We embarked on this project with three goals in mind given the existing SXSW categories: improving the experience of content consumers (music listeners, film viewers, etc), compensating artists more fairly for their work, and combating piracy. We wanted to build a platform that not only benefits us developers as listeners, but record labels and artists as well.

What it does

Our web application enables users to stream music for free by leveraging cryptocurrencies and standby CPU utilization. Using these emerging technologies we are able to subsidize content streaming. Thanks to our innovative solution, users can enjoy unlimited ad-free music in exchange for computing power to mine Monero cryptocurrency, which in turn pays artists. Given a large enough network of active users, it won’t be long before Dapster is able to compensate artists more than traditional streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, which pay artists fractions of a cent. Ultimately, this allows smaller, unknown, or growing artists to thrive alongside larger artists. In our continuing endeavour to make the music industry better and more secure.

How we built it

Our team was split into two subteams tackling the back-end and the front-end of our platform. The front-end group handled the streaming and mining components of the platform, as well as the majority of the website which the content consumer interacts with. The front-end was written in Node.JS using several APIs like Facebook Auth API, Facebook Pixel API, Cloudinary API, AWS, and more.

Challenges we ran into

Implementing a clean media player proved challenging given the constraints of the project. Bringing together disparate technologies to form a unified whole proved challenging but synergistically work together.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

It’s often easy to get the back-end working, but difficult to get a clean and sleek front-end working that is approachable and user friendly for the user. We purposely spent time on streamlining our user interface to display essential elements; no more and no less. We are proud of how far our UI came to be within the time constraints of the hackathon and that we have a functional product that integrates so many features across the front-end and back-end.

What we learned

For all but one of our front end team, working with Node JS was a first for us. Node JS builds atop of JavaScript but follows its own distinct syntax and behaves somewhat differently because it integrates JS and HTML/CSS. Node JS took some time for us to get used to and we’re still trying to work out some kinks with it. However, Node JS features a rich feature set and made it easier to implement an audio player since we didn’t have to write one from scratch. We were also able to heavily customize our site for our needs.

What's next for Dapster

In the future, we would like to further encrypt our files using frequency and sampling manipulation to conceal an mp3 file’s data from recording devices, improve the overarching user experience on the streaming front, and increase hashing efficiency on users’ devices.

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