037: Sam Abbassi (BUSHIDO Lab)

Sam Abbassi on Innovation City

“It’s kind of the idea of what the internet should have been… but now we’re actually building it.” — Sam Abbassi

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in conjunction with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Today’s guest is Sam Abbassi, Co-Founder and Partner at BUSHIDO Lab. A software engineer with a background in neuroscience and economics, Sam leads blockchain initiatives at BUSHIDO, where he works with a small team to turn Miami into the epicenter of blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. He joins us to talk about where blockchain technology is now, where it’s going, and the specific struggles of being a small business working in crypto. Find Sam on Twitter at @SamAbbassi.

They discuss:

  • The difference between blockchain and cryptocurrency
  • Blockchain as the underlying technology of all cryptocurrencies
  • The beginning of blockchain: anarchists hunting for economic freedom
  • Teaching Crypto-Economics & Smart Contract Development at Miami-Dade College
    • Economically, people are excited about blockchain as a form of currency that is very stable
    • Efficiency, sending files, contracts and data without a middle-man
  • Building Web 3.0
  • Forking: copying code bases of previous cryptocurrencies
  • Sam’s current projects:
    • Anonymous Bitcoin
      • Combining all the best features from other coins to create a truly anonymous, stable route to financial freedom
    • Tune, a blockchain-based music rights distribution software
      • (from the makers of RecordGram: Erik Mendelson, DJ Blackout, and rapper Shawn Mims)
  • Studying economics, Sam was obsessed with value; why does money work?
  • Sam was drawn to blockchain through his work in economics, neuroscience, and journalism
  • Kairos, 8-Base, and other Miami companies working with blockchain
  • Kairos’ ICO (Initial Coin Offering)
  • Being in the early days of blockchain infrastructure; the ideas of what is possible outstrip the capabilities at the moment
  • Growing into a more mature company and the goal of building their own products
  • Being a small business owner; learning how to manage people
  • The hurdles of onboarding people in a new, small field
  • Bushido: The Code of the Samurai, and why it’s the name of the company
  • The power of combining science, technology, and art
  • The intricacy and fluidity of Japanese art that helped inspire their company
  • How to get started as a blockchain developer: start on Ethereum
  • Crypto-kitties; the value of digital scarcity
  • Resources for learning about blockchain: CoinDesk, Cointelegraph, and others
  • Blockchain opportunities still to come
  • Why Sam hated Miami growing up
  • Making a new Miami through cryptocurrency
  • Code For Miami – building code projects for a better Miami
  • Learn 01 – an educational lab teaching students how to work with emerging technologies