Why This 4-Time Grammy Award Winning Producer Is Launching An ICO 3 1206

In today’s society, when something happens in the news or the public eye, where do you go?

You turn to the Internet.

However, the Internet itself is far from an objective source. A single Google search, one comment thread on a viral social media post, and suddenly a reader’s perspective loses context. This might be what one publication or one subsection of a fanbase is talking about, but is this niched narrative an accurate reflection of the full crowd?

When it comes to news, current events, and pop culture, the question isn’t “who said what.”

The real questions are, “Based on what everyone is saying about a specific topic, what is the complete story? How are people feeling about it? How has the conversation changed over time? And most importantly, what is the bias of those contributing to the conversation?”

No one knows this issue more intimately than celebrities, artists, producers, and industry leaders who spend their lives watching narratives about them unfold before their very eyes. While everyday content consumers see the Internet and its vast library of content as a rotating carousel of stories, public figures see it as a reflection of the things they create—and in turn, an aspect of themselves.

Some of the stories capture their narrative perfectly.

Others leave it distorted.

And for as long as anyone can remember, these two worlds—outlet and subject, platform and person—have been separate.

Here’s how blockchain technology wants to change that, for good.

Ryan Lewis, the famed producer known for his talents alongside breakout musician and independent hip-hop artist, Macklemore, has lived a life in the limelight. From winning a Grammy for Best Rap Album of 2014, to being involved in handfuls of tangential creative endeavors and collaborative projects, Lewis has seemingly lived two lives: his own, and the perception created as a result—across news outlets, industry blogs, and social media channels, each telling his story from their own angle and perspective.

Lewis, who has a track record of applying technology and an understanding of the role it can play in creating public conversations, saw this as an opportunity to answer that tough question: “What’s at the heart of what everyone is saying about a topic or a person online?”

And he’s decided to leverage blockchain technology to do it, with a handful of early investors already on board and an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) planned for this year.

“As soon as this idea started to marinate, I began to form a team to move the vision forward,” said Lewis, talking about his deliberate shift from time spent on music to balance time in the tech scene. “I’ve always had an interest in tech, just by the nature of the projects I’ve been involved in over the past decade. And one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a music producer is that a great producer knows what they’re good at and what they’re not good at. As I began to realize there could be a better way to more accurately and objectively organize stories on the Internet, I knew I needed a team.”

The first person Lewis shared his idea with was longtime collaborator and close friend, Macklemore, who immediately saw the value and came on board as the first investor and company advisor. Ryan then worked closely with Josh Karp and Scott Lewis, early creative partners, to continue articulating the vision. After achieving initial milestones, Ryan connected with current tech partner, RJ Smith, a 20-year technology veteran with a unique background pioneering transformational initiatives inside the US government.

Together, they have built a tight-knit team of technologists, journalists, and entrepreneurs who saw the vision. RedPen, as Lewis and Smith called it, wants to take a “red pen to the Internet.”

“These were problems I was already working on,” said Smith. “To meet another person with a ton of talent and a different set of skills, but with a shared passion, was invaluable. The challenges in a new start are humbling, and it was exciting to join forces with Ryan and other team members to execute this huge vision together.”

When I asked Lewis why he chose to go the ICO route and build RedPen on the blockchain, he said, “The technology is perfect for what we’re looking to solve, which is how to navigate mass content online. We’re utilizing blockchain technology to build the first decentralized open source reputation, foundational to our entire platform. I believe this could fundamentally change the internet.”

He went on to explain that the way we communicate with each other today, in 2017, is very different than how things were in 2007, or even 1997. And now is the time to start questioning how we can take the fundamental building blocks that have made the Internet so fruitful, and refine them.

If anything, blockchain tech aligns perfectly with Lewis’ history of taking the road less traveled and doing things independently.

“A lot of celebrities will act as influencers and co-sign projects for a quick buck. I’m not endorsing RedPen—I’m creating RedPen alongside a powerful team. This is an idea that came from consuming mass media, like everyone else, but also watching my own narrative change from platform to platform in the public eye. I couldn’t be more excited to be working with such talented team members bringing a huge vision to life,” said Lewis.

This article was originally published on The Huffington Post on November 1, 2017.

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Starting her career on Wall Street at just 19 years old, Danielle went on to be one of the youngest equity traders in the industry. After a successful career in Financial Planning, she went on to found her media company What Vibes Your Tribe, which connects the worlds of digital marketing and public relations. Her experience in brand strategy along with successfully developing the thought leadership of C -level executives has played an integral part in her client's achieving prestigious awards such as Inc 500, Forbes Next Billion Dollar Startup, Entrepreneur 360 among other top level recognition.


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The Bitcoin Bull Run: How It Started, How It’s Going Comments Off on The Bitcoin Bull Run: How It Started, How It’s Going 995

Wherever you stand on Bitcoin, there is no question about its impact on the role of blockchain and cryptocurrency within society.  Whether we look back to Pizza Day or to its heights in 2018, the volatile nature of the cryptocurrency has garnered much speculation and media coverage. 

