th at Navy Pier. Working with 1871, Democracy Earth and Urban Array, the Voice of Blockchain will bring together 5,000 attendees, including influential leaders in this space, to generate new ideas, drive collaboration between innovators and provide blockchain education through CBP's educational academy, BUIDL.
“Voice of Blockchain is focused on arming the Chicago community with the skills to compete in the economy of the future while establishing the city as the blockchain capital of the world — we're creating a catalyst for impactful change," said Hernandez.
The Voice of Blockchain’s line up of speakers includes: Jimmy Song, Venture Partner at Blockchain Capital LLC; Lisa Nestor, Head of Partnerships at Stellar; Rumi Morales, Partner at Outlier Ventures; Tone Vays, Crypto Scam Podcast; Tor Bair, Head of Growth at Enigma; as well as our own Brian Peterson, Managing Director at Hehmeyer Trading + Investments.
Hernandez explained that the event will include several interactive and creative initiatives. For example, speakers and media will be able to leverage Lamboland, a studio for filming and recording interviews and podcasts.
“Crypto artists will also feature their artwork throughout the event, and every guest will receive a copy of a custom-made special edition Bitcoin Comic Handbook.”
While the Voice of Blockchain conference aims to inspire and motivate the creative types, it will also focus on key issues and challenges the industry faces.
Hernandez believes that the regulatory landscape makes it difficult for entrepreneurs.
"The regulatory landscape makes it difficult to be a start up. The great thing about the ICO craze last year was the low barrier to entry. Now if you raise $10 million in an ICO, you will probably end up in debt," he said.
In closing, Hernandez is optimistic about the evolving ecosystem
"I do believe we are moving in the right direction when I hear comments from the Security and Exchange Commission's Corporate Finance Director William Hindeman or Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Chairman Christopher Giancarlo," he said. "I think the regulatory bodies are moving in the right direction. We need them to speed up a little though. People want to build!"
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