Blockchain events

Blockchain explained at SXSW

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This year, one of the hottest topics as South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin was blockchain. Analysts and IT leaders named it one of the top disruptive technologies at SXSW.

SXSW attendees repeatedly tweeted that they were shut out of blockchain sessions due to packed rooms and long lines.

What’s your potential blockchain ROI?

The event brought together a diverse group of attendees: a digital agency researcher, a retired math teacher, a retail technology expert, and the list goes on. I had the pleasure of meeting these tech enthusiasts when they dropped by the IBM Blockchain stand in the IBM is Making experience to learn more about the distributed ledger technology behind Bitcoin. Our discussions have ranged from explanations of what blockchain is and how it works to theorizing how it can be used in different industries to transform the way people transact across business networks.

Everyone who approached wanted to try, talk and learn. This high amount of engagement and the many great conversations I’ve had are definite highlights of my own experience. Based on these conversations, below I provide some of the materials that best answer some of the basic questions visitors had about blockchain.

Blockchain explained

Crowds formed every time we started going over the basics of blockchain. Of course, this made sense because the technology is still very new. However, the amount of interest these discussions garnered made me realize how important it still is to have such conversations. So, I’d like to give a very brief overview of blockchain.

Learn more about blockchain today


How does blockchain with The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger work?


What are some use cases?


In SXSW circles, there was a lot of online chatter on the following use cases for blockchain:

  • Entertainment: Music, media, gaming, film, intellectual property, and digital rights management
  • Healthcare: the virtual patient, data auditing, analytics,  vaccine dissemination, compliance, medical supply chain visibility, EMR, and clinical trial matching
  • Wealth and property management: payments, private stock exchange, banking, law firms, real estate management, land registries, car leasing, and supply chains
  • Tech for good and social justice:  Government, people registries, immigration, DMV info, ID management, voting, countering human trafficking and fake news, and org validations

Why is IBM Blockchain at SXSW?

SXSW Hackathon

The IBM presence at SXSW is winding down, but the SXSW Hackathon is today, March 14, and tomorrow, March 15. You’ll get to see IBM Blockchain experts in action as they provide support for the hackathon teams. These teams will be writing some of the first applications to run on Hyperledger Fabric, The Linux Foundation’s open source blockchain technology platform set to move to production this month. Check out this previous blog post to learn more.

Dig deeper into blockchain

Learn more about blockchain and find a quick-start guide to blockchain development at developerWorks. Join Hyperledger on Rocketchat. And experiment with IBM Blockchain on Bluemix for free.

Sign up for the developerWorks newsletter for the latest, and  join the IBM Blockchain community to let us know what you think!

Learn more about blockchain today

Since the publication of this post, Sloane Brakeville has moved to a position outside of IBM.

Managing Editor

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