Still fuzzy about blockchain? This new Atlanta co-working space wants to help – WABE

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Still fuzzy about blockchain? This new Atlanta co-working space wants to help – WABE

Tech entrepreneur Marlon Williams believes blockchain represents the future of the way we interact and do business online.  

“Creators, the ones uploading the photos, writing the status messages, adding their personal information on these sites, they’re the ones who are going to monetize their data online,” said Williams. “So the future of the internet is controlled by individuals, not by corporations and it’s because of blockchain technology.”

Blockchain is a decentralized ledger that is designed to function peer-to-peer and be more trustworthy than the way information is currently stored on the web — where centralized servers or databases are owned by companies.

On Monday, Williams celebrated the opening of the Atlanta Blockchain Center in Buckhead, a first-of-its-kind co-working space in the city. The center is operated by Starter Labs, a tech incubator.

“I saw this as an opportunity to build a space that would help nurture projects, be a learning center, a co-working space, to help put Atlanta on the map for blockchain technology,” Williams said of the 2,500-square foot space on Old Ivey Road, just off of Roswell Road in Buckhead.

While blockchain is the technology that undergirds cryptocurrency, the two are not interchangeable. By opening the center, Williams hopes to help entrepreneurs interested in creating a blockchain start-up learn from those who already have experience working with the new technology.

“Most are not aware of the technology and when they do become aware of it, they become intimidated,” Williams said. “There’s a bell curve that every technology innovation goes through and blockchain is going to be part of that same curve.”

While blockchain technology has been lauded for decentralizing the internet and removing intermediaries such as tech companies or banks, it’s also come under scrutiny for the energy-intensive process it employs. Williams says he believes that issue will eventually be solved.

“Innovation is going to continue to occur within blockchain itself to help improve areas where the initial versions of that technology sort of failed over time,” he said.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, leaning into his role as the “tech” mayor, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Atlanta Blockchain Center.

“I’m thankful for Marlon and what ABC is about to do right here,” said Dickens. “I get it and I understand it, but more importantly, I want to make sure there’s an ecosystem for you to get it and for you to continue to grow and foster your dreams through the Atlanta tech ecosystem.”

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