Pasadena Blockchain Tech Startup Wants to Change the Way You Interact With the Internet | Tech Fashion
A Pasadena-based startup built around emerging “blockchain” technology trying to reshape the way users interact with the internet is hosting a bash next week to celebrate its milestones and introduce itself to the locals.
Alpha Token representatives said company programmers are designing and refining a revolutionary new web browser, along with a host of other apps, with the goal of allowing internet users to maintain privacy by exerting control over their information and creations, according to spokesman Vince Major. This includes everything from videos people create, to the identifying information companies buy and sell without people’s permission or knowledge every day.
“We have arrived at a crucial tipping point that will either liberate or further oppress our digital freedom. The solution is simple: to control our fate, we must control our data.”
-Dr. Lynch quoted in Wired Magazine
“It’s definitely time that we, as individuals, need to become very conscious about how much money is being made off our information without our consent,” Major said. “It’s billions of dollars that’s just going away, and we really want to recapture that value.”
To accomplish this, the company is developing apps for both iPhone and Android, starting with the “Alpha Browser.”
“It’s the early public beta of our software developed here in Pasadena that allows you to search the internet using whatever search engine you want to use, but it won’t ever take your data,” Major said. “We don’t save any data. We don’t sell any data. Instead, it just protects you from having your data sold.”
At the same time, the system allows those who upload content to keep control over how much they charge to share it, he explained. It’s designed to up-end the YouTube-style business model, in which content creators receive whatever the platform decides.
The idea centers around so-called “blockchain” technology.
In essence, “Blockchains are immutable digital ledger systems implemented in a distributed fashion (i.e., without a central repository) and usually without a central authority. At their most basic level, they enable a community of users to record transactions in a ledger that is public to that community, such that no transaction can be changed once published,” according to the U.S Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.
It’s the same type of encrypted, secure and anonymous online ledger system powering “cryptocurrencies” like Bitcoin, according to the Institute. The agency describes cryptocurrency as “electronic money protected through cryptographic mechanisms instead of a central repository.”
No bank required.
“Users utilize public and private keys to digitally sign and securely transact within the system,” according to a report from the NIST earlier this year. “However, blockchain technology is more broadly applicable than its application to cryptocurrencies.
But its applications aren’t limited to just online money. Blockchain technology can be used for essentially any transfer of information, from web surfing to file sharing.
“Some existing blockchain technologies focus on storing wealth, while others are a platform for smart contracts (software which is deployed on the blockchain itself, and executed by the computers running that blockchain),” the NIST report explains. “New blockchain technologies are being developed constantly to enable new use cases and to improve the efficiency of existing systems.”
“The use of blockchain technology is not a silver bullet, and there are issues that must be considered such as how to deal with malicious users, how controls are applied, and the limitations of any blockchain implementation,” the report found. “That said, blockchain technology is an important concept that will be a basis for many new solutions.”
Alpha Token is hoping to use it to make internet access in general more private, and give users — or “digitzens,” as it calls them — control over everything they do online, Majors said.
Not just anyone can take part in designing apps for the Alpha Token’s Alpha Browser just yet.
“Right now for the content creators, we are invitation only, just because we are still in that early beta phase, but (people) can always email us to receive the publishing software.”
And that’s part of the reason for the upcoming party, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 9 at the CTRL Collective, 45 South Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena. The companies and creative individuals who have taken part in building the new system will meet to share ideas and meet their collaborators in the flesh.
“As part of our Beta program, we worked with a lot of local companies and local artists to create a bunch of content for the browser,” Major said. “And so this is kind of just the culmination of our celebration of meeting all of the amazing people here in Pasadena.”
“And it’s free,” he added. Although guests may purchase a “swag bag” for $20.
“There will be local businesses talking about what they do, giving out free samples. There’s going to be local creators performances. We’re gonna highlight some of the awesome short films that have been introduced in the ecosystem and it should just be a fun party,” Major said.
Alpha Token launched less than a year ago, guided by its mission statement to “protect the digital democracy” for internet users.
“Whether this is intentional or unintentional, what we create has value,” according to a company statement. “In the current system, the value is either sold to the highest bidder without compensation, or reduced to pennies per thousand views. We will change all of that.
And Major said the Crown City is a great place to do it.
“It’s awesome that Pasadena has been so great welcoming a technology company,” he said. “Personally, I would love to see Pasadena become silicon suburbia,” he said.
The Alpha Browser event will be Aug. 9 at the CTRL Collective, located at 45 S. Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena. The event is free, but there will be a raffle for “swag bag” items with tickets at about $20. The event is from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. For more, visit http://pasadenaalphamuse.com/#buy_ticket.
Here is the tentative schedule:
5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
-Hang out and enjoy the flavor of Pasadena (samples, drinks, vendors).
-Mingle with Innovate Pasadena companies and businesses.
-Mingle with local artists showcasing their artwork.
-Music performance from local artists.
7 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
-Sponsor announcements (and a chance to win amazing prizes).
7:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
-Dance performance from local artists.
-Solo performance by world-class flutist.
8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
-The award ceremony and screening of top three Muse Video Content videos.
-Animation: 15 minutes.
-Comedy: 15 minutes.
-Drama: 15 minutes.