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Blockchain goes mainstream at Synapse

Margie Manning



Gabe Higgins and Rosa Shores, co-founders, BlockSpaces. File photo.

One thing that the co-founders of Tampa incubator BlockSpaces want you to know is that blockchain — a digital information storage system — is a lot more than the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Yes, bitcoin was the first and still is the most widely-used application of blockchain but there are other use cases, said Gabe Higgins and Rosa Shores, co-founders of BlockSpaces, a technology development and education center.

Higgins will explore blockchain fundamentals when he moderates and participates in a panel discussion at the Synapse Summit next month, while Shores will be on a panel looking at the impact of blockchain policy on Florida’s economic growth.

BlockSpaces also is also managing the blockchain hub. The company will be coordinating all the blockchain-related speakers and programming. BlockSpaces will have its own booth and will feature nearly 30 companies in the hub, including several of the projects currently incubating in its space at Tampa Bay Wave, as well as blockchain-related companies throughout the state.

Blockchain technology stores information chronologically in “blocks” to allow for the efficient and nearly instantaneous processing and transfer of data. Just about every enterprise will be using it in one way or another in the years to come, Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer for Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, told Investor’s Business Daily.

Higgins and Shores  have been in the blockchain community since 2013, when they started doing bitcoin meetups. They evolved the business after realizing that blockchain entrepreneurs lacked the support other technology pioneers have because blockchain was so new.

“In addition to the [blockchain] startups trying to get off the ground and develop cutting-edge, emerging technology solutions, they don’t have mentors. They don’t have lawyers. They don’t have CPAs, all of the professionals and infrastructure that usually goes hand in hand when you are incubating a startup,” Shores said.

Traditional business professionals can be helpful, but there are issues in blockchain that require both professionals and investors who understand the space, she said.

“So we evolved into a self-made ecosphere where we are able to help our startups find professionals in this particular technology space, as well as developing those professionals,” Shores said.

Shores hopes that Synapse attendees come away from the event realizing there are many blockchain companies in the Tampa Bay area.

“Florida is a very innovative state, and especially with this emerging technology there are a lot of things happening here that people aren’t aware of,” Higgins said. “Blockchain is a real thing that real companies are working on locally and in the state.”

There’s a lot of work ahead, Shores said.

“It is here to stay, it’s not going away. It’s a technology that we believe will be the foundational technology for all other emerging technologies. But is blockchain ready for prime time? No, we have lots of development left to do in order for that to happen.”

Both Shores and Higgins will speak on Jan. 23, the first day of the two-day Synapse Summit, designed to learn, explore and celebrate technology and innovation. Find out more and register here.










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