CrytoGlobe has released a new exclusive interview with famous DJ turned crypto enthusiast Justin Blau, aka 3LAU. According to Forbes, Blau was contacted by a Black Rock recruiter during his junior year of college, who offered him an internship on Wall Street. However, Blau refused in order to follow his passion for music. Blau has since become a public advocate for cryptocurrencies and is headlining the first-ever blockchain powered music festival in October of this year.
Blau’s Early Career and Introduction to Crypto
Blau says that he was first introduced to cryptocurrency through his longtime friends, the Winklevoss twins. He began with making small investments into crypto, then began focusing on ETH-USD arbitrage, before finally co-founding the blockchain-powered Our Music Festival.
“I actually befriended the Winklevoss twins a long time ago, they were my first introduction to bitcoin in 2014 and at the time I really didn’t know much,” Blau told CryptoGlobe. “I just invested a little bit and held onto it over the years, and then last year when everything started to heat up in the market I started taking time to learn as much as I possibly could and I became fascinated with the technology and decentralization and I started diving deeper and learning everything I could about tokenomics, consensus methods…”
Blau then sheds some more light on his experience turning down BlackRock recruiters to pursue music.
“It actually was a tough decision, I had wanted to go into finance my whole life,” said Blau. “But my true passion had always been music. At the time my career in music had really started to gain traction, really by accident I released some stuff on the internet which spread really quickly. I only had a limited window of giving music a shot once I left University in my third year, so I started touring and never looked back since.”
Following Blau’s introduction to cryptocurrency, the famous DJ began trading arbitrage. While all of the spreads have now closed, at the time, Blau claims that ETH arbitrage once served as his “bread and butter”.
“For a long time spreads on ETH could be between 3 and 10%, it was amazing! I have a finance background so that was one of the first ways I started to make money in the space, inter exchange arbitrage. The ETH arbitrage was my bread and butter, all of the spreads have closed.”
Blau explained that his background in finance proved to be a great help when trading cryptocurrencies. He told CryptoGlobe, “My previous learning and knowledge was really useful on structuring what we were doing. Any cryptocurrency can be analyzed by financial instruments and that knowledge and that path can be really useful in seeing where this space could go. For example when I first started learning about Byzantine Fault Tolerance, I was blown away that anyone could even have thought of this. Without my finance background I don’t think I would have picked up a lot of these concepts.”
Stablecoins and Regulatory Hurdles Facing The OMF Tokenized Music Festival
Blau, surely to the surprise of some, comes off clear and concise throughout the course of his interview, even when pressed by CryptoGlobe to offer his opinion on fiat backed vs natively cryptographic stablecoins:
“I think both have use cases. Fiat tethers have really strong use cases, for example when I was trading more actively last year, moving cash around was really difficult. Moving between exchanges meant transfering via a bank, with tether you can transact faster. I was trading arbitrage a lot last year which meant moving cash around was a pain in the ass especially at weekends.
There are a couple of currencies in development that I am extra excited about, im not sure any are announced yet but some of my buddies are working on them and I think that we are going to see a lot of movement towards stablecoins or asset backed tokens in the future.”
Blau stated during the interview that he has since stepped away from crypto trading in order to put his full attention on creating the world’s first blockchain-powered music festival. He goes into detail describing some of the challenges he faced putting the Our Music Festival together, focusing particularly on the regulatory hurdles put in place by US authorities:
“The original idea for OMF is so simple but the regulation in the US prevents us from doing it in its full capacity. The original idea of OMf was to tokenize events and when you bought tickets to an event you earned a percentage of a security token that represented profit sharing in that event. The earlier you bought a ticket the more tokens you would receive that represented a share in the profits. The events would redistribute 50% of the profits back to token holders. Each event would be tokenized and we would develop and app that would allow the simple purchase and sale of these tokens. If they wanted to be transferred off the app and traded in a decentralised fashion they could be. We learned really quickly that we couldn’t do that because of the regulatory environment. I think there is a lot of truth in the statement that ‘regulation prevents innovation’.
So we had to take it back to the drawing board and find a way we could make this work without being a security. We found this really difficult, we found ourselves trying to work around the regulatory environment, instead of trying to make something that made so much more sense, like earning cash flows from an event, so simple. Using blockchain technology transferring profit shares is super easy by sending to a smart contract that distributes to all the token holders. Something thats not easy to do with real fiat. We were so excited about that and the regulatory environment shut us down, that caused us to go back to the drawing board, that’s what’s taken so long with OMF.
Protecting us from the regulatory environment is my number one priority but also creating a token that has base value to a fan or artist who engages with our ecosystem, thats whats been super difficult.”
On the Future of OMF
Blau’s passion for OMF is obvious, becoming most evident after being asked by CryptoGlobe to describe OMF’s future:
“My hope would be that we really achieve full integration with the actual festival experience. All these fans are using the app to earn our currency and to redeem our stablecoin for services and products at the festival. The two principles of OMF are, number one, ‘How do allow that value to accrue to all the participants of the festival when it succeeds?’ and number two ‘How do you gradually grant more governance to fans of the festival, could fans eventually pick a lineup to the festival?’.
We have a long way to get to those goals but I really believe that given the new team it is possible. We are now bringing on a superstar team of engineers to help us build what we want to build and model what we want to model. I do think it will take time but in the next three years hopefully fans are picking lineups and getting rewarded for the success of the events.”
On Blockchain and the Music Industry
Blau has recently joined in supporting a developing decentralized music project called Audius. According to a recent Medium report, Audius was able to raise $5.5 million in its series A funding round. The platform hopes to give more control back to the artists than what is currently being offered by streaming music platforms like Soundcloud and Spotify. Blau told CryptoGlobe that Audius is still in its early stages of development, but he’s excited about the project:
“I’m actually advising on a project called Audius who I think have the most advanced model of decentralised streaming and music distribution. They are backed by Pantera and some really reputable VC firms. The team has insane expertise and they are building a model that is similar to the OMF model, its a dual token model. I’m really excited about what they have built and I think it’s the future of streaming it’s just going to take a lot of time.”
The future of digital music is decentralized.
— ▽ (@3LAU) August 9, 2018