Introduction

Welcome to Project: Digital Beauty in the Streets (D-BITS). We created this project so that street performers all around the world can continue to create and share their talent and passion by providing the ability to easily create Non-fungible asset tokens from a mobile device. Now, street performers and artists and creators from all over the world can utilize their talents and passion to diversify their work and participate in new industries such as collectibles and gaming. We believe that tokenizing talent will be a way to create stability in a creative world that is often very shaky, especially now.

Inspiration

D-BITS is inspired by the many stories that have been shared by street performers and artists during the pandemic. Our very own founder of the project, The Real Snap Boogie had his story published by WBUR last year:

The crowd adores him. He’ll pick an unsuspecting onlooker and make them dance, and they let him, because he’s charming. Afterward, he’ll shake their hand and lead the crowd in a cheer.

At least, he used to. In March, as the coronavirus spread across New England, the crowds began to thin. At first, SnapBoogie tried to soldier on. But he couldn’t do his act if the audience wouldn’t stand close together, if he couldn’t shake someone’s hand and make the crowd applaud.

"It just kinda took my heart away," he says. "You know? It’s literally everything for me. I love performing. I love — I love everything about it."

Imagine not being able to do what you love to do, what you have been doing for so long and having to stop abruptly. We heard many similar stories from London to Brazil and beyond. Street performers have been forced to seek other employment or give up their passion due to the trying times of the pandemic. We decided to create a very simple platform so that “giving up” does not have to be an option to this large global community.

While developing the app, we thought about the problem of not being able to perform in front of audiences and what other issues this can cause. We then learned that artists who regularly tour in order to fundraise for their charities were in a similar “stuck” position as our street performing friends. Inspired by our friend and Grammy recording artist, Lisa Loeb, we also added the feature for artists to have the ability to create tokens to benefit their charities. Lisa Loeb’s “Pancake Coin” on the app will raise awareness for her foundation, Camp Lisa. Now, we as a society can easily support street performers, artists, and charities regardless of the world’s circumstances and can continue to do immense good and social impact for years to come.

What is D-BITS

We have built an easy to use mobile app where a street performer, artist, or creator can simply sign up for an account. By signing up, the user also immediately creates a Hedera Account that will allow them to store tokens that they create or acquire.

The home page is a list of all created tokens, personal ones created by users as well as tokens created by artists and celebrities that support their charitable organizations. The goal is to create, connect and share within this large global community by creating a low barrier to entry, easy to use platform for anyone to use anywhere. The “create token” feature is extremely simple, assets can be easily uploaded from any mobile device.

These tokens can then be traded or sold and thus creating a new economy for struggling performers and artists.

Challenges & Lessons Learned

Our team is a very equitable and diverse group of people. We represent what an ideal technology team should look like, but often is not. With that equity and inclusion came many barriers that we needed to overcome. Many times it felt as though everything was against us, we were all located in different timezones, there was a generational gap, and we all came from vastly different work environments and backgrounds. Through it all, we learned that our differences gave us strength and made us work harder to understand one another in order to be a successful team. If all teams could work as patiently and with grace as we did, we feel that all teams in the world could look more like ours and be successful.

The How

The project was inspired and conceptualized by The Real Snap Boogie and Jennifer Kim. Designed by Sam Teuknoff and coded and compiled in Flutter (with a Firebase database) by Eki Teixeira.

Project Management and workflow was decided as a team. We started with a simple set of designs and then added more detail and features with advice from Hedera Hashgraph mentors.

Conclusion

We love that distributed ledger technology is improving many industries such as finance and gaming. Through our project we have been convinced that there are many “current day” problems that the technology could also help resolve immediately and efficiently. As many teams work on long term solutions to problems, we are happy and proud to fill the gap and solve today’s problems using Hedera Hashgraph.

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