While many looked at the past few years as a “Crypto Winter,” others saw an opportunity for Bitcoin.  Between COVID lockdowns, political, and fiat currency concerns, Bitcoin has been on a dream run – for a moment going over the $55,000 barrier.

Why Did Bitcoin Suddenly Explode (Again)?

Elon Musk and other influencers played a role in the recent rise in Bitcoin’s price. Tesla’s recent investment in an infrastructure to accept Bitcoin payments, and Apple Pay’s introduction of BitPay, a prepaid bitcoin MasterCard, are also major markers of market adoption. But two other events occurred that set the stage for the Bitcoin bull run: a pandemic and Bitcoin Halving.

Every four years, Bitcoin miners have their processing transactions cut in half. This reduction in supply then drives up prices based on scarcity. This occured in May 2020, when the economy was already at a standstill due to the pandemic. Since the supply of crypto coins is finite many think that there is lower inflation risk with using them – this means that it may be used as a hedge against U.S. inflation. In 2020, more than 20% of all dollars currently in circulation were printed, making crypto even more alluring. 

Crypto isn’t going anywhere. This year, experts project increased use of crypto cards, emergence of new cases, and increased investing from traditional finance leaders.

Take a look at this visual deep dive on the rise of Bitcoin for more information:

Bitcoin: Once A Diamond In The Rough, Now A Treasure

This New Blockchain Phone Has a Built In Cold Wallet 3 3103

The blockchain phone you didn’t know you needed has arrived. As phones have transformed into mobile devices they’ve absorbed tasks previously delegated to desktop computers, cameras, globes, flashlights, alarm clocks, and your Sony Walkman. Now you can add crypto wallets to the mix.

Digital Trends gave us the scoop on the Finney, the new phone by London-based mobile security specialists Sirin Labs. It includes a cold storage (fancy term for ‘offline’) wallet, a built-in token conversion service for smooth transactions, and a DApp center. They designed the phone to be the premier mobile “for crypto experts and novices alike,” according to their website.

It’s timely, as crypto is still trying to break through the membrane into mainstream adoption, and mobile could be the vehicle to make it happen. The Finney itself, though, may not make the crossover.

First, Some Tech Specs

Finney’s standout feature is a second screen hidden behind the top edge of the phone. The screen is actually a separate set of hardware altogether—the cold wallet itself. When it’s tucked into place, it’s disconnected and unhackable. Only when you slide the screen open does it go live so you can execute a transaction.

The phone’s software, SirinOS, is Android 8.1 modified for security and certified by Google. It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, with 128 gigs of storage and 6 gigs of RAM. It has a body of metal and Gorilla Glass, a 12 megapixel camera on the back, along with a fingerprint sensor. The Finney also features an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) for an added layer of security.

Having the wallet placed at the top means the camera and fingerprint scanner are lower on the phone’s body than on previous models. See for example Sirin’s first phone, the Solarin, a security-obsessed $14,000 non-blockchain luxury mobile, which came complete with Italian leather backing and had a camera and fingerprint scanner where you’d expect them. On the Finney, the fingerprint scanner is too far down for effortless use. It invites slip ups where you press the camera lens instead.

The Finney is Nice, But It Will Take More to Mainstreamize Crypto

“It makes sending, receiving and converting cryptocurrencies securely on a smartphone surprisingly easy,” says one Digital Trends review of the Finney. But they qualify that ‘easy’ is relative, and the Finney is actually more of “a niche device for those who really are invested in cryptocurrency.”

Senior Writer Andy Boxall was less impressed. “The problem is its main feature,” that is, the cold wallet, “is only compelling to those who use, understand, and believe in cryptocurrency and the Blockchain.” For those who don’t already understand the ins and outs of crypto, it won’t be much of an advantage.

“Do not expect the Finney phone to make this baffling world [of crypto] much less confusing and problematic,” says Boxall. He describes the setup process as requiring trust in a bunch of companies you’ve never heard of, as well as the navigation of unfamiliar technologies and products. And for all the effort, he says, there’s little benefit for the crypto newcomer or ordinary mobile user.

“I carried on with the process because it’s my job,” says Boxall, “but if it wasn’t, I may have given up a lot sooner.” While the Finney hits many of the marks it aims for as far as design and functionality, simplifying the crypto process for novices doesn’t seem to be coming together with this phone.

“Living with the Finney has made it very clear that cryptocurrency is not ready for mainstream use yet,” says Boxall.

Get Your Finney If You Can

Sirin first released the Finney for sale only in exchange for their native SRN token. It went on the mainstream market in January so you can now purchase it with Paypal or, if you’re Gordon Gekko, a credit card. One final and important caveat: the company ships from their UK headquarters to 143 countries, but alas, the US isn’t one of them.

If you’re looking for a way to store your crypto securely and portably, make smooth crypto transactions on the go, or inspire jealousy in your American blockchain friends, the Finney may well be worth its $1,000 price tag. If you’re a newbie who’s interested in learning the ins and outs of crypto, there are better places to start.

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