Over a thousand people used cryptocurrencies for the first time at a music festival earlier this month. At the I Land Sound Music Festival, an annual electronic jamboree on Estonia’s Illiku Islet, Dash was used for the first time as the festival’s primary form of electronic payment.
According to organizers, the festival was attended by over 4,000 guests, around a thousand of whom used the Dash-enabled NFC wristbands for food, drinks or merchandise. Crypto accounted for around 19,000 EUR of transactions—around a quarter of the festival’s total sales.
Organizers were interested in hosting a crypto music festival, but the challenges of introducing festival-goers to wallets and keys made the idea a hard sell.
“There was no good solution back then to do all of this in an easy and seamless way,” said Fernando Gutierrez, Chief Marketing Officer for Dash Core Group. Festival organizers approached several payment processors to develop NFC wristbands and POS software, Mr. Gutierrez said, but it didn’t work out. “Some of them were interested but they doubted the capacity of Dash and crypto in general.”
Finally, organizers ended up solving the problem themselves. “They hired a developer, did some coding themselves and got to a very good solution,” said Mr. Gutierrez, who worked closely with the festival’s organizers. “It works very well, very fast, and directly on the blockchain.” Dash Core Group provided sample videos of NFC crypto payments, which can be seen below.
“NFC wristbands are common in festivals,” Mr Gutierrez said. “but having crypto as the backbone of that is unique.” At the end of the festival, unspent dashes were refunded in cash or crypto when guests returned their wristbands.
Organizers also had some help from Dash’s Decentralized Autonomous Organization, which voted to contribute 516 Dash to fund the festival. In addition to providing point-of-sale systems for the festival, merchants and food trucks, the provided funds were used to supply Dash-branded beanbags, tables, phone-charging stations, promotional materials and crypto workshops, as well as music.
However, the festival was not without a few hiccups. On the first day of the festival, some of the wifi-connected POS devices stopped working on the festivals’ overcrowded bandwidths. Within a few hours, organizers reconnected the machines with cables and payments resumed.
According to Mr. Gutierrez, festivals like these are part of Dash’s efforts to become the best cryptocurrency for payments. “We don’t try to do a thousand things,” he says. “We try to do payments. It’s a killer app that everyone has to do every day, many times.” These efforts are starting to pay off in Zimbabwe—where crypto is offering much-needed liquidity to the cash-starved economy—and Venezuela, where over 500 merchants accept the cryptocurrency.
The author has investments in Dash and other cryptocurrencies.