Why Every PR Person Needs to Understand Blockchain

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Three years ago I was traveling with a good friend who has logged miles as a hired-gun writer. She had just completed a trend report for a major credit card company about blockchain and its impending impact on the financial industry.

“Nicole, you have to start following this. Everything is going to be about blockchain in the future. The potential is insane.”

The following two years I’d casually keep up with articles as they’d percolate up through various media. We’d send each other emails with “BLOCKCHAIN!” as subject lines and tag one another on Facebook and LinkedIn. Even then, blockchain was still very nascent in the mainstream business eye.

Cut to almost a year ago. I get connected to a local LA company (MetaX and adChain, now a Radix client) and the CEO tells me he’s got a blockchain solution for digital advertising. My attention was peaked given my background with the digital ad/brand space.

“We’re unlocking the blockchain for digital advertising,” he told me.

“You had me at blockchain,” I answered back.

In the past 10 months I’ve had an up close and personal look under the hood of, not just blockchain as a technology, but decentralization as a business philosophy and a crash course in crypto-economics with hints at what a token-driven economy will look like.

Most of the ad media we talk with have little to no awareness, let along understanding, of what blockchain is or how it works. I’d hazard the same is true for a lot of verticals outside fintech – but that is changing. This creates an education challenge (and opportunity) for PR/Comms but, we have to understand it first.

Four years ago, fintech was starting its own due diligence with blockchain. Now we’re starting to see the after effects with actual implementations hit the market from leading corporate brands. We’re seeing it infiltrate other industries such as insurance, healthcare, and entertainment. Artist RAC released a full album via blockchain just this week.

What does this mean for PR? It means that the impending wave of innovation, with blockchain at its core, is about to become one of the biggest hiring areas for PR/Comms talent since we were drowning in ”.com” pitches in the late 90’s.

There are new media outlets popping up and new beats being created at top tier business publications. There’s a new audience to communicate with that act as people buy in to a company’s token — It’s like an offshoot of investor relations. We’re also seeing companies increasingly turning to crowd-funded ICO’s (Initial Coin Offering, though some are loathe to use that term) versus traditional VC investments. In short, blockchain is about to eat the world.

There is a serious deficit of senior PR/Communications people who really understand the technology and know how to navigate the landscape.

To help fellow Radix Independents get up to speed, we’ll be holding a series of Blockchain PR Bootcamps, starting in New York on August 3rd.  This will be followed by LA, San Francisco, and any other cities where we’ve got a group of independents who want to learn about this topic.

We’ll be joined by experts who will walk us through the basics of the technology and business case, an introduction to the token economy, legal parameters and gotchas, and I’ll discuss my PR/Comms observations.

If you’re interested in attending please send an email to Nicole(at)radixcollective.com. Seating is limited and reserved for Independent PR pros.

